Over the span of the last four years, there has been much talk over whether or not our 44th president is a socialist. Of course, that Barack Obama is a socialist will be denied only by those who choose to give his redistributionist agenda a different name. But in the final weeks leading up to Election Day, we ought to realize that Obama is no less committed to another ideology, one that hasn’t been nearly as often remarked upon.
Obama, you see, is every bit as much a proponent of blackism as he is a champion of socialism. In fact, it is his embrace of the former that explains his embrace of the latter.
Like any other ideology, blackism consists of a small handful of basic, interrelated principles.
First, the blackist affirms an explicitly—and thoroughly—racial conception of history. Historical actors, here, are nothing more or less than abstract racial categories—whites, blacks, etc. And history is an epic melodrama, a perpetual contest between the forces of white “racism” or “supremacy,” on the one hand, and, on the other, the “oppression” suffered by people of color.
Second, white racism is endemic. This the blackist must believe with all of his heart. Whatever gains black Americans and formerly colonized peoples of color in other parts of the world have made over the decades, white racism remains as formidable, and destructive, a force as it has ever been. This explains the blackist’s insistence that white racism, far from diminishing, has simply gone covert.
Third, blackism demands of all of its adherents in good standing that, whenever possible, they express some measure of indignation or rage regarding the historical injustices suffered by blacks and the persistent omnipresence of—what else?—white racism.
Fourth, the blackist unabashedly heeds the call of “social” or “racial justice.” What this in turn means is that he must favor a robust and activist government, for only such a government will possess the power necessary to compensate blacks for the past harms that had been visited upon them by white racism. And only such a government will be strong enough to protect them against its ravages in the present and future.
Finally, central to blackism is the idea of “racial authenticity.” Racial authenticity can be achieved, it promises, by way of the very simple act of affirming blackism!
Like all ideologies, the ideology of blackism is a distillation of what we may call “black culture.” It is the cliff note, so to speak, the Reader’s Digest version, of a complex of black cultural traditions stretching back centuries.
In theory, the tenets of blackism can be affirmed by anyone. However, only a biologically black person can be a blackist. That is, it is instant made for just those blacks like Barack Obama who, while biologically black, know next to nothing about black culture. For those blacks, like Obama, who are in search of racial authenticity, the ideology of blackism is their Rosetta stone. It is their salvation. The reason for this is simple.
To genuinely know a tradition well enough to make it one’s own, it is necessary to immerse oneself in it. In glaring contrast, the knowledge of an ideology can be mastered by anyone in no time at all, for an ideology is constituted by just a few simple propositions that any school child can effortlessly confine to memory.
The blackist par excellence was, not coincidentally, the one person whose autobiography Obama alludes to more than any other book in his first memoir: Malcolm X.
Malcolm would invoke “the authority of history,” as he put it, in condemning whites for having “stole our fathers and mothers from their culture of silk and satins” and bringing “them to this land in the belly of a ship [.]” He famously declared that blacks “didn’t land on Plymouth Rock,” but “Plymouth Rock landed” on blacks.
Malcolm also blasted whites for having secured their “position of leadership in the world” through “conquering, killing, exploiting, pillaging, raping, bullying” and “beating.” Throughout the white man’s “entire advance through history, he has been waving the banner of Christianity” in the one hand and, in the other, “the sword and the flintlock,” Malcolm charged.
The light-complexioned Malcolm, who, like Obama, was raised and schooled within a predominantly white environment, never spared an occasion to assert his racial authenticity. In addition to decrying white racism from the rooftops, he was also fond of blasting other blacks—like Martin Luther King, Booker Washington, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, and Roy Wilkins—as “Uncle Toms.”
Obama, obviously, is not of the same temperament as Malcolm. But he is every bit as much of a blackist.
As its subtitle makes abundantly clear, his first memoir was designed to be “a story of race.” This alone weighs substantially in favor of this thesis. But if this doesn’t convince, there is much more evidence ready at hand.
Obama has a long history of allying himself with the most radical and anti-American of types, it is true. But it is his 20-plus year relationship with his pastor and friend, the self-avowed champion of Black Liberation Theology and Louis Farrakhan admirer, Jeremiah Wright, which most decisively determines his allegiance to blackism.
Yet now that Obama has had four years to govern, we can see that he hasn’t governed in a manner that is appreciably different from that which we could expect from Wright himself.
As Pat Buchanan and other commentators have noted, Obama’s redistributionist policies have the effect of disproportionately benefiting blacks while disproportionately harming those whites whose resources will be confiscated to fund these policies.
Obama has uttered not a word to stop his supporters from charging his opponents with racism. He has actually exacerbated interracial relations by siding with those blacks, like Trayvon Martin and Henry Louis Gates, who were involved in nationally publicized confrontations with whites. Flash mobs have formed all across the country during Obama’s tenure, yet he has been silent in the face of these orgies of black-on-white violence.
His appointments, from Eric Holder to Van Jones, further reveal Obama’s racial commitments.
Going into the voting booth on November 6, let us realize that while our current president is an ideologue, the ideology to which he is most attached—and that is most dangerous—is not socialism or leftism.
It is blackism.
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jack Kerwick, holds a BA in religious studies and philosophy from Wingate University, a MA in philosophy from Baylor University, a Ph.D. in philosophy from Temple University, and is currently adjunct professor of philosophy at Rowan University; Penn State University; and Burlington County College. Mr. Kerwick writes from the classical liberal perspective inspired by Edmund Burke. His blog is The Intersection of Faith and Culture at BeliefNet.com You can contact him at [email protected]
Get your copy of Guest Contributor Paul Kengor’s latest: The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.