Reject Obama's Personal Responsibility Snake-Oil

by Ajamu Nangwaya

In The Mind of Obama, white supremacy, sexism and capitalist exploitation are nonexistent or merely minor hurdles that can be overcome through personal responsibility and discipline. The First Black U.S. Presidentis under the illusion that his occupation of the White House is an indication of a new and better day across America.”


Reject Obama's Personal Responsibility Snake-Oil

by Ajamu Nangwaya

There are entrenched racist, gendered and class-related employment barriers that are resistant to personal effort and responsibility on the part of these prospective racialized, despised and stereotyped jobseekers.”

President Barack Obama appears to never pass up an opportunity when addressing Afrikan Americans to shift the responsibility for their success to personal effort and not the removal of structural barriers that are connected to white supremacy, sexism and capitalist exploitation. The American Commander-in-Chief tried to pass off a personal responsibility bill of goods to his most loyal demographic group: “Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is there’s no longer any room for excuses.” Obama made that declaration in his May 19, 2013 commencement address before a graduating class of 500 men at the all-male, predominantly African American Morehouse College.

Obama, like other members of the African American petty bourgeoisie or national political class, is under the illusion that his occupation of the White House is an indication of a new and better day across America. However, the reality paints a much more sobering picture of the depressing indicators of social and economic well being for African Americans. A recently published report revealed that African American male college graduates have an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, while the joblessness figure for the their white male counterparts stood at 3.8 percent.

A 2008 study on the race of the managers and their racial hiring patterns reveals that white, Asian and Hispanic hiring agents tend to select less African Americans, while African American supervisors hire more of their racial compatriots. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported on its website that in 2003 African men in the United States with a bachelor’s degree earned only 82 percent ($41,916) of the median income ($51,138) of their white counterparts.

Do not hold your breath in anticipation of Obama critiquing racism (capitalism and sexism) as an explanatory factor behind the oppression of African Americans.”

Yet Obama had the gall to attempt selling these Morehouse men the following economic snake-oil. “You’re graduating into an improving job market,” he claimed. “You’re living in a time when advances in technology and communication put the world at your fingertips. Your generation is uniquely poised for success unlike any generation of African Americans that came before it.” Many of these African men do not have control over events within the labor market. There are entrenched racist, gendered and class-related employment barriers that are resistant to personal effort and responsibility on the part of these prospective racialized, despised and stereotyped jobseekers.

I look forward to the day when Obama will tell it like it is to ruling-class white men, that there’s no longer time for excuses for their promotion of institutional white supremacy (and other forms of oppression). Furthermore, I would like to see the display of intestinal fortitude on the part of the president in declaring to largely white graduating classes that they should not blame immigrants for taking away “their” jobs, social assistance or welfare recipients as the reason for high taxes or the capital gains tax as an impediment to job creation.

We are more likely to see Obama insulting and race-baiting African Americans so as to demonstrate to whites that he can be tough on a constituency that gave him 93 percent of its vote in the 2012 presidential election in spite of experiencing an unemployment rate of 13.7 percent in September 2012 (almost double the national joblessness figure). Therefore, please do not hold your breath in anticipation of Obama critiquing racism (capitalism and sexism) as an explanatory factor behind the oppression of African Americans, especially those from the working-class.

Obama could not help administering his personal responsibility snake-oil solution without visiting the conservative realm of family values. This smooth-talking 21st century Piped Piper advises, “Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important…. I was raised by a heroic [white] single mom…. But I sure wish I had had a father who was not only present, but involved.” This first “black President” must not have received the memo from Africa that “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”

Mr. President, social and economic justice action speaks louder than your eloquent words!”

There are policy options that could facilitate the development of a mature and generous social welfare infrastructure in the United States. Mr. President, social and economic justice action speaks louder than your eloquent words! If Obama would like to make it easier for parents to have the ability to raise children as well as to give force to his claim, “My job, as President, is to advocate for policies that generate more opportunity for everybody,” he would give prompt and immediate attention to the questions below:

What about providing a national childcare program that would allow parents to pursue education or employment opportunities?

What about instituting a livable minimum wage that would allow parents to better care for their children?

What about a national guaranteed minimum income that would allow mothers and fathers to provide for the material well being of their children?

