Barack and “The Click”


I was stunned. I turned on my TV, and there was one President Barack Hussein Obama, talking about “The Click.”


Gregory Kane

Now I wasn’t surprised that Obama had been subjected to— or had knowledge of— “The Click.” He is, after all:

  1. Black

  2. Male

  3. American

So of course he’s been subjected to “The Click.” I just never expected him to go before a national audience and talk about “The Click.”

For those of you who might not know what it is— even though my contention is that every black American knows about “The Click”— I’ll give a brief definition.

“The Click” usually follows what I call “The Look.” “The Click” and “The Look” go together like peanut butter and jelly, like grits and gravy, like meat and taters.

You can get “The Look” without “The Click,” but you never get “The Click” without getting “The Look” first.

“The Click,” as so accurately described by our president, is when a brother is “walking across the street and hears the lock click on cars.”

“The Look” is what the person driving that car— or a passenger in it— gives the brother before “The Click.”

It’s a look that says the black man— because he is black and male— is a menace, a threat and a criminal out to do violence and create mayhem. And yes, the person usually giving that look is white. So is the person giving the brother “The Click.”

Now some of those white people giving brothers “The Look” and “The Click” will swear they are really, really cool with black folks and don’t have a racist bone in their bodies, or they will claim that some of their best friends are black.

Or, like Zimmerman, they’ll talk about what they’ve done to help us po,’ benighted colored folks. They’ll try to rock their “friend of the Negro” credits like nobody’s business.

None of those things change the reality that these people gave a black man

“The Look.” Or “The Look” and “The Click.”

And even though Zimmerman’s defenders continue to insist that he had no racial motives in anything he did the night of February 26, 2012, here’s what every black person in the country knows, with the possible exceptions of Juan Williams and Charles Barkley.

Just before Zimmerman called the Sanford police to report that he observed someone who was “up to no good,” he gave Trayvon Martin “The Look.”

So much for the Trayvon Martin shooting having nothing to do with race. Few black folks are buying that (though Williams and Barkley obviously do), including Obama.

That’s why the president could hold back no longer, why he had to weigh in on matters of race in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Yes, he surprised me when he talked about “The Click.” And he really surprised me when he said that he got “The Click” as he walked across the street.

I wish the hell I had gotten “The Click” when I walked across the street. Each and every time I got “The Click,” I was at a bus stop.

I was either sitting or standing. In either case, I was barely moving. I certainly wasn’t moving in the direction of any car.

It was as if the white person or persons in the vehicle couldn’t possibly conceive of a black man catching a bus. Oh, they could conceive of a black man as criminal just fine.

But a black man taking the bus, in all likelihood to get home from or go to work? Oh, those black men, in the eyes of white America’s “Lookers” and “Clickers,” simply don’t exist.

I have a news flash for white America’s “Lookers” and “Clickers”: the typical black man in America is: a.) employed and b.) law-abiding.

If those “Lookers” and “Clickers” don’t believe me, they should, if they dare, take any bus in their town early in the morning.

They’ll probably find that it’s packed with black folks, going to— or from— whatever job it is they can manage to get.

That’s why I wasn’t too enthusiastic about all those “Justice for Trayvon” rallies after the Zimmerman verdict. Oh, rallies are fine. General strikes are better!

If every employed black person in America had taken off work one or two days after the Zimmerman verdict, that would have sent a message to Zimmerman’s supporters, to Floridians and to America’s “Lookers” and “Clickers” that a rally never could.

Maybe it would have even given some white Americans pause the next time they were inclined to give a brother “The Look” and “The Click.”