Obama: The Ultimate "Uncle Tom"?

According to The Urban Dictionary, an "Uncle Tom" is:

  • "Uncle Tom is a term used by black people to try to convince other black people that working, education, living well, and setting a good example for their children is selling out."

  • "A black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with "the white man" including betray his own people".

  • "In the black community, Uncle Tom eventually came to mean an African American who sells out his people's interests and still does today."

  • "African American male who kisses the white mans ass."

  • "A black person that is a white man's bitch".

The list goes on for three pages worth of similar definitions. Considering how often I have heard it applied to honorable men like Clarence Thomas, Bill Cosby, Dr. Thomas Sowell, Dr. Walter E. Williams, Colin Powell, as well as Condoleeza Rice, I'm surprised to realize that I have yet to hear the term applied to Obama.

After all, Obama is under the guidance of and indebted (for campaign contributions and support) to people like the Rathke brothers, Wade and Dale a brother act to be concerned about, as well as Saul Alinsky, George Soros, UBS's Robert Wolf, Richard Holbrooke, Jeffrey Crowley, Alan Bersin, David J. Hayes, Ron Bloom, Dennis Ross, Todd Stern, Lynn Rosenthal, Gil Kerlikowske, Paul Volcker, Carol Browner, Jeffrey Zients, Cameron Davis, Daniel Fried, Kathleen Sebelius, Dennis Blair (an alarming side note on Dennis Blair is here), George Mitchell, Kenneth Feinberg, Cass Sunstein, John Holdren (Yikes!), Earl Devaney, J. Scott Gration, Herb Allison (First he helps bankrupt Fannie Mae, then he's appointed to help with the economic recovery? Does that make sense to you?), John Brennan, Ashton Carter, Gary Samore, and let's not forget the "pay more taxes" Veep, Joe Biden.

Of course, we can't forget the rest of his people, those who contributed to his campaigns. People and organizations like MoveOn.Org, a George Soros organization. Then there's the SEIU, a union that has lots of trouble and its leader, Andy Stern, who has troubles of his own. Obama supporters also include the United Auto Workers, the union that helped negotiate the GM bailout, and its leader, Ron Gettelfinger, the American Federation of Teachers and their leader, Randi Weingarten, and the Progressive Future PAC and their hypocritical Program Director, Adam Lioz who, this month, wrote the article linked to his name condemning "corporations" being involved in politics, after his organization (which is a "corporation, by the way) gave $1,938,119 to the Obama Campaign! (Double Standards landing on runway three!) Let's not forget the Progressive Future/Acorn tie, nor let us forget the other leader, Brad Martin, the Political Director, who came to them after only fifteen years with the DNC. He was instrumental in this little idiocy in which they use Ronald Reagan's words -- taken out of context, of course -- to support Obama's actions.

If all of these people are in Obama's "inner circle", have the most access, are the people he is "answerable to" because of their donations, then it looks to me as though those who called Condoleezza Rice, Bill Cosby, etc., "Uncle Toms" should be doing the same to Obama. After all, if the Urban Dictionary definitions are accurate, then shouldn't someone in the black (African-American) community be calling the president on the carpet for being an "Uncle Tom", too?

Of course, there's always a double standard applied. If you're saying something that is considered even close to conservative, you're always in the wrong. If, on the other hand, you are saying liberal/progressive things like, "Take from the rich and give to the poor" -- or anything even slightly similar in any way, shape, or form -- then of course you are being supportive of the African-American community and you are a good person. You're not just a good person, you're the person they will vote for: Obama was exactly that.

Saying that people have personal responsibility, as Bill Cosby did, in this speech,

"I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?"
gets his views tagged as "Uncle Tom" views. His ideas are "Uncle Tom" ideas. "Uncle Tom" is the label because personal responsibility is something that only those who kiss the white man's backside would think well of? Why? Why is it that if you are an African-American in this country that if you think that having a sound mind and body means that you should have to work for your own food, clothing and shelter you are automatically an "Uncle Tom"? Shouldn't everyone want to have the pride of providing for themselves? Shouldn't everyone think of earning their own living as something that they can stand a little taller and hold their chins up for? Is it wrong to say that hard work is a good example to set for your children? Or to say that not becoming a parent out-of-wedlock is the right way to go?

Why have traditional values -- in the past they were worldwide values -- of the proper order of things (birth, education, job, courtship, marriage, house, pregnancy and children, retirement) become so hated and reviled within certain segments of our society? Since when does the child not need a father? Since when does the teenage girl have enough financial resources, wisdom, education -- sleep even -- to be able to cope with having a child at age fifteen while still trying to go to school and date and keep up with homework and fight with the "baby daddy" all at the same time?

But writing against this kind of lifestyle, or saying anything against it, will get me into a lot of trouble. Condoleezza Rice is labeled a "Tom" because she was raised in a traditional home, worked hard at school, got good grades because of that hard work, excelled in everything she did because she put her education as a priority in life and became one of the most important people on the world scene. Yet, because of those accomplishments, people call her a "Tom". What is it she did wrong? Where did she rob the bank, or kill someone, or rape someone? Oh. She didn't? Then what was it she did wrong? Her sin was and is in doing things in the traditional way: work hard, get a good education and get a good paying job while proving through your actions that you have a brain in your head and a knowledge of right and wrong. Big sin.

