Maxine Waters to Obama: Can You Say Black?

One wonders if Obama suddenly will find his blackness when he loses the black vote in 2012. It’s beyond me why 90% of black Americans continue to support him when his policies have made their lives worse. Black unemployment is 16% compared to the national average of 9.1%, under George W. Bush black unemployment was 11.5%. According to the Department of Labor, black unemployment is the highest since 1972 when government began tracking it.

More blacks also have lost their homes to foreclosures. This disproportionate misfortune hitting blacks adds up to disappearing black wealth. The Pew Research Center found the average wealth of white households is 20 times more than blacks. But does any black person in their right mind expect a black agenda from Obama when as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) highlighted recently Obama and his staff have trouble uttering the word “black.”

I never thought I would be praising Rep. Maxine Waters or defending a policy initiative of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) but I am. Waters aka “don’t mess with blacks anymore” has become the de facto spokesperson for the CBC. Waters unleashed her rage and that of her colleagues at Obama for dismissing the concerns of black Americans, 95% of which voted for him. Apparently, team Obama fears getting too black because he might alienate more white voters from his flock.

It’s taken the CBC three years and multiple snubs from the Obama White House to finally attempt to hold Obama accountable for policies which have failed their constituents. Better late than never. (When Richard Nixon was president, the 13 lone CBC members walked out of Nixon’s 1971 State of the Union because Nixon refused to meet with them.) Waters joined other members for the CBC’s nationwide For the People jobs tour targeting Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta where unemployment, particularly black unemployment, is acute.

The goal of the tour is to connect the jobless with employers looking to hire and create 10,000 jobs. Not only should President Obama have “dreamed” up such a jobs plan a long time ago but frankly Democrats and Republicans also should have thought of this.

Throughout the jobs tour, Waters has been in rare form. In Detroit, Waters skewered Obama for not having a jobs plan, not wanting to step foot in black communities and called the highest unemployment rate among blacks in 25 years “unconscionable.”

My favorite “Maxine Moment” so far is Monday, August 22nd when during a Miami jobs tour stop at a black church Waters excoriated Obama official Don Graves for avoiding using the word “black” when he said “certain communities have been hit harder” than others by unemployment. Waters bit back “Let me hear you say black.” NAACP Miami president Bishop Victor Curry punctuated Waters’ point, explaining when presidents Eisenhower, Johnson and Kennedy were in office, blacks held them accountable and “blacks ought to make him do it” make Obama work for the black vote.

Rep. Waters deserves praise from black liberals for reminding Obama that while “he” may want to act race neutral, his disgruntled black base, who voted en masse for him, is hardly “the colorblind” type. Never has a president in US history run from his race like Obama has fled from his blackness. Obama has never uttered the word black or African-American even during the controversy over the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates.

The sad reality is with each passing day it appears Obama refuses to go into black communities, plagued by above average unemployment because he’s afraid that blackness might rub off on him and actually remind Americans he is the first black president of the United States. But would this be such an awful thing? How bad will things have to get for blacks under Obama before they will vote for something different?

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6 Responses to “Maxine Waters to Obama: Can You Say Black?”

  1. Doc Gibbs says:

    Color vs Character. Obama calls himself and African-American (black) man, yet it was his “black” side of his family (his father)that abandoned him. Even today two relatives live in America illgally and one, his uncle, gets arrested for driving while intoxicated, much like Mr. Obama’s philandering and substance-abusing father did. It was the “white” side of the family that cared for him — namely his white grandparents and early on, his white mother. So where is the rationale for his black identity? Converselhy, it was the white Southern DEMOCRATS that discriminated against and terrorized black people after the Civil War, but WHITE northerners who led the fight to give blacks the rights they should have received. And it was the Republican Party that fought to do away with slvaery and Democrats who wanted to keep it. My point: Why should black people give such blind allegiance to a liberal half-white, half-black Democrat president and his paternalistic welfare-enabling party, when it’s the whites on the “other” side of the aisle who have done more for American blacks in a real sense.

  2. Jenny says:

    I’ve noticed the last 3 or 4 issues of New York Magazine have really come down hard against Obama. I suspect that it’ll get more intensive as the election approaches.

    Btw, Paul, I don’t find the term “mulatto” offensive when people use it to describe me, but many other mixed individuals do. Just want to make sure you’re aware of that.

  3. Paul says:

    Actually President Obama is a mulatto. He has a Black father and a White mother. However, according to written and unwritten racial laws and mores he is a Black man . Maxine Waters is another matter all together.

  4. Dana says:

    Ah, Maxine, Maxine, Maxine; when has one woman done so much to hurt her own race under the guise of helping while lining her own pockets?

    I wouldn’t be so quick to believe this “turn” by the CBC. Call me skeptical, I know.

    Great blog!

  5. Patrick Brown says:

    I’m Republican and Black and I am surprised to see that in one term that white wealth is 20 times more than black. Wow!!!

  6. Obama and a black agenda? He doesn’t even have an American agenda.

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