Rod Blagojevich is blacker than Obama?

You ever have one of those moments where you hear something so outrageous and ridiculous that you look around the room thinking that you are in a bad episode of Ashton Kutcher's "Punked". That happened to me this morning when I heard former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's comments in Esquire Magazine.

For those of you who haven't heard the quote, Blagojevich stated "I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where he lived. I saw it all growing up."

Excuse me?! Where do I begin? Firstly this commentary is so ignorant that I really wonder how a man like this even gets elected as governor of a state. I know Chicago politics are wild but come on. What I find extremely troubling with this commentary is not that Blagojevich would even say it, but the fact that he uses shining shoes and living in a small apartment to sum up what being black is.

The black culture is as diverse as any culture in the world. From the varying cultures of the African diaspora, to the hoods of cities around this country, to the affluent black communities of Sag Harbor and suburban Atlanta and Washington DC just to name a few. Even to the halls of HBCU's and non HBCU's, black culture can not and should not be defined in such simple terms. It is not only offensive, but it is so ridiculously ignorant that an apology can not be accepted at this point. One may say that we shouldn't care what a fool of Blagojevich has to say. Truth be told I doubt anyone does. But for us to let his comments go lets another teachable moment pass us by. Let the dialogue begin so that we can have a larger discussion of what blackness is and has been. Narrow minded commentary has no place in our political discourse. But narrow minded people who simply let narrow minded comments go by the wayside are even more troublesome to me.

But if Blagojevich really wants to prove that he is more blacker than President Obama, I can show him a few places where he can prove that. But like his political career he wouldn't last very long. I guess that could make an awesome episode of "Punked". How about we use all Ivy League educated Black actors who surprise him in the end with their degrees. I know I would enjoy that episode.


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