It seems to me that in the Black community that it is a sin to give any critique against President Obama. The first Black president of the United States is a hope and dream that Black people have held for many generations, with myself included. Sadly I believe as a people we have measured progress by the wrong standards.
Black people have often celebrated progress over the generations incorrectly. During the Civil Rights Movement we celebrated when we could eat in racist lunch counters, instead of focusing on building our own lunch counters. We celebrated when our children were able to go to racist schools filled with racist teachers who believed that Black kids can’t learn at the same pace as their white counterparts. Now today we celebrate again that a Black man is the figurehead of a racist institution. Is this really progress?
As the president of the United States, Barack Obama has made some great strides for the American people. He has focused on not giving tax breaks for high-income families. He has supported equal marriage for ALL citizens. He created executive orders that has given money to students and to HBCUs. He addressed and acted directly on health care issues that plague many American citizens including Afrikan-Americans. These things that he has accomplished I am very proud of. However, as the First Black President and as a president who relied and sought out the Black vote, I believe that he has not done a good enough job of addressing issues that strongly affect the Black community. The same community who got out and voted for him in astronomical numbers. The same community who hangs his picture inside their homes. The same community who defends him at any cost.
Some people like to make the argument that the President is the president of ALL people, and therefore does not have to acknowledge any particular group of people. Which is partially true, the President is the president of ALL people, and as the President it is his job to acknowledge issues that affect particular groups of citizens. The President has addressed several groups over his first term such as the LGBT community, the Middle Class, Latino community, etc. However for some reason Black people feel like he doesn’t have to address our community. We even turn it into an immortal sin to offer some constructive criticism towards the President.
Our community has to stop being so defensive when it comes to criticism. Criticism is how we grow. How can a person ever get better if you never tell them what’s wrong? A person who truly wants to see you do well will offer you praises as well as critiques. Society has created a stigma to label criticism as a hate or non-support. That is just not true. I support the President and want to see him do well, therefore I voice my criticisms with the hopes that it will encourage him to do better.
My hopes is that the President addresses and tackles issues that affect Black people as we are United States citizens as well. Issues such as the War on Drugs which has helped place a disproportionally amount of Black people in jail for non-violent crimes. Issues such as the unequal education that our children receive all over this country, especially in our metropolitan areas. Issues such as police brutality and harassment, like the brutality that Chavis Carter faced when police shot him in the head while he was handcuffed. Issues such as street violence in Chicago (and abroad) which has claimed more lives than soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and most of those lives were Black young men.
I have a lot of love for the President. Do I measure his election as strong leap towards progress? Not really. At the end of day, the Black community must unite and fight for our own rights and freedom. Part of that fight must be holding our politicians accountable, all the way from the President down to our local city politicians. Too long Black people have sat by being patient thinking that slowly by surely we will gain full freedom. Freedom is not granted to anyone who waits for it. We shall overcome, but not by sitting. The dream is not accomplished, but we can accomplish it together. All Power to the People
P.S. Stop the drone strikes on innocent people cc: Barack Obama