Monday, December 12, 2011

That Quintessential Soul

African-Americans are often confused by President Obama. Perhaps it is because unlike the great majority of us, he is not a descendant of slaves.

That is what we need to keep in mind: Barack married Michelle. He put two black children in the White House who are descendants of slaves, along with a wife and mother-in-law who are like us. He did not have to marry Michelle. He could have chosen a woman of any other race. He did not. He is a black man who chose the African-American community.

There are some things about Barack that was not his choice. In many ways, he is a dispassionate - not by choice. I am sure, but simply by nature. This is perhaps out biggest concern - that he lacks the roiling emotions that are a hallmark of the black experience. We used to call it "soul". That word is dated now. You rarely hear "soul brother" or "soul sister" anymore, except in regard to someone out of the sixties and the seventies.

If we want, we could call Michelle a "soul sister", but we are hesitant to call Barack a "soul brother" because we do not quite believe it. He is more "soul cousin" then "brother", but still family.

The truth be known, a lot of would-be "soul brothers and sisters" are not all that anymore. We began to lose it in the eighties and the nineties. By the 00's, it was nearly all gone, except for the holdovers (like me) - old-timers, many of whom fought in America's second civil war, the one we simply call "The Struggle."

Today, we who are left, sift through the detritus of those heady times, when we linked arms and marked against the racial winds. We were a sight to behold.

So, do not blame Barack. Not only was he born a "cousin," but he is a product of a time that is ever hard-pressed to produced that quintessential soul.

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