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President Obama: “I Am Not the President of Black America”

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

President Obama has made it clear once again that his role as president, as he sees it, renders him useless to Black people – although other groups find him quite helpful. “If the respect shown to black Americans does not match that which is shown to the gay community, Hispanic community and other demographics, then the Obama Administration has fallen woefully short in its duty to America.”

 

President Obama: “I Am Not the President of Black America”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

This article previously appeared on KultureKritic.com.

It’s hard not to argue that the Obama administration has pandered to conservative (and racist) white Americans by showing how far it can go in ignoring African American interests.”

During a recent interview with Black Enterprise, President Barack Obama was asked about some of the criticism he’s received for allegedly not doing enough to support black businesses.  In response to the question, the president had this to say:

My general view has been consistent throughout, which is that I want all businesses to succeed. I want all Americans to have opportunity. I’m not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America, but the programs that we have put in place have been directed at those folks who are least able to get financing through conventional means, who have been in the past locked out of opportunities that were available to everybody. So, I’ll put my track record up against anybody in terms of us putting in place broad-based programs that ultimately had a huge benefit for African American businesses.”

The president’s remarks reflect a consistent perception that there are members of the African American community who expect too much of the Obama Administration. The portrayal is that they are demanding that Obama re-paint the White House black and put a picture of Malcolm X on the front door. The president is absolutely correct that he has to be sure to serve all of his constituents, not just the black ones. That point has been duly noted and consistently reiterated by both the Obama Administration and all of its surrogates in the African American community.

The concern about the president’s remarks is that he has actually forgotten one undeniable truth:  Mr. Obama, you ARE the president of black America, in addition to being the president of white America, Jewish America, Gay/Lesbian America and all the other groups that came together to form the melting pot that broke their backs to put you into office. The “I am not just here for black folks” defense certainly excludes you from having to spend a disproportionate amount of time looking out for black interests, but it does not exclude you from the responsibility to treat the black community with the same degree of legitimacy as every other group that is being consistently patronized by the White House.

It’s easy to argue that the Obama Administration has gone too far in taking the black vote for granted.”

If I own a restaurant and my own family comes through the door, I can’t simply say “I’m not just here to serve you” and then leave them without any food. This is especially true if my relatives loaned me 20% of the money I needed to buy the restaurant in the first place. Instead, I should make sure they are taken care of like the other patrons, and then tend to the rest of my job. By refusing to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus for years at a time, and speaking specifically to almost none of the issues plaguing black America (i.e. mass incarceration, urban violence and unemployment inequality), it’s easy to argue that the Obama Administration has gone too far in taking the black vote for granted.

We’ve all seen this before:  A teacher has her child in class and treats her worse than the other children, or the football coach who mistreats and humiliates his son in front of the other athletes.  All of us are tempted to substitute preferential treatment for abusive treatment.  And when one considers the fact that black quality of life has worsened over the last four years, while simultaneously improving for whites, it’s hard not to argue that the Obama administration has pandered to conservative (and racist) white Americans by showing how far it can go in ignoring African American interests.

So yes, Mr. President, you ARE the president of black America.  The same inconvenience being hoisted onto your administration when we ask for targeted (not coincidental) action is no less than the inconvenience being thrust onto the black community when people are asked to take off work to show up to the polls. One favor deserves another, and it is disappointing to see a presidency predicated on the idea that black Americans are their employees.

Anyone who compares transcripts of Obama speeches to black Americans vs. speeches to other constituencies notices that the tone tends to become a bit condescending, non-committal and even disrespectful when black people are being addressed (as we were once told to “stop complaining, take off our bedroom slippers and put on our marching boots” – something that would never be said to gay people or women’s groups). If anyone can prove me wrong on that point, please do so.

Obama’s tone tends to become a bit condescending, non-committal and even disrespectful when black people are being addressed.”

The modified rhetoric is not by accident, since the white guys working with Obama in the White House know that black people can be swayed more easily by style over substance.  Also, it’s easy to interpret standard black political advocacy as stereotypical whining and complaining of welfare recipients (we are the only group with a collection of media Nazis telling all Obama critics to be quiet). Even Mitt Romney leaned on stereotypes when he said that NAACP members booed him because they wanted “free stuff.” But when white folks show up at the White House door and demand action for the issues that matter most to them, they are simply utilizing their democratic voice. That, my friends, is White Supremacy 101, and you don’t have to be a racist to use it to your advantage.

If the respect shown to black Americans does not match that which is shown to the gay community, Hispanic community and other demographics, then the Obama Administration has fallen woefully short in its duty to America. The president has stood strong for marriage equality for gay Americans, so I’m sure he’ll understand those of us who stand up for political equality for African Americans. If the action and rhetoric is not equally respectful across the board, then it is entirely unacceptable. There are no two ways about it.

