Dr. Boyce: Let’s Give Black America a Reason to Support President Obama

4 Aug


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Schoarship in Action

Respected commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson recently made a set of accurate remarks about the challenges that President Obama faces within the African American community. He cites a recentWashington Post/ABC News poll that shows that there are as many African Americans who are dissatisfied with the president’s performance as there are who are happy with it.

One doesn’t need to be an expert to realize that there are fumes coming out of the nostrils of millions of African Americans who once saw President Obama as the knight in shining armor. He was the man who made them believe that politics could be changed for the better. Instead, they found themselves faced with massive and persistent unemployment and a racial wealth gap that hasn’t been seen in the last 40 years. Needless to say, relentless, child-like optimism has been replaced by lip pursing, arm folding skepticism and the baggy, tired eyes of intense economic suffering.

While I understood the sentiment behind Hutchinson’s arguments, he and I agree to disagree on the response to the problem. Hutchinson, whom I believe to be a strong Obama supporter, repeatedly makes the argument that African Americans must embrace the pragmatic reality that the GOP is so unwilling to compromise and has such disdain for minorities and the poor that they must forgive any nearly degree of political cowardice on the part of the Obama Administration. He also makes the accurate point that the GOP hardly provides any legitimate replacement for the president that would be better for African Americans.

The points are noted: Yes, the Republican Party has shown a degree of resistance to President Obama that is uniquely designed for the first black president. Also, while Republicans have certainly sought to take advantage of the Obama Administration’s failures as it pertains to black economic progress, they have yet to provide solutions to the problem. Providing solutions is not their goal, for they are primarily seeking to destroy Obama’s political halo, not build a halo of their own.

With that being said, stubborn behavior on the part of Republicans should not be an excuse for inaction. In fact, some would say that dealing with a stubborn opponent requires a greater (rather than lower) degree of political courage. Additionally, it’s hard to determine whether the lack of action on the part of the administration is driven by rigid Republican negotiators or by the Obama Administration’s understanding that African Americans simply have no place to go.

While one can quite readily argue that the Republican Party has not yet provided a viable alternative to President Obama for the African American community, it’s hard to argue that they would be much worse. A 30-year reversal of the racial wealth gap and 16.2 percent unemployment are tough feats to match, so at best, we can only argue that Republicans would take things from "horrible" to "absolutely devastating" within the African American community.

One has to question those who simply defend the Obama Administration by presenting a contest to determine which party abuses the black community the worst. The only option that appears to work for black America is to buy a time machine so they can nominate a Democrat who would prove his/her loyalty with political action, rather than nice pictures on the cover of Essence Magazine. In all seriousness, African American leaders must find unconventional options to challenge the disappointing political realities that are built upon the desire to keep the black agenda invisible on Capitol Hill.

African Americans must be presented with political solutions that involve tangible action, and not simply the threat of a worse outcome if they choose not to vote. This is like telling a dying victim of gun violence that instead of taking him to the hospital, you’ll keep him from being shot again. While one can still maintain the argument that Republicans are worse than the Obama Administration, this argument skates on thin ice for the millions of Black Americans who’ve lost everything.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black WorldCoalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Follow Dr. Boyce Watkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrBoyceWatkins1


53 Responses to “Dr. Boyce: Let’s Give Black America a Reason to Support President Obama”

  1. Pay_Attention August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Black folks must do their part too. They must become more aware of how politics play a role in their survival. They must know which politicians truly represent their best interest, and get more elected who do. Black folks need to be bigger players in this game. That’s why we’re losing.

    I talk to soooo many black folks who won’t even read a political article. They hate politics. But just because you don’t pay attention to the weather doesn’t mean a storm won’t come. It’s best to be prepared for the storm that’s coming.

    • omarali81 August 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      do your part,weak them up

      • Pay_Attention August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

        Trust me, I do my part. I will keep beating my drum until there’s no more strength in my arms. Because black folk are too quick to get distracted, and don’t want to get involved until our backs are against the wall. It’s time for black folk to be proactive, not reactive.

    • Darrell W. Davis August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

      Well spoken, I agree with you 100%

    • Leslie Franklin August 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

      Many critics simply ignore the fact that President Obama has had to push back against a Tea Party driven Republican controlled congress whose only agenda has been, from the day he was inaugurated, to make this president fail even at the cost of derailing the economy. Believe it or not the president’s power is limited. From the Health Care bilI to the debt ceiling fiasco, he has had to retreat from his preferred plan and negotiate with a weak hand due to lack of support from his base and a weak divided Democratic House and Senate. I defy anyone to explain how this, or any president could get anything through this “Just Say No” House of Representatives, especially when he can’t even count on certain border line democrats in his own party, as well as the support of democratic voters who sat on their hands in 2010 while the tea party flooded the poles and gave the tea party Republicans control of the House. I think that those who want to criticize this president must deal with the reality of this poisonous political environment which in large part is racially driven and dead set on defeating Obama’s efforts to stabilize the American economy at all costs. Instead of finding fault It would be more productive to develop strategies that will strengthen the presidents hand so that he is not always forced into a compromising position, otherwise, a President Michelle Bachman or worse, may become our next nightmare.

      • Iisha Rosario August 5, 2011 at 3:11 am #

        You have hit it straight on the nail, THANK YOU! Nothing is giving to anyone, we have to work extremely harder as minorities. Stop whining and help are President.

      • Iisha Rosario August 5, 2011 at 3:13 am #

        Other AA need to stop whining not you Leslie:)

      • Anonymous August 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

        Ms Franklin I hope many more read your comment because you have summed this entire 3 year period up very well. Where are the African American millionares that have the power to provide more support for our President? They are protecting themselves and just like the Tea Party and the Republicans care very little for the this country that has made them wealthy.

