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Posted: August 25, 2011



                                                                                       By William Larsha, Sr.

Political Columnist/Analyst

The Mid-South Tribune

and the

Black Information Highway

A few months ago a congressman, through implication, called Barack Obama, the President, a ‘‘tar baby.’’ A few days later, a previous candidate for president, Pat Buchanan, called the President a ‘‘boy.’’

I don’t know what’s going on, but America should denounce this kind of stuff. African Americans never did play this ‘‘tar baby, boy’’ name calling stuff.     

W.E.B. DuBois, writer and one the founders of the N.A.A.C.P., wrote that leadership of the “Negro” race should come from men - not tar babies; men-- not boys. He advocated that a ‘‘talented tenth’’ of the Negro race should supply the leadership to extricate (free) it from the American predicament.

And he lived to know of some the manhood that made up a ‘‘talented tenth : Crispus Attucks, first to die in the American Revolution; Paul Coffee, ship builder who sailed several Blacks back to Africa; and Richard Allen, first Black Bishop – A.M.E. – in America; Samuel Cornish and John Brown Russwurm, first Black American newspaperpublisher; and Frederick Douglass, one of America’s greatest orators ever.   

When did this ‘‘boy and tar baby’’ name calling stuff  start? It may have started in the writings of the U.S. Constitution when it declared Blacks less than men.

But as to the manhood of Blacks, Frederick Douglass gave a defining answer and argument in his 1854 Fourth of July address.

Douglass argued, ‘‘Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing, and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manners of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s  God, and looking hopefully for life and  immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!’’   

Already it had been written in the United States’ Constitution to the disliking of Douglass, that African slaves were 3/5th men. Douglass saw only whole Black males, especially in manhood – not boys, not any kind of a fifth of a man - just man.

The history books are noteworthy of writings about the 3/5th Black male, but who do these books claim to be the 2/5th persons left from the 3/5th Black males?

Were some of these prominent Black males we find in African American history 2/5th men – Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Minister Elijah Muhammad, W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? 

But what seems  to matter to some contemporary White Americans is that Blacks are less than White people; that some White persons must have someone to look down on so there will be somebody to look up to them.

Yet the Declaration of Independence, the most fundamental document leading to the birth of this nation reads, that ‘‘all men are created equal.’’ 

But as we have noted here, there are those who would refer to President Obama as being a ‘‘tar baby’’ or a ‘‘boy.’’   

I have not read of General George Washington, the country’s first president being referred to as a boy; nor have I read of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first

President to champion health care service in America being referred to as a ‘boy’. 

And today, I am reminded of the name calling stuff of Presidential candidate, Governor Rick Perry whose line bites are not only in way out right field, but some of which are smelling like well designed camouflaged racism.

African Americans, in general, refer to their prominent males as men - not

boys, not tar babies, but manhood, but ‘‘talented tenth’’ leadership, or

‘‘You the man.’’  And to name a few: Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Tavis Smiley, and Roland Martin.

To be honest, there is no reason for a prominent public figure to call a United States president a ‘‘boy’’ or ‘‘tar baby.’’  I therefore appeal to America, to denounce this kind of stuff!            





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