By Don Allen
As a card-carrying member of the Republican Party, I have to honestly say President Obama has not really failed. There are powers greater than him that still follow the political White-patriarchal system of checks and balances that he cannot interfere with. (One of them would be talking to Black Americans directly.)
Barack Obama won the votes of a majority of Americans. The re-election of the first Black president has made the history books and water cooler conversations. And now is the time for Black Americans to ask how we fit into the ephemeral vision called the American Dream.
Black president or not, those of us who look like this president continue to face issues of race and class injustice on a daily and intergenerational basis. However much we may like him personally, it is a fact that President Obama failed to address the plight of Black America during his first four years in office.
Unemployment, wealth gaps, and the achievement gap are but a few disparities President Obama has not publically addressed for Black Americans. This is evident by the many Black churches organizing against the president because of his views on same-sex marriage and no attention paid to the many overwhelming disparities of Black America.
Many of us that fight for justice daily realize that this fight is sometimes against some of our own people — those in positions of power and influence who have convinced themselves that the poor, unemployed or homeless among us are members of a caste not worth dealing with, and who refuse to recognize and to fight against what Michelle Alexander calls “The New Jim Crow.”
A great example would be the large number of nonprofits in North Minneapolis that continue to benefit from perpetual funding streams while North Minneapolis and its people have disparities that have grown exponentially without any hope in sight. The current president is a man of great acumen and tremendous problem-solving skills. And we must not let politicians of any color lull us into complacency, or into accepting broken promises and inaction with empty messages of hope and change.
Many significant objectives for our communities are on the line with the broader goals espoused by President Obama: creating jobs, stimulating economic development and improving public education. But there are also a host of other issues, such as bringing an end to the oppressive system of mass incarceration, eliminating discrimination in housing and employment, and addressing the problem of severely underfunded urban schools that hit Black Americans particularly hard.
Ninety-three percent of us voted on Election Day to send Barack Obama back to the White House. Let us make sure from here forward that our voices are heard and that neither he, nor any other politician, takes our votes for granted.
America’s first Black president is almost done; Black Americans have been ”done” for many years.
Just my two cents.