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Obama Rejects Call to Address Black Unemployment

December 3, 2009

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From this link:

President Obama said today it would be wrong for him to narrowly focus on the troubles blacks face in the recession, rejecting criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus that the government was ignoring the economic plight of minorities.

“I will tell you that I think the most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again,” the president told Richard Wolf of USA TODAY and Justin Hyde of the Detroit Free Press in an exclusive joint interview.

On Wednesday, 10 members of the black caucus — of which Obama was a member when he was a U.S. senator from Illinois — boycotted a key House committee vote on financial reform. The group said it would push harder for Congress and the White House to tackle problems including an unemployment rate for blacks of 15.7%, higher than the national rate of 10.2%

“We can no longer afford for our public policy to be defined by the worldview of Wall Street,” members of the caucus said in a statement Wednesday. “Policy for the least of these must be integrated into everything that we do.”

Obama said in today’s interview, held ahead of this afternoon’s White House summit on job creation, that he agreed with some of the goals the CBC had outlined such as making sure black-owned small businesses had access to credit. But he stressed that he needed to keep a broader view.

“I think it’s a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are all going to get out of fthis together,” he said.

If a White President made the exact same statement shown in the video above, what would be reaction in the Black Community??


9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 10:01 pm

    Interesting to see Pres. Obama express an idea of “unity” when asked specifically about the Black community. Especially when he knows first hand what is occurring in the Black community. I don’t agree with his idea of a collective idea while ignoring the black community. I guess because he campaigned on unity to switch it up now wouldn’t be beneficial for him. Part of me wants him to step up and make changes for the Black community in everything to education,poverty,violence etc. But thats Not who we elected into office, he is not an activist for minorities. If former Pres. Bush would of said something like that, their would be outrage.

    • December 3, 2009 10:13 pm

      So Black people and people of color should have “lower” expectations from the “First Black President” when addressing their concerns than when dealing with a White President?

  2. December 4, 2009 12:50 am

    1) He is 100% correct
    2) If Bush said that, he would also be 100% correct
    3) People (Blacks mostly) think because he’s black he’s going to only focus on black people. This is wrong and shallow-minded

    The problems in the AA community are bigger than the economy, world peace and environment. Second only to the middle-east war, it will never be resolved. Why should he focus on black unemployment? Blacks should lobby, and fight for policy YES but it’s not for him to champion with so many other fires to put out.

    Taking a step back, the TYPES of jobs being lost *AND* why black people tend to have these types of jobs might be a better complaint to bring forth to Obama. not the fact that blacks are losing jobs, as if it’s a racial issue. SMH

    • December 4, 2009 1:24 am

      So because Obama is the first Black President he has the right to be completely oblivious to the persistent reality of racial discrimination in employment practices that cause even many highly skilled African Americans to have difficulty finding employment. A problem other Presidents have spent resources and political capital trying to address.

      Read this piece about how college educated Black men have twice the rate of unemployment of college educated Whites and talk to me about “types of jobs.”

      The President’s statements showed such a lack of sensitivity to historical context they were beyond offensive. I don’t expect anything from this President regarding the Black community. I was sure of what I would get from the time her ran for office, and he’s proving me right with statements like the one above. But I would hope that he wouldn’t have a DISINCENTIVE to be concerned with the plight of Blacks. But sadly, the cynical racial politics he’s playing demonstrate just that.

      If he had any remote sensitivity to the the Black community when being asked this question, all he had to say was:

      “I’m very aware of the realities of unemployment in the Black community. As one who has made a career working with the poor and disenfranchised, the problems of all the various ethnic communities who are affected be these trying times are something I know first hand. That’s why I think its best to address unemployment collectively in way that clearly alleviates problems for these communities and Americans overall.”

      But that would assume he had some level of sensitivity to Black folk in the first place.

  3. December 4, 2009 2:19 pm

    what else could he possibly say? Barack Obama’s hold on the loyalties of centrist white america is tenuous at best. The evidence of this is the momentum of such trains of thought as the birthers,the tea bag movement,& the comparisons to hitler/socialism. Any perceived notion of favoritism towards afr/americans could be a tipping point. The CBC is doing what they’re supposed to do,& the pres responded the only way politically available to him.

