Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What is A Black Agenda?


The Root reported that:

But despite the nearly universal support he enjoyed among African Americans in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, some of his most impassioned critics have come from within the black community, and some of their most passionate criticism has focused on the concern that the first black president has not focused on addressing issues of particular importance to the black community or on successfully tackling a black agenda. The Congressional Black Caucus was especially critical of the Obama administration's silence on black unemployment, for instance. 

After the 2012 election Yvette Carnell wrote in the Black Agenda Report, "Now we are all left hoping and wishing that, for the sake of his legacy, President Obama doesn't forget about us during his second term. The smart thing to do would've been to secure something, such as legislation to reduce black unemployment or mass incarceration, before the election, but we weren't smart. We were tribal."

In a piece for the L.A. Progressive titled "Black America Calling for a 'Black Agenda,' " Anthony Asadullah Samad wrote, "Of course, we know he's President of all the people. We got that, but what is the real significance of laying claim to the first African American president if a core constituency cannot ask for anything?"

He then continued, "What are 'black issues'? Historically, they are jobs, education, health care, prison re-entry and economic development of deprived communities -- all issues listed in Smiley's covenant." Samad was referring to PBS host Tavis Smiley, whose relentless criticism of the president's leadership on poverty and issues important to the black community has made him a target of criticism.

Read more here.

The Root article raises some interesting questions. What is a "Black Agenda"? Does it even exist? Who defines the Black Agenda? Is the concept of "black leaders" obsolete in this age of Obama? How do we effectively demand more from the President? Why are we even relying on the government to address our problems? What can we do for ourselves to improve our own condition as a people? Tell me what you think.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

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