      • Mary S. Northington August 6, 2011 at 9:37 am #

        Leslie Franklin, THANK YOU ! I was beginning to think I was the only one who recognizes that President Obama is going up hill with a horde of racism monkeys on his back. He can not initiate and produce a solution to every problem that has been plaguing this country for centuries, and certainly not within a three year period. And don’t forget that he is President of the United States, not just the President of Black America. To black complainers: What are YOU doing to help bring about change ? I want to know, too, why the Congressional Black Caucus can’t do more to support and initiate efforts effective toward improving the lot of black people. Then there are the many “prestigious” black organizations that boast their numbers and scope of influence – black religious denominations, black civil rights groups, fraternities and sororities, national and international professional groups, black international social groups, HBCU’s, etc. Put that power together. There are enough, if united, to make as much impact as the so called Tes Party.

  2. ICADATRUTH August 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    “just because you don’t like it, does not mean that it will cease to exist” –Simonism

    We as people of color and people in general need realize and form a separate political party. The refuticans and the dumbocrats are different sides of the same coin. Brother Madison said that “the republicans want to take things away from the black/poor communities and the democrats want to treat them as pets” (paraphasing). I want to add if the “pets” don’t act the way that is expected of them they are scolded and popped on the nose with a newspaper.

  3. omarali81 August 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    i want to vote for him agian, dude got me p***** !

  4. Cheryl August 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Pay Attention just hit the nail on the head. I believe you are losing supporters on this site because of your disapproval that you share with a few other black high profile scholars. You guys sound conservative but you want special hand-outs to African American just because our president is black, or as you may put it “not black enough.” President Obama inherited a mess, along with that mess he inherited a democratic congress that mostly still had Clinton blood running through their veins. Many were not receptive of him even after the Clinton went into their race-baiting attacks. The very weak democratic congress did very little to support him. Dealing
    with the Party of No, Teabaggers, Weak Democratic Congress/Senate/ Educated Blacks Folks and apathetic black Americans that don’t read, don’t get involved with the political process…and most importantly “THEY DID NOT VOTE IN THE 2010 ELECTION” Guess what? the Teabaggers did and now we stand a chance of losing everything to the new KKK., and THEY are not that into you or any other minority
    and/or poor white folks. The 2010 election was crucial…you and others should have been as adamant encouraging African Americans to vote and send President Obama some help. You mentioned any alternative candidates…well in 2008 we had the McCain/Palin ticket…looks like we could have a Bachmann/Perry or Romney candidate… so when it comes down with the problems of African Americans just what do you think will happen if any of the above were in charge? President Obama was elected by the majority of Americans and not just African Americans. Recently you have posted some horrible things that are happening to blacks, and we have a white society that calls the President “BOY’ “Tar Baby” “Muslim” “Sambo” and they never call him President and will call you the same if you were a threat to their agenda…
    yet you guys have to throw fuel onto this racial flame and you doing it as if you really care what happens to your people. We are in deep trouble as a race and a nation and a forum like yours could be used better to encourage unity and a cry to vote the KKK out of Congress/Senate instead of the threat of not voting at all. The rich ones with the jobs are holding America hostage in their effort to defeat President and it is sad that many blacks are joining that fight, when the alternative is far worst than what we have. Shame on you!

    • David2001 August 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Black people and other democrats are not to blame for President Obama failures he is! Obama is forever compromising with a white racist republican enemy that wants to see him fail. That is what got him in the weak position he’s in as president today, not the lack of support from black people. Obama is the lesser evil and that’s the point of the article. Unfortunatelly that’s not saying much about president Obama but he and other democrats white and black realize that black Americans know this fact all to well. Obama has done nothing but spit in the face of Africans Americans who overwhelming supports him.

      When black people raise concerns about the state of many poor black Americans it’s called asking for a handout. All the while the Obama administration made it clear that latino, gay and other so call special interest concerns including white racist teabaggers are on the table. Look how Obama pandered and caved in to republicans with the debt ceiling compromise, before that the Bush tax cuts, before that a public option for universal healthcare. President Obama is his own worst enemy NOT black critics or black voters.

      Unfortunately many blacks went to the polls and voted for Obama simply because he was black and didn’t look beyond his race to his policies. Unfortunately the same way we do for many democrats. IMO Obama never came off as someone who gave a damn about black people. But is president Obama or another democrate better than having a openly racist white conservative republican as president?? Sure, but that aint saying much and at the end of the day Obama and the democrats are nothing more than the lesser evil.

      • Roosevelt Thompson August 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

        I think that black people would be better of with a KKK president
        we would have to Finn for ourselves we would have to think up ways
        and means to produce a living from each other, we have to establish
        trading agreements with our own people. instead of trying to deal with
        other people that care nothing about us that see us only as profit
        exploration. black people need a tax cut, we get that by spending our money
        collectively in the market place, we can take advantage of cheaper by the dozen.
        the dominant society still run on money.we are educated let’s put our mind
        togather and come up with a stratergy to save ourselfs.

    • TriSha August 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      “Recently you have posted some horrible things that are happening to blacks, and we have a white society that calls the President “BOY’ “Tar Baby” “Muslim” “Sambo” and they never call him President and will call you the same if you were a threat to their agenda…” You are 100% correct and it is sad

    • Kathy Clemons August 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

      ABSOLUTELY CHERYL, I agree with you 100%

  5. Bob Lee August 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Start opening ‘apprenticeship’ programs to all under, non, dis proportionate, unemployed people. In this great country of many races and faces, with all the work to be done across the land (due to natural phenomena, and wear and tear on infrastructure) a ‘home grown’ cadre of ‘skilled laborers’ is the only solution.
    Maybe then, American citizens will be able to compete with all the emigrant workers lining our streets for them ‘tax free’ dollars. At lease they (citizens) will spend their money on American businesses, and this will boost the every shrinking American economy.
    Happy Birthday Mr. President, and good luck on that bid for a second term.

