I look to Black people to save America. They have collectively carried and suffered the burdens of this country more than any other group. America would not have risen without their forced labor for 280 years. King Cotton would not have built the South. America would be inconceivable, a drastically different entity, had their forced immigration not taken place. From the momentous moral conflicts of race, to the creation of jazz, blues, the pinnacles of sports achievement, the literature of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Huckleberry Finn to Iceberg Slim, from pancakes to peanut butter—America is a Negro nation.
And now, our future rests on Black America, as they continue to come into their own as never before. Put some rhythm into molecular biology and I suspect you will kick cancer’s ass. Put some soul into theoretical physics, and you might end up with a time machine, as envisioned by Dr. Ronald L. Mallett. Elect more Black district attorneys, and you might begin to reverse horrible injustices of false imprisonment—as championed by our own D.A. in Dallas, Craig “Do the Right Thing” Watkins.
When I see a Black businessman or lawyer, I expect him to be of higher ethics than a white one. This may be a ludicrous conceit, an upside down version of Jim Crow. Yet when I see a Black sushi chef, cardiologist or airline pilot, I assume he better be great.
Unfair? A new twist on reverse racism? Perhaps. We may have arrived on separate ships, but we’re all in the same boat now. However, in the same way Jackie Robinson demonstrated a new way to run bases, and Hendrix summoned lightning into guitars, I expect new levels of Black genius to emerge. President Obama is just the beginning.
More Black Presidents will follow, but this is just symbolic. This is not Nigeria, Ivory Coast or Liberia—this here is America. Everything hit them harder, en masse—the Depression, the Viet Nam War, floods, famine. The civil rights movement was followed by decades of self-inflicted pain and blame-gaming. Been there, done that. Now is the time for 30-million strong to flourish. The Great Black Hope is upon us like never before. They may have once shined the white man’s shoes, raised his chillun and picked up his garbage. Now it is up to them to figure out how to clean up the white man’s nuclear waste, oil spills and the even more toxic abuses of Capitalism. White people can’t do it. God won’t do it. It’s up to Black America. They will be our ironic saviors. I look to Black people to save America.
© 2011 Josh Alan Friedman