Oct 12, 2009


Like everyone else, when I first heard the announcement that President Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize I too was surprised. I immediately began to wonder what thinking went into awarding such a distinction so early in his presidency? But as I began hearing and reading more and more about the history of the panel's various selections for the award over time, Barack Obama's name started to make more sense. If nothing else, and this is no small thing, he is perceived on the world stage as the anti-Bush. Considering all the dirt that Four-Trey and his boy Dark Side did while in office, awarding the person who signaled regime change, that being Obama, was both symbolic and substantive.

Those who award the Nobel Prize use the prize as a way of making a political statement; their own political statement. The award reflects the views of those on the selection committee and the historical time period during which they make their selection. The prize is awarded based on their own subjective criteria. There are no hard and fast rules really; no objective set of clearly defined standards. The selections are at the whim of those sitting on the committee at the time and their choices reflect their thoughts. Thus, if the Nobel committee decides to give out their award to the person they select then all else is really just conjecture. In other words, this is not Olympic figure skating.

If the Nobel committee feels as though Barack Obama is reflective of their value system, in spite of his relatively short tenure as President at this time, then so be it. It's their award and they can do what they want to. Once again, Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but his vast legion of haters are acting like he blocked the phone lines, cut off the internet, rigged the votes, and stole the top spot on American Idol.

My point in all of this is ultimately that it's not about "earning" anything. But this is where everything gets twisted. Obama's critics have always felt that he has been given everything and earned nothing. The current criticism of the Nobel award is but an extension of an argument that goes back to the days of the 2008 campaign as far as Obama is concerned, and further back than that when you get down to what is really going on here.

It was the Hilary Clinton campaign where these charges originated. Clinton ran on a platform of experience and inevitability. She campaigned as though the Democratic Presidential nomination process was her coronation, but when it turned out that more voters favored Obama, Clinton and her camp began suggesting that Obama was somehow receiving votes that he didn't really deserve. In Clinton's mind it was clear, she was the one with all the experience and political gravitas, so why was Obama getting what were supposed to be her votes? Therein lies the rub.

By the time Obama had dominated the much more experienced and entitled Clinton, he found himself facing John McCain. McCain's campaign team had watched Obama defeat the heavily favored Clinton and they were well aware of his popular appeal by this point, so they attempted to turn Obama's positive popularity into a negative. Yes, of course, Obama is popular, but so is Paris Hilton. Let us not confuse popularity with ability here, so the line of argumentation went. Obama is famous for being famous, while McCain was a POW who befriended Joe the Plumber. Case closed, suitcase filled with clothes!

Why even have an election, let's just give the presidency to McCain and be done with it. Yeah, the majority of the voters want Obama, but they don't know what's good for them. They're just caught up in his celebrity. He doesn't deserve all this love. What has he done to earn it? And then the next thing you know, Obama's rockin' Grant Park with his victory speech, while McCain is left hoping that Sarah Palin doesn't pull a Kanye and grab the mic during his own concession speech.

In the minds of his critics Obama has never earned a damn thing, other than their derision and disdain. This is the affirmative action argument at work once again. For years the haters have argued that affirmative action rewarded undeserving minorities at the expense of more deserving white men. We heard this again as recently as this summer during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. But Alan Bakke put the phrase "reverse discrimination" on the map all the way back in 1977. Over time, this perverted way of thinking came to equate any potential minority gain with a subsequent white loss. As Mos Def once said, "if you start doin' it well it's success/if I start doin' it well it's suspect." With this racist logic having now become unquestioned gospel, it would be impossible for any minority to achieve anything going forward without the taint of preferential treatment clouding their success.

The criticism of Obama's Nobel Prize comes straight out of this same play book. If Obama doesn't realize it by now, he should. He is continually subjected to a different set of rules, which can be changed at any given time, on a whim. The goalposts will be moved at the referee's discretion. The patriotic triumph that should have accompanied the Nobel announcement is for Barack Obama an albatross around his neck.

In other words, a black man will never be said to truly "earn" anything. All one need do is consider that in spite of the fact that the slaves did all the work, their white masters, who were ones sitting on their asses, still managed to stereotype black people as lazy and shiftless.

Some say that Obama is in a no-win situation. His critics would rather run through hell in gasoline draws than give him his due. They're still pissed that he won the election. But the other thing is this, no matter how much the haters try to shit on Obama's Nobel Prize, not one of them had a vote. It's not their committee and it's not their award to give out or take away.

They can hate all they want to, but no amount of hatin' can change the fact that Barack Obama is not only the President of the Unites States, but now he's a Nobel Prize recipient as well. Obama's reach is global, while his critics remain small town local.

Get over it already, haters. In a few weeks it will have been a year since you've lost. Tuck your tail, drop your head, bite your tongue, now go sit down somewhere. Jeezy told you a year ago that the president was black, so this simple truth deserves repeating, Obama's the man and you ain't! Deal with it, while he prepares his Nobel acceptance speech.


M. said...

My mixed feelings towards Obama receiving the nobel prize does not come from what he has or hasn't done, but more that I personally see it as quite problematic to give such a price to someone still holding a presidential post.
I do however get what you're saying about it not being Olympic figure skating and it's not something he's earned per say, which does put the prize in a somewhat different light.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your guest lecture at Filmhuset in Stockholm today immensely, it felt really fresh (like Obama! :D ) and sincere and I'm finding myself very much looking forward to your gangster lecture on Wednesday, so I'll see you there!

Chandra Kamaria said...

This commentary is so incredibly thorough. I'm gonna link it on my Facebook page. Pretty much, I feel the same way about the haters. As a matter of fact, I've been saying since Nov 4, 2008 that it was going to be a long four years b/c EVERY thing that the man does and will do is going to be scrutinized. I can't wait for the full coverage expose on Michelle Obama's hair combing techniques (sarcasm intended).

* Ashleigh * said...

Out of your entire post, this is the part that caught my attention the most:

"He is continually subjected to a different set of rules, which can be changed at any given time, on a whim."

This is something that occurs constantly in society: local politics, "justice" system, businesses. The rules are constantly changing to accommodate another, or to not offend the fringe. Therefore Obama is receiving a different set of rules to play by - don't you think he has the ability to manipulate those at any time? Why should one doubt his ability to do so is the real case in point to wonder.

In regards to the Nobel Peace Prize, there is nothing one can do to blot out the ugly trespasses of the past. HOWEVER decorating one man as being the ONLY hope and role model for minorities is ridiculous. Obama has a lot to conquer here in America other than racial issues, and this man can't be solely responsible for healing everything relating/regarding race. He is only one man!

I think there isn't much behind him or in front of him to warrant such a honor other than what he has said in speeches. We have all heard the promises that come spilling out in order for officials to get into office; Obama was rewarded without having much "ump" done in his charge for change.

Laura said...

Dear Dr Tood,
Thank you for the great lectures at the Stockholm University.
Kind Regards,

Connie said...

Oh my goodness...Dr. Boyd, Dr. Boyd. Now, I see why my daughter, Traci Reeves, loved your lectures while at USC. Now, I see why you are the one who turned her head in the direction of following in your footsteps. That was an awesome piece. I can't stop laughing...oh my!

Anonymous said...

LOL. i love it!

rock on, president obama!