Sunday, January 20, 2013

Them Niggas Got Shot: The Disturbing Idolatry of King & Obama


I’m sure I’ll be rhetorically crucified in cyberspace by the American Negro.  I am almost positive this text may have an adverse effect on my personal, and. possibly, professional networks and even my occupation.  But I must do this.  I must write this.  I must continue writing this piece in order for me to rid myself, and my constituency of an internal and explicit hypocrisy.  A few times a year I travel to scholarly/academic conferences and listen to presentations of the numerous nuances of the ills of the “Black American Community” or the “Black Problem in America” or “What Blacks Need to Do Better” and I get disgusted, fidgety, and begin to feel out of place.  Just as out of place as I did when I was in elementary school when I was always the only Black kid in the class, or at recess, and, sometimes, at lunch.  The majority, in my opinion, was the other.  I guess you could say that I had reverse-xenophobia. 

I always feel socially uncomfortable with the gullible or those who revel in media interpretations of an event or an individual.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of principles and a man of flaws. Just like Barrack Hussein Obama.  Except King’s social infidelities are more widely known because of J.Edgar Hoover (i.e. whore mongering, marital infidelities, sexual deviances, if you will—he allegedly patronized prostitutes per Hoover and the late Rev. Ralph Abernathy).  Yet, we all must understand, that Obama, just as Dr. King, is and was human.  I fear that too many of us laud these men’s secular accomplishments and deem the two to be deities in a sense as it pertains to the Black American struggle and pseudo-triumph over U.S. racist institutions (i.e. social, economical, and political). 

  I have been mildly entertained and hugely perturbed by cyber-debates that give analyses as to whether President Obama should be publicly sworn into office on the nation’s reserved federal holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the analogous anecdotes of irony that have inundated Facebook posts and the Twittersphere.  Many believe that it is only fitting that the first Black President of the United States is being sworn in on the King holiday and will be sworn in with a bible which once belonged to Dr. King to take the oath.  The ironic thing to me is that we, as a very informed and knowledgeable audience, are even comparing the two men.  One is a prophet at the least and the other is a politician at best.  One dedicated his adult life to the Black Civil Rights Movement, as well as the Poor People’s Movement and the anti-war effort concerning the United States’ involvement and occupancy of Vietnam, and the other is a politician whom, whether it is in his heart or a mere political agenda to sway voters, has fought for women’s and LGBT rights and is a  warmonger by default (no U.S. politician can be elected Head of State without a plan for “national security” which is political jargon for U.S. protection via war and the possibility of war). 

Regardless of how much symbolism the two men have in American and Black American History, neither one of these men, in my estimation, would have or wants to be deified by the public as a Negro messiah.  Whether we like it or not, considering most Black Americans are Christians, neither King nor Obama are Jesus Christ.  King did not die for our sins and I seriously doubt Obama plans on it either.  But both men do bring a static, and, sometimes, fluid symbolic metaphor of the struggle and triumph of  the American Negro—liberation from physical enslavement, the lynching of Jim Crow, the dismemberment of occupational strongholds, ethnic redlining in real estate, and the desegregation of schools across the country, and Black politicians, and, now, a Black President.  The aforementioned has deconstructed the narrative of these two men, and their symbolic representations of the Black American struggle and experience in America and recomposed it as a myth of sorts.  No one individual or idea of an individual garners as much reverence in the Black community as Jesus, Dr. King, and now, Obama (Growing up, every Black grandmother I knew had a painting of ‘The Last Supper’, a portrait of Jesus and Martin Luther King on their living room or dining room walls).
Matthew 24:5 (KJV) states, “For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and I shall deceive many,” which is indicative  of how many Black Americans, particularly Generation X and Baby Boomers, have posited both Dr. King and President Obama—as saviors of the entire race.  Not to say that King was a false prophet or Obama has a malevolent political agenda, but these men should not be lauded as a Christ or a messiah who the Black Americans have been waiting for.  What these men are and represent is the Chocolate Horatio Alger Theory embodied in their rhetoric and the social and political courses of their lives.  Each wanted change.  One for his people.  One for his country.  What’s ironic is that King was Black and Obama is of mixed heritage.  Does that not cover the gambit?   And the ideologies of both men seem to be a way of compensating and being individual freedom fighters for people of all ethnicities that reside in the U.S. of A.  King used social change and the injustice of Blacks in America to affect political change (Civil Rights Act of 1964).  Obama used politics to affect social change (his public support of Same Sex Marriage in the  summer of 2012). 
On this day, January 21, 2013, before comparing ideological beliefs and the social relevance, importance, and impact of these two symbols of the Black existence and contribution to the United States, how about we all just reflect on those invisible, Black backs that paved the way, often times with blood, sacrificed their time and efforts and intellect, and, sometimes, their lives like a Christ-like figure should or would that, if not for them, we wouldn’t even know Martin or Barack.  In Chris Rock's stand-up comedy movie "Bigger and Blacker", he juxtaposed the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I. G./ Biggie Smalls with the killings of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and President John F. Kennedy.  Rock says that King, X, and Kennedy were assassinated, yet, in comparison, as for Tupac and Biggie, "Them niggas got shot."  Maybe we shouldn't elevate the poster children for Black achievement and Black change as deities.  Maybe we should laud those daily grinders and grassroots workers as our sociopolitical heroes--be it your pastor, teacher, local community activist or civil servicemen, or parent(s).  In the end process, those who oppose the totality of human equality and opportunity will always subscribe to the ethnic hierarchical structure of the U.S. that has perpetually posited the Negro as an outsider and holistically inferior.  And if you asked them about King, or Obama, they'd say, "Them niggas got shot."  King literally and Barack metaphorically in that he will always be wounded by and bogged down with the weight of having had been the second coming...of Dr. King.
                                                                                          -Gee Joyner




  1. Long ago Xenophanes of Colophon stated that whoever conceives of gods is likely to conceive of them in the image of himself and his own kind. The quotation is famous.

    The African American is only 13% of the National population and our history has been mired with pain and suffering from 1555 till some light appeared after Dr M.L.King,Jr's assassination in 1968. We have made tremendous gains since that time in the form of standard of living.You stated that your classroom was mostly Caucasion which was unheard of before Kings death.

    When Obama took office our Country was on the verge of financial collapse. America was raped by the elite and the Republican administration. When Caucasion America catches a cold, the African American community has the flu, the majority in our community are under the poverty level.Obama brought hope and restrengthened our financial system.

    Can it be said, God put his spirit into these men to do his will? Does the Christian religion teach that God had a son and joint heirs, the family of God? Is it possible that a Blackman could be the Christ? When, I'm looking for a savior surely, I hope he looks like

  2. Thank you for acknowleding this MLK idolatry publicily. It's getting worse and worse. For example, not only does MLK has a national holiday, has a street name after him in every major city, and countless schools, organizations, books, movies, infastructure in his honor ... but now he has a MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR SHRINE made in his honor. They could've done thousands of things with that money to "better" the black community but these idolaters can't stop exalting and worshipping their negro "messiah".

    I will no longer celebrate MLK day and I pray those who do wake up and get out this gross idolatry. It's the worship of Baal all over again, just repackaged. MLK was one of thousands who helped the black race, he was merely a figure head. People's ignorance is sometimes depressing.

    But the irony of it all is the black race is still behind ... we're #1 in murders, the number of wedlock births, the number of broken families, number of people in jail, highest in debt, we do the worse academically, we have the most vulgar music, highest levels of domestic violence, I can go on and on and on. SO NO WE HAVE NOT OVERCOME, WE JUST IN A NEW BONDAGE so which makes this MLK idolatry even more sad if that's even possible.