The BlackProf as it turns out got the email I recently wrote about called “On Barack: An Open Letter and Invitation to Thoughtful Brothers and Sisters In America” some weeks before I did and actually got into online conversation with the author. Like me, he originally noted that:

Many of our folks are into forwarding email, and I just received the following from a couple of independent sources. I’ve posted the open letter in its entirety.

Ms. Barcardi Jackson, author of the incredibly viral email that lays it on the line and soon will probably be in most black people’s inboxes soon, turns out to be, gasp!, a real person.

In Spencer Overton’s original post on her Open Letter, Jackson left a comment explaining what drove her to put pen to paper:

I was moved to write the open letter, not as a work of scholarship or even necessarily for publication, but simply because I was frustrated with the level of the discussions about Obama and desperately needed an outlet. To be clear, my frustration did not stem from black people not supporting Obama. I agree that we are not a monolithic community and should not be sheep. Rather, my frustration stemmed from the repeated shallow critiques of Obama, which did not go to his record, his experience or anything remotely relevant to the question of his qualifications for President.

I am not a member of Obama’s campaign staff and my letter was neither reviewed nor approved by any member of Obama’s staff. I simply wrote it and emailed it to my friends and colleagues, some of whom encouraged me to post it. I posted it on two sites – and Young Philly Politics
I stand by the sentiments of my letter regarding our tendency to hold aspiring and successful black people to a higher standard than we hold others (well, except when it comes to the black people who entertain us). Even worse is the tendency to put blackness in a box and dare each other to cross one of the lines. I was deeply disappointed to see people I have long admired and respected appear to follow the same old script of criticizing Obama without substance while completely ignoring that the questions being raised about him were problematic and suspect.


My, Ms. Jackson sure is ahem, articulate, ain’t she? The reason this email is raging around the internets (at least for black people) is that her frustration with both our current leaders and with how the media portrays those leaders hit a nerve.

Look people, if this doesn’t tell you that black people have arrived online — politically and otherwise — well it should.

I received some really interesting comments in response to my post. Mamas are touchstones in black culture. You ignore a riled up well-networked and well-educated churchgoing black mother to your peril. They have this tendency to vote.

Here’s rikyrah:

While I, and my sisters have been in the Obama camp from the beginning, my mother has not. She’s been in Camp Hillary.

Until the Selma speech.

My mother is STILL talking about his Selma speech, and I think he’s turned a corner with her.

My mother watched SOTBU. I make sure of it, and her favorite was Dr. Julia Hare. She is ‘entertained’ by some of those on stage, but considering that my mother doesn’t ‘get’ why Black folks have stopped raising their children, Dr. Hare’s remarks were right up her alley.

She also admires Representative Ellison because of how ‘those people’ tried to attack ‘that young man for wanting to swear in on his holy book’.

She also loved Tim Reid’s comments about ‘pull up your pants and get a job’.

Mama respects Tavis Smiley. She believes he’s trying to ‘uplift the race’. He and Tom Joyner (she loves Tom’s HBCU involvement).

Francis Holland says:

Although I support Hillary Clinton for president and Barack Obama for vice president, I agree with everything this woman has said in her e-mail. Barack Obama would make an excellent president if elected, and the fact of having the first Black president would do for Blacks the same thing that having a Corvette does for Chevrolet: Having a race car in the family makes ALL the cars seem a little bit faster and better.
The criticism of Clinton are true in the letter above, but Clinton also appointed more high-level Black officials than any other president always has. He also defended affirmative action, defended women’s rights, and got us through eight years without getting our troops shut up or starting a war. Blacks were more likely to be employed when Clinton was president.

But I strongly encourage supporters of Barack Obama to work hard for him so that he will at least make it onto the ticket as the vice presidential nominee. That’ll depend in large part on how many people turn out to vote for him.

But will the Clinton and Obama campaigns (note that Edwards doesn’t squeak into this discussion among black folks in the same way) listen and respond?

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