Over the past four years I have marveled in the rhetoric that has come out of the fact that the nation elected you its first African American President (and that is truly what you are, African father, American mother). However, what has impressed me even more was the country’s willingness to give you (Mr. President) a second opportunity to lead (or continue to lead) this pseudo-great nation. So if you will, allow me to address a fundamental statement that you made in your first term with regards to issues that are important to African Americans. During that term, you stated that you were not just the President of African Americans, but you the President of All America. While that is true, there are some points of contention that I think that you may have overlooked:
93%…This is the percentage of African Americans who went to the polls on November 6, 2012 to help re-elect you. Now I don’t know what everyone else’s motivation was, but I was not motivated by your successes during your first time. I will be honest enough to say that I voted for you because you were the “lesser of two evils.” I knew that the country was not ready for a Mitt Romney because he (Romney) epitomized the “status quo” of the wealthy who, stood for absolutely nothing except wealth. So Mr. Obama, you owe it to the 93% of African Americans to address the most pertinent of issues that plague the African American community. Now before your sacrificial “Uncle Toms” (Joyner and others) decide to criticize me for this blog post, you and all of them have to understand that I don’t simply vote the “Black Vote” or “Democrat.” So I will highlight some of the most important ones below.
The 14% overall unemployment rate in the African American community
This rate is almost double the national average, but it does not really break it down by demographics because if it did, then it would show that among African American males that rate is anywhere between 30% and 50%. This is absolutely deplorable and it must be addressed. Now I also understand that many men in the African American community who cannot find a job have to share in the blame for their plight, but I also believe more can be done to help these men, their families, and their children. For example, you can show greater compassion for the fact that many of these men have felonies that prohibit them from taking part in that democratic process, even though they still have to pay taxes. Isn’t that called “taxation without representation?”
The Prison Industrial Complex
This is something that all the leading thinkers and pseudo-scholars in the African American (and now the Mexican/Latino American) community believe exists, but you (Mr. President) have turned a blind eye to the immorality of a nation that imprisons more people of color without any notion of real rehabilitation. Why do we now have a nation where there are privately run prisons that are disproportionately populated by people (men and women) of color? Within this problem is the disparity in the sentencing guidelines. Now I know that you have attempted to address this issue with your “18 to 1” guidelines, but that still is unfair.
The senseless rise of violent crimes in African American Communities
This is an issue that should cause you to assemble a panel of thinkers to study the variables that are contributing to the rise of violent crimes, especially in your own city, Chicago. However, let me caution you about this panel: It should include members of all of the stakeholder groups, including community leaders and citizens. You are notorious for appointing a panel of people who really don’t know about the problem because they have never been in the communities. What I believe that this panel will find is that much of the problem with violent crimes in the City of Chicago and other metropolitan areas, can be attributed to many of the issues mentioned here, including a lack of jobs.
The pimping of African American students in the nation’s schools
This is a point that is very near to me because I have been in education for the past 20 years. What I have seen emerge is the false illusion of education as a business. For the past 15 or more years, the Bill and Malinda Gates foundation has been allowed to experiment with African American students in schools, with no significant results. That trend has continued under your current secretary of education, Arne Duncan, who had no record of proven success when you appointed him. Since that time, African American students nation-wide have not even seen modest gains in closing the educational achievement gap. Yet, Mr. Duncan believes that this current school reform movement led by groups like the Walton Family Foundation which pumps money into charter schools in poor neighborhoods; The Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, which continues to experiment with the nation’s poorest students; and the Broad Foundation which purports to train business professionals to become educational leaders, is somehow a good thing. Of all the issues mentioned here, this is the greatest tragedy of your administration. The truth of the matter is: All the research has shown that the current reform movement is not working, but it is having a more detrimental effect on African American students. I talk more about this in my educational blog: Leaving Children Behind.
40 Acres and a Mule
At the end of slavery, the United States government promised every freed slave 40 acres and a mule to help them get started in the freed life. For over 200 years, we have been waiting symbolically for that 40 Acres and a Mule. For you, Mr. President to dismiss African Americans as irrelevant as a collective group would be to dismiss a collective group who helped give him a first and second term in office. This is despite the fact that YOU (as a senator) voted against reparations. Mr. President, you have given credence to the plight of women through your call for equal pay and freedom of choice; you have given credence to the plight of immigrants through your call for immigration reform; you have given credence to gays and lesbians through your call against DOMA; you have given credence to the plight of the middle class through your call for tax relief and reform; you have given credence to the business community and almost every other collective group, except for African Americans!!!
So let’s get this understood. I didn’t initially support you during your first run because I didn’t believe that you stood for anything. It was not until New Hampshire that I decided to support you. However, during your first time, I believe that you have been the epitome of a weak president who cannot think for himself. Let’s consider a few problems: 1) The appointment of Timothy Geithner; 2) The Vann Jones debacle (Vann is a high school classmate); 3) The appointment of Arne Duncan; 3) The Shirley Sherrod debacle, this really pissed me off; 4) Your healthcare initiative that didn’t go far enough because you didn’t have the nuts to take it that far; and 5) your lack of downright nuts to fight the republicans head on. You see you “played the punk role” and the Republicans knew it. So when Tom Joyner and Al Sharptons are all you’re your nuts as if they are your wife, remember that I only voted for you because Mitt Romney would have been worse. You really can do better, but you CANNOT negate the fact that 93% OF AFRICAN AMERICANS HELPED PUT YOUR ASS IN OFFICE FOR A 2ND TIME. The only difference is that I refused to stand on the National Mall, in the cold, for 12 hours, for a 2nd time. You simply were not worth it. So Mr. President, I find it very offensive for you to invoke the spirit and memory of Dr. King during your inauguration because he would have been ashamed of you on several different fronts. Sure, he would have been proud in 2008 when we elected you, but you have failed African Americans.
“The ink of a scholar is worth more than the blood of a martyr”