See, that's where it all comes to the "Tom" bit. Rice did nothing wrong. It was the fact that she did it on her own, without government aid, without community organizers, without Affirmative Action as her bouncing board. Rice did things her own way -- by the sweat of her brow, the work of her "little grey cells" and the determination to stand on her own two feet. She had the support of a mother and father who loved her, encouraged her and were there for her when she had setbacks (although for Condoleezza Rice, there were probably few of those). Is that what makes an "Uncle Tom"?

"Uncle Tom" seems to mean, "acting white": but what is acting white? There are caucasians who are "into" the same kinds of music: hip hop, rap, hard rock, classical, Christian, whatever. Caucasians are "into" the same kinds of drugs, clothing, lifestyle ("baby daddy", not "husband": my nephew alone has at least ten children out-of-wedlock), and attitude. You can find that sort of thing everywhere now, even in Japan! So what is "acting white"?

"Acting white" seems to mean standing on your own two feet and not looking for help from the government as well as studying to do well in school, dressing in a conservative (unprovocative) way, having conservative politics (or even close to them), believing in God and acting as though you do (instead of leaving church and buying drugs on the way home, or going home to one of your "baby's daddies"), wanting to accomplish the "American Dream" without going to the government or ACORN to pay for your house and raising your children to do the same thing. That is "acting white".

My question is, "What is wrong with that?" What is wrong with working hard and setting and accomplishing your goals? What is wrong with getting a good education and actually learning the things you are supposed to be learning rather than shrugging it off and "getting by" on low grades and just barely graduating? What is wrong with staying away from drugs and not getting pregnant or becoming a father until you are married? Why is that standard, that lifestyle, so loathsome to so many?

If some think that the fact that Dr. Walter E. Williams, or Colin Powell, or Dr. Clarence Thomas are wrong for their success, my question is "Why?" Explain to me how they are wrong, what it is that distresses you so much in their success and how it is bad for you that they succeeded. Please. Explain to me why it's bad for these intelligent men to be considered traitors to their race. How does it negatively affect anyone? How does it reflect poorly on you? How does it take away from your own chances to achieve similar things? If it doesn't, then what is the problem? Just because they have accomplished their positions of Professor and sometimes Rush Limbaugh stand-in (I love it when Dr. Williams subs for Rush!), or Secretary of State, or Supreme Court Justice, that doesn't mean that you cannot someday achieve similar heights. You are not belittled by their accomplishments, betrayed by their accomplishments, nor even negated by their accomplishments. If anything, their accomplishments reflect well upon you and your possibilities, so why call them "Uncle Tom"?

Or is it that you do not aspire to be like them in the attaining of their goals? Is it that you prefer to not have examples that show that you can achieve anything you desire to achieve as long as you work hard and keep faith in yourself and put that goal ahead of other things? Do you prefer to be wasted all day, or play basketball endlessly, or to be endlessly making babies to raise by yourself, or with your momma? Or do you think that the achievements of others threaten your own self-esteem because you feel like they make you look bad?

Is it that when you achieve something the "higher achievers" start hanging with the white people? Is that the problem? Is it that the "Uncle Toms" start partying with the white people, going to their houses for dinner, attending events with them and finding common interests? If it is the amount of time spent with white people that makes an African-American (I abhor that term. If you were born here, you're an AMERICAN. Period.) an "Uncle Tom", why? How does spending time with someone you have things in common with make anyone an "Uncle Tom"? Resultingly, if two people spend time together who are fans of chess and they are one black one white, then wouldn't they both be "chessers" instead of one being an "Uncle Tom"? I have heard from a black friend how he used to go to Central Park in NYC and play chess there. If he played a match against a white man on a regular basis, would that make him an "Uncle Tom" because he played chess against a white man? Or is it a matter of hours, minutes and seconds: the higher the number, the more "Uncle Tom" you are?

What is the standard, can someone -- anyone -- please explain it to me? How does someone get to be an universally accepted "Uncle Tom"? If it's time, talent, interests, education, achievement, job, marriage, politics, religion, toe length, or whatever, I want to know. Because there's someone you need to look at if it's interests, education, achievement, job, or time (perhaps even toe length).

That someone is Obama. His education:

"He was enrolled in the fifth grade at the esteemed Punahou Academy, graduating with honors in 1979. He was only one of three black students at the school.
"[He] studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science.
"Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988. In February 1990, he was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. Obama graduated magna cum laude in 1991."

His jobs:
"After working at Business International Corporation (a company that provided international business information to corporate clients) and NYPIRG, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. There, he worked as a community organizer with low-income residents in Chicago's Roseland community and the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the city's South Side. [ACORN]
"Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer, joining the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also taught at the University of Chicago Law School.
"Illinois State Senate as a Democrat. He was elected in 1996 from the south side neighborhood of Hyde Park.
"2003 and Obama decided to run for the U.S. Senate open seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. In the 2004 Democratic primary, he won 52 percent of the vote, defeating multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes.
"November 2004...Barack Obama became only the third African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.