    • TriSha August 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

      I thought Pres. Obama stated he will do this work for that very reason from the last election, we still have 1 more yr to find out?

  6. Tula Keti-Koti August 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I am amazed at the naiveté of those who continue to bash Obama. The only president to ever “create” jobs – for anyone, Black or not, was Lyndon Johnson with the Great Society programs. Those days are done. Gone. Caput. The issues this economy faces are deep seated structural issues caused by the Republican administrations prior to Obama. He can’t dig 1000 feet out of the hole, AND build a castle 1000 feet high in ONLY 3 years. No one could. The issue is we didn’t vote in 2010 and let Tea Party folks in, and Republicans gain control of the House. VOTE! Stop pontificating. Get out the vote, control both chambers of commerce and Obama is effective. Fail to vote and there is chaos. That is the issue.

    • NICHOLAS August 6, 2011 at 3:45 am #

      Thank you Tula, you have made a very important observation and gave a clear remody to go with your observation. I think the same thing but you put in clear terms that can be understood by the masses. May I add that the President is not a King, he has to work within the system of government that apprantly few people know or understand or they would do their part as you stated in you comment. Please note that the next President will likely nominate two Justices of the Supreme Court for lifetime terms. If someone is interested in knowing how our government works, a good start would be to visit http://www.trumanlibary.org

    • Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

      Democrats in power during Bush terms. You are Blind and Deaf to the real issues. If you were Laino the Dems would care. Wake UP! Stop blaming Parties and see what is really going on with Harry Reid and company. They dont care about you.

      • Tula Keti-Koti August 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

        Your responses are all emotion. I know – without doubt – that none of them care about me! Or you. Or anyone else on these posts. That is not the issue. “Caring” doesn’t extend beyond your immediate family for the most part. What it is about is dealing with the reality that confronts you. Part of that reality is the political system – we must work it to full extend possible. We must work educational system. We must work every system that confronts us. This doesn’t involve looking to be “cared for.” It is about taking care of yourself – something we had been doing for centuries – but we seem to have forgotten that.

        Even with all that, we’ll still struggle as a people. And that means we have to come up with new things to do…

        As for Latino’s, do you think they are thrilled with the Democrats? I’d say not. Talk to the folks at La Raza.

        To expect Obama to “deliver us to some mythical promised land” is the height of insanity. It doesn’t factor in REALITY. No president can do that. Clearly, the 1st Black president in the history of this country can not do this. The resistance that he faces is real. And as I said, anyone who has been the 1st, only, or outstanding Black/Negro/AfricanAmerican/CaribbeanAm/African knows intimately what he is facing.

        I’m fine with the criticism of the president. Any president in fact. But the name calling from Dr. West, Dr. Boyce and others is uncalled for, and counter-productive. As a former 1st, Only, Outstanding – it was the bizarre hatred and criticism of my own people that was disheartening. Dealing with the racial hatred from whites is old hat at this point. It is expected and I/we manage through that nonsense is done without even thinking about it at this point. But Dr. West questioning Obama’s Blackness is ill! Obama is catching hell for being too Black, so there is no logic at all to Dr. West comment at all. And remember, it only takes One Drop to have too much Black..

        holla if ya hear me!

  7. Pay_Attention August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    It is a known fact that the best way to defeat your enemy is to divide your enemy. That’s why there was a time where black folks didn’t criticize each other in front of non-black folks. That was done in private. And that’s when Black Unity was making huge strides in the black community.

    It pains me to see high profile blacks be scathing towards the president. This is a game of chess, and the president isn’t playing this game alone. But when a quarterback has weak people guarding his plays, it changes the way he plays the game.

    Who in the Democratic Party is fighting hard & scoring points, playing offense? The ReThuglicans are on the offensive right now. They are players in this game, and even fighting dirty when they have to. We just sit back & dodge punches. We don’t throw any punches.

    But in a nutshell, some of the negative energy towards the president should be redirected to encourage positive momentum. The Tea Party is making ReThuglicans listen. Democrats can also use their voice to be heard, but in a way that doesn’t cause division.

    • David2001 August 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      It’s kind of hard to criticize politicians who are black like president Obama in private…especially when he’s ignoring you.

      • Pay_Attention August 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

        I agree, it’s hard to criticize politicians in private. I guess the point I was trying to make is that most black folk want our president to succeed, but we don’t have access to him. So other things must be done to get our voices heard.

        The Tea Party held rally’s, and promoted politicians that shared their views. Now they have political power. Black folk used to have nonviolent rallies, to make sure their message was heard. It also promoted unity.

        Criticism can come in many forms, and doesn’t need to be divisive. Black folks have never progressed by being divided.

      • David2001 August 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

        The only thing that promoted unity with the tea party was their racial hatred of the first black president. The one thing missing from their rallies were white hoods. As much as black people have suffered in this country hatred of whites has never been a rallying cry for us to come together. So the tea (kkk) party is not a good example for black Americans but I understand what you are saying.

        Black leaders and black polictians are two different beings. Politicians are paid by the tax payers and should be criticized as loudly as possibles regardless of race. They are not black leaders. I would say black people publicly criticizing black leaders and the general black population is divisive, feed into white racism and weaken us. I wish someone had told this to president Obama who gave a father’s day speech trashing black males and has publicly given speeches about moral values in black communities…but not white communities. This was done purely for political reasons to appeal to white supporters. So much for not publicly criticizing each other. Apparently president Obama didn’t get the memo.

        I do agree to certain extent about the negative nature of black people publicly criticizing each other. A good example of this type of destructive criticism was Bill Cosby bigoted rants against the black poor and of course president Obama’s many speeches chastising the black poor. But for black politicians they are no different than whites in many ways. A lot of the issues facing blacks inner cities are not being dealt with because we didn’t hold black politicians accountable. It’s dangerous to give any politician a free pass by letting them know in advance they will never be publicly criticized if elected. That IMO weakens our political strength because there is nothing to hold them accountable.