The saddest thing about the experience of the black political orphans in America is that when you ask them why they support the Obama Administration, a large majority of them can only say “they’re better than the Republicans.” That’s like a wife saying “I’ll never divorce my husband because he’s better than the man who used to beat me.” Perhaps a more meaningful endorsement from his wife could be “I won’t ever leave my husband because I am absolutely sure he loves me.” Even the most ardent Obama supporter can’t make such a claim.

The very same broken, two party political system that the Obama Administration complains about is the one that’s keeping them in power. The black vote is held hostage with fear of a Republican presidency, not hope for a better future. Rather than being able to point to any evidence that black quality of life has improved over the last four years, they simply win the black vote by default. There is not much to celebrate about that and more should be expected from any politician who asks us for so much.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.

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PROMISE KEPT

"I am not the President of Black America!" Translation: "In spite of my skin-tone, I am just another White American politician who sees the United States and the world through a skewed, Euroccentric lense, and I will govern and set policies both foreign and domestic which reflect that world view. In other words, I hope that you Blacks liked the first 200 years or so of your American experience because you can expect nothing more or better than that from me". This is the one campaign promise Mr. Obama has kept when it comes to America's Black population. 

Mr. Obama has made declarations of his feelings of White solidarity loudly, proudly, and repeatedly, in many ways, and in many venues, and in many countries, yet the vast majority of Blacks continue to blindly follow him and to mindlessly and automatically defend him from his detractors and attackers even when those detractors and attackers include those in the very same (White) interest and ethnic groups which he has (and continues) to do far more for than he has ever done for Black people anywhere.

WE CAN'T AFFORD TO BE MYOPIC

To nFamous,

I completely understand the frustration you feel, but I think it's important to put our situation in perspective.  When you say that Black people won't exist in a few hundred years and center your analysis and your political objectives on Africans in America, your view will be skewed and despair (such as what I hear in your commentary) will set in.  We cannot center our politcal objectives in the United States only.  We have to put our conditions in a global perspective and from that vantage point you will see resistance all over the place from Latin America to Africa!!  When I read/hear the despair in your commentary, whether consciously or unconsciously, you are feeling so defeated because you are searching for validation and news coverage of our movements from the same forces that you aptly point to as spaces we venerate to our detriment.

To put a finer point on it, is Black Agenda Report not an invaluable space that we have to keep us informed and to expose the black misleadership class as they have consistently done?  Isn't Black Agenda Radio something that we should protect and validate ourselves as the news source which equips us to fight in the battle of ideas?  That is our struggle now, we have to fight for our spirit and minds, and BAR is indipensable to these efforts.  BAR is what inspired me to be a part of The People of Color Organize! collective where we also provide information, analysis, and podcasts to lambast the rampant liberalism and reactionary tendencies in our own communities.  Feel free to visit us as well at www.peopleofcolororganize.com, and you'll see that there are many of us doing work and we can't afford to take the position that we NEVER will do anything.  That will kill us for sure!! We have to find strength in our movements worldwide, otherwise, we are adopting the attitude of "Black American Exceptionalism". 

If you understand the forces of empire, the probability of significant change coming from the U.S. is substantially low.  Especially since we're in a period of counter-revolution whereby they use neo-colonial puppets to KEEP us wedded to the empire.  Empire from its very nature is reactionary and thus will take the offense against change.  If the masses of Africans in America had more access to the radical spaces we create (and again must validate) ourselves via the web and on the ground, then I guarantee you things would be different and won't look so bleak.  But our state of mind is a design of our oppressors and it takes information to combat this assault.

Finally, WE don't LET Asians (which includes Indians) in our communities.  We don't own the banks that provide them with loans to lease out buildings (that we also don't own!) to sell us subpar goods and services!!  I repeat, we DO NOT own or CONTROL those institutions!!  To be blunt, white folk own those entities and white folk are the ones "letting" those groups into our communities, leaving us with nowhere else to buy our goods and services, thus creating the most perfect form of colonialism and suppression (white folks don't even need to be around!!).  And being that we live in an anti-black world, everyone knows that in order to "come up", you can exploit and dehumanize black people.  Those reactionary forces in Asian communities (which is not everyone in those communities) are only acting on the logic of the American Dream, thus the reason why Malcolm X calls it the American Nightmare for us.

These white folks and sellout Negros can never kill us all because #1 - there is always resistance and #2 - Without having us to compare themselves against (for good or for bad), how will they continue to spread the lie of white supremacy?  They need us in order to exist as they do....read The Colonizer and the Colonized by Albert Memmi, he breaks that phenomena down very well.

