Email Madness From the Afro-Sphere

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Authorities are planning to open the entire length of the National Mall for Obama’s inauguration, a historic first. Planners are estimating that 1.5-5 million folks will be visiting DC for that occasion. (Nice ballpark figure, huh?)

I got the following joke email about it from one of those relatives. The kind who fill your inbox with miracle cures, urban myths Snopes wouldn’t dignify with a debunking, and Protestant chauvinism too appalling to reply to. (Yesterday’s was a shaggy dog joke about atheists suing for a holiday of their own and being informed by the judge that, as non-believers, they already had one: April 1. Hardy har.) But now I’m glad I hadn’t blocked their address. This one made my day.

Since Obama’s election, the afro-sphere has been abuzz with joyful outbursts, but this one is the only one to really touch me. It’s a trifle, but it’s so exuberant and paints such an eloquent picture of blacks’ sense of validation as Americans and their sense of family with the Obamas, it makes its own gravy. Pretending to scold, it is instead a clever, jubilant way of celebrating black culture and bragging about having a homey Prez, and makes its peace with individual blacks’ inability to lay hands on the magic brother. It says: We can’t all be with you there, Obama. But we’re there in spirit. There’s a party going on in black America.

Here it is; enjoy.


Question #1, where are all of those buses going to?

Do all of these folks BELIEVE they are actually gong to get anywhere NEAR the ceremony? Brothers and Sistas. We can’t all go to Washington for the ceremony. The city ain’t but so big! “D.C.” is smaller than Queens.

You wasn’t ALL INVITED! I heard of one church that has FIFTY buses going to Washington! Have y’all all lost yo minds?! FIFTY BUSES! Where they gonna go? AN’ you know some our folks don’t do well in the cold! What’s Sista Jones and her bad hip gonna do standin on the lawn for three or four hours when it’s 10 degrees out? First of all, you know she caint walk from where yall gon hafta leave the bus to where you goan hafta stan’, which is gonna be ’bout five MILES from where the President gonna be! An’ y’all know ya can’t be draggin’ all yo lawnchairs, beachchairs, piknik chairs an tables widya! You goanna hafta stand all through the ceremony.

‘Sides, by the time all them bad hips an’ bad knees gits down there to the lawn, the ceremony be ’bout over! That brings ta mind another thing! Y’all needs to leave on time! This ain’t goan be lak no chuch piknik or barbeque, an’ it sho ain’t goan start two or three hours late like some gospel show.

Now Bam is a brotha, but he know how to handle his bizness! He don’t run on CP Time! Them folks ain’t goan stand out in that cold all mornin’ waitin for the 10,000buses and vans comin’ from all over to get there. You chuch folks migh jes as well plan on leaving Sunday mornin’—do all yore singin’ an’ prayin’ on the road! Psalm 95 on I-95! (Check it out. It fits!)

An’ y’all best be plannin’ on leavin right afta the ceremony. They ain’t goan let y’all jes tie up Pennsavania Avenue all daggone day! I can hear it now – “WOULD YOU PLEASE LEAVE THE LAWN!”

They ain’t gonna wait while 20 million black folks line up to have they picture taken standin’ in front of the Capital. AN’ all your marchin’ bands, steel pan ensembles, step teams, drill teams, Pee-Wee football cheerleaders, church choirs, jump-rope teams, Elks, Masons, Bisons, Shriners, Miners, Whiners, Evening Stars, Morning Stars, Falling Stars, Deltas, Sigmas, Kappas, Phi Beta Slammas, and fine Gamma Hammas can not ALL be in the pararde. If you ain’t got an invitation ALLREADY, you ain’t invited! So jes plan on goin’ down, an’ soon as you inside city limits get off the bus, take your pictures and LEAVE, cause with alla you peeples tryin to git there at the same time, the closest you likely to get to the capital will probably be Baltimore in the north and Richmond to the South.

Make sure that you SCHEDULE your time off, an’ that includes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Brack can’t be callin’ all your employers, an’ beein’ stuck in traffic on I-95 comin’ from the Inauguration doesn’t get you no kinda administrative leave!

One other thing, remember back in the day when we was all still upset about racism in America, an’ many of us was convinced that THE MAN was constantly plottin’ our extermination?! Remember when everything was seen as an act of racial GENOCIDE – Welfare Reform; requirements that college athletes meet academic standards to be eligible to play; the DISPROPORTIONATE number of brothas in PRISON; drugs; raising academic standards; even birth control!

Well, just suppose there was a way to get ALL of the black people together in one place at the same time. Then it would be relatively easy to get rid of them. Well, as it seems like just about every black person in America is plannin’ on bein’ at the Inauguration, you don’t suppose that all of this could be part of some sinister MASTER PLAN to get rid of black people, do you?

For myself. I plan on stayin’ home that day an’ watchin’ everything on the tee-vee. Ah’ll probably see more of it than any of y’all. Besides all that aroma of all that perfume, hair stylin’ chemicals, curried goat and fried chicken on a bus for 16 hours would drive me plum crazy. On the other hand,

I might jes go down to the church that mornin’ an’ make a few bucks sellin’ some brown-paper-bag-gourmet-food. Besides, there’s gotta be at least ONE person left to tell about all this.

Anyway, I hope you have a great time and keep Barack an’ his family in your prayers! Oh yeah, remember, Jan 20, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m. sharp! No matter where you are, or what you doin’—it’s time for the National Electric Slide!


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend