Barack Obama: The corporate masters’ 21st century ‘House Negro’

“The theme you describe, ‘independence from the military-corporation’ is one that all sorts of people and groups can unite around. I believe millions, probably tens of millions of people are ready for this because there is little left of the early euphoria that greeted Obama’s election.”—Howard Zinn [January, 2010]

“Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent . . . It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ‘cause you’ve got all that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‘Cause someone has taught you to suffer peacefully.”—Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) [February, 1965]

The time has arrived to recognize that everyday, ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people are all, in varying degrees, de facto slaves on the U.S. Empire’s corporate/military plantation of economic austerity, manipulation, subterfuge, and the shredding of the U.S. Constitution. The “novocaine” utilized by the systemic corporate/military puppet masters on this plantation is none other than Barack Obama and his nauseating contingent of Democrat and Republican Party actors.

Moreover, on this 21st century U.S. plantation, economic austerity for the masses and never-ending corporate blood-sucking by the few are defined as being a necessary “sacrifice,” while bloody self-perpetuating U.S. foreign wars are euphemistically defined as ensuring the peace. The corporate-stream media, which incorrectly and hideously propagates itself as the so-called “mainstream” media, is the primary purveyor of this corporate political system’s novocaine of disinformation, obfuscation, and egregious omission.

Then of course there are those systemic gatekeepers who attempt to distract everyday people by narrowly prattling on and on about the obvious need for decent paying jobs, while meticulously ignoring the fact that the most effective way to bring about decent jobs, etc., in this sinking economy is to immediately, forthrightly, and systemically [i.e., fundamentally and structurally] change the direction of the political ‘ship of state.’ Anything short of this, for everyday people, amounts to rearranging the deck chairs on the ill-fated RMS Titanic just prior to slamming into a jagged, protruding iceberg and slipping below the ocean’s cold waves of increased austerity and despair. These gatekeepers know full well, that notwithstanding Barack Obama’s incessant double-speak rhetoric, he will do nothing of substance to force his corporate-backers and puppet masters to provide massive jobs, and to give back to everyday people what has been taken from them in the name of “free” market profit (for the already bloated rich).

Among the bitter ironies of this Obama presidency is the fact that it has reinforced and provided a cover for racism, war, and greed in this society under the guise of having a nominally black person as head of state. Indeed, this presidency has provided political cover for the emaciation of the poor, and what remains of the middle class, of all colors. It has been, and continues to be, a disaster of gigantic proportions.

This president counts on the misdirected, blind color/pigmentation loyalty from many Black and other ‘people of color.’ He also counts on what has now become the increasingly obvious misplaced hope of many White persons. Racism blinds and harms both its victims and perpetrators alike, and sadly, this president cynically counts on continued corporate-backing, and on a convoluted and systemically manipulated form of racism (as it affects people of all colors) to keep him in office. Nevertheless, Obama’s personal political fortunes are utterly irrelevant. What is both relevant and important are the lives and livelihoods of everyday, ordinary people, and it is this that we must concentrate on.

No more corporate blood sucking. And these corporate vultures must return to the people what they have stolen! No more damn U.S. wars abroad. They do not make us safer and they wreak havoc upon the social and economic fabric of this society, this nation, and this world! No more plantation politics. Scrap the plantation!

It is time to build third parties, outside of the corporate Democrat and Republican Parties. We must create a collective vision that looks well beyond the 2012 corporately controlled ‘elections.’ Everyday people must, out of necessity, reject the political novocaine, and see the pain for what it is, and then do something about it—collectively! Make no mistake about it: Both the Democrats and Republicans, as they have done in the past, will continue to do their utmost to sabotage and/or discredit the rise of genuine third parties—not connected with them. This is to be expected. However, our task is to hold these corporate Democrat and Republican Party scoundrels politically accountable, even as we lay the foundation for their ultimate demise and the relegating of them to the dustbin of history where they belong!

The late Howard Zinn was correct about the “tens of millions of people” who are “ready.” But it will not occur by osmosis. It will take vision, organizing, creativity, and hard work. Being “ready” is only one part of it, and it is the aforementioned vision, organizing, creativity, and hard work that can move those “tens of millions of people” from merely being “ready,” to being willing to visualize and struggle for a different, new, and more equitable nation and world!

Onward then, my sisters and brothers! Onward . . . !

Intrepid Report Associate Editor Larry Pinkney,is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, the San Francisco BayView newspaper, the Black Commentator, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.

12 Responses to Barack Obama: The corporate masters’ 21st century ‘House Negro’

  1. Regardless of your ideology, it is disrespectful to every Black person when you call the President of the United States a “House Negro.” He is not a Negro. As a person who is Black, I am not a Negro. Think about the reader. I come to the Intrepid Reporter to get away from the race baiting and racially tinged news. I was disappointed to see this headline and was offended. If you call the least among us “Negro” then all of us can be labled as such. And I am no Negro. Just because you don’t buy into how he operates doesn’t mean you should use his color as a tool for analysis. Enslavement was used as a tool to profit. Don’t you use it as a tool to make a point.

