Thursday, May 9, 2013

Featured Reader Comment From Brooklyn1825: "What is It Exactly That Barack Obama Should/Must do for Black people? Is There Even a Consensus on What We Need as a Community?"

I've asked this repeatedly and never get an answer... what is it exactly that Barack Obama should/must do for Black people? Is there even a consensus on what we need as a community? We are in our current position because of racism to be sure but A LOT of what's wrong with us as a community is apathy. We need to rid ourselves of the notion that some messiah is going to come and show us the way. 
Who picked up the baton from Martin and Malcolm? What did they accomplish? If Black folks really want political influence we need to separate ourselves from both political parties and make them work and earn our vote. We should support candidates that support our agenda (if we can figure out what it is).
I give as good as I get. Thus, my featuring the above comment. I have been thinking about Brooklyn1825's comment, in one iteration or another, for some time. I am still struggling to find an answer.

President Obama will be speaking at Morehouse College on May 19, 2013. I doubt he will address any matters of race, the colorline, the particular struggles of black and brown folks in the Great Recession 2.0, or systems of white supremacy. Given Obama's past record, his speech will be rich on symbolism and weak on specific policy prescriptions that actually address the specific and unique needs of Obama's most loyal constituency.

What do you think? What answer would you offer up to Brooklyn1825's question?


carolannie said...

I would suppose that black folks have similar agendas to white folks: treat me with respect, let me have a good job, let me live in dignified circumstances.

chauncey devega said...

There you go! My rule is enforce the Constitution and allow all folks the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness equally.

Ben Grim said...

Primum non nocere, for a start. Do no harm. Stop the assault upon civil liberties, the social safety net and, now, on black activism. That's the first thing. Do that FIRST!!! Then we can talk about the proactive things. Until Obama turns around and heads in the opposite direction, talking about what he can to for black people is just pissin in the wind.

chauncey devega said...

Or on our heads? I like the balance--we need to stop the bleeding before we can get to the healing.

Ben Grim said...

The prerequisite "turn and go the opposite direction" also takes aim at the underlying presumption of asking such a question as "what is it exactly that Barack Obama should/must do for Black people?" It presupposes the idea that Obama wants to do something for black people. And I am almost certain that is not the case. Once we come to terms with the nature of Barack's corporate orientation we must come to an inevitable corollary. Obama's ambitions are diametrically opposed to those of black people as a political/economic/cultural group. He is not working for us, people!!! He's working against us. It's kind of like asking Elliot Ness what exactly is he should do for bank robbers. (Okay, bad analogy. Couldn't think of anything else.) Now, once you get that initial misconception out of the way --he's not for you, he's not neutral, he's against you-- then we can proceed from there to ask what he can do. If you like. A more effective route might be to demand that he does the things you, his core constituents, want him to do. I mean, that might be more productive. Make a list, baby.

Ben Grim said...

I hear crickets. In other words, a question like that hides an attempt to rationalize Obama's neglect of his black constituents. 'What could he do?' The sky's the limit for someone in his position. Ask not what Obama could do for the black, the poor, the downtrodden and the middle class. Ask 'what COULDN'T he do?'

BrookLyn1825 said...

Hey Chauncey I'm sorry I hadn't been back here to see this. The first time I posed this question I said this:
"I thought creating parity in sentencing in crack and powder cocaine was in fact specific to us. Equal work, equal pay certainly helps Black women more than any other group. Healthcare costs especially the inclusion of provisions for preventative care address a huge issue in our community so I'm curious...what could the president do to specifically address issues within the Black community. I think Dr. King would have had a problem with this president (as well as Ben Jealous') treatment of Shirley Sherrod. However crafting national policy to address the concerns of the Black community would be what exactly? While there have been laws in the past that have hurt us, I don't see how the issues that plague us now can be helped by policy changes. In regards to West and Smiley their partnership with Wells Fargo and continued steering of Black consumers to an entity that clearly hurt them and their ability to build wealth negates any credibility they may have had in the past."

Ben Grim said "It presupposes the idea that Obama wants to do something for black people."

Ben Grim you're presupposing he won't or doesn't want to. Corporate orientation or not if Obama's ambitions are diametrically opposed to those of Black folks help me to understand what those ambitions are and how a POTUS can address them?

I'm not a "bot" or an "apologist" but I sincerely want to know..Do we want reparations? Are there a few people we'd like to see horsewhipped? If Obama looked right into the camera or audience at Moorehouse and said what can I do for you Black constituents? What's the answer?