Today Barack Obama in his role as the President of the U.S. and chief spokesperson for the white ruling class, and as a representative of the “new” black professional-managerial class, has been assigned the task to explain and legitimate the ongoing subjugation of the black poor and working class five decades after the reform legislation of the 60s.
The speech in Selma, with all of its pro-“American” and settler colonialist sentimentality was delivered with a world audience in mind. Its ideological objective was to counter the idea of an irreconcilable black opposition by co-opting black resistance and imposing a conservative meaning of black oppositional politics.
The presence of George Bush and the imagery of Bush and Obama with the masses of black people behind them as they jointly crossed the bridge was meant to symbolically close any gap between the policies of the Bush and Obama Administrations’ that may have existed in the imagination of people outside of the U.S. related to black people and their loyalty to the U.S. state.
The message that Obama’s speech was meant to convey was that despite killer-cops, mass incarceration and grinding poverty no one should be confused: you will not split black folks away from the state because these black folks belong to us.
And judging by the paucity of criticism or even discussion of the Department of Justice’s decision last week not to indict Wilson and the unrestrained praise of Obama’s speech in various black media outlets, it is once again mission accomplished for the propagandist in chief.