        In his frist two years in office president Obama wanted nothing to do with black organizations just like former president Bush. But IMO the actions of president Obama was worst. Unlike president Bush, Obama had over 95% of black people and black organizations support and he still shun our concerns.

        You said in a eailer comment:

        “Who in the Democratic Party is fighting hard & scoring points, playing offense?”

        Certainly not President Obama. He has just about caved into every demand of a teabag controlled republican party. Being President would make him the team leader and he’s not leading the team.

  8. Anonymous August 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I don’t care what anyone say these white men should say they are sorry in front of the whole world on tv or how can the world move forward when the white house has bigger problems as well. U want to talk about the poor and about the blacks not knowing how to act well i feel they can no longer point the finger at anyone because our politicians are just has wrong and they should know better but seen that our Pres is black they feel that have the right to disrespect them which not and it only show us that the devil is still working hard to keep us slaves even if we do have a Black President which is Obama.com

  9. Anonymous August 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Time for the black race to march again and keep marching until everythng is rite around the whole table of life.com!

  10. Regg'e August 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    OK already. Those dissatisfied, would you like the President you had the previous 8 years to President Barack. Come on, be honest. You can put your senseless pride aside with that senseless position you’re harboring. Let’s get real for a change.

    • Blkpanther August 5, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      That’s we have in Obama…He keep most of Bush’s cabinet people including Robert Gates Defense Sect, Gitmo is still open, we’re in a police state where we’re watched and checked, check the extension of the 9/11 FISA bill he signed a four year estension on while in Paris earlier this year…This bill authorized law enforcement to pick up any US citizens and put you in jail indefinitely without reading you your rights, or giving you access to an attorney; he can also target you for assissination if he(Obama) deem you to be an enemy combatant, without affording you legal juris prudence, so yes he’s worse that his white cousins Bush & Cheney…It’s not better being knifed in the back by a black man versus a white, you still have a knife plunged in your back…With white people we expect this time of evil behavior from them, it will hurt a lot more being done by our own kind because we expect a lot more compassion from our own, in this case our trust was misplaced in this puppet in the WH…

  11. Blkpanther August 5, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    I will not be supporting President Obama for 2012…I have seen the ratcheting up of the disrespect, racist remarks, and all out hostility we have been receiving as a people as a result of us electing this man who will not defend himself or black people…I have not seen him shown any leadership and or stand up for himself or black people as a whole…What does raising the debt ceiling and SSN/Medicare/Medicaid have to do with this financial crisis? Absolutely nothing, he allowed himself to be pigeon holed into negotiating away the safety net for most poor people who will not get that “Golden Parachute” when they retire…

    No jobs have been created, but he don’t mind using taxpayers money to fly back to Chitown on 8/3 for a 35.8K a plate fundraiser, who do you think he will listen to, the 35.8K check writer or you@$25? I see this big sell off on Wall St with the stock market and the theft of millions in taxpayers retirement income, these are the same people he’s always pandering to, while allowing them to keep their tax breaks and hide their income in offshore accounts…This is why there’s no revenue, if you’re not taking in taxes then there will no income to balance a budget or fund anything…Social Security is self funded and has nothing to do with budget cuts or the debt ceiling and should not have been put on the table…

    I see Gitmo is still open, Eric Holder is not doing anything about racial profiling, police brutality, (Shawn Bell, Oscar Grant) and yet everyone wants to talk about the first African American President…He has time to pander to the Gays/Lesbians with don’t ask don’t tell; Latinos with the Dream Act and A US Supreme Court appointment; Jews also got a Supreme court appt and their guarantee 3 billion of American taxpayers money to construct an apartheid state; Women (mainly white women) got their Lilly Ledbetter Act for fair pay, while blacks are paid an average of .15cents less per dollar than white women…We supported this president with 95% our votes, while he only received 43% of the white votes, that means 57% of them voted for McCain/Palin and you want to question why we’re mad as hell and will not take it anymore?

    We’re going to be in a position when the next white president, which there will be one, gets into office and we ask him to do for us what we don’t want to ask this black president to do, he tell us to get the hell out his face and ask us why did we not ask “the black president” for what we’re asking him to do and we will deserve it…We are treating this man as if he’s some rock star, while he ignores us as if we have STD…What the hell will it take to get you people to wake the hell up? We’re in a worst financial position than we’ve been in since reconstruction, except there are no plantations, but prisons for us to go to…

  12. Harold I. Brown August 5, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    When Mr. Obama was campaigning, he told us that the problems would not be solved in 4 years and maybe not in 8 years. Now as far as Black scholars being disatisfied with Mr. Obama, who really cares. If they don’t have the “common sense” to see that the House is the main problem then all they have done is wasted an education. I am a 65 year old junior in college and though some of my teachers would have me believe that academia is the only way to go, I disagree. The reason that the Tea Party got so many new members in 2010 was the rich backing and the usual lack of Black voting at the polls. I am tired of blaming the White man for everything. We as a race won’t go to school, won’t believe in or trust in God like our fore fathers, won’t vote, won’t support true Black leaders, but will complain all the time. WAKE UP, racism will NEVER stop in this country or in the world. As long as people ae people and love self, some idiot will thin that they are better than someone else. God bless Mr. Obama for his efforts. Pray for him and pray for the “uncle Tom” idiots that that they have “arrived” beacuse they are considered “scholars.” In the eyes of a large part of White society all of us including you are still “N—–s”. Get off your high horse and pray and work together.

