During last year’s primary season I discovered The Black Agenda Report which bills itself as “The Journal of African American Political Thought and Action.” Glen Ford, the site’s executive editor, did NOT support Obama during the primaries and expressed his fear that Obama would actually set efforts to address real concerns in the black community back.
Ford and a group of writers continue to write compelling essays about the Obama Administration and his perspective is valuable as being an expression of how some blacks who are not Obots view what’s going on.
The most recent post deals with TBAR’s disappointment about Obama’s “ambivalence” over the effect of the current economic situation on black Americans.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“Obama deploys the same twisted logic as generations of white, corporate politicians.”
In his own clichéd words, President Obama reveals himself to be, at best, ambivalent on the need to confront historical and current racial disparities in the United States. Behind the awesome hype and intellectual façade lies your garden variety corporate-bought politician whose worldview is no deeper than the shallowest catchphrase in long-discredited American economic discourse: a rising tide lifts all boats.
Ford takes Obama to task for stating that more “welfare” will meet the real needs of blacks. Ford argues that real programs addressing such things as “institutionlized racism” and structural unemployment are needed, not just more “assistance.” I’ve bolded a few key comments in the excerpt.
No Pretense of a Racial Policy
So confident is Obama that his personal Blackness is all that is required to offset horrific realities such as New York City’s nearly 50 percent Black male non-participation in the formal job market – statistics from 2003 that have certainly worsened in the current crisis – he offers not a single programmatic response. Obama is quick to point out that his plan is “is designed to help all people” – another way of saying there’s nothing in it to address the specific problems of people of color.
“Obama claims there is no need for specific programs.”
He deploys the same twisted logic as generations of white, corporate politicians, who pointed to Black overrepresentation on welfare rolls as proof of the government’s deep concern for African Americans. In fact, concentrated levels of public assistance, food stamps and unemployment checks are elements of the misery index that, especially when dramatically skewed by race, cry out for specific programs and policies of remediation. Obama claims there is no need for specific programs because “folks who are most vulnerable are most likely to be helped because they need the most help.” Thus, he turns logic and language on their heads. The deeper Blacks sink into the abyss, the more they are eligible for general assistance – therefore, the Obama plan already contains everything African Americans need as a group, and will be of more use to them than to more advantaged groups. According to this line of reasoning, the worse things get, the more responsive the Obama plan is. There’s no need to deal directly with the underlying causes of disproportionate misery, such as institutional racism.
Obama is not even willing to fully acknowledge that Blacks and Browns have actually suffered disproportionately in the meltdown. In three successive sentences, he three times uses the word “probably” to describe what are solid facts. African Americans have not “probably” lost a disproportionate amount of jobs – Obama’s own Labor Department figures show that to be the case, on top of previously existing, horrendous rates of structural unemployment.
African American children are not “probably” over-represented among those lacking health insurance. They are, in fact, disproportionately uninsured. Obama belatedly corrects himself on this point, but his reflexive reluctance to give voice to the glaring racial disparities that are fundamental markers of American life, is deeply disturbing.
I love Ford’s opening description: “So confident is Obama that his personal blackness is all that is required….” There are legitimate underlying problems that still need to be addressed and that the election of a black to the Presidency can’t cover up…especially a person like Barack Obama, who has no core values whatsoever and whose allegiances are all about drawing more power to himself.
But Ford and many of us already knew this during last year’s election season. The “post-racial” candidate who spent most of the primaries playing the race card to win black votes has predictably been shafting this bloc by ignoring very real problems. Instead, the Obama regime will offer more housing loans to folks who can’t afford them and trot out his “blackness” when re-election time comes around. In the meantime, very real issues concerning the black community will be brushed aside as usual.
And, of course, the same technique is being used with the poor in general and the middle class, as their futures are thrown out the window to save the big banking friends of the Obama Administration. There seem to be plenty of “programs” for bailing out banks (like TARP) and taking over industries and “reforming” healthcare…Meanwhile, the little guy will sink.
A writer in an earlier piece (about Guantanamo) asks the question “… Is Bush Still President?”
Seems appropriate since the “change” promised doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight…
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: "A rising tide lifts all boats", African American political thought, African Americans, Barack Obama, general assistance, George W. Bush, Glen Ford, healthcare reform, institutionalized racism, middle class, misery index, Obama Administraiton, Obots, race card, racial disparties, structural unemployment among blacks, TARP, The Black Agenda Report, welfare | 6 Comments »