The 411 on Obama Era Blacks
By Torrance Stephens
I was reading an article by Dorian T. Warren who currently is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. In the article he made reference to the phrase “Obama era blacks.” His piece was about how African Americans who generally support Obama have a higher level of trust in government, than we have had historically, given what he describes as the “persistently high levels of black unemployment, rising to Depression-like numbers in many urban areas during the Great Recession; increasingly punitive criminal justice policies and the disproportionate imprisonment of minority offenders; a reneged government commitment to addressing inequality and poverty, as seen in welfare reform and the declining real value of the minimum wage; and an ongoing failure to provide equal access to high-quality public education, whether K-12 or higher.”
I wanted to take this position even further and give an operational definition to this group he termed “Obama Era Blacks (OBEs).” From a scientific perspective, it is true that most black folks under this heading, policy aside will support Obama no matter what. Even if he announced he was coming out of the closet or if he admitted to pimping Michelle. As I have written before, for black folk to “openly criticize the economic approach of President Obama is tantamount to being an uncle tom, racist or something even worse. Albeit it has nothing to do with the person, his race and/or political affiliation, and more a dissonance with Keynesian economic philosophy, because I am an African American my position is untenable and unreasonable…Even if I state what I agree with and approve of that the President has implemented thus far, I am still considered against the President just because I am in disagreement with a single policy.“ This is description of “Obama Era Blacks.”
In the 2008 election, 95% of black men and 96% of black woman voted for Barack Obama. This population may or may not know that the President failed to stop federal financial aid flowing to for-profit colleges that prey on mainly low income African Americans when his administration caved to the industry’s lobbyists and their campaign against the Obama administration. They also know but accept it as a necessary evil that he attends upper East Side DNC $35,800 a plate fundraisers resulting in $2.4 million added to his re-election campaign from Wall Street financiers while at the same time he pushes policy that will make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other debt owed the federal government using robo calls. However, this is just the surface for the vast majority of OEBs don’t question, read, desire to know and think that whatever is given to them via television (especially if it a black Obama support) is gospel second only to the Old Testament.
Most are unaware of the Obama’s administration decision to waive legally mandated penalties for countries that use child soldiers and provide those countries U.S. military assistance, just like he did last year. In fact the president has issued a series of waivers for the Child Soldiers Protection Act, a 2008 law that is meant to stop the United States from giving military aid to countries that recruit soldiers under the age of 15 and use them to fight wars, for Yemen, South Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last year, the White House didn’t even tell Congress when it ended the Child Soldiers Prevention Act penalties.
As of date, only African American members of congress have been brought up under ethics violations and the present administration has been silent. The Obama Administration would not speak out in the death penalty case of Troy Davis, but did attempt to block the execution of a Mexican man convicted of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl in San Antonio in 1994. OEB often say it was not his place to get involve yet ignore he had a prior precedent.
Most OEB are also against war in the tradition of both President Bush’s. However they are quiet regarding his intervention in Libya, his intervention in Uganda – which is to kill Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and in Somalia, where he has approved drone strikes that have killed thousands of civilians. OEB speak out when Bush would do such but are hush on the President’s watch. The President even talks tough concerning Syria, but ignores his own campaign promise to address the murdering of tens of thousands in the Sudan by not even speaking of the conflict in the African nation at all. But let it be Israel and he all up on Fox News.
Obama vowed to end “special interests” from his administration; nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, and/or won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests. Just for raising $50,000 to $500,000 for his campaign. In total, 184 of 556, or about one-third, of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role. In fact, 80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took key administration posts. Obama knows this and this is probably why General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt Started a PAC to collect money from its employees for candidates “who share GE’s values and goals” of which Obama got more than any other politician. Immelt was appointed to Obama’s economic recovery board and eventually was named to head his Jobs Council (although it continues to ships jobs abroad). Richard Fuld is also a long-time Barack Obama along with dozens of other former Lehman Brothers Executives, such as John Rhea – (over $500,000) Co-Head of Lehman Bros. Global Investment Banking, and Mark Gilbert – (over $500,000) Lehman Brothers Senior Executive. I would even bet if some stuff hit the fan involving Goldman Sachs, there would be no investigation let alone criminal charges or penalties levied against their seeing that the executives of Goldman Sachs have contributed more than $691,000 to the Obama campaign.
Most OEBs also have a strong disdain for the mass incarceration occurring in the African American community and the manner in which the criminal justice systems promotes two standards based on race, yet ignore that the Obama administration is seeking a 4.2 percent increase, one of the largest of any federal agency for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) which would bring its total budget to more than $6.9 billion. According to Obama’s new budget, four new federal prisons will open including in Mississippi and West Virginia.
OEBs are one factor why President Obama’s job approval rating averaged nearly 90 percent among blacks and are quick to assert that they tend to be the folks that challenge individuals to “check their facts” or charge “racism” if one disagreed with the President or ANY of his policies. OEB, in particular those that are also African American politicians hide behind the illusion of progress, especially economic progress in terms of the idolatry of having an African America President. “Unfortunately their delusional states prevent them from comprehending that there cannot be any real economic progress in our communities if those locked up behind bars and ostracized from the community are not included in the poverty or unemployment statistics.”
Now I have great Admiration for the President, however what he is is different from who he is. I was brought up in an age in which we always tried and did our best. When I played sports against anyone, regardless of race, I did my best to win and beat them. This should be the same with our elected leaders. We should be objective and critical of Obama as he have been historically of all of our presidents. To do otherwise is dangerous. Ours as a collective history, is one that demanded accountability from our elected officials and to not let the cosmetic influence of his race or gender impact logic and reasoning directed toward policy that will have a impact o us. To give the President a pass because he is black , and the first black president is no different than teachers socially promoting students who cannot read or write or perform to grade level.
Why should we stand dawn, when as President he states the GOP has a war on women, or addresses the unemployment rate of women as a problem but not astute enough to recognize or say the same regarding the unemployment rate of Africa Americans or that society continues its incessant war against African American men?”
From the way I take it and select to elaborate, “Obama Era Blacks “celebrated and still are celebrating our nation supposed triumph over race via the election of the first black man to occupy the Whitehouse yet ignoring that the unemployment rate among Blacks is at 16.7% and a 27 year high. This corpus of individuals purposefully ignores the fact that racial caste is alive and well in America. Nearly a quarter of African Americans live below the poverty line today, approximately the same percentage as in 1968. The black child poverty rate is actually higher now than it was then. Unemployment rates in black communities rival those in Third World countries. They tend to not have high expectations for the President and support his notion of addressing specific African American problems, problems that are essential to tackling our current economic quandary.
Yes this is our problem, Obama era blacks are more concerned with the imagery of the first Africa American president than his effort to even tackle the unfortunate truth that historically in our society, black men have been portrayed as a people to be feared; savages, unable to be tamed. And now that we are not needed to sharecrop the fields, and technology has replaced low wage jobs unskilled and uneducated African Americans typically received, OBEs sit by I their shallow report of image over substance and effort. Like Young Jeezy, all they care about is the fact that thier President is Black.