    If you were to write about a person who was White or Hispanic or Asian or Native American you would not use a racial pejorative so why use it with him. Just because you are Black does not mean that it is okay to do this.

  2. jaiden,
    you clearly missed the reference. “house negro” as a historic term has been used by many to designate a particular political posture by “black” people, who allow themselves to be used willingly and often enthusiastically to their own benefit but to the detriment of people from their own communities. do you read? note the epigraph that precedes the essay. the signification here is not strictly speaking a racial designation… malcolm x used the term, and unfortunately, he used it incorrectly, given that many “house negros”were rebellious and subversive. it is clear that obama is not, however. and the “white” house (that slaves built) is the biggest house of them all.

  3. Be offended. We should ALL be offended: Offended that is at the lies, hypocrisy, deceit, economic austerity and military aggression and murders that Barack Obama is committing in the fallacious name of democracy, “hope and change,” and of being black. Yes! We should all be offended. Offended at how Obama has made a bloody mockery of the sacrifices of Nat Turner, John Brown, Joe Hill, Harriet Tubman, Mother Jones, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc.! Offended at his constant betrayals of, and subterfuge against, everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people! Yes, we should ALL be offended, and act accordingly.

    Blackness is so much more than mere color, as Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, and so many other women and men freedom fighters have repeatedly explained. If G W Bush is a butcherer (and he IS!), SO IS Barack Obama! Likewise, the term ‘house Negro’ obviously refers to a traitor, not only against biologically Black people, but [a traitor] against humanity as a WHOLE. Malcolm X was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in using the term ‘house Negro euphemistically and otherwise,’ and it’s time to face reality and stop pretending that someone’s pigmentation is the primary or sole factor in determining their character or lack thereof. A ‘house Negro’ is a traitor; and traitors to humanity come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

    The fact that Barack Obama IS President of the U.S. Empire should not, and does not, shield him from ACCOUNTABILITY; and in fact, makes his hypocrisy and concomitant despicable actions ALL THE MORE unacceptable, egregious, and onerous. In due time perhaps, people in this nation, and throughout this planet, will reach an understanding that wrong is wrong no matter what color or gender commits it. Indeed, referring to Barack Obama as a ‘house Negro’ on behalf of his corporate masters may be too kind, as it bestows upon him far more humanity than he has demonstrated towards everyday people in this nation or abroad. Barack Obama IS the president of the United States, and as such is, and has proven himself to be, exceedingly more deadly, treacherous and dangerous to everyday people of ALL colors in this nation, and around the world, than a mere ‘house Negro’ could ever even dream of being.

    All Power To The People! Onward!

  4. Smoothprof,

    Let’s not get bogged down with idiotic questions such as, “do you read?” It does not help your argument. I could ask if you know that the first word of a sentence should be capitalized. (You started your sentence with a lower cased letter.)

    I stand by my statements that no person, who is Black, should be called a “House Negro.” You are not describing any other ‘groups’ under derogatory names so don’t do it with a president who is Black.

    I would wager that the author is aware that many in the U.S. do not respect his presidency and describe President Obama in very derogatory terms, but the author typed “House Negro” on his computer as if he isn’t causing just as much harm with his words.

  5. Mr. Pinkney,

    You re-stated your original analysis.

    Instead of stating, “Regardless of your ideology…,” I should have written that I do not agree with the aggressive foreign policies continued from the Bush Administration by the Obama Administration.

    My main point is that the use of “House Negro” is a demeaning term and further traps Black people into a self-defeating outlook. You say the use of the term is so much more than about race. But you wouldn’t call a Native American, Asian, Hispanic or White a “House Negro.” It is all about race and it is a pejorative term. It hurts the user and the person being called.

    Just because it was used over 40 years ago by Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) doesn’t mean it should be used now. Malcolm X also used the term Negro to describe Blacks but I am sure you do not use it in your writings now to describe Blacks.

    Let’s admit it and move on.


  6. This nit picking critique of Larry Pinkney’s article by this Jaiden person is a total distraction, it doesn’t address the obvious reality of Obama’s role as the face on the empire. Jaiden’s contribution to the discussion is “don’t call Obama a house negro” well, we were all called negroes at one time and referred to ourselves as negroes…it was our official designation. Enough said on that…. I find Mr. Pinkney’s analysis of the role of Obama compelling and, his solution, the need for third party politics to deal with “tweedle di and tweedle dumb, two heads on the same body ( the corporate elite body) compelling also. The American empire has had its run and now it is done. It is the role of us that have not drank the Kool-aid to wake up the masses and organize them around their own interest. Whoever is for that I am with them…

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