To keep my sanity, I just laugh at the reactionary negros (because they are so desperate and sad ), understand where their fate lyes, stop watching television (that will depress anybody with any sense), and keep it moving with radical and revolutionary people.  That may make your circle small, but you can stay sane and you keep the will to fight.  We may be weak, but we're not dead, and they won't kill us as long as some of us are in our right minds!!

Peace!!

Will blacks ever stop lettin this prick preen & pose for whites?

I'm tired of Obama groupies.

I'm waiting for some courageous Black public figures to confront this phony in the WHITE house and his phony policies in a very public way.

Tell him that the program to save Black people is exactly what's needed to "cleanse the temple of the money changers," stop the depression, and empower the entire working class:

[Note: You can add to the list]

1) BAN ALL Foreclosures

2) Cancel all student loan and/or other debts.

3) Trillions of dollars for local governments, high-wage employment, small business, small agriculture, education, infrastructure, innovation -- science & technology etc. Tell Obama that his phony Jobs bill -that he knows won't pass- ain't cuttin the mustard (just like the failed token "stimulus" & "tax-cut" bill).

4) Trillions for the social safety net. NO CUTS! No "Grand Bargains"! Tell Obama that his phony payroll tax cut defunds Social Security, and his phony health care laws' primary objective is to ration care for people who aren't rich, and bail out the insurance industry bosses by forcing people to pay for private plans.

5) Heavily tax and/or ban Wall streets financial transactions. Tax revenue should then go directly into the public till.

6) An end to the police state.

7) NO CUTS to workers jobs, pay, and pensions for the sake of "saving industry"! And/Or "saving the government." Tell Obama that his auto bail out was phony! He's a union buster. He betrayed us on "card check," and he's intentionally letting cities go bankrupt. Tell Obama that he's a coward for letting Ben Shalom Bernanke publicly state that the economy is bad but the FED won't be doing anything about it -- doesn't Obama have an election coming up?

This shows that the illuminati (ruling class) wants the Neo-Cons and the Mormon mafia behind the driving wheel in 2012.

Romney out-raised Obama AGAIN last month:

"Romney Team Outpaces Obama in Fund-Raising Again"

Published: August 07, 2012

The fund-raising machine behind Mitt Romney and the Republican Party once again outperformed President Obama and the Democrats last month, raising $25 million more in July than the president and his Democratic allies.

Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee took in $101.3 million in July, his campaign announced Monday, as Republican donors rallied behind their presumptive nominee with the national convention only a few weeks away.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/us/politics/romney-team-outpaces-ob...

We agree with Mitt Romney on some things:

“If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.” - Mittens Romney at a recent NAACP event

Yes, money really does grow from trees! Just like the bankers got a free ride with trillions from the FED with no strings, we should demand trillions for free nice homes, free money, free quality healthcare, free quality education, free day care, free food, free nice clothes etc.

Blacks will be non-existent in a few hundred years

Blacks will continue to support Obama even though he hates the sight and thought of us (which is strange because his wife and daughters are black too) because there are no viable alternatives and we are NOT going to create any. Blacks don't want any alternatives to the Democratic Party. We're sassified with what we got......nothing......less than nothing. We could have started our own political party tens of years ago but we didn't, we haven't and we won't. We rally behind these phony black self-appointed leaders like Jackson and Sharpton when they are part of the racist establishment hellbent on keeping blacks angry, divided and disempowered. We hate on each other. We don't support each other. We don't pool our resources. We let Indians and Asians drain money from our communities. Then we complain about the state of the black community. There is no hope for blacks in America. Our race will be eliminated entirely in another few hundred years. Whites and Jews can do anything they want to us and we can't do a damn thing about it. We're helpless pawns on their global chessboard from lack of unity.

Malcolm X said, "A man who doesn't stand for something will fall for anything." Black people pretend to be proud in their speech but their actions never equate with their words because of our brainwashing to worship whiteness. We self-limit ourselves by labeling problems as too big to be fixed, just like we gave Obama a pass on fixing anything because Bush was so bad. Now Obama is even worse, slaughtering women and children all over the planet, and we're still singing his tune while he uses his brainwashing techniques as a clever speaker to keep black folk entranced like they are in church hearing a sermon from Jesus himself. We're doomed. We're doomed because no one respects us. No one respects us because we demand no respect. This is what we are and this is what we get. We reaped what we sowed....nothing. We will NOT change any time soon. By the time we would change there would be none of us left.

I can even tell you what blacks who read this will say: "Why don't you do something about it then?". Of course they will never lift a finger and as soon as I do then they would start the hating game complaining about everything I did and said. Black people hate each other. We hate ourselves. We worship the white man and his paper money of Satanic symbols. In other words we worship Satan. We practice his Satanic religion of European Christianity. We call our fraternities by his Greek names. That is where we went wrong. A man cannot have two masters. Our master is money and the white man. We rejected God by accepting this system of evil so God has rejected us. We got what we deserved.



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