Commentary By Arthur Piccolo
CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 10, 2009: Back on February 25, 1870, the United States finally got its first Black U.S. Senator. On January 1, 2011, it will be February 24, 1870 once again an ALL White U.S. Senate.
Roland Burris may not be long remembered for his brief tenure in the U.S. Senate but the announcement Thursday that he will not seek a full term is historic for reminding us once again that Barack Obama may be President but how White power remains even in the 21st century, even in the national government. There are finally a noticeable amount of women in the Senate, be they still a small minority, but when it comes to Color don`t even bother looking.
Senator Burris may not be Caribbean but at least any Caribbean woman, man or child sitting in the Senate gallery in Washington might find one face down there on the Senate floor to give them some small sense of identification. That is about to go puff and God only knows how long it might be before another Black man or woman serves in the most exclusive club on Earth – the U.S. Senate. President Barack had the very Senate seat Roland Burris occupies today. Yet it could easily be 2050 before we see another Black U.S. Senator.
Exactly what kind of progress is it when a Black man becomes President but in the same breath we will have an ALL White U.S. Senate for years to come? If President Obama is the Black role model that will change the world for Black men and women because he has proven we can have a Black President, where is the evidence? Obviously not in the U.S. Senate that we will see during the second half of his first term and all of his second term if he is re-elected.
If the lack of Blacks in the U.S. Senate is not a complete measure of Black success it is certainly a symbolic marker. But now here is the real proof of the lack of progress Senator Burris` exit from the U.S. Senate provides and how it becomes a magnifying glass for the failure of Barack Obama and his Presidency to advance Black people whether they claim Africa or the Caribbean as their ancestral home.
You can bet the house and everything else you own that President Obama will not say one single word about the lack of Black U.S. Senators, and that with Roland Burris`s retirement there will be no Black U.S. Senators just as there were not before 1870.
You will not see or hear President Obama calling in the Democratic Party leadership to The White House (still The White House) and chastising them that here in the 21st century once again there will be an ALL White U.S. Senate once again. If President Obama said so to the Democratic leadership guaranteed, the Democratic Party would work hard to put at least one or two – God forbid more – Blacks in the U.S. Senate. But President Obama will never ever make that request, let alone demand it.
And here is the real point. If President Obama will not chastise America and its powers structure so well represented by the ALL White U.S. Senate to be, a why should we believe he will become a forceful advocate for more equality in America for African Americans or Caribbean Americans and challenging the status quo as not good enough.
Here is the answer – he has not so far and he will not tomorrow either. President Obama is very comfortable with the color of the world as it is.
That is the real legacy Senator Burris will leave behind. A Black President who will not do anything to change the power structure in Washington that is so responsible for keeping Black Americans in `their place.` Be it after one term or two, President Obama racially will leave America just as he found it and the evidence will be found right in the ALL White U.S. Senate.
(EDITOR`S NOTE: Arthur Piccolo is the chairman of the Bowling Green Association of NY.)