Sep 26, 2011

In his commentary for the Washington Post, columnist Courtland Milloy takes the President to task for his disregard of the black constituency.  Courtland basically says that the President has taken for granted black voters, but now that he is running for re-election he suddenly remembers his key voting-bloc.  It is a very interesting commentary and it echos a lot of what has been said about the President as of recently.  So ask yourself whether or not Milloy is joining the ranks of Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, or does he make some legitmate points in his assessment?
Via WashPost:

For most of his term, Obama has studiously avoided any public mention of race. He's even been hard-pressed to acknowledge the disparate impact that the recession is having on black people. To show his concern for the nation's suffering, Obama will take a helicopter from the White House and swoop right over depressed black neighborhoods in the District. Then he'll catch a jet out of Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County and roar away from the tens of thousands of foreclosed properties that pockmark the predominately black Washington suburb.

A couple of hours later, he'll land in some swing state to comfort a largely white crowd whose votes he dare not take for granted.

But, oh, happy day, it's our turn.

"I need your help," Obama said at the CBC dinner, referring to his proposed American Jobs Act, which everybody knows is not really a jobs bill but one heck of a political manifesto.

With his job approval rating tanking — especially among white independents — Obama needs a bigger black voter turnout in 2012 than he got in the 2008 election. His reelection team recently announced "Operation Vote," a program to woo what it calls "ethnic minorities." (Hint: That's us.)

Plus, Obama will be spending more time schmoozing with black journalists (not all, of course) and has scheduled a one-on-one interview with Black Entertainment Television, giving BET the kind of special treatment that he usually reserves for, say, "60 Minutes."

Still, it's likely that Obama will have to do much more to win the black vote this time. He's been trying to curry favor with white voters for so long — not to mention extreme right-wing tea party Republicans in Congress — that he appears to have forgotten how to sweet-talk black folks.

"Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying," Obama preached during his dinner speech. "We are going to press on. We've got work to do, CBC."

Funny, isn't it, how Obama always gets the nerve to say shut up when he's addressing a friendly audience?

The unemployment rate among blacks stands at 16.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 11.5 percent when Obama took office. By some accounts, black people have lost more wealth since the recession began than at any time since slavery. And Obama gets to lecture us?



  1. I remember when the president was first elected how alot of blacks joked about how we would have it made. And of course, it was just a joke. But I am realizing that that really was the expectation of many people. I guess for me I'm not upset with the President because I didn't vote for him because he promised me something specific as a black person.

    I was surprised that he said "stop complaining" but it some respects I agree with him on that. My overall problem with this whole argument is that we need to start seeing ourselves as a part of the larger society and stop thinking that everything is going to be wrapped up with a "black" ribbon on it and then we will know that it's for us. I personally think it is time out for that.

  2. It's funny, every group in America can complain about whatever they want to complain about and it's not considered as complaining, but when black people say, what they feel is wrong or unjust then we are complaining. I get that some people are just plain whining, but a lot of what Black Folks are "complaining" about is very valid and need to be looked into, and stop telling us to "shut up", because the other groups are certainly not. I agree with the commentary, Obama threw Black Folks away for three years; now he wants to be re-elected, and all of a sudden he's quoting MLK instead of Abe Lincoln. Interesting.

  3. I don't think we're necessarily looking at the numbers honestly. I knew several people who were on unemployment and every one of them was riding out their benefits. They were not even trying to look for a job. Those numbers are inflated. My son who has never worked a day in his life came home after his freshman year of college, job searched for a month and had three job offers in the same week all paying $10.50 and up. All fulltime. $10.50 x 40 is $90 more a week than the maximum UCB benefit in GA. Come on and folks are acting like they can't find work that paid more than their unemployment check? Not true. And no, I am not talking about people who had to pay child care, so they just wanted a break.

  4. @Anonymous, I don't think that's a fair assessment. There will always be people (of all races) who attempt to exploit a system designed to help those in need.

    Secondly, every day I read stories about people with MBAs and other degrees who are out of work. I'm glad your son was able to get a job but you cannot raise a family on 10.50 an hour, especially if you have to pay for child care because you are now working full time.

    I agree with Maxine Waters on this one. I don't blame President Obama for the present state of the economy BUT he has not told any other group of voters to stop complaining. In fact, he has told other liberal groups to "be patient". Be patient implies that he understands that Government has a problem and he needs time to fix it. To Black voters he's saying, "stop whining, press on". This implies that we are the problem, that Government is fine but we are nit doing enough. It's not a fair statement and quite frankly, I think we deserve better from a President that we turned out in record numbers to help support.

    I won't be voting Republican in the next election because I don't think Romney, Perry or Cain have a plan to address the needs of my community but I also won't pretend that I am quite disappointed with President Obama at this point.

  5. The question that I have and that I have asked in previous discussions is for those that voted for President Obama, what did you expect from the man? Why did we vote him in with such support? What black-specific promise did he sell us on that he hasn't delivered on? I know the argument is that he has such a large black constituency that our issues need to be addressed. How haven't they been addressed? Unemployment is not a black issue. True, we are disproprionately affected but that's always been the case, so the numbers now are supposed to dramatically shift because he is now president?
    The president's approval rating among blacks, the last I heard, was still at 92%. Even though it has dropped significantly among the general population, people still think that he genuinely is working hard at trying to make some changes that will better our country.

