Obama After One Year: We Need A Black Cabinet!

(Editor’s Note: This post comes from the ever popular Ms. Thembi Ford of the blog What Would Thembi Do. If you’re on Twitter you can follow her @thembithembi because she’s a riot. Trust me, it’s not everyday you come across a Harvard educated black person with a sense of humor as she shows with the following post.)

It doesn’t seem like most of America is feeling the Hope anymore. Anyone could have predicted the fierce opposition that Obama has faced in office, and sadly he is on track to become a single-term mistake. How can Obama fix this? Well, in addition to the obvious need for progress on his campaign promises – health care, managing our two wars, and reviving the economy – Obama should reach for some low hanging fruit. If he does anything in his four years the least he can do is make things better for black folks, and frankly I think we should be getting more out of our first black president than the popularization of the fist-bump. A little bit could go a long way to fix the specific issues that black Americans face, so what Obama should do is form a Black Cabinet to address said issues. My suggestions…

Secretary of Straight Finances. America’s financial system is in ruins, but even if it’s fixed black folks will still be off-track. We’ve had the hardest time instilling economic preparedness in future generations and have consistently been targeted by everything from bad mortgage loans to the infamous check cashing spot. I’ve always found it suspicious that Russel Simmons’ “Rush Card,” the pre-paid credit card that makes sure black folks have access to plastic, shares its name with Rush Limbaugh, who so openly hates all colored races (yes, I realize that Russell goes by Rush but I maintain that “Pockets Phat” would have been a way better name). I’ve also noticed that those “Get Cash Now!” Cashpoint commercials have gotten increasingly aggressive with infectiously catchy jingles, even including a Justin Timberlake look-alike on one version. How can we resist that? Intervention is needed. Recommendation: Oprah Winfrey. Her money is ALWAYS straight and if she shouts it in that Oprah way financial advice like “INTEREST BEARING SAVING A-COOOOUNNNTS!” will never be mundane again.

Secretary A’Splainin. The Secretary A’Splainin has the very important job of explaining race and ethnicity issues to white people. He or she will also create and distribute public service propaganda about black hair and when it is appropriate to touch it, how to do certain dance moves, and use of the n-word and other urban slang. This way, god willing, no black person will ever have to explain anything to a clueless but well-meaning white person again. Recommendation: Me. Or maybe you. Almost anyone with sense and patience, really. It must be done on a large, target scale.

Racial Rabble Rouser Ambassador. Working closely with the Secretary A’Splainin, this position will monitor the mainstream media and appoint special task force members to infiltrate the inner-workings of right wing television and radio so that the community as a whole will always be prepared with the proper response to race-baiting. Major news networks will no longer be allowed to ask D.L. Hughley for his opinion and call it “the black response,” nor will Steve Harvey with his multiple failed marriages be considered a relationship expert. For the rest of us, this means that we won’t have to waste time going back and forth with each other pretending to debate issues that we pretty much agree on already while hoping that common sense somehow rises to the forefront of mainstream discourse. Recommendation: Star Jones. Not only does she say what she really thinks, she’s a great listener and as a lawyer will be great at avoiding issues of slander.

Secretary of Black Music. There’s a fine line between artistic expression and pure garbage, and the Secretary of Black Music will act as artistic liaison between record companies, MySpace, and YouTube to eliminate the deleterious impact that bad R&B and hip-hop have had on Black America. The SoBM will by law ban any artist or song that sounds like nonsense, starting with the Anti Wocka Flocka Bill and the No, You Did Not Invent Sex Motion. Recommendation: Lonnie Lynn aka. Common. His 1993 treatise on the state of hip-hop “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” sounds like crying wolf today, but his understanding of the subject matter and mainstream popularity will enhance his contribution to the post.

Hood Comptroller. This is the only initiative that Obama has begun to tackle, just for all of the wrong reasons. Hood Comptroller will be responsible for the socioeconomic infrastructure of all urban areas. The number of Check Cashing establishments, Beauty Supply Stores, and Fried Chicken spots will be tightly controlled. It will be mandated that there is a certain tonnage of fresh food available within predetermined radius of said “hood,” and that there are environmentally friendly trash receptacles on each corner to reduce the free-floating trash – including flying bits of synthetic hair – that plagues our city streets. Hood Comptroller will also regulate the opening and closing of fire hydrants and a permit will be required to approach pedestrians to sell them perfume and body oils. Recommendation: Ghostface Killah. He loves the hood with all his heart. ‘Nuff said.

Executive Branch Black Culture Archivist. There are plenty of historical resources that preserve the integrity of our nation’s history. For example, everyone knows that Columbus didn’t exactly discover America and that George Washington didn’t really have wooden teeth. So why is it still acceptable to call Elvis Presley The King of Rock N’ Roll when black folks (especially Little Richard) all know better? Why did we have to wait until 1998 for Sally Hemmings’ relationship with Thomas Jefferson to have been recognized by historians when we all already knew the deal, and furthermore why is slave rape by masters still referred to as “relations”? America needs to be held to a more accurate standard when it comes to black history in particular so that future generations know the truth. Recommendation: Cornel West. He knows stuff and appreciates the interaction between pop culture and academia.

The Office of Oops Upside Ya’ Head. Sometimes people just need to be beaten or at the very least smacked upside the head. It’s well known that not beating children at least occasionally can lead an overblown sense of entitlement and general douchebaggery in adulthood. A large, black man walking up to a younger, foolish black man and just smacking him upside the head and saying “Man, what the hell is wrong with you!?” could work wonders on so many people, but not all of us are fortunate enough to have such forces in our lives. I suggest that Obama appoint an advisor to regulate and deploy a team of stern-faced grown men who will glare our community back into shape. Recommendation: Bill Duke or any character he has played. He does not play around.

Are there any positions that you would add? Who would you nominate for them?