During a recent interview with Black Enterprise, President Barack Obama was asked about some of the criticism he’s received for allegedly not doing enough to support black businesses. In response to the question, the president had this to say:
“My general view has been consistent throughout, which is that I want all businesses to succeed. I want all Americans to have opportunity. I’m not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America, but the programs that we have put in place have been directed at those folks who are least able to get financing through conventional means, who have been in the past locked out of opportunities that were available to everybody. So, I’ll put my track record up against anybody in terms of us putting in place broad-based programs that ultimately had a huge benefit for African American businesses.”
The president’s remarks reflect a consistent perception that there are members of the African American community who expect too much of the Obama Administration. The portrayal is that they are demanding that Obama re-paint the White House black and put a picture of Malcolm X on the front door. The president is absolutely correct that he has to be sure to serve all of his constituents, not just the black ones. That point has been duly noted and consistently reiterated by both the Obama Administration and all of its surrogates in the African American community.
The concern about the president’s remarks is that he has actually forgotten one undeniable truth: Mr. Obama, you ARE the president of black America, in addition to being the president of white America, Jewish America, Gay/Lesbian America and all the other groups that came together to form the melting pot that broke their backs to put you into office. The “I am not just here for black folks” defense certainly excludes you from having to spend a disproportionate amount of time looking out for black interests, but it does not exclude you from the responsibility to treat the black community with the same degree of legitimacy as every other group that is being consistently patronized by the White House.
Read the rest of this article by Dr. Boyce Watkins on ThyBlackman.com