Sometimes I believe the hype, man,
We mess it up ourselves and blame the white man
But don't point the finger you jigaboo
Take a look at yourself, you dumb nigger, you

Pretty soon hip-hop won't be so nice
No Ice Cube just Vanilla Ice
And you'll sit and scream and cuss
But it's no one to blame but us.
..
Us, will always sing the blues
Because all we care about is hairstyles and tennis shoes
And if you step on mine, you push the button
And I'll beat you down like it ain't nothing..
Got a heart condition
Still eat hog-mogs and chitlins..
And I'm havin' more babies than I really can afford
In jail 'cause I can't pay the mother
Held back in life because of my color
Now this is just a little summary
of us, but yall think it's dumb of me
To put a mirror to ya face, but trust
Nobody gives a fuck about us..

That's Ice Cube during his black nationalist phase almost 15 years ago. That song "Us" off the classic Death Certificate album, is a impolitic cut off a very angry and impolitic album. I highlight it, not because I necessarily agree with all its analysis, but to make the point that this business Obama is talking now--in much more politic terms--is not new, among black folks. Again, I don't buy it as a singular critique. But the black nationalist in me gets pissed at the implicit message of the hard-core black left--that the only change worth discussing is changes in the law. Given that we live in a majority white country, which never has shown any great willingness to do the right thing in regards to race, except when utterly embarrassed, given the response to Katrina,I find that outlook as unacceptable and irresponsible as people who say go to school, get married and everything will be fine.

This idea that the only real change comes from convincing a majority of white voters is poison, and ultimately fraudulent. The cultural transformation Malcolm X initiated in the way black people think about themselves--being unashamed of our skin color, our hair, our culture, who we are--was just as important as desegregation. We didn't need government for that. I'm sorry folks, I'm on that Marcus Garvey "Up ye mighty race" shit when it comes to this. I see nothing wrong with creating in environment in which black fathers are embarrassed when they don't perform thier basic parental duties. And now, more Cube...

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