What about providing 90% of one’s recent income as unemployment income or benefits so that jobless parents are to provide for their children?

How about a livable social assistance (welfare) income that would allow working-class parents to better attend to the needs of their children?

What about a single-payer national heath system that is paid for out of general revenue so as to allow families to better attend to their healthcare needs?

How about going after racist and sexist employment barriers that contribute to the lower earnings of African Americans and other racialized workers as well as women?

Obama should take personal responsibility for his failure to champion social and income-security programs that would help working-class African Americans, other racialized peoples and women in the United States. Personal responsibility is a two-way thoroughfare, Mr. President!

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an academic worker and Membership Development Coordinator with the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity in Canada.



You can see

the immoderate greatness on the poor man's face.

Sickening and unfortunate for most people around the world.  A true sociopath.


A narcissist to the Nth Degree. He's pathological.  But let me say this, 98% of the ignorant Negroes that voted for him still defend him... I just finished reading the comments to a story about Tavis Smiley saying the Obama Admin. is trying to under mind him because he's critical of him.  Now these same ignorant dolts buy into it that the Admin. was going after White elements of the media because the White media (CNN/MSNBC/Fox Noise) tells them so (and it is undoubtedly true moreover).  But they are dissmissive of Tavis's claim and any commentator that tries to support Tavis.  So f**k em.  


We Black People are so weak and mentally diseased that we embrace a Black Sellout who happens to be POTUS because (as one of our readers wrote about his Pop) we stupidly believe "we are sticking it to the man."  The "Man" is laughing at our dumbasses, hell Obama IS the "Man."


Obama Tell's His most Loyal Constituency [@ 93% - 95%] That-

put his half-Black ass in office that- He's not the Black Pres- but the Pres for Everyone [else].

He then says that it was the Hispanic vote [@ 70% compared to Blacks @ 94%] that was the main key to his re-election victory.

I'll BE Impressed The DAY Obama tells those folks at AIPAC that he's the US Pres not the Israeli Pres. Obama's told AIPAC several times that as US Pres he'll do everything in his power to keep Iran from doing whatever vis-a-vis Israel. When has he ever told Blacks as [the 1st 'Black'] Pres he'll everything in his power to cut Black unemployment in half [= the aver for whites] & to keep them from losing their homes [& even schools for that matter - ala his RTTT / NCLB Chi-Town Dim partner in crime Rahmbo's closing of 50 CPS schools in mainly Black neighborhoods]??!!

And when He tells his kit & kin-folk Bush & Cheney that they're personally responsible for being War Criminals that lied the country into illegal wars & for being torturers [except now Mr 'I'm looking forward not back...' is just as big a war criminal as they are].

And when He tells the Wall St Banksters that they're personal responsible for defrauding millions of homeowners & crashing the econ- so they're going to face full legal prosecution [except those same Wall Banksters bank-rolled his campaign- so he's filled his cabinent w them]. 

And when He tells white folks like Ms Abigail Fisher [who has filed a case w the SCOTUS court vs Univ of TX's top 10% non-raced based admissions prog] to take personal responsibility for failing to reach the top 10% of her hi-school's graduating class, so stop falsely blaming [= scape-goating] UT's admission of so-called 'less-qualified' [NOT!] Black & Brown students for her falling short of the mark.

Except I WON'T even hold my breath waiting on that speech from the Obamas [NOTE: This is at-least the 5th time {that I re-call off the top of may head} that the Obamas {now that Michelle's gotten into the act} have publicly dissed Blacks w his / their take personal responsibility & stop moaning, griping & making excuses meme- beginning w the short version when he burst onto the national stage at the 2004 Dim POTUS confab.].

I say Blacks need to take responsibility for being so loyal to such a Dim Black misleadership poly-trickster- who has such open contempt for them!!! IMO there's effectively NO difference in tone & spirit between RawMoney's 'All those [@ 47%] who support Obama & the Dims are slackers & bums...'- comment, & Obama's repeated insulting public castigation of Blacks who are his most loyal constituency!


Brilliantly stated

You need to spam those observations to the editors and their bloggers at Ebony, Essence and all those other bullshit Black publications and blogs who give this empty suit a free pass.