    I think we have some unrealistic expectations. It's just like in sports. A team has had a failing record for 8+ years and when the new coach takes over and makes some progress but because he didn't lead the team to a championship in the next season or two, he gets fired. To me that says, that people really just don't have the understanding as to what it truly takes to turn things around. And with such a massive government with massive problems and an obstructive Congress, 2-3 years is no time at all, but as a black person my life is supposed to be so much better because I voted for this man...uh no.

  6. It is so funny to me that when someone has had a job for years and have never been affected by unemployment, and/or someone in their family, they can say the things like Johanna and Anonymous. I was unemployed for 9 months and no one has more degrees and experience than me. The job market sucks for people period, and black people are affected to a larger degree, whether you have degrees or if you sweep floors, and for someone to say that black people or anybody would rather be on unemployment benefits than to work is ludicrous. Since I am the one, who has experience unemployment here, let me tell you that the $1000.00 a month I was receiving in benefits, did not even cover the mortgage on my home, thank God I made some great not good financial decision that made me able to sustain myself, unlike a lot of people who live from paycheck to paycheck and when they lose their jobs there done. Getting back to unemployment, not only was it not enough, but they also made me pay taxes on the money at the end of the year, so basically, I gave it all back. Most people I know who are unemployed want a job, so they can go back to living the life they are accustomed to. I get sick of hearing that the numbers are inflated, actually the numbers do not tell the whole story, because those numbers that are quoted are the number of people who walk into a Workforce One centers, and they are not talking about the millions of people who do not need to go into those centers, just to use a computer to search for a job, and basically that’s all they have there, again, because I have been there. They also do not account for the people who are taking jobs that are way below their educational level, just so they can make ends meet, and they do not count the people who are working two and three part time jobs in order to just have somewhere to live.

    Now let’s talk about why black folks voted for Obama, Obama ran on change, and when black folks went to the poll and voted like they never voted before, they thought they were getting a President that was going to actually make a change, not stick to politics as usual. In Obama that’s what we got, he has been playing politics from the day he took the oath, in order to get re-elected, instead of coming into that position like a gang buster and changing things right away for all Americans, White, Black and Purple, he took the road of least resistance and now three years later he is looking at this mess and saying, maybe I should have acted sooner, now he is begging for his job, just like the rest of the people who are unemployed, begging for a job, now maybe he can see how it feels to be in a position were and you can’t even buy a job, likewise qualify for one. Oh but I forgot, he will be getting a pension when he no longer has a job, how fortunate for him, since the rest of has to work 20 to 30 years for ours, and being long time unemployed, those years increases by the minute, so basically most Americans will be working until they die, this is the kind of thing people are upset at and “complaining” about, not that President Obama hasn’t done things, he just hasn’t done enough to put Americans at ease as to the life that we are suppose to lead being the number one country in the world, while people are sleeping on top of each other in one bedroom apartments, because they have lost their homes, or the street, he went in trying to make a name for himself, by getting a health care bill passed first, yeah we are going to have a bunch of healthy unemployed, miserable people, because without a job and without some m-o-n-e-y, you might as well be sick or dead.

  7. @ the Educator.  You can't make assumptions about anyone's experience.  I was unemployed and actively seeking employment for nearly six months.  My first day back at work was the day before the 2008 election.  I left my job on my own volition and did not qualify for unemployment.  But I left under the idea that I would be able to get back into a job much quicker because of my education and qualifications. I had no idea that it would take me 6 months.  After my resources were depleted, I had to rely on others to keep me afloat financially.  And I know others that have lost jobs.  I have close family members that are struggling.  My sister was laid off her job.  My uncle was struggling for years and finally got back.  I could go on and on. I have a different viewpoint from you, but you can't assume my experience is one way or the other.

    It is difficult for many out there.  I can't deny that.  The unemployment numbers are not configured based on those collecting unemployment.  They conduct interviews with samples of the population to determine rates because that other data does not tell the whole story.  I can only go off of the data given.  The unemployment rate among college graduates and those with advanced degrees is 5.3

    What that says to me is that the job market is changing.  Our world economy is different.  Alot of jobs that we once knew are becoming extinct.  Not just going overseas, but extinct.  You can also go on the Bureau of Labor Statistics site also and see what the projections are for a number of fields.  Alot of those emerging fields require a different set of skills, training, and education.  What once worked simply does  not work anymore.  The US is a world leader, but we have competition out there and rightfully so.  This idea of American Exceptionalis...the ball was dropped on that years ago.  I just think that to think that the President somehow was just going to turn things around quickly all on his own is simply unrealistic.  He does not govern alone.  Our country is in peril on a number of fronts and there is a significant part of our governing body on the federal, state, and local lovels that is willing to let our country be collateral damage and that is becoming more and more clear.  yet the president takes all the heat.  I don't think it's a fair assessment of the situation and I'll continue to say that.

  8. @Johanna. It really sounds like you are drinking too much Obama Kool-aide.

  9. I have no shame in supporting the President. I don't agree with him on everything and I do not think that his administration communicates the best with the public. But I want him to do well and I won't jump on any bandwagon when I don't agree with it.