July 28, 2008

Vassar Professor Speaks Out Against Obama

Barack Obama's speech made on Father's Day several weeks ago didn't impress Vassar Professor Tyrone Simpson. "Among the many reasons why Mr. Obama's words last month were so piercingly painful," Simpson writes in this week's edition of the Black Agenda Report, "was because of how uncaringly they misrepresented and mishandled a story like my father's and those of other black fathers like him." Simpson wrote a piece for the online journal labeling the presumptive Democratic nominee as disrespectful and catering to the (white) masses.

Here is an excerpt from Professor Simpson's article:

"Barack's condemnation of fugitive black fathers is not the airing of dirty laundry; it is pointing to lines of dirty laundry already suspended above the grass while ignoring the flock of guilty pigeons perched indifferently above them.

"In delivering this critique without an equal meditation on the socioeconomic factors that frustrate good black fatherhood, Obama's speech does not signal the intrepid leadership one would expect of a political messiah. Instead it steeps the candidate in second-rate mimicry, and reveals a cynical ploy to amass popular support by conjuring up, for the purposes of banishing, a bogeyman that holds only a modest threat: the absent black father."

Click here to check out the full article.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the essay is a little more nuanced than your headline purports it to be...

Anonymous said...

After reading the article in its entirety, whether intentionally or not, Simpson ignores that Obama is running as the presumed nominee of a major political party.

To expect him to use that forum to "air [blacks'] grievences" is a fantasy. Our political climate, for better or worse, does not allow candidates to take strong opinions on issues divisive within a party and anyone who wants a McCain defeat cannot hope to hear Obama cater effectively to black voters. Yes, it's politics as usual, but now - more than ever - we need Obama to stray from ideological victimization to more moderate views. Once elected, he can do what is right. But now he must do what is effective.

And for Simposon to say that this speech demonstrates that all he plans to do for blacks as president is to fix problems with black patriarchy? It was a father's day speech. What else is he supposed to talk about?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Mr. Simpson can even hear Obama from so high up on his pedestal.

Anonymous said...

"political messiah" my ass. Of course people are going to wind up disappointed by something Obama says sooner or later... that is what happens when you put someone on a pedestal and blindly worship them (as so many people have done with Obama) - you are bound to be disillusioned at some point.

Anonymous said...

Obama's father's day speech was Black Conservative (pulling oneself up by the bootstraps) whilst Simpson seems to be a disillusioned liberal

Anonymous said...

7:37 I couldn't agree with you more. We are voting for the president of the United States not Jesus. Idol worship causes a host of problems.

Anonymous said...

I'm an Obama supporter, but there are many better things to attack him for than "not using father's day to attack grievances." On a campus where the freedoms of speech and religion are valued so highly, I would love to hear somebody who constructively questioned his vote for the Bush administration's unconstitutional wiretapping or his watery stance on the separation between church and state. Don't get me wrong, I still support Obama, and he is still 100x better than McCain.