By Belliah K Theise
Response to Shelby Steele Opinion : Marking Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods as “bargainers” a huge mistake.
Here is what conservative republicans have to say:
“The irony inherent in Mr. Steele’s remarks is that he himself is arguably the best example of a “bargainer” one could find in American society. He is a self-styled “black conservative.” He uses his race to set himself apart from other conservative writers because his race makes him stand out. I have read most of what he has written over the years. It is nothing terribly unique or cutting edge. In fact, if a white conservative writer offered the same analysis, he would likely never be published simply because Mr. Steele states little more than the obvious. But Mr. Steele is America’s bargainer-in-chief and has consistently used his race as a means of acheiving success beyond his plebian talents. Steele’s bargaining mask is the conservative agenda he pushes, an agenda that leads whites to pat him on the back and show him off as an example of what a “good negro” should be.
Mr. Steele’s analysis of Barack Obama is intellectually dishonest at its core because he remains trapped in his generation’s limited conception of how a black man in America is to be defined. To Steele, there is no difference between Obama and Al Sharpton because, rather than attempt to nuance the ever-evolving nature of black manhood, he is content to deal in extreme caricatures thereof — the black liberal radical and the Uncle Tom. His inability to grasp the reality that in 2008 a black American can rise to prominence based on his own merits is best illustrated by invoking the names of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Oprah Winfrey. The common thread between these objectively remarkable people is that they are the best at what they do — nothing more, nothing less. Excellence does not have a color. It justifies its own success on its own merits. Sadly, it appears that Mr. Steele would be more comfortable with Mr. Obama if he went out and robbed a bank at gunpoint with a group of gang bangers.
Barack Obama is, without question, the most intelligent of all the presidential candidates. He not only graduated from Harvard Law School, but acheived the highest honor possible by being named Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was also a successful attorney and devoted community organizer, offering countless hours of personal service to advance his Christian commitment to be his brother’s keeper. And, yes, he is also a gifted speaker and politician. If there is any psychological theory at play here, it is Mr. Steele’s rather distasteful inability to acknowledge the fact that another black man has far superceded his own accomplishments. This psychological phenomenon is most commonly referred to as jealousy.
The Obama’s of the world threaten every assumption upon which Mr. Steele has based his career. This is why he is forced by a toxic combination of ego, self-loathing and ignorance to dismiss Barack Obama as a “bargainer” rather than what he really is — a bridge to the kind of desperately needed racial reconciliation that would render Mr. Steel’s particular brand of race-baiting tripe obsolete. “
By a white conservative Christian Republican married to an amazing African woman.
Conservative columnist George Will penned an op-ed disagreeing with Steele for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:
Steele has brilliantly dissected the intellectual perversities that present blacks as dependent victims, reduced to trading on their moral blackmail of whites who are eager to be blackmailed in exchange for absolution. But Steele radically misreads Obama, missing his emancipation from those perversities. Obama seems to understand America’s race fatigue, the unbearable boredom occasioned by today’s stale politics generally and by the perfunctory theatrics of race especially.
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