Is Obama's African tough love bootstrap theory racist?
By Lloyd Whitefield Butler, Jr
July 17, 2009
In 1863, the Negro was told that he was free as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation being signed by Abraham Lincoln. But he was not given any land to make that freedom meaningful. It was something like keeping a person in prison for a number of years and suddenly discovering that that person is not guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. And you just go up to him and say, 'Now you are free,' but you don't give him any bus fare to get to town. You don't give him any money to get some clothes to put on his back or to get on his feet again in life.
THE Honourable Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States of America made the following statements to the African world during an AllAfrica interview and his recent lecture to the Ghanaian Parliament:
"We must start from the simple premise that Africa's future is up to Africans," Mr. Obama said in an address to Parliament televised across the continent. "I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. After all, I have the blood of Africa within me and my own family's story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story."
"The West and the United States has not been responsible for what's happened to Zimbabwe's economy over the last 15 or 20 years."
"Ultimately, I'm a big believer that Africans are responsible for Africa."
"Africans are responsible for Africa".
"I think part of what's hampered advancement in Africa is that for many years we've made excuses about corruption or poor governance, that this was somehow the consequence of neo-colonialism, or the West has been oppressive, or racism – I'm not a big – I'm not a believer in excuses."
Dear President Obama to draw a distinction between the European American Slave Trade of African people, the African Diaspora, and African Colonialism as separate is false and lacks historical documentation. The three systemic viruses are one and the same organism of oppression and exploitation installed in Africa and the Americas. Of course I am assuming you're well versed in African history.
I wish to inform you, in all due respect, that what happened to the African in Africa happened to the African in the Americas: both where enslaved and stripped of their dignity and humanity. President Obama it is an embarrassment that I respond to your interview with AllAfrica with a commentary from African and African American Studies 101: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on March 31, 1968. The sermon is titled, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution."
"...Now there is another myth that still gets around: it is a kind of over reliance on the Bootstrap philosophy. There are those who still feel that if the Negro is to rise out of poverty, if the Negro is to rise out of slum conditions, if he is to rise out of discrimination and segregation, he must do it all by himself. And so they say the Negro must lift himself by his own bootstraps. "They never stop to realize that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. The people who say this never stop to realize that the nation made the black man's color a stigma. But beyond this they never stop to realize the debt that they owe a people who were kept in slavery two hundred and forty-four years. "In 1863, the Negro was told that he was free as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation being signed by Abraham Lincoln. But he was not given any land to make that freedom meaningful. It was something like keeping a person in prison for a number of years and suddenly discovering that that person is not guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. And you just go up to him and say, 'Now you are free,' but you don't give him any bus fare to get to town. You don't give him any money to get some clothes to put on his back or to get on his feet again in life. "Every court of jurisprudence would rise up against this, and yet this is the very thing that our nation did to the black man. It simply said, 'You're free,' and it left him there penniless, illiterate, not knowing what to do. And the irony of it all is that at the same time the nation failed to do anything for the black man, though an act of Congress was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest. Which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
"But not only did it give the land, it built land-grant colleges to teach them how to farm. Not only that, it provided county agents to further their expertise in farming; not only that, as the years unfolded it provided low interest rates so that they could mechanize their farms. And to this day thousands of these very persons are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies every year not to farm. And these are so often the very people who tell Negroes that they must lift themselves by their own bootstraps. It's all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps...."
Dear Mr. President Barack Hussein Obama can you inform the world public of the time and place when African governments upon receiving so-called independence were not granted political independence only?
Can you, Mr. Obama explain to the African world what government or company was ever brought to justice for the crimes at the Cape Coast Castle European American slave fort that you visited Saturday 07/11/09?
Can you, Mr. Obama, name an African government upon receiving independence controlled their mineral or agricultural resources?
Can you, Mr. Obama, name an African government upon receiving independence were not controlled by the banks and industrial corporations of Europe and America?
Can you, Mr. Obama, name an African government upon receiving independence controlled their educational institutions?
Can you, Mr. Obama name a corrupt African leader who did not deposit their citizen's billions of dollars from state coffers into European and American owned banks with permission?
Can you, Mr. Obama explain to African people worldwide how Europe and America made their riches and acquired African land possessions other than through war against defenseless Africans?
Can you, Mr. Obama name a day in the last 400 years that any European or American government ever economically compensated an African government or victim One Dollar for the European and American slave trade in African people as commodities, intellectual properties, and forced skilled labour?
Can you, Mr. Obama inform the African people worldwide of the place, date, and time that a European or American government or corporation were put on trial in an international court for the horrors and deaths caused by the EU-US slave trade in African people and African colonialism; whose death figures run as high as 150 million?
Can you, Mr. Obama explain how Africans are responsible for Africans whereby upon receiving independence were in debt after surviving the African Holocaust of colonialism and slavery?
Can you, Mr. Obama explain which "excuses about corruption or poor governance" are not traced to racist operated colonial institutions? It is a fact that US and EU governments and their corporate mercenaries installed and armed their own African leaders and generals, and assassinating sovereign African leaders who demanded respect and control over their resources?
Is it racist for America to grant Israel and Egypt billions of American dollars in financial assistance, after their present inability to make peace, not violate human rights, and create a sound fiscal government?
Did Russia receive an American "Tough Love" foreign aid approach after the fall of the Soviet Uni0n? Answer: NO.
The American U.S. Congress immediately restored their economy with taxpayer's dollars. No tough love for Russia, why Africa?
Have you Mr. Obama visited the CIA recently and 'googled' (researched) files on America's role in assassinating African leaders and overthrowing their governments directly and indirectly?
Hellloooo Mr. Obama this information is in the public domain and accessible to those who request it."If some areas of the globe, with a history of poverty… are still living in a situation of deprivation comparable to that which existed at the time of Paul VI, and in some cases one can even speak of a deterioration. It is significant that some of the causes of this situation were identified in Populorum Progressio, such as the high tariffs imposed by economically developed countries, which still make it difficult for the products of poor countries to gain a foothold in the markets of rich countries…we must acknowledge how difficult this journey has been, both because of new forms of colonialism and continued dependence on old and new foreign powers, and because of grave irresponsibility within the very countries that have achieved independence."
—Encyclical Letter, Caritas In Veritate of The Supreme Pontiff Benedict Xvi
Africa needs an Asian International Court to petition for Reparations and Restitution due to their unrelated connections with the European, Latin American, and American Slave Trade of African people as commodities, intellectual properties, and forced skilled labor.
Peace is unto Barack Obama, my Brother.
Mr Lloyd Whitefield Butler, Jr. is based in Brooklyn, New York. He has over 30 years experience as a freelance journalist, historian, and researcher and has a special interest on politics in Zimbabwe.