Why are black Americans supporting President Obama in such record numbers when many have said the lives of Black America hasn’t improved under his presidency? President Obama is currently getting 94 percent of the black vote compared to zero percent for Mitt Romney. The UK Guardian has an interesting article that fact that Obama’s historical presidency failed to push us towards a post-racial America. Not sure that’s his fault but there are a lot of things he could have done better to reach out to the black community, instead of hiding behind the “I’m the president of the entire USA” line he often uses when confronted. It is a shame that crime is rampant in his home state of Chicago, with no end in sight.
Guardian: Barack Obama’s election win in 2008 was hailed by some as ushering in a post-racial age in the US. However, recent books and surveys have shown that black American progress has often either halted or declined.
From increasing segregation in the workplace, to hundreds of thousands of young black men in prison, to stuttering levels of black voting and a black middle class sent into reverse by the recession, the election of America’s first black president – and his fight to win a second term – seem to have had little impact on any of this.
Some of the most shocking revelations are detailed in a new book called Invisible Men by sociology professor Becky Pettit from the University of Washington. Pettit realized that many surveys conducted by government agencies exclude people in the prison population from their research and findings. When Pettit added them in, she found that it dramatically altered the picture of the status of black America, as the number of black Americans in jail is disproportionately high. About half of the 2.3 million people in US prisons are black.
The results of Pettit’s work, some argue, have exploded what she calls “the myth of black progress” since the civil rights era of the 1960s.
“This work dispels the notion that we live in a post-racial society. It not only deconstructs the myth of black progress, but also the myth of American progress overall,” said Inimai Chettiar, a director at the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University’s school of law.
For example, adding the prison population to the voting statistics shows that black voter turnout in 2008 – believed to have been a historic high as Obama was elected – was overestimated by 13%. A greater percentage of young black high school dropouts turned out to vote in the 1980 election, when Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan, than when Obama beat John McCain in 2008.
Neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party have really taken the black vote seriously. In the case of the Democrats, they take blacks for granted because they know they will vote their way. As for the Republicans, they seem to have given up on the black vote, as evidenced from their voter suppression drives. I am not thrilled about President Obama or Mitt Romney. I believe both have ignored the black community, only to come calling when an election rolls around. Neither men have campaigned in a predominantly black community. For what it is worth, Mitt Romney could have very well appealed to many African Americans if he took the time to campaign in black communities and show that he understands that 13.4 percent unemployment and high school drop-out rates, for example, are unacceptable. He just threw us a bone with the Black Leadership Council and continued on his merry way. Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with people like John Sununu, who drop racist code words to describe President Obama as “lazy” and “foreign” and that he “should learn to be an American. Newt Gingrich called him the “Food Stamp President” and questioned whether he needed more sleep and talked about his “rhythm.” With all these racially tinged comments, blacks are very protective of President Obama because they feel one of their own is being attacked unfairly.
The president knows he has the black vote locked up, since some will vote for him because he is black, as some whites will vote for Mitt Romney because he is white. I recall black radio personality Tom Joyner telling his listeners to vote for Obama because he is black. His exact words a year ago were, “Let’s not even deal with facts right now. Let’s deal with our blackness and pride and loyalty. I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man.” Actor Samuel L. Jackson also said he voted for President Obama because of his race. I would never vote for a candidate based on race, but I have also not voted for a candidate because of the people he surrounds himself with. Mitt Romney palls around with birthers and right wing extremists, who have no qualms about suppressing the black vote, among other things. So, at the end of the day, the majority of black voters will give Obama a pass and vote for him in the presidential election. I believe Mitt Romney is a decent man but one who wants to win the presidency so bad that he would look the other way just so he can fulfill his dream.
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