When the President is a Symbol for all Black Men . . .

10 Sep

I have noticed something in the Syria discussions these past two weeks.

Many, not all, African-American men visibly wince when someone disagrees with something the President has said or done.  

This can even be in the context of pointing out that he made the best possible statement he could make about something given that we live in a fallen world . . .

Yes, it is fallen.  And it totally needs racial reconciliation.  Actually, we need to begin the conversation on race we have never held.  

Because everyone makes mistakes.  And even when he is right, no politician gets 100% of the people to agree with him on everything.  

Yet people not agreeing with our first black president on something visibly pains many of my African-American colleagues.

Yes, President Obama is functioning as a symbol for something far beyond himself.  

He is, in many ways, functioning as a symbol for all African-American men.  

We need to remember that but not shrink from it.  

Otherwise, we will be as the press has been in the past with this president, treating him as much more of a symbol than a man.  Never holding a conversation with him to point out things from other perspectives.  That does not serve him well.  He needs to hear from us.  From all Americans.  

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