Sounds to me as though this would certainly qualify Obama to be an "Uncle Tom" if it is defined by what kind of jobs you have had. If it's not jobs, then perhaps it's time, say, at parties:

"Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters; Mark Ayers, head of the Building and Construction Trades Department of AFL-CIO; Jerry McEntee of AFSCME; Randi Weingarten of AFT; Dennis Van Roekel of NEA; Carl Pope of Sierra Club; Andre Delattre of PIRGs; Janice McGee; Cecile Richardson of Planned Parenthood; Kathryn Kolbert of People For the American Way; Joe Solomonese of Human Rights Campaign; Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Jerry Hudson of SEIU; Andy Stern of SEIU; Eli Pariser and Justin Ruben of MoveOn.org. (btw, Eli will be moving up to the board of directors for MoveOn and Justin will be taking over day to day operations helm shortly. Congrats to both!); Van Jones; Tom Donahue of the US Chamber of Commerce; Harry Alford of the National Black Chamber of Commerce; John Castellani of the Business Roundtable"
or maybe:
"Here's a guest list, released by the White House: Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Artur Davis (D-AL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Paul Hodes (D-NH), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Fred Upton (R-MI)."
or something like spending time with the folks listed here:
"Invited guests include three Cabinet secretaries, numerous diplomats, five members of Congress including the first Muslim, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and the chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization mission. [The] list of invited guests, as provided by the White House: Cabinet: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Deputy Cabinet secretaries: Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower and Education Deputy Secretary Adam Miller. Congress: Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) and Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.). Diplomats: Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein of Jordan; Ambassador Adel A.M. Al Jubeir of Saudi Arabia; Ambassador Husain Haqqani of Pakistan; Ambassador Erlan A. Idrissov of Kazakhstan; Ambassador His Excellency Said... Tayeb Jawad of Afghanistan; Ambassador Aziz Mekouar of Morocco; Ambassador Peter N.R.O. Ogego of Kenya. Also Ambassador Roble Olhaye of D’jibouti; Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel; Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat of Indonesia; Ambassador Klaus Scharioth of Germany; Ambassador Meera Shankar of India; Ambassador Nabi Sensoy of Turkey; Ambassador Sir Nigel Elton Sheinwald of Britain; Ambassador Sameh Hassan Shoukry of Egypt; Ambassador Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie of Iraq; and Ambassador Pierre Nicolas Vimont of France. Also the following Chargé d'Affaires: Sheikh Mohammed Belal of Bangladesh; Ilango Karuppanan of Malaysia; Mohamed O Maiga; Angela Oi Foong Shim of Brunei; Baba Gana Wakil of Nigeria; and Maen Areikat, chief of mission, Palestine Liberation Organization. Members of the public: Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir, University of Memphis; Professor Azizah Al-Hibri, University of Richmond School of Law; Reema Ali, Karamah, Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights; Hasan Chandoo, Oppenheimer & Co.; Rabbi Nathan Diament, director, Institute for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union; Imam Plemon El-Amin, Atlanta Masjid al-Islam. Also, Wahid Hamid, PepsiCo; Dina Hammad; Lutfi Hassan; Nashala Hearn; Rosalind Hearn; Imam Yahya Hendi, chaplain, Georgetown University; pastor Joel Hunter, Northland Church; Nooman Husain; and Imad Hussain. Additionally, Sanford Ibrahim, CEO, Radian Group; Jameel Jaffer, staff attorney, ACLU; Mrs. Elsheba Khan; Dr. Mansur Khan, UMMA Community Clinic; Farhana Khera, Muslim Advocates; Lt. Commander Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Marine Corps; and Kareem Salama. Also, Imam Yusuf Saleem; Masjid Muhammad; Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president, Islamic Society of North America; Farooq Mitha; Dalia Mogahed, director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; Hutham Olayan, Olayan America Corp.; Eboo Patel, Interfaith Youth Corps; and Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. Additionally, Mina Trudeau, executive director, El Fatiha Foundation; J. Saleh Williams, Congressional Muslim Staffers Assn.; and Mohamed Zakariya, Zakariya Calligraphy."

If it's not time at parties and "hanging with" people there, then maybe it's achievement that sets someone apart as an "Uncle Tom". If so, then as Obama pointed out so well in his own campaign, he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills". A.K.A. He's not white. Although he has been ACORNED into the office of president, he is filling the shoes of the white men who went before him. So if it's who you follow or emulate, what your interests and achievements are, then, maybe you should be looking at Obama as an "Uncle Tom" because he was definitely interested in being president and in filling the spot all those white men filled. Does that make him an "Uncle Tom"?

I think that if anyone is going to make an accusation of "Uncle Tom" against the fine men (and woman) in my second paragraph, then the same accusation must be made against Obama. I have shown that he is eligible (to say the least) and that he is someone who tries to fit into the "white man's world". So why not say, Obama: the Ultimate "Uncle Tom"?

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