    • Blkpanther August 6, 2011 at 11:38 am #

      Believing in the white man’s god, praying and singing did not keep our ancestors out the bottom of slave ships or prevent the white man from murdering, lunching, or being the original Al Qaeda terrorist to blacks and other people of color, so get the fuck over yourself…Getting a formal education from a school system designed and constructed by white supremacy to teach you to be nothing but a slave working for them is not only stupid, but ignorant…I know more people who have a better education without entering and wasting money to be taught bullshit, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad and Marcus Garvey are some of our illustrious ancestors who have done just that with less than a HS diploma…Voting will not get black people out of the slump we’re in, becoming economically self-sufficient as we were when we were segregated, will go much further than pulling a lever to put someone into office who’s biggest money backers of their campaigns are corporations, and who go into office poor and leave out millionaires…
      “If you don’t understand racism what it is and how it works, everything that you think you understand will only confuse you” Neely Fuller.. If you want to believe that racism white supremacy is not permeated into everything in this society, then you’re a damn idiot…White people came up with the racial cataloging of people, they determine who’s black or white, so if you want to bury your head in the sand hoping it will go away, then you’re delusional…Criticism is needed when we have politicians who are behaving like rock stars and are behaving as though we have STD’s and will not come next to or be associated with black people, except during election season…We have the most black politicians than we’ve ever had in our lives, yet black people are in the worst conditions that we’ve been in since reconstructions, so no behaving like Obama is the second coming of Jesus Christ and he’s above criticism while we have the highest unemployment, homelessness, and Obama will not even recognize the people who supported him with 95% of our votes, is not only stupid, but down right idiotic…

  13. David VanWilliams August 5, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    It does not matter who is The President of The U.S.. What matters is Our Actions. When we are Active, we get Results. When we are In-Active, we are DisRespected. The Republicans won The House of Representatives in 2010 because The Tea Party was Active. Its Simple we need a Mass Movement of Black Activist. We need a Movement that is Smart, Vocal and Addresses The Needs of Black People. We are Smarter than this. Its Time for The Educated Black People to Realize that they are Only as Strong as The Weakest Link among Us. STOP The Madness. We can do This. Watch Bham, AL., with a few Good People from around The Country, Major Change took Place Here Once Before. WE can Do It Again. PEACE!

  14. Anonymous August 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    WIth the agenda for change strategy that BO presented, common sense would dictate that two terms would be necessary to fully carry out the plan. AA’s want it to happen overnight. We won’t state the years of obvious historical crap that occurred against people of color. Positive thinking would therefore direct you to be patient and wait until possibly June 2013 and hope for the coming Black agenda. He would have several years to address AA concerns without worrying about white america attempting to politically take him out. Sadly, the ignorant of us would want him to go out there at present Samuel L Jackson style and achieve nothing. He would make alot of noise, but nothing could seriously be accomplished with America. Now, when he brings it 2013 it may require that he give his speeches on roller skates with full body armour….? Let’s stay the course and support.

    • AllAmerican August 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Why are you giving so much support to President Obama when he’s not giving any to you? He threw in Social Security for cuts without even being asked, never mind fight for Social Security. Why must we wait? I’m aware that he’s a black man but that in itself doesn’t make him the best man for the job or the only person that can get the job done FOR US! We need to stop harping on having a Black President and do what is best for us as a people. I too voted for President Obama and I hate to say it but I will, I did it because I wanted a Black President. If it had been anybody else in office then we would not have been so silent and supporting and ultimately being taken for granted.

  15. Roger Madison August 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Dr. Watkins,
    I am disappointed that you have joined many other commentators in offering “non-solutions” to the distress we all feel over the effectiveness of President Obama. It appears to me that most Black commentators simply ignore the political reality that he faces.
    I am not suggesting that we give him a pass, or cut him some slack, or excoriate him as a “Wall Street Puppet” as Dr. Cornel West has done. In most of the commentaries that I have seen, there are endless recommendations about what “he must do” as if the single action in 2008 was sufficient for us to gain a great leap forward. My view is that “we have not done enough to support him” so that he can be a stronger advocate for our situation. What I mean is that 98% of the Black vote in a Presidential election is not enough.

    The Tea Party response to Obama was to send 87 new members of Congress to the House of Representatives in 2010. So, now the Tea Party Caucus is larger than the Congressional Black Caucus, and as a result, they have a greater influence on outcomes. Where were we when we lost all those Democratic seats to the Tea Party? How can we expect Obama to fight for our cause when we are not fighting and winning every day? Every election? My simple response to those who complain about the outcomes is this:

    Please explain to me how to get 60 votes in the Senate for a different outcome than what Obama has achieved? The answer is no more complicated than that.

    We can have an effect on votes in the House of Representatives, and we should form the necessary coalitions at the local level to help develop a stronger Congressional Black Caucus. At the moment they are practically impotent. Then we can have the leverage needed to impact the national agenda. One election does not usher in the change we seek.

  16. Pudding August 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Dr. Boyce: Instead of sitting on your lazy ass criticizing, what are you doing to HELP our first black President ? You never miss an opportunity to bash him. Hell, you create opportunities to try to bring him down and to convince other blacks to diss him also. Sometimes I wonder if the Republicans are paying you to drum up discontent with him in the African American community in order to help their chance of taking back the White House in 2012. You constantly harp on how he hasn’t done this or that or that he is a coward or too weak. Well, what the hell have YOU done ? You are all about Monday morning quarterbacking, but I haven’t heard any viable alternatives for black folk coming from you.

    We all know that President Obama will be the Democratic candidate in 2012. Are you suggesting that black folk vote Republican or sit out the vote in protest, ensuring a Republican victory ? Is that your solution to the problem ? Well, if it is the I KNOW you are being paid to solicit that kind of reaction in the black neighborhood. And for you to suggest that blacks wouldn’t fair any worse under Republican leadership is just plain IGNORANT ! Since I find it hard to believe that even you are not that dumb, I am becoming even more convinced that you are being compensated to poison the minds of African Americans against President Obama.

