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A Month After the Election: The Obama Conundrum

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There’s a chance after reading this some will call me a sellout, idiot, or worse. Maybe nobody will care. Either way I’m cool with it, but this has to be said.

I’m not really expecting much from President Obama in his second term. When I say I’m not expecting much, I mean as it relates to black folks. It appears that for the majority of Black America, the notion of President Obama as the great equalizer has gone away. Finally reality has set in. He’s going to do what he can to help the country overall, and if we (read: minorities) benefit from it, cool.
Anybody expecting him to explicitly “look out” for us hasn’t read up on his personal history. Aside from marrying ‘Chele (which is itself debatable), nothing in his past speaks to the usual black life. Society will say him growing up in a single mother household, and basically not knowing his father are part of the “black experience.” Well, that’s bull. It’s a damn near universal experience now. Growing up in Indonesia and Hawaii isn’t quintessentially “black,” is it? Yet, the President did it.

It’s not his job to identify with any race due to similar backgrounds, or looks. As hard a pill as it is to swallow, he cannot put our needs above those of the overall nation. Maybe one hundred years ago, the argument could be made that “When we do better, America does better.” The demographics have changed. For us to do better as a race, ethnicity, whatever we call it, blacks may have to align themselves with other ethnicities. We’ll have to find common issues that affect us all. Then our issues may be handled as a byproduct of bigger ones.

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It doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, but what else are we going to do? Surely protesting looks good, but in this day, what does protesting change? For everyone who gives examples of the March on Washington, the detractors will come up with Occupy Wall Street (OWS). It didn’t sway the pendulum one way or the other. If the OWS movement had been better organized and more blacks supported it, the changes we needed could’ve at the very least been looked at. It had a prime chance to make a difference, but the movement was derided, and it never gained any real steam.

President Obama could very well throw us all for a loop, and make moves that benefited those from the African diaspora specifically. However, I don’t see it. What I do see is him adopting a message of personal and community responsibility. Perhaps the message will be coded for us, though that’s doubtful. In the end, the only thing that truly matters is everyone having a level playing field. Maybe that is the only hookup President Obama getting re-elected should provide.

Darrk Gable

Darrk Gable is a man on a mission to expand minds, including his.  He has latent talents that are just starting to arrive on the scene. Darrk looks at life from a biblically practical aspect and shares truths that are self evident. If folks don’t agree, well God bless ‘em anyway.

Comment(10)

  1. What most people do not realize is that only 14% of the nation's population is Black. It's not his job to serve just that 14%. He has the other 86% to worry about also, which is still better than Romney only worrying about his 53%. I also believe protesting certain issues can still be effective, but there is not enough consensus in the black community on what are the causes of most issues, or solutions to them. More effective than protesting, however, is lobbying. Until we as a people can find appropriate spokespeople who can effectively communicate our desires to politicians in exchange for votes, changes will not happen. White people figured that out a long time ago.

  2. I'm not expecting #YOLObama to come in basically do anything drastic. Yeah he doesnt have to worry about reelection but politics is a relay race, they're already looking at 2016. The notion of a black president being the equalizer is silly, people need to hold their local governments responsible. People want Obama to do everything cant even name their congressman or hell even their city councilman. Obama can't reach every ghetto every Hood, even if it was his primary goal.

  3. Never posted here before, but this article brought up a lot of the misconceptions and issues my friends and I discuss when it comes to Obama, his "black experience," and the mythical knight in shining black armor. Thanks for this.

  4. You are definitely entitled to your opinion, and IMO, this post sounds like another Cornel West/Tavis Smiley rant. I read Malcom X's Ballot or the Bullet speech, and almost 60 years later his message seems to have fallent on Death's Ears in regards to our community. Obama's slogan was "Yes WE Can", not Yes I Can or Yes YOU Can; it was a rally call for Everyone of All races, religions, economic classes, and age groups for new perspectives and new ways for policy in Washington and the rest of the country. Yes, there were Many of us Black folk who voted for Barack just to make history, but Many of us voted for hime because of his Policies AND his work WITH and FOR Our People, lest you and Others foget he was Community Organizer before going into Politics.

    1. The Congressional Black Caucus should have been targets for West and Smiley in regards to African Americans still getting the Status Quo treatment, as they should have been in this post too. They ahve had seats in Congress for YEARS and STILL haven't made real impact on the National stage; their Districts back in their Home States probably either are Satisfied or they do what we Black folk always do- Endure and Move On, but let's get some Concrete Facts on why I don't agree with this post:

      1) a Republican House and Filibuster- Crazy GOP Minority in the Senate were looking to repeal Everything won by Civil Rights back in Malcolm and MLK's time, so you KNOW ANY Bill tailored for Black Only would NEVER see the light of day on ANY floor of those chambers.

      2) on the Real Talk, Our Community has Lost the Will for Autonomus Unity SINCE the March on Washingtion, we ONLY march or come together in Racial Tragedy (Travon, Jena 6) or Controversy (O.J., Rodney King), NEVER for anything Positive or Progressive for us that Also DOESN'T piss off other races.

    2. A West/Smiley rant? Really? That’s interesting considering that the points I attempted to make were the opposite of what Smiley and West rail about. They seem to focus on what PBO needs to do for Black America, when that’s not just his purview. If anything, his career as a community organizer gave him a *broader* view of the needs of the society as a whole, not narrower to only the needs of blacks.

  5. I'm honestly growing tired of this conversation as a whole but I liked your piece. Pres said it best:

    “My general view has been consistent throughout, which is that I want all businesses to succeed. I want all Americans to have opportunity. I’m not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America, but the programs that we have put in place have been directed at those folks who are least able to get financing through conventional means, who have been in the past locked out of opportunities that were available to everybody. So, I’ll put my track record up against anybody in terms of us putting in place broad-based programs that ultimately had a huge benefit for African American businesses.”

  6. I think he will "look out for us," and what non-black folks need to realize is that "looking out for us" will be looking out for actually a lot more than black people. And there's a lot about his life that speaks to black life. He attended a black church for 20 years, with Rev. Jeremiah Wright as his pastor. You don't think he supports uplifting black people? He fought for diversity at Harvard. He was a community organizer in South Side Chicago. He has experiences many black kids growing up in the 'burbs do, and he speaks to that in his books.

  7. Well I guess I have higher expectations than other commentators. If we can focus on policies for immigrants and Latinos then certainly we can focus and demand policymaking that will improve quality of life for Black Americans. Although I don't believe that President Obama will make any explicit decisions, I still believe that he will make decisions that happen to also improve the Black Community, like healthcare. But like the other reader said, if we want more we need to make noise and stop allowing White folks to appoint our leaders who don't really lead for us (President Obama, Sharpton, etc). We need to choose our own leaders and our own time. The Civil Rights movement was a collective thing. I'm ready when you are.

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