Tom Joyner has the nerve to try to smack down Tavis Smiley who was complaining that Obama was trying to undermine and destroy him financially and professionally.  But Joyner has a vested interest in protecting Obama.  He and Steve Harvey have access to Barack and Michelle (or shall I say the Obama's manipulate them and Black radio).  So not only does he protect his paltry access (and the listeners are too dumb to understand that), he won't deal with serious issues like drones, or the housing crisis, or  theWH spying on journalists, or expanding wars all over the planet because he's on the team.  His job is to entertain, not inform.  

Like I said before and will continue to say, Black Radio is Black Minstrel and it's primary purpose is to dumb Black folks down even more.  And keep their attention diverted to bullshit.   All these MoFos care about is a party, cruise, concert or soiree somewhere in the US where they can all see and be seen around the so-called celebrities and movers and shakers.

Pathetic.  Talk about legends in they own minds.



Obama: the Establishment's Creation

Obama's simply doing his job.  The people who selected him and financed his campaign have given him specific orders: maintain the status quo.  If invading and exploiting Africa does that, so be it.  If indiscriminate drone attacks in cafes or busy marketplaces does that, oh well it's only collateral damage.  If Wall Street needs a new revenue stream (retirement savings,) then social security has to be cut in order to make that happen.  If the insurance companies can't find enough customers, create a new law that makes it's a crime if you don't have health insurance so you're forced to buy insurance you can't afford.  And yes if black people start expressing disatisfaction, then remind them that lot is especially their fault and that they need to be responsible. I can go on and on.  Bottom line is Obama is a creature of the establishment.  He might make progressive noises but at the end of the day he's going to take the conservative/moderate (Establishment) position.  It's a waste of time to bemoan the latest Obummer slight or failure towards black people.  I realize talking about the Prez is the BAR's bread and butter as far getting readers and thus donations, but We'd do better to use our organizations like the Black is Back Coalition to create a politics and politicians that will push forward our agenda.  Get rid of some of these black caucus members that have also been taking us for granted just like Obummer but for decades.  We need some house cleaning at the state & local level, too.  If blacks and progressives can effectively primary these establishment types (Obama's allies,) then He'll have to listen and respond they way we want as "well as other Democratic and Republican politicians.  You kill enough of his people, that Ol' Snake will have to come up and show his head," said Omar Little from The Wire.

I agree.....but....

We actually need both polemics and practicality.  It would behoove BAR (as you say) to attempt to strike a balance between advocacy, polemics, and education versus alternatives  and solutions.  

I've been saying, suggesting; if not imploring for months, let's talk about the needed alternate reality and how to connect the same versus complete lamentations about the plight.  Think about this in that regard:  the irrelevancy of many Civil Rights entities lies in their failure to propagate PROGRAMMATIC SOLUTIONS' while balancing education, enlightment and advocacy.  

Think of the abject lack of f/u w/r/t/ the Million Man March to get my drift.  What a squandered opportunity for change.


I can distinctly remember saying to a relative of mine in 2008 before he was (s)elected, that if he wins the election, it will be one of the biggest cauli-foxes that would be foisted on the world.

When a country that has a majority white population and reeking with racism can elect a black man as its president, something is dreadfully WRONG. My suspicions were confirmed when immediately after (s)election, he said that he was going forward. He was not looking backwards. One wonders why he didn't assume this same very position with Muammar Gaddafi.

Because everyone was expecting that Bush and company would have been brought up on charges of genocide and war crimes. And when this did not occur, right away I knew that he was a member of the same criminal gang. I would never respect this man as long as I live.

He is the most spineless black man that has ever ruled any country; and this fact was highlighted in no uncertain terms when he invited the white cop that roughed up his black professor friend unnecessarily to the white hose for a beer; for breaking and entering his own home after he tried to explain to the cop that his keys were misplaced or loss. If I was that professor, I would have nothing else to do with him ever.

He makes me ashamed to be black. He is a curse to the black race.

Of course!

That's it.  One drop of white blood and u will become mean, selfish and worthless.

Plus, his father AND mother were supposedly cashing checks with the CIA.

The perfect storm.

Beverly, you are great.