    Your logic is so full of holes that Stevie Wonder could see through it. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but you have devoted so much time and energy to knocking the President at every opportunity that it is not far fetched to think that you have an ulterior motive (other than your obvious jealousy) to keep kicking his back in with African Americans. This is probably just another one of the dirty tricks that compose the litany of vile and disgusting lengths that Republicans will use to get back in office and the level that blacks will sometimes sink in order to make a dollar.

    I find you despicable but I will keep reading and posting to this blog. I will make it my business to call you out every time you use this forum to diss our President and I will remind folk what your true motives are. I curse you and I hope God punishes you for the unacceptable and disgusting things you are doing to President Obama and, in the process, to our black community.

    • AllAmerican August 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      It’s not about President Obama honey, it’s about us. Dr. Boyce is not the only person saying that President Obama is either weak when it comes to fighting for the poor and black in this country. Personally, I believe that President Obama has another agenda all together. He does not value the Black vote because he knows he’s got that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans helped him to be elected because they knew that then there would be less opposition from the Black community.

      BTW, the issue is not about President Obama and him having a 2nd term. It’s about US. What’s best for US? Whether it’s because he faces increased opposition because he’s black, or maybe it’s because he doesn’t fight, in the end it’s the outcome that matters. WE NEED TO WIN SOMETIME!

    • Getagrip August 8, 2011 at 6:30 am #

      LOL! You’re funny. It’s amazing how much rage people have for people they’ve never met simply because they have a different outlook on policy. What’s even more amazing are these ride-or-die, I’ll take a bullet for Obama black folks who get bent out of shape when someone says his tie is crooked who would rather fight every critic than to take a moment to respect the legitimacy of the criticism. Maybe you didn’t listen to the video clip. Maybe you just live with your head in the sand. But the discussion was about Obama’s poor negotiation skills and how he was out-manuevered by republicans. That’s real talk. It’s not because of the lie that black folk didn’t get out and vote in mid-terms. This ain’t our fault and we ain’t taking the blame. The fact is they out-smarted him. Turns out that line “he’s playing chess not checkers” in the Obamite playbook is wrong. Turns out he’s playing tic tak toe and he’s losing at that.

      And what’s this obsession with making every black man with an independent opinion different than the Obamite stance an operative of the republican party. There’s plenty of dissatisfaction among black folks already without the repubs having to spend a cent. Anytime the republican leaders can walk away saying “I got 98% of what I wanted” we should naturally be pissed off. With tax cuts for the rich, ongoing wars, and horrific budget cuts that hurt the poor, Obama is doing a lot more for the repubs than Boyce Watkins can ever do writing a blog.

      Instead of steaming over Dr. Watkin’s comments, figure out how we can convince black folks with no job, a foreclosed house and not a pot to piss in why they should head to the polls come 2012 to support this guy. Don’t bother asking me what I’m doing. I don’t have to qualify my vote with any social action. All I have to do is vote (or not vote). We worry too much about Obama’s well-being. If it’s 2012 or 2016 when he leaves the WH, he’ll be okay. He’ll make more doing a 20 minute speech than most people make in 5 years. We need to be concerned about ourselves and our own communities since the president isn’t.

  17. crispusokereke@aol.com August 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    I am one of those Black men who have been utterly disappointed with President Obama and his administration. My disappointment is so raw that I am contemplating on the hope that a Democratic challenger would emerge from within the Democratic base. But upon thinking about the issues he has to grapple with, I have come to the conclusion that I will vote for Obama again in 2012 – evethough I am a registered Republican – because of what Mitch McConnell, the minority leader in the US Senate, Dick Cheyney, the former do-nothing Vice President, and Rush Limbaugh, the garrulous Republican mouth piece said. McConnell and Cheyney, at the early stages of the Obama admnistration made it abundantly clear that what they will be living for, until the next Presidential election would be to make sure that Obama is a one term President. Limbaugh in his babbleness, said that he wishes Obama to fail in his presidency. He made no bones about such obviously irresponsible and anti conservative statement. So putting two and two together, it is not quite surprising about what the President is going through, when it comes passing major legislations. It is not impossible to think along the lines that Cheyney, the great greedy “oilman” may himself have a hand in the dizzying and utterly disturbing prices in the gas pumps. And I remain fervent in my belief that these men and their cohorts would have liked the death of Osama Ben Ladin to have occurred under a totally different circumstance that would have given the President credit for a task which the Bush/Cheyney ticket could not accomplish.

  18. Anonymous August 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Unless President Obama changes his “kitchen cabinet”, that is those persons who feed him information I’m afraid his presidency will go down in history as one of the worst for Blacks. It’s hard to continue to support someone who appears to repeat the same mistakes. President Obama should surround himself with a different set of advisors, that is those persons who understand and are more sensitive to the Black experience. What about those of us who attended historically black colleges and universities? Harvard, Yale and Princeton are not the only institutions that produce scholars and experts.
    Alice W.

  19. AllAmerican August 5, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Why should I support President Obama when he’s ignoring and not supporting me. He is a Black man and we are black people that have lived most of our lives in America, we know the deal. He wanted that job! He’s not concerned about doing anything for black people because he knows he’s got us. He doesn’t have to campaign for/to us. He got us! Democrats and Republicans are pretty much the same. Obama has been weak and unsuccessful in providing for the poor in our society. Stop thinking so much about Obama and think of ourselves. Obama put Social Security on the table for cuts before anybody even asked for them, there was no fight. He is not the best for us and I am not voting for him again.
    Black people should have had an answer to the Tea Party. Why don’t we get together and form a party that will fight for issues that we want addressed. We’re just as much an American as they are. The Gay Rights organizations supported Obama, yet never stopped fighting for what they wanted, and they’re succeeding. We’re not fighting because we think that by fighting for what we want we are fighting Obama, we would just be making ourselves heard and not being taken for granted.

