Jesse Jackson recently made a fool of himself yet again. True, Senator Obama accepted the Reverend's apology but still others were up in arms.
The thing I have to say is this:
Why do we believe there is some universal voice for Blackness? I recall taking African-American literature Dr. Melvin Rahming and him asking the class when was the last time the entire Black race was united behind a cause. After running through the gamut of civil rights, the present economy, and nearly every other thing in existence, he finally said the answer as plain as the nose on our faces: slavery. Even immediately after slavery, we weren't united. There were DuBois and Washington factions. There were King and Shabazz factions. There are those who believe hip hop is the voice of the race and those who believe it serves as a detriment. Some may believe Nas in saying he is the new guard of the representation, but really he just speaks for his people and his people are not my people. So much harm is caused by the "us v. them" mindset. There are plenty of people with whom I disagree on many issues. There are many people who claim to speak for me with whom I disagree. I disagree with Jesse Jackson. I disagree with John Hagee. I disagree with Barack Obama to a certain degree, but I'm still voting for him.
The thing is, Black people haven't been united for nearly 200 years. We haven't agreed on anything in that long. To an extent, that's a good thing. It proves our humanity. It proves that we aren't sheep under some figurehead. It proves that we don't do whatever our "leader" tells us to do at all times. But it has served as a disadvantage because some of the things we really need, we cannot accomplish. If the rich Blacks turned their backs on the poor Blacks, the race doesn't move up. If the poor Blacks don't work for their own improvement, the rich Blacks are wont to help.
The same comes with any group of anyone. All Christians don't agree with every pastor, it's part of the reason why there are different churches. All women don't follow every feminist, or even all (or sometimes any) of the tenats of feminism. Groups are groups not because they agree on everything but because they share many attributes. If we can keep this in mind, perhaps the rest of the world wouldn't be so perplexed when it looks on minorities.
I at least know I don't blame all Republicans with President Bush. With such a low approval rating, I think we all learned something there.