Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama Ignoring Blacks? A Disturbing Trend

We are about one year away from the official swearing in of America's first black president. One year away and black backlash concerning Obama's commitment to addressing the economic and social woes African Americans face seems to be swelling. This trend is validated by the following articles:

Something Special for Everyone from Obama, But Not for Blacks

OPINION: Obama’s Indifference Is An Insult To Black Voters

Are Blacks Abandoning Obama?

Obama Defends Himself Against Black Critics

Black members of Congress have begun pressing their demands that the nation’s first African-American president do more for minorities hard hit by the recession, noting the billions of dollars spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to prop up big banks and large corporations. Nationally,unemployment stands at 10 percent while 15.6 percent of blacks are jobless.

More detailed thoughts on this subject will be posted before the year ends. Here, I wanted to present articles so we can scrutinize and prioritize the complaints and dissatisfaction. In the wake of a historic election, this disturbing trend, if accurate, threatens to detour blacks onto a familiar path of discord and dysfunction. Booker T Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and other black leaders all viciously battled one another to the detriment of the collective.

What has a history of division taught us?

To quote a famous former Chicago community organizer; "This is OUR time!" Resonating within Obama's universal mantra was a subtle nod to the people whose ancestors entered the race for freedom, justice and equality some 300 years after other Americans.

The president never promised to "save us." However, he has provided the inspiration, government resources and a blueprint for us to save ourselves.

In the afterglow of a momentous election, we stand at a symbolic crossroad. We can continue a disturbing trend, plodding along a divisive path paved by unmet, Messiah-like expectations and in-fighting. Or, blacks can grasp the baton history has handed them, sprint like hell before the four-year clock times out and finally, finally assume our rightful place in an ongoing race.

Next: What If? A New Year's Wish

1 comment: said...

As always, you thoughts provoke me to think - thank you. In this case it stirred up old thoughts stolen from others and rather than rephrase them as my own, I share them here with credit attributed.

"All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem ... Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted ... ."
Martin Luther King Jr., 'Strength to Love,' 1963

Also brought to mind was Gil Scott Heron's "Train from Washington" written in 1980 when Jimmy Carter was still president. The intro sets the stage:

"During reconstruction time there were folks who were promised 40 acres and a mule and they were told that a man with their legal papers could be expected on a train from Washington and there were folks who waited for him and there are folks who are still waiting for him. You can’t depend on the train from Washington; it’s 100 years overdue."
And the relevant verse reads:
"You can depend on the politicians
Always have a point of view.
They are contemporary court musicians you
Sleight of hand will dazzle you
You can depend on a weak position from them
Changes that you got to go through
But don’t depend on the train from
It’s 100 years overdue
(Gil Scott Heron, 1980)
I believe I will chew on your thoughts as the entree with these as side dishes for a while.