I first learned of writer Lisa Solod Warren’s article, “Two Black Role Models Done In By Hubris” via Twitter yesterday.
I opted not to read it because forgive me, I didn’t feel like listening to a middle-aged white woman’s thoughts about how two purported uppity Negroes and their overinflated egos were doing a disservice to the little black boys across the country. What makes her so concerned anyway? Does Ms. Warren have a general understanding about the plight of black men or a yearning for attention and the chutzpah to write the sort of insidious piece that would surely get?
I’ll let you decide on your own as we move along.
This morning I read the article and I found it every bit as disingenuous and flat out insulting as one could expect. To be fair to Warren, if she were going to assail two black men for having egos she sure made wise choices.
As much as I hate to add any validity to this trite piece Barack Obama and Tiger Woods share noted arrogance to their personas. I know what you’re thinking and I’m with you: It is so surprising to find that a politician and an overpaid athlete come across as highly overconfident. Heavens to megatroid, next thing you’ll tell me is that blonds are more successful than brunets and that you just can’t trust a big butt and a smile.
Since we’ve given Ms. Warren what little credit she deserves we can go back to annihilating her piece.
First, Tiger Woods is not done. A reader emailed me (I’m so going to respond, I am sorry for taking so long) and inquired why hadn’t I written anything about him. Eh, I’ve been writing about the sordid details of his affair (and the one after that, and the one after that, and on and on) and quite frankly I’m bored out of my mind with it. I’ve never wanted to imagine Tiger, Tiger Woods, ya’ll naked making sweet pro-golfer love to some blond nor did I want to write about any controversy surrounding it. Shade notwithstanding Tiger’s actually goofed up on the good guy image he crafted for himself, but give him a few months, a nice sit down interview with Oprah, and a couple of major tournament wins and suddenly he’ll be the come back kid. Kobe PR game proper indeed.
Warren really loses me when she writes:
For Barack Obama the honeymoon is really over, even those who wanted to give him a chance are getting tired of what is not getting done, what was promised and reneged on. There is disappointment enough in both of them.
It is tragic when an icon falls. When a black icon stumbles the tragedy seems doubly problematic. Mike Tyson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jackson were all at the tops of their fields before revelations that made them less palatable as heroes and less of a role model for young black men. They have all been partially rehabilitated but not without a huge cost.
And now while the news if full of Tiger Woods’ penchant for tawdry moments with women who can’t hold a candle to the physical beauty of his wife, the information we get on Obama, while far less salacious, is even more disillusioning. The expectations of real change that had people in tears a little over a year have been so thoroughly dashed that too many of his supporters feel betrayed by their naiveté; they feel, as I do, almost foolish for believing that the status quo could really be kicked out the door. Is it even possible for our national landscape to change?
Where do I even begin?
I am not completely satisfied with President Obama’s performance on a number of issues, but make no mistake that for the most part, he displayed what type of leader he would be during the campaign. And if people bothered to take the time to read about him (like Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker piece, “Making It”) you’ll see Barack Obama for who he is: Human A politician. He’s quite calculated, a little bit to much of a people pleaser than I’d like, and very much the “moderate” Democrat who often irks the hell out of me when it comes to progressive issues that I care deeply about.
So his behavior, while disappointing in some cases is not all that surprising. As far as the insinuation that he’s been “done in,” yeah I don’t follow. His poll numbers are down, but we’re broke, we’re at war, the line at the free clinic never ends, etc. They’ll go up, they’ll go down yet he’ll still get reelected. The GOP has no candidate and even if they managed to come up with one that party is too busy imploding to mount any real campaign. His pictures will still be stacked next to Jesus and Martin Luther the King in many an old person’s house.
Then she has the nerve to compare Tiger Woods to Obama while also bringing up a laundry list of fallen black entertainers and celebrities. Some who didn’t fall too hard, but we get what she’s arguing hence the backlash.
In some ways I’m too busy laughing to be that insulted. Like, “bless her heart, she definitely tried it.”
But do you know what does gets me?
When people suggested that her essay comes across as racist she hit back with this:
Wow. Isn’t it interesting that so many of you think this piece is racist. What a bunch of apologists. It is nothing of the sort. Both men HAVE been brought down by their own egos and both ARE role models for young black Americans. Those are facts and the unwilliingness to see this amazes me. Both Woods and Obama are brilliant and talented men, but they have, I think both begun to believe their own press. And that is when disaster strikes. Obama thought he would force reconciliation and stand back….. now we have a lousy health care bill (maybe) and a prolonged war, not to mention little no real leadership on gay rights or the environment, both of which he promised. Woods was the quiet nice guy who played the best golf in history. And now both his career and his life are in tatters… because he believed in his own ego.
When one writes about race one expects to get flack but the comments are absurd.
On Twitter, she wrote:
@JamesDDickson You would be surprised at the number of black people I know.
@JamesDDickson Hey….. that isn’t fair and you know it. You threw down the gauntlet. Seems anyone who speaks about race is a racist. BS
I hope all my new twitter followers wont be disappointed when they find out I am not a racist and am still a liberal democrat.
I am the naive one. I never expected the post in HuffPo yesterday to go viral. I’m not a racist but it will be hard to convince otherwise
These are all the typical responses you get from white liberals when called out on their shit.
“Me? Racist?! How dare you! I vote Democratic!”
I’m shocked she didn’t add, “And I loved Precious.”
Considering the history of the Democratic party decades ago and reflecting upon welfare reform, cuts in education and more black men going to jail than any other time in history under Bill Clinton’s administration, voting for the donkeys doesn’t make you any less of an ass when you write like one (or govern like one, for that matter).
Likewise for knowing some black people. All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk, ya dig, Lisa?
And surely the classic, “Anyone who talks about race isn’t racist line” just had to be used.
To quote the great Eeyore, “Oh bother.”
Why do people who write or mouth off suspicious things throw that line out as a means to deflect from their own actions? It never works. Bringing up race doesn’t make you racist. Pointing to age old stereotypes about black men doesn’t make you racist necessarily, but hey, it sure gives people a reason to wonder.
There are some white liberals with not an inkling of racism in them. She could be one of them, but this article isn’t the most convincing. Ego is the failure of many men and women, and honestly at the core there’s a hint of truth to the notion that hubris has hurt both these men.
Yet did a white woman writing an article entitled “Two Black Role Models Done In By Hubris” really not expect people to take offense? How many articles about fallen “white heroes” have you read penned by minority writers? But she’s surprised? That’s not her naivete driving her apparent befuddlement. It’s her own hubris.