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January 11th, 2012

African Americans and the illusion of inclusion

William Reed

Herman Cain’s assertion that Black Americans are "brainwashed" and George Soros’ observations that "Obama has lost control of the [country’s economic] agenda" and it’s been left "in the hands of the Republican Party" is the raw, but true, state of Black politics in America.

Because of Blacks’ "illusion of inclusion" and penchant for assimilation, "Black politics" is little more than an afterthought to many across America’s mainstream media. The political role of Blacks is to support maintenance of the status quo. Instead of making sure that measures toward curbing Black unemployment and underemployment are being carved into the 2012 Democratic Party platform, the majority of African-American political activists are singularly engaged on keeping Barack Obama in the White House.

In the rush for inclusion in America, the election of the first Black President represented the apex of success to some. The folly of that has fallen to the level that Blacks’ major political pursuit is maintenance of the status quo and Obama as President. In their moves to be mainstream, Blacks now eagerly accept second-class American status. If you look at any social index, Blacks have much to complain about. Not just this Democratic administration but most political administrations over the years have ignored Blacks and their political needs. Black activists must be brainwashed or blind not to see legacies of institutional racism and discrimination in housing, education, policing, criminal justice and employment that continue under Obama’s presidency. The average African-American income is $33,916, compared with $54,920 for Whites. Conservative Republican Congressman Allen West offers a different slant on "who is brainwashing whom" by citing Black Americans’ disregard of the 16.7% unemployment rate in Black communities, 20% unemployment rate for Black adult males and 45% unemployment for Black teenagers under the Obama administration.

Collectively, African Americans are more involved in the political process than most minority groups. Black American enclaves have high levels of Congressional representation and the large majority of African Americans support the Democratic Party. African Americans have improved their social and economic standing significantly since the Civil Rights Movement and recent decades have witnessed the expansion of a robust, African-American middle class. Unprecedented access to higher education and employment in addition to representation in the highest levels of American government has been gained by African Americans in the post-civil rights era.

By calling himself "post racial," President Obama has transcended racial politics and convinced Blacks that American racism has gone away. Any doubt that Obama is no champion of Black politics should have been put to rest when he told the Congressional Black Caucus to "stop whining!"

Instead of the 2012 contest being just about keeping a Black man as President, shouldn’t Blacks be making campaigners compete for their votes? Black political activists have found a hero to adulate, and in doing so, they have chosen largely to sacrifice their own political needs to keep Obama as President. At the assemblage of "Black Power" at the Congressional Black Caucus, President Obama spent little time assuaging Black economic fears. Instead of any pretense of attention toward Black issues, in effect, Obama told Blacks in attendance there to stop thinking of their own predicament because it was sapping the energy he needed them to expend to get him out of his predicament. "Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’… we have work to do."

4.5 / 5 (4 Votes)

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Reader Response
  • Donald Griffith
  • January 12th, 2012 Dear Mr Reed,
    Your points are well taken, but what many persons are asking, what should be the approach of the overlooked people during the forthcoming election?
    What are the alternative approaches & persons for the 2012 election or are we to look towards the future & make the best of the current electoral situation?
    Pres. Obama or ?????
    As Oscar Brown Jr states,What is the plan?' This is not a criticism, but a request for alternative thinking & hence, a Plan B!
    Thank You.

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