For as long as anybody can recall, the dominant stream in black politics has been about our right to decide and determine our own fates and the fates of our communities, to be answerable to our people and to hold each other answerable.

Another stream in black politics is just as old; it seeks escape from the vestiges of slavery by proving that we are worthy and willing to assimilate into the dominant society without trying to alter it in any fundamental sense. It’s easy to see to which of these strains our president belongs.

Ultimately, this approach seeks to dissolve black politics and withdraw any recognition of the aspirations, or even the existence of the black polity. This is why, when Barack Obama introduced himself to the national spotlight, he declared that "there is no black America, there is no white America, there is only the United States of America."

It is the final victory of uncritical assimilationist politics, the end of the line for black faces in high places, for there is no higher office in the land, no more powerful post on the planet.

Unless we can demonstrate to our people the futility of the symbolic politics which are all that the assimilationists can offer, we may as well all go home. This is and is not a unique dilemna. Whites in power have always taken it upon themselves to designate the leaders among the people they oppress.

African Americans did not appoint Booker T. Washington, but when Teddy Roosevelt made him the first black man allowed to dine at the president’s table, the hearts of black people all over the country swelled with pride, despite the fact that Booker T had, on behalf of our great great grandparents, acquiesced to Jim Crow and permanent subordination and segregation. Back then, we were hungry for any kind of good news about others of our kind, and that seems not to have changed. It’s time to grow up.

Barack Obama will try to save finance capital from the crisis of its own making by neutralizing domestic opposition. Corporate media are proclaiming a new racial order in which the black movement is to be buried.

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