Monday, April 07, 2008

Spike Lee Says the Right Thing

Spike Lee stands before Danny Aiello, the racist owner in Do the Right Thing

TO NEW YORK Magazine:

What do you think of Obama?
I’m riding my man Obama. I think he’s a visionary. Actually, Barack told me the first date he took Michelle to was Do the Right Thing. I said, “Thank God I made it. Otherwise you would have taken her to Soul Man. Michelle would have been like, ‘What’s wrong with this brother?’ ”

Does this mean you’re down on the Clintons?
The Clintons, man, they would lie on a stack of Bibles. Snipers? That’s not misspeaking; that’s some pure bullshit. I voted for Clinton twice, but that’s over with. These old black politicians say, “Ooh, Massuh Clinton was good to us, massuh hired a lot of us, massuh was good!” Hoo! Charlie Rangel, David Dinkins—they have to understand this is a new day. People ain’t feelin’ that stuff. It’s like a tide, and the people who get in the way are just gonna get swept out into the ocean.

Some folks will say this language is divisive. That it undermines the unity that Obama seeks to inspire. Those folks might have a point.

But there is a mindset among many people that the Clintons are the saviors of Black people in this nation. President Clinton apologized for slavery, after all, didn't he? He was the "first Black president," right? He found refuge in the Black church, even had Reverend Jeremiah Wright come to the White House and pray for him at the impeachment hour, didn't he? He set up shop in Harlem after his second term because he felt so at home, so close to soul food, right? He's always been a friend, his loyalists say, to Black people, despite all the compelling evidence to the contrary, hasn't he?

Reverend Wright stands before Bill Clinton at the White House

But here's the thing: the Clintons have shown in this very campaign that the votes of the Black electorate are expendable. Instead of defending Reverend Wright and the Black Church, the Clintons are pushing the Wright controversy on the nation like Nixon segregationists and Dixiecrats to solidify the racist vote. But what's even more insulting, the Clintons think Black people will come back to the fold en masse should the Clintons succeed with their race baiting and secure the nomination by any means necessary.

Spike Lee has never minced his words. Has never hesitated to air our dirty laundry. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then put School Daze at the top of your Netflix queue. Black people can be complicit in their own oppression. Some call it internalized racism. Others call it the mindset of the House Negro. That's what Lee is talking about here.

And he's right.

This is a huge tidal wave, writes a commenter in the blogosphere. Shaped and hardened by this nation's collective experience. Many people are poised to end up on the wrong side of history, swept aside because of their refusal to embrace this transformational energy. While the number of folks who understand that something special is happening grows, there remains a considerable amount of people who utterly lack this foresight. In the end it will be those who wish to revel in a glory long since passed being washed away by a nation determined to create new foundations for glory yet to be realized.

No comments: