Monday, October 29, 2012

Wake Up, Obama is Not A Miracle Worker

In his article entitled The Price of a Black President, Fredrick C. Harris wrote:

...those who had seen in President Obama’s election the culmination of four centuries of black hopes and aspirations and the realization of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a “beloved community,” the last four years must be reckoned a disappointment. Whether it ends in 2013 or 2017, the Obama presidency has already marked the decline, rather than the pinnacle, of a political vision centered on challenging racial inequality. The tragedy is that black elites — from intellectuals and civil rights leaders to politicians and clergy members — have acquiesced to this decline, seeing it as the necessary price for the pride and satisfaction of having a black family in the White House.

...But the triumph of “post-racial” Democratic politics has not been a triumph for African-Americans in the aggregate. It has failed to arrest the growing chasm of income and wealth inequality; to improve prospects for social and economic mobility; to halt the re-segregation of public schools and narrow the black-white achievement gap; and to prevent the Supreme Court from eroding the last vestiges of affirmative action. The once unimaginable successes of black diplomats like Colin L. Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Susan E. Rice and of black chief executives like Ursula M. Burns, Kenneth I. Chenault and Roger W. Ferguson Jr. cannot distract us from facts like these: 28 percent of African-Americans, and 37 percent of black children, are poor (compared with 10 percent of whites and 13 percent of white children); 13 percent of blacks are unemployed (compared with 7 percent of whites); more than 900,000 black men are in prison; blacks experienced a sharper drop in income since 2007 than any other racial group; black household wealth, which had been disproportionately concentrated in housing, has hit its lowest level in decades; blacks accounted, in 2009, for 44 percent of new H.I.V. infections.

Mr. Obama cannot, of course, be blamed for any of these facts. It’s no secret that Republican obstruction has limited his options at every turn. But it’s disturbing that so few black elites have aggressively advocated for those whom the legal scholar Derrick A. Bell called the “faces at the bottom of the well.”

Further in his article, Mr. Harris slams black politicians, intellectuals and civil rights leaders for their "uncritical adulation" of the President. He argues that many black leaders have become "cheerleaders for the President or self-serving pundits."

Many of us hoped that President Obama's election represented the dawning of a new era of racial progress. Instead, his election appears to be an anomaly, a temporary convergence of interests. As reported on Yahoo News, racial attitutes have not improved since the election of President Obama. Yahoo reports that:

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

Obama's four years in the White House cannot reverse hundreds of years of slavery, Jim Crow and institutionalized racism. It is completely unrealistic to expect President Obama to magically eliminate wealth inequality, high black unemployment, education disparities, mass incarceration and health care disparities. Obama is not a miracle worker.

Instead of tearing each other down, we should unite and re-elect President Obama. One thing is certain. If Romney is elected, he will do absolutely nothing to address our issues. After Obama is re-elected, we can have a serious discussion about holding him and black leaders accountable.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gallup Poll: Romney Would Win the Election If Held Today

Hat hip: Marc Hunt

Reuters reports that:

As most surveys show Obama and Romney locked in a virtual dead heat, Gallup finds that the Republican would win by a comfortable six percentage points if the election were held today.

Questions about the gap between Gallup's findings and those of other pollsters is the latest fuss this election season over polling methodology as partisan passions come to a boil in the heated final weeks before the November 6 presidential contest.

With a record of correctly predicting all but three of the 19 presidential races stretching back to 1936, Gallup is one of the most prestigious names in the business and its outlier status has other polling experts scratching their heads....

Republican strategist Karl Rove pointed out on Thursday that no candidate who has ever polled more than 50 percent in the Gallup poll at this point in a presidential race has gone on to lose the election. As it happens, Gallup had Romney at 51 percent that day.

The contrast between Gallup and other major polls is stark.

As of Friday afternoon, Gallup's daily tracking poll of likely voters had Romney leading Obama by six percentage points, 51 percent to 45 percent.

That Gallup poll is terrifying and eye opening.  Please don't assume that Obama is going to win this election. Vote and get involved! Our future is at stake! Forward! Obama 2012! Wake up and change the world!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Black People: You Are Invisible and Irrelevant

So far, I have watched all three of the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. Each debate lasted approximately 90 minutes. All three moderators were white. The final debate is on Monday. Again, the moderator will be white. The last debate will focus on foreign policy. During these debates, the candidates have discussed important issues such as the economy, taxes, education, women's rights, health care reform and terrorism. However, none of the debates discussed race or affirmative action.

Race is still a major issue in America. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether the University of Texas' affirmative action policy is constitutional. If the Supreme Court strikes down UT's affirmative action policy, the doors to higher education will be closed to many African American young people. Universities and colleges will become more and more segregated. However, that issue was not important enough for the debate moderators.

Moreover, the moderators failed to raise the problem of racial profiling. New York city's racist stop-and-frisk policy has been a major issue in the civil rights community. In New York and many cities around the country, young, innocent black men and women are constantly stopped, harassed and humiliated by police just because of the color of their skin.

Another example of racial profiling is the tragic Trayvon Martin case. This year, self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman hunted and shot down Trayvon Martin just because he was black. After great struggle and massive protests, Zimmerman was finally charged with murder.

In addition to racial profiling, mass incarceration was not raised during any of the debates. As explained in Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow, the so-called War on Drugs has led to the mass incarceration of black people. Due to the mass incarceration problem, a disproportionate percentage of African Americans have been reduced to second class citizens even after they leave prison. In most states, they lose the right to vote and other precious rights.

In this mythological post-racial era, none of those issues matter. Unfortunately, the debates are fixated on issues that mainly impact white, moderate, middle class, undecided voters. As far as the presidential debates are concerned, black people are invisible and our concerns are irrelevant.

These debates have taught me one thing. In the eyes of the debate organizers and most of the viewers, the plight of Big Bird is far more important than the plight of my people. "Binders full of women" are more important than prisons full of black people.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama Strikes Back!

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Good morning. President Obama got his swagger back last night. He stood his ground and called out Mitt Romney. Thoughts?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Slavery May Have Been A Blessing in Disguise?!?!"

As reported by the Root and the Arkansas Times, Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard made several outrageous and absurd statements in his new book.  He said that:

Slavery was good for black people:

“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)

If you think slavery was bad, you should have seen Africa:

African Americans must “understand that even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?” (Pages 93 and 189)

Rep. Hubbard is not the first Republican to say that slavery was a blessing. Check out this no good, house negro trying to justify slavery:

Our African ancestors experienced unimaginable suffering. Africans were kidnapped, stripped from the Motherland, shackled together, packed into slavery ships like sardines and forced to wallow in their own urine and feces. Millions died during the Middle Passage. The European slave masters threw our ancestors' bodies overboard into the Atlantic Ocean and watched the sharks devoured them. No, Uncle Peterson!  Middle Passage was not "like riding on a crowded airplane when you're not in first class!"

The survivors were subjected to the most cruel form of oppression and exploitation. In the words of Khalid Muhammad, "we were robbed of our names, robbed of our language. We lost our religion, our culture, our God.....we even lost our minds." For centuries, we were dehumanized, reduced to property, beaten with whips, maimed, raped and lynched. Despite all of that suffering, that imbecile has the audacity to say that slavery may be a blessing. That is pure nonsense.

In addition to enslaving Africans, Europeans colonized Africa and plundered her human and natural resources. The current condition of Africa can be directly traced to that legacy of colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism.

What does Rep. Hubbard's election say about the people of Arkansas? What does it say about the Republican Party?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who Won, Obama or Romney?

Last night, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney participated in the first Presidential Debate. The pundits on Morning Joe are saying that Romney won the debate. As far as I am concerned, the President won on both style and substance. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Niggerization of Barack Obama

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Following Mitt Romney's disparaging statements describing 47 percent of Americans as moochers, Romney has been behind in all of the crucial swing states. Essentially, the GOP realizes that the President Obama is now connecting with many different demographics, including white working class men. As reported in Politico and on Morning Joe,
Since 1972, white men have voted roughly 60-40 percent in favor of the Republican Party in presidential elections. The exception was 1976, when Democratic Southerner Jimmy Carter attracted 48 percent of the white male vote. Then, in 2008, Obama surpassed the numbers of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry to win 41 percent of the white male vote nationally. But by 2010, white male support had shrunk back to 37 percent — a precarious landing spot for the president.  
Now, things could be shifting again. Already struggling to connect with average voters of all stripes because of his wealth and social station, Romney faces an additional hurdle with middle-class men in the secretly recorded video at a Florida fundraiser in which he seems to be assailing the working class as deadbeats and moochers.
In an act of desperation, Romney surrogates are attempting to create a wedge between the President and white voters. The Republicans realize that they cannot win this election on the merits.   Instead of taking the high road, Romney and the GOP are resorting to two different race baiting tactics.

The first tactic is make white voters fear the President by depicting him as the stereotypical angry, militant, divisive black man. The Right is attempting to resurrect that old, tired, dead Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy by digging up a 2007 video showing President Obama recognizing and praising his former pastor.  Essentially, they are trying to Farrakhanize Obama. For example, the Daily Caller reported that:
In a video obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama tells an audience of black ministers, including the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that the U.S. government shortchanged Hurricane Katrina victims because of racism.  
...The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event.
Another example of this fear tactic is the ongoing promotion of false and absurd notions that the President is foreign, Muslim and socialist. Some misguided, ignorant people continue to believe that the President's birth certificate is a forgery. A couple of weeks ago, Mitt Romney pandered to that group of simpletons by joking about his birth certificate. Moreover, despite doing countless interviews stating that he is a Christian, many people continue to insist that the President is a Muslim. In some quarters, the word "Muslim" is just another word for terrorist.

The second race baiting tactic is to make white voters resent the President by equating him with the lazy, undeserving, unqualified, welfare dependent negro stereotype. In the words of MSNBC commentator Toure, the Romney Campaign and its surrogates are attempting to niggerize the President. That are doing that by creating misleading ads and staged videos suggesting that President Obama is expanding welfare and giving away free cellphones to lazy black people.

Furthermore, in the Washington Post, columnist George Will basically wrote that the Obama will be re-elected simply because he is black.
"Perhaps a pleasant paradox defines this political season: That Obama is African American may be important, but in a way quite unlike that darkly suggested by, for example, MSNBC’s excitable boys and girls who, with their (at most) one-track minds and exquisitely sensitive olfactory receptors, sniff racism in any criticism of their pin-up. Instead, the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him — seems especially reluctant to give up on the first African American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head."
Another example is former Speaker House Newt Gingrich describing the President as the "food stamp president" and as "not a real president". More specifically, as stated in the Hill,
“[Obama] really is like the substitute [National Football League] referees in the sense that he’s not a real president,” Gingrich told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Tuesday night. “He doesn’t do anything that presidents do, he doesn’t worry about any of the things the presidents do, but he has the White House, he has enormous power, and he’ll go down in history as the president, and I suspect that he’s pretty contemptuous of the rest of us.”

George Will's and Newt Gingrich's statements essentially convey the idea that the President is an unqualified, undeserving individual who achieved success based solely on unwarranted racial preferences and white liberal paternalism.  These attacks are nothing but dog whistles designed to use race to make white voters support Romney.

Hopefully, after tonight's presidential debate, no one will be talking about that five year old Obama video footage.  I look forward to hearing the President and Romney debate on substantive issues.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Will Vote for Obama

I will vote for President Obama for several reasons. His Administration has fought to protect the civil rights of African Americans. The Obama Administration filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case of Fisher v. the University of Texas At Austin. The Administration's brief supports the University's affirmative action plan. Affirmative action is a legitimate means to encourage diversity and to remedy past discrimination. Higher education is the key to success and upward mobility. Without affirmative action, many of us would not have been able to attend college, law school or medical school. Unlike President Obama, Republican candidate Mitt Romney opposes affirmative action. When he was governor, Romney attempted to end affirmative in Massachusetts.

In addition to supporting affirmative action, the Obama Administration has challenged voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas. Contrary to the Republicans' assertions, voter ID laws are not designed to prevent fraud. In-person voter fraud is extremely rare. The real purpose of voter ID laws is to suppress black voters and other Democratic leaning voters. According to the Brennan Center, approximately 25 percent of African Americans do not possess government issued photo IDs, compared to only 8 percent of whites. Consequently, voter laws have a disproportionate impact on black people. Apparently, that does not matter to Romney. He supports voter ID laws.

As if that is not disturbing enough, Republicans are challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of Voting Rights Act. The Obama Administration strongly opposes such efforts. Section 5 requires certain jurisdictions to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice before enacting new voting laws. The covered jurisdictions have a long history of enacting discriminatory voter laws.

Moreover, the Obama Administration passed the Fair Sentencing Act ("FSA"). Before the FSA was passed, the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine was 100 to 1. Under the FSA, that disparity has been reduced to 18 to 1. A disproportionate percentage of African Americans are targeted for using and selling crack. On the other hand, whites are more likely to be arrested for using and selling powder cocaine. As a result, black offenders receive harsher sentences than their white counterparts for using or selling the same amount of drugs. The FSA is a step toward ending that injustice.

Additionally, the President passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That law makes it easier for plaintiffs to sustain equal-pay lawsuits.  According to National Women's Law Center, women earn 77 cent for every dollar earned by men. For black women, the gender gap is even greater.  African American women earn 62 cent for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. Since a disproportionately large percentage of African American households are headed by women, the Fair Pay Act will expand economic opportunities for the black community.  This law will help women in general, black women in particular, fight gender discrimination.

Not only has he made civil rights a priority, the President passed historic health care reform. Although it is far from a single payer system or a public option, it does insure millions of uninsured people. It prevents insurance companies from excluding people from coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Although Obamacare is not perfect, it is a sign of progress. Romney and the Republicans oppose even those modest reforms.

Furthermore, contrary to the Republican Party's assertions, fixing the economy has been the President's top objective. The President's policy has created and protected jobs. Since President Obama has been in office, there has been 30 months of job creation. According to the Christian Science Monitor, private sector employers added 4.6 million net jobs.  As reported in the Huffington Post,"125,000 jobs have been created, in total, during Obama's first term, compared with a prior estimate of a loss of 261,000."  Although the economy has not fully recovered and unemployment remains too high, I am confident that President Obama is moving the economy in the right direction.

While Romney was saying that we should let Detroit go bankrupt, President Obama took bold action and rescued the American auto industry thereby saving thousands of jobs. Through stimulus money, the President protected the jobs of many teachers, police officers and firemen. In my hometown of Detroit, when 100 fire fighters faced layoffs, Obama saved those jobs and kept the city safe through Homeland Security funding.

Romney probably would have let Detroit burn. Romney has no real record of jobs creation. When Romney was governor, Massachusetts was 47th in job creation. As his former opponents Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich asserted during the primaries, Romney and his company, Bain Capital, have a vulturous record of feeding off of dying companies and leaving behind closed businesses and unemployed workers.

The President is concerned about all Americans, the workers and the middle class. Romney admitted that he is not concerned about 47 percent of voters. Romney acknowledged that he is not concerned about the very poor.

His selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential nominee is evidence of his contempt for poor and middle class people. The Ryan budget would substantially cut vital government programs that benefit the black community. As reported in the Root, those programs include Pell grants, Head Start, welfare, food stamps, social security, Medicaid and Medicare. Under a Romney Administration, aspiring and ambitious college students would not be able to obtain Pell grants to pay for college. Senior citizens would receive less health care benefits. Poor people would be denied life saving assistance such as food stamps and welfare. While forcing the most vulnerable citizens to make great sacrifices, Romney would give the rich more tax breaks.

Not only is Obama a better choice because of his positions on domestic policy, he is a better choice when it comes to foreign policy. Although aspects of Obama's foreign policy are objectionable, Romney's foreign policy would be even more militaristic and imperialistic. If the GOP had their way, they would bomb Iran, send ground troops to Syria and continue to occupy Afghanistan indefinitely. When it comes to foreign policy, Obama is the lesser of two evils.

Do I think that Obama is the hope and change that we have been waiting for? No. Do I think that he walks on water, heals the sick and parts the sea? No. Do I think that he is Superman swooping down to save us? No. However, I know that he is a far better choice for African Americans than Mitt Romney. That is why I plan to vote for President Obama.  I hope that you vote for him as well.

This article is cross posted on Jack and Jill Politics.