  20. AllAmerican August 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    People please stop concerning yourselves so much about the welfare of President Obama and think about us. It’s not helping your children, your grandmother, to have a “Black President” if that president is not supporting or addressing issues that benefit you and your family. It really doesn’t matter if Rush Limburgh, or whoever said he wanted to make Obama a one term President. The resistance to Obama has been great, but he is a Black man who has lived most of his life in America, he knew the deal and he wanted the job. The point I’m trying to make is that we have to do what is best for us. Obama has failed us! So many people are saying that he puts up no fight and he doesn’t. He offered up cuts to Social Security without even being asked, forget fight. That is a very crucial issue that does affect many older black people. Social Security already doesn’t pay that much and our older black people don’t have stock options, 401K, etc. They were maids, look out for grandma and not Obama. He’s gonna be alright.

  21. Tula August 6, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    It’s not just the Tea Party. Black President has upset the natural order! Just like first Black baseball player, first Black in the neighborhood, first Black corporate officer. The game has changed from let’s find a way to solve the country’s problems, to as Mitch McConnell so eloquently said “my number one objective is to make Obama a one term president.” What do you think the debt ceiling nonsense was all about? Now S&P has downgraded the US credit rating to AA+ with a negative outlook – this will send world economy into even more mess. Now the question is why? Why hurt your own country with this move? Why?

    So to expect Obama to focus solely on Black unemployment is naive. He HAS to be president of the whole country since they don’t want him to be president at all. Surely, you’ve been the First Black, the Outstanding Negro, or the Only Negro before…at least once right? Push him, demand from him, but understand what this man is up against…you too Dr. B – your the damn economist!

    • Roger Madison August 6, 2011 at 4:26 am #

      Well said, Tula. Our President is up against forces few of us can imagine. Like the Star Trek theme, “He is going where no man has gone before.”

      I personally will work harder to get him re-elected, as well as campaign for more Democratic candidates in my community to support him. He needs a sstorng crew. He cannot lead this nation alone.

    • David2001 August 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      President Barrack Obama and EVERY politician knows what their getting into by running for president. Those who blindly follow the president without criticism can’t cry now that he has too much on his plate to give a damn about the people (black) who gave him 95% of their vote. No one owes this or any president to accept some excuse of “what he’s up against”. Part of the deal of being PRESIDENT or any elected official is you support your base that got you elected. Not shun and disrespect them the way this president has. Latinos, gays, working and middle class whites and even racist teabaggers who didn’t even vote for him expect their concerns to be address and not ignored the way he does black people.

      President Obama has clearly made black people a low priority compared to other so call special interest groups. Certainly the state of this country and the world economy is paramount. That’s why it’s so unimaginable that president Obama has given in to the same republicans who made it clear on national TV that their priority is to see him fail and become a one term president. This is why president Obama should have listen to and supported his democratic base agenda when he first got elected and democrats controlled both houses for the first two years of his presidency. But instead President Obama pandered and gave in to Mitch McConnell and the republicans who made it clear to him and America they wanted to see him fail by being the party of “no”…even if it destroyed this country’s economy. The weak position the president is in is of his own doing..not black voters and critics of him.

      Many of president Obama’s supporters spend a lot of time criticize his critics. Boyce Watkins, Connell West and other black scholars are not being paid by the tax payers to represent voters. We didn’t vote for them. Unlike elected officials like the president they made no promises to solve our economic problems. I voted for and support the president but like Boyce Watkins and others I refuse to blindly support this president or any elected official without question. That’s how this country got into this economic mess, because republican supporters didn’t want to criticize the Bush administration and other republicans in both houses for 8 years.

      • Tula Keti-Koti August 9, 2011 at 6:05 am #

        Again, I’m fine with anyone criticizing the President. What I oppose is the childish name calling and disrespectful race baiting that occurs. Obama ain’t a real brother and similar silliness has no place here.

        Get this – ain’t no way in the world that he don’t know that he is Black with all the hell he is catching. As someone who has lived that life for the last 30 years – he hasn’t forgotten anything and in fact it is clearer than it has EVER been. Black, colored, Negro, and worse…..he knows.

        Now, the ability to change ALL that is wrong with the US in 3 years, simply ain’t there. Doesn’t matter who you put in that job. And more importantly, the populace – that is us- got complacent and let the Republicans gain control of the House – thus the gridlock you have now. Take a look at the enemy – he/she/it is “us”….

  22. Chas August 6, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    We sound like a confused people wandering in the wilderness. It was taught to us long ago to build your own schools, hospitals and business. Regardless of who is president this is not our country and until we keep our families together, stop spending foolishly and figure out who we are as a people we will never make it. We get so easily distracted by the media that care less about our plight that we debate each other as to what is best for us. Whether we read a political article or get involved is pointless. We have been involved since the day we arrived here, The problem is to many people are talking the same old game while we continue to self destruct. If we don’t care what happens to our people then no one else will. WE MUST STOP LOOKING FOR A HANDOUT and build our nation on the foundation of dignity and respect. President Obama was boxed in the day he became president. The deficit and taxing the wealthy, come on Black America get real.

  23. Blkpanther August 6, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Obama was selected before he was elected and put into office to do exactly what he’s doing now, dessimate the economy to a point that we’ll beg for exactly what the corporate elites have in mind, a one world economy while destroying this country for their personal greed…I have not seen Obama in DC, Philly, Detroit, Newark, NJ, NYC or even his hometown of Chicago, addressing the high black unemployment in those cities; instead he’s always heading to middle America sucking up to white people who only supported him with 43% of their votes while blacks gave him 95%…I see him like all politicians black and white, these black face Sambos only come around when whitey put them in their places and remind them they’re still niggers, then they want to rally the black base to come to their aid…We have got to stop being reactionary and allowing ourselves to be used as attack dogs against white people only when the call comes from one of these high priced nigger slaves, sometimes that’s exactly what they are the white man’s niggers…Al Sharpton is one of them, he has changed his tune from activist, champion of civil rights and is now used to numb the black community, while he Sharpton keeps going in and out the white house and he has not put forth anything addressing black people’s high unemployment and high foreclosures…

