Yesterday President Obama addressed an NAACP gathering on the hundredth anniversary of that group's founding.
Inspirational, but intellectually flabby, he beautifully cadenced his usual common-ground shtick: whatever we have suffered in the past, we are all Americans, facing the same (scary) future, with the same aspirations for our families and our nation.
Back in January, in his inaugural address, Obama actually equated the suffering of Africans arriving as slaves with the hardships faced by European and other voluntary immigrants.
Here's the quote, I've added the emphasis because the words are (purposely) easy to miss. Speaking of our American forebears:
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
No, Barack, Africans didn't endure the lash of the whip because they wanted their kids to have better lives. They endured the lash of the whip because they had no choice.
Obama is basically saying that European culture is superior to African culture, that the dream dreamt by British colonists is the bestest possible dream a human being could have.
American Indians, btw, might question the "settled the West" part.
It's like: the European colonists got it right, and the descendants of Africans are lucky to be on board.
It's almost like the slave traders were doing the Africans a favor--like a doctor giving a crying baby an injection: This is gonna hurt, but it's for your own good.
Obama's position on reparations for slavery shows the same lucky-to-be-here attitude. During the campaign an article quoted him:
"I have said in the past _ and I'll repeat again _ that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed," the Illinois Democrat said recently.
Whoa! Good schools and jobs should be provided to everyone, regardless of background. Providing these things to black people isn't "reparations," it's basic fairness--unless you figure that black folk are just lucky to be here.
The American Dream, as far as I can tell, is: individually, the freedom to get rich (or fail and be poor), and nationally, the disproportionate consumption of world resources.
It's like the west Africans weren't really doing anything except waiting around to be kidnapped.
Or maybe they had better things to do than kill, enslave, and conquer the world.
----- o -----