Obama has pursued a racially defused electoral and governing strategy, keeping issues of specific interest to African Americans — such as disparities in the criminal justice system; the disproportionate impact of the foreclosure crisis on communities of color; black unemployment; and the persistence of HIV/AIDS — off the national agenda. Far from giving black America greater influence in U.S. politics, Obama’s ascent to the White House has signaled the decline of a politics aimed at challenging racial inequality head-on.
And black Americans are complicit in this decline. Fearing that publicly raising racial issues will undermine the president in the eyes of white voters, African Americans appear to have struck an implicit pact with Obama. Even as we watch him go out of his way to lift up other marginalized groups (such as gay Americans) and call for policies that help everyone, we’ve accepted his silence on issues of particular interest to us. In exchange, we get to feel symbolic pride at having a black president and family in the White House.
For black America, it hasn’t been a good deal. While racial disparities in unemployment, wealth and justice continue to grow in an era imagined as post-racial, it appears that the nation is instead becoming non-racial, mostly ignoring the problems of inequality that continue to affect the life chances of many black people.
Frederick Harris, The Washington Post (via sonofbaldwin)
Actually I think this is bullshit. I believe everyone has this unrealistic expectation of this president that has not been an expectation we have had of any other president even the so call savior of all things black Bill Clinton.
I am so incredibly tired of people waiting for someone else to do for them what they need to be doing for themselves.
We need to be fighting tooth and nail to get their agenda met but what is everyone else doing except sitting back waiting for the great messiah (the President) to give us something we are too lazy to fight to get.
Get off your ass and work or what you want…they want to take away your rights then fight like hell yourselves to keep them or maybe you should loose them so that you will realize the importance of keeping them.
I am old enough to realize that a President cannot do it all…I need to push my own agenda and make the hell sure my agenda is met no matter who the hell the president might be at the time.
Martin Luther King and that movement did not wait for the President to do for them what they felt was right….they marched, protested and even died to get those rights that were owed to them.
You are the ones you have been waiting for is not a slogan but a fact.
If you read this quote, most black folk have expected him to exactly what every other president has done - which is not do anything that explicitly puts the concerns and issues black people disproportionately face at the forefront, and the fact this president is black doesn’t negate the reality that putting the concerns of the most vulnerable is actually not the way to get elected or stay in power. On the other hand, you do need a president to sign bills into laws, so it’s not completely “lazy” to be concerned about a president who would be amenable to doing such things. But as much as most of this has to begin on the ground level (and I disagree with your premise that folk aren’t doing anything on this level, that folk are just sitting around waiting for the president to sign…what laws? He can’t sign a law until Congress writes and passes it, and I bet you there are hundreds upon hundred of lobbies on multiple levels merely trying to get a simple word in a bill, let alone a bill in and of itself), that doesn’t mean we can’t play close attention to what’s going on at the top, especially since the buck will stop with the top one way or the other.
Obama is helping black people though, he just doesn’t label it that way. Every time he pushes something forward to help the poor & disenfranchised that helps black people who are as a rule more likely to be in that class than any other. Advances in LGBT rights help black LGBT folks. Do I wish he could change American attitudes on race? Sure. The same way I wish on stars when I’m bored. Because I already know 4 years & one man is not enough to change everything. Obama is not the Messiah, he’s a man in an office that holds a lot of power & that’s it. He’s more centrist than progressive (which is how he got elected remember?), & he’s trying as centrists generally do to help everyone at the same time.