    • December 4, 2009 2:20 pm

      “I’m very aware of the realities of unemployment in the Black community. As one who has made a career working with the poor and disenfranchised, the problems of all the various ethnic communities who are affected be these trying times are something I know first hand. That’s why I think its best to address unemployment collectively in way that clearly alleviates problems for these communities and Americans overall.”

      That’s else he could possibly say…

      • December 4, 2009 2:57 pm

        I must admit a bit of ambivalence to all of this;I never expected Obama to be the “black” president,& my measure of his success was to for him to check the levels of ineptitude coming from the bush admin.concerning war & foreign policies. He showed me early just what he could do for “us” in the 1st 100 days of his term with his level of capitulation towards the opposition in policy matters. So I guess my expectations are low,but that’s my own cynicism to deal with. I guess that attributes to my lack of outrage:low expectations.

  4. no we can't permalink
    December 7, 2009 11:51 pm

    President Obama has dissappointed his constituents both black and white, asian, while we are all out looking for a job, we voted for him and gave him a job and he is collecting a salary because of us. He has given the retired retirees no increase in thier social security checks and has given no people on social security disability no increase in their social security checks, while the economy is getting worse, everyone got a letter in the mail saying that there is no inflation so no increase in social security. Mr Obama is for the rich and not for the middle class or for the poor. under the Obama administration the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are getting poorer, black and white and asian. On telivision news, Obama went to a whole lot of town hall meetings in middle America and the audience was majority white addressing the Insurance issue and unemployment, but you never see Obama going to Black, Asian, Latino, neighborhoods adressing the health issue, unemployment, insurance. He went to the midwest communnities more than once, so since these are the issues of all of American, then he should have went to all of American communnities, not just WHite middle class mid westerners. We are all Americans. We made a mistake voting for obama, we should have voted for Hillary. If Obama runs for president again he will not get my vote and i am a minority, because there is no change we can believe in, Hillary was right its all talk and speeches, she warned us but, we didn’t listen. Theres no shovel ready jobs, no nothing.

    Obama is an African, not an African American, these same African chiefs sold the African American ancestors into slavery, Obama do not give a dam about africa america unemployment because he is a foriegner to african american and obama was raised in Hawaii and not mainland America, and his father is an African, and obama got a home in africa amongst his fathers family, african american home is America, we do not have no family in africa. african american families was here in the very beginning from the founding fathers. Obama acts like the african chiefs whose sold the ancestors into slavery like them he do not give a dam as to what will happen to the slaves. everytime obama addresses black people he chastises them, but when he sees his mothers people he is grinning from ear to ear. Although his mother was not a republican, obama acts more like an republican then a democrat, he is willing to sacrifice democratic ideals to live up to his dream of bipartisan,so he caters to the republicans, he do not care if the health bill is watered down as long as its bipartisan is what he cares about, as for the democrates in the house they are a bunch of weaklings we all was ready to vote for Hillary, then we was told to switch to obama a man we never heard of, well we made a mistake. The republicans are a dissapointment and so are the democrats a dissappointment. Nobody expected Obama to be a black president, he was suppose to be the president for all america, every time he goes to a town hall meeting its practically all white the majority of the time. well, what about the rest of america, blacks,asians, hispanics, the children who voted for you, what about us? we are also, the middle class, the working poor, the college and high school students black and white. It appears to me that the one thats discriminating is the president, after all, all our money went to the rich bankers. When the bankers came knocking at his door did he tell the bankers “the most important thing i can do for the banking community is the same thing i can do for the american community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again. “I think its a mistake
    to start thinking in terms of a particular ethnic segment of the united states, i.e. the banks, rather than to think we are all in this together, and we are all getting out of this together. did he tell the banks that? no Did he slam the door in their face? well, Mr President, nobody is going to vote for you in the next election especially not the blacks you have just lossed your base.

  5. davesmith permalink
    May 10, 2010 10:52 pm

    the predident is suppose to represent all americans. he is not suppose to pick a particular group.if this statement is true regarding president’s being president of all americans than why did slavery happen, why did jim crow happen, why blacks are discriminated against,why black are the last to be get opportunities.

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