Monday, August 4, 2008

It's the Swagger, Stupid.

Back when racism was an open sore on the face of America instead of the festering scab it is now, there was one unforgivable crime for black people, particularly black men.

Self confidence.

See, racists didn't like their Negroes with a spine. A black man who liked to make eye contact with white people, who didn't hold his hat in his hands whenever he made a request and who carried himself like a full-fledged member of the human race was seen as an affront to all that was decent. Black women had to face similar humilation, at times their humilation was worse because it also included sexual abuse, but nothing really got racists' blood boiling like a Negro man who "took on airs."

Well, it seems times haven't changed that much.

I could go the standard route and talk about the Uppity Negro phenomenon in detail and what it means to Obama. But, I'm not interested in that. What I want to do is talk about why certain people are so bothered by a black man who seems too smart, too cocky, too wonderful.

It's because they lack swagger.

My mother told me when I was little boy that people will always try to tear you down to make themselves feel better about their own inadequacies. She said that some people just feel small inside, and they need to make everyone else small so the world doesn't tower over them.

Black people in this country have every excuse to grow up lacking self-confidence. At times, it seems like the mission statement of Hollywood and the mainstream media is to reinforce the idea that black people are inferior beings. Many scholars believe that the historical attacks on black people's collective self-image is at the root of many of the ills that plague our communities today.

Yet Obama, and those black men in the past, have managed to ignore the message that they are less than. They've refused to bow to the accepted wisdom, and instead forged their own path that doesn't include being anybody's shine boy. Despite all the pressure on these men to cave, to give in, they've remained strong, proud men who exude confidence and cool.

Don't you see how that would mess with a racist's mind?

After all, how many racists truly believe that they would be able to hold their heads high if they had to endure the same abuse? How many of them, deep in the dank recesses of their souls, believe they would have the core strength to walk tall when everything in the world tells them to bend their backs?

Not very many.

That's why they get so angry at Obama, and why they got so angry at those proud black men in the past. Obama reflects their own weakness, he shines a light on ugly places they would rather hide. He makes them take stock of what they've done with their lives. For many racists, that's not an enjoyable enterprise.

And so they hate his swagger.


Unknown said...

Sometimes you just hit the nail square on the head, Big Man. All I can say is: uh huh.

Anonymous said...

Amen, nothing else to really say cuz you said it all. =)

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

And the swagger is sooooooooo sexy, I believe the term is called Swexy. *lol*

There is nothing MORE appealing that a brother with confidence to me (and apparently the world!).


Anonymous said...

Damn, Big Man...that concept never occurred to me, to be honest. This fills in so many blanks on why certain folks do what they do when to go a'hating.

Anonymous said...

yeah, his swagger is killing them softly.

and they ain't going down easy at all.

The fact that this is common knowledge around here...and NEVER...EVER gets spoken in the MSM speaks VOLUMES.

now pardon me while I quote you extensively on my blog.

Big Man said...

I appreciate all y'all who commented. I was a little busy today, but I've been lurking. Glad y'all felt the piece.

Anonymous said...


Beautifully put as always.

Sharon shares said...

Ever go out just roaming and find a new favorite place to be...I just did again!

Great post and when all that needs to be said has been said then one need say nothing at I'm just going to be quiet now....but I'll definitely be back!

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

So true.

Raving Black Lunatic