    Sharpton is a millionaire, making his money off the management of the sufferings of black people who foolishly send in their donations to his organization for this man to live better than them…He sent his children to private white high schools and he paid outright for their education @ Temple and Hampton respectively, while most of us still have college loans ten years after college, because this great education gimmick lie did not pan out to the lucrative careers for us to afford to pay off those loans…It’s time we start looking out for ourselves and stop looking or calling on these pimps for our leadership and aid; look around the other ethnic communities do you see them having one person out front leading them somewhere? No, we’re the only ones with the Moses leading us to the promise land mentality, which we need to get over…We can do it for ourselves and don’t need some sambo, well dressed blacks to disrupt our movement…

  24. Roger Madison August 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Recently I heard a cliche’, “Life is a metaphor.” The theory is that the complexity of the human condition results in nothing being as simple as it seems — hence, everything is a metaphor for somthing else.

    So, the negotiations that Obama has been having with the Republican opposition is really a metophor for something else. When we hear stements like, “Let’s take back America”; or “Don’t tax the job creators”; or”Remove the regulations that create uncertainty for businesses”; or “Regulations are strangling capital investment in the USA” — what do these really mean? And how should Obama negotiate with a policy narrative that says, “No new taxes or revenue increases, because we can save our way to prosperity by reducing benefts for those who are not ‘job creators’.” About these things, the Republican opposition — including the Tea Party — are in unison.

    The narratives that Obama has been negotiating against — almost alone, without unified support from the Domocratic Party — are placing him in a losing position at the outset. What are the narratives from the Democratic Party that represent his negotiation position? Blacks want targeted job programs; progressives want a ‘Public Option’ and immediate withdrawal from Iraq and afghanistan to pay for their entitlements; consumer advocates want more regulation of Wall Street and banks. The only thing all of them agree on is “Don’t cut Social Security now. It doesn’t affect the current deficits.” Everything else is fluid.

    So Obama goes into nearly every negotiation with strong headwinds against him, and a crew in disarray on deck (or maybe below deck) to weather the storm. The way the narrative always ends is “Obama got the best deal he could get — on their terms.”

    And yes, the mid-term elections had a lot to do with his negotiating position. Those of us who support Obama, must also support candidates at local levels in mid-term elections who can provide a narrative that reflects our views. It is one thing to complain from the sidelines that Obama caved, but where is the support (even when there were majorities in both houses of congress) like what we are seeing from the Tea Party? Obama’s natural approach — the rising tide lifts all boats approach — leaves him vulnerable to attack. But the fact remains that 60 votes in the Senate are needed for anything to happen, and the opposition has used this leverage to block nearly everything.

    We should criticize, but also do our part. For me, I will be out knocking on doors, registering voters, and manning the telephones to get out the vote for Democratic candidates to support our Presidential candidate in 2012. I don’t have money to give, but my vote is solid gold.

  25. FASBLAQUE September 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Once again Africans in America find themselves seeking to fulfill their shattered dreams utilzing a system that was designed to enslave them and once again we find ourselves touting that same rationale of voting for the lesser of the two evils! A lesser of the two evils? Evil is evil. Dr. John Henrik Clark said it, there is no solution to European solutions to African problems! Why can’t we accept that! The Democratic and Republican parties are owned, bought and paid for by the corporations. This is an oligarchy. What are we debating here? How long do we have to suffer before we turn wholeheartedly to ourselves for the solutions to our problems. Obama is no different – he is a part of the ruling party strategy for the final takeover of gov’t and to privatize everything moving. By putting Obama in office the ruling elite check mated minorities who longed for breaking down the Presidential barrier. In doing so, we have become mute when it comes to the “first black American President”. On the other end of the spectrum the election of a black president has added fuel to a right wing party looking for the right “racist” galvanizing specter to continue to force Obama to constantly step to the right in his positions. What we are left with is as Naomi Klein calls it, “Shock Capitalism” where the ruling class uses both parties to introduce extreme measures to dismantle unions, living wages, gov’t regulations, etc. Stop the feel good euphoria about a black man in the White House…let’s get down to doing business for ourselves through organinzing and building a world where our children can thrive and live! Do for SELF!!!!!!

  26. Roger Madison September 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Dr. Watkins, I read your commentary and I have one point of observation, and one recommendation for the Black electorate.

    First, you state:
    “While one can quite readily argue that the Republican Party has not yet provided a viable alternative to President Obama for the African American community, it’s hard to argue that they would be much worse. A 30-year reversal of the racial wealth gap and 16.2 percent unemployment are tough feats to match, so at best, we can only argue that Republicans would take things from “horrible” to “absolutely devastating” within the African American community.”

    This seems to me to fail to acknowledge who is responsible for that 30-year reversal. It is not the Obama administration. The collapse of the house of cards wasaccelerated by Republican actions over the past 10 years. When the game collapsed, the rich (supported by Republican policies) took their money and left. What Obama inherited was a train wreck with a Republican militia firing assault weapons at the rescuers while the culprits ran away with the loot. So, of course there is no Republican alternative. But Obama is not responsible alone for the poor options left to Black voters.

    What black Obama supporters need to do is take a page from Michelle Bachman’s stump speech. She says, “We need to elect 13 Republican Senators to create a filibuster-proof Republican Senate to repeal everything that Obama has enacted.”

    Our task is similar. We need to win 26 seats in the House, and 9 seats in the Senate to give our President the support to act as boldly as we are demanding that he do. The Republicans will not compromise, so the ball is in our court to forge whatever alliances needed to gain a super majoirty in the Senate and win back a simple majority in the House. Then we will give Black Americans the “clout” as well as a reason to support President Obama.

    Any other plan is a failure to face reality. Can you count to 60?

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