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Obama Slights his Loyal Following

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(NNPA) President Barack Obama has the opportunity, in this second term, to put his feet on history. He won an election that his opponent had essentially claimed, he has been firm about that which he would negotiate on, and he has offered a progressive inauguration speech that offers up a liberal agenda, embracing Social Security and Medicare, uplifting immigrants and gay rights, and embracing ways to address inequality.

One could not help but applaud the strong direction of President Obama’s speech. But those of us in the African American community wonder why we could not get a shout out about high unemployment and poverty rates, inner city challenges, and income, economic and unemployment disparities. Failing to address the community that offered him 97 percent of their vote indicates that there is a reckless disregard of his strongest supporters.

I understand that President Obama is the president of the whole United States, not the president of Black America. At the same time some of the evils that affect African Americans are issues that any president would address. To be sure, some of the gaps that are recorded and experienced have not changed since the 60s. Imagine the impact this president could have if he made a minor attempt in closing the gaps.

The inauguration speech spoke to all of us when it offered a progressive agenda. It spoke to some when it called out other communities and offered advancement some of them, but it spoke to none of us in the African American community unless we chose to parse the subtleties, the Bible, the references to Detroit, and the acknowledgement of inequalities.

Hundreds of thousands of people thronged to the site of the inauguration speech. Many of them were parents and grandparents who were determined that their children and grandchildren had the opportunity to witness history. A second term for President Obama is actually more exciting than a first term because now this president is freed from the shackles of reelection possibilities and free to do his thing.

Will his thing improve the lot of all of us, some of us, or none of us. In the African American community, many think we won’t get a thing but an amazing and uplifting symbolism. There are still those who cheer simply because we have an African American president. Can we put our cheer on for results?

In the next 18 months, President Obama has the opportunity to do whatever he wants to do. He can target resources and opportunities to any community he choses to embrace his targets. For example, more than $500 million was directed to a failed wind experiment in California. What about offering the same opportunity to inner cities?

Liberal agenda we heard during the president’s inauguration suggested that all of us would have the opportunity to benefit from progressive economic plans. He called out some communities, which suggested that some of us would get special attention. He to fail to give a shout out to the African America community suggests that none of us can count on special attention.

President Barack Obama can make a difference by targeting the African American community, either directly or subtly in his choices about pubic policy. While this president has a window of opportunity, who will gain? All of us, some of us, or none of us? Our president will leave a legacy when he decides that African Americans deserve the same focus that other communities do. We need our President to target disparate unemployment, unequal wages and wealth, and differential access to education and opportunity. Immigration and marriage equality addresses some of us. Why can’t we address the inequality that faces all of us?

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.

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0 # Blackman 2013-04-16 16:41
*When the gay people said their issue was marriage Obama said I'm the president I will take care of it. When the mexicans said we want jobs and an immigration bill that gives us the right to be here, Obama said I got this. I'm the president I will take care of it. When black people as for lower unemployment rates and safer communities and better education, Obama said I am not your president.
0 # Blackman 2013-04-16 16:39
Obama played blacks like a saxophone. When the guy people said their issue was marriage Obama said I'm the president I will take care of it. When the mexicans said we want jobs and an immigration bill that gives us the right to be here, Obama said I got this. I'm the president I will take care of it. When black people as for lower unemployment rates and safer communities and better education, Obama said I am not your president. I am the president of the whole country. I got more important things to do and people to deal with than you. I will give the Mexicans your jobs because I am the president of the whole country and your vote means nothing to me.I have nothing further to say to you. Im going to help the gays and the Mexicans I am their president not yours You wasted your votes.

Now lets sing a token Al Green song together....
0 # J. J. Jackson 2013-02-05 18:51
Take a look at what he has put around him so far WHITE MEN,and we are to look for help from him whom help kept him in office? Wake up!
0 # Bigsarge 2013-02-04 16:38
Yeah he screwed the Black ppl. He used them for votes and just like his first term turned his back on them. He continue to take care of the Gays & illegals without even a mention of the Blacks. He shouted out to the gays and never mentioned the blacks. He ran to the protect the illegals but won't go to his so called home town to speak on the killing problem there. Yet blacks feel he should be given a pass. To many of them he can do no wrong thought he does nothing directly for them like he does for the others.
0 # Kiana 2013-02-04 04:51
I truely felt included in the inaugaration speech. The idea that our presidnt doesnt care about the Black is propaganda. He is in charge of the country, not just the ghetto. When he approved the 1st lady's platform of childhood obesity, he was looking out for US. When he didn't allow congress to cut aid to non-profits, he was looking out for US. When he stood up for womens rights, he was looking out for US. When he demanded gun controll reform, he was looking out for US. To say he doesnt care is unpatriotic and FALSE. He cant single US out because that will bring on political attacks and drama to an already hostile congress and senate.
0 # Mr. Eddie 2013-02-03 10:05
As a black American male, I voted for President Obama both times and I am now really sorry I did. It is painfully obvious that he has made a pact with the racist bleeding heart liberals not to talk about race in an effort to get their vote. I fully understand what Tavis and Dr. West have been screaming about, they are right in their assertions. But, be that as it may, black people, especially black American men, need to stop begging for a seat at the table and make their own tables. We should be blocking entrances to large and medium size corporations and forcing them to hire blacks. Hell, white people created the very institutions that are now holding us back thus giving them just cause to tell us in a job interview that we are "not qualified". Black men must rise up and fight for their rights, fight for dignity and fight to be heard. I would love to organize thousands of black men to march to Boeing, Prudential, Quaker Oats, CNA etc, etc to get to hiring or nobody works.


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