Obama’s Presidency A Real Negative For Black Progress In USA

Barack Obama pretending to be a white guy, Daniel Day-Lewis, playing Barack Obama. Not so much of a stretch really. Obama is awfully damned white, in fact conservative white establishment, when you think about it. Maybe that’s progress. Or maybe that’s a betrayal by a pol who figured (rightly) that the black vote was a lock.
Everywhere you look, the rich are doing fantastically. Of course when we say “the rich”, in the USA we overwhelmingly mean “the rich white people.”

And why wouldn’t they being well? Their Democratic servant in the White House has been working hard for their interests.

Black people on the other hand?—the people that were supposed to benefit so greatly by Barack Obama being elected and then reelected as the USA’s first black president?

Well, black people got plenty of symbolism. And they voted in 2008 to obtain and then in 2012 to confirm that symbolic importance. Certainly, most Americans felt some pride in seemingly having put racism aside, just for a moment, for one man anyway.

But, from political progress to economic progress, Barack Obama has been a lot less helpful to black Americans than were JFK and LBJ, two liberal white presidents half a century ago.

As Politico notes:
“[S]ince Obama broke the presidential color barrier in 2008: There has not been one African-American elected to the Senate—the only blacks in the chamber were appointed to fill vacant seats; the country’s sole African-American governor, who was originally elected before Obama captured the presidency, won reelection but may leave the ranks of black governors empty when he leaves after 2013; and a cadre of promising, next-generation black politicians have either lost races (Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, Reps. Kendrick Meek of Florida and Artur Davis of Alabama) or seen their careers extinguished because of scandal (former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.)”
And, in economic terms, the Democratic Party’s stewardship of the Great Recession seems to have been authored by Republicans, to judge from the division of wealth amongst races and ethnicities in the USA.

As the New York Times reports today:
“[T]he last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between non-Hispanic white Americans and most minority groups.”
One reason this happened is simple: white bankers preyed on black people (and Hispanics) during the housing bubble, exposing them to predatory loans at twice the rate in the overall population.

Predatory racism helped make the huge white advantage in the first place, and is helping expand upon it now. In fact, as white home buyers return to the market to once again begin the bubble-blowing process, they are buying up the properties formerly owned by black families.

The Times notes this is being referred to as a “land grab” by whites of black homes.

And what is Barack Obama doing about that?

Nothing much.

So afraid has Obama been that he might be perceived as showing an ethnic preference, or that he might in any way frighten off white voters (any more than his election already did), he has shown little interest in working to make necessary changes that could have given real help to black people and other disadvantaged minorities.

Obama made jokes Saturday night at this year’s (overwhelmingly white-pundit-plutocratic) White House Correspondents Dinner about his struggles to be perceived and accepted as a regular, white, American. He even made a joke about his being played in a new (fake) Spielberg film by Daniel Day-Lewis. While a corresponding joke about Tracy Morgan playing Joe Biden was sort of funny, the humor of Day-Lewis playing Obama is that actually it would just take a little makeup and probably not that much method from Daniel to nail it.

Back in 2008, there was a trepidation at first amongst many black voters about whether Senator Obama was really black, or was just a politician using his skin color to pick up a guaranteed voting block. While black voters have stood by Barack Obama, they might ask themselves in 2013, with black prospects sinking, if doing so has brought them anything more than a symbolic recompense.

Comments

  1. I think that he was the right man at the right time, but of coarse now that he is in his second term, I would like to see, if he can get more accomplished than Obama Care, so there will something to build on for the next either black senator, governor, congress man, or president.

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