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We MUST Understand

By Roy Douglas Malonson, Chairman

The country’s first Black president is approaching the last quarter of his sixth year in the Oval Office and the glaring question still remains: What has President Barack Obama done for Black people?

As soon as people ask this question, the usual politically correct responses by some in our community are, “He’s not the President of Black people, he’s the President of the United States of America” or “We can’t expect for him to just  address our issues because he’s Black.”

We MUST Understand this clearly: Since he’s been in office, President Obama has not hesitated when it comes to addressing the plight of others. So why is there an issue when we talk about his lack of effort in addressing the issues of our communities? Don’t we have a right to do so?

Let’s not forget, mostly Black people also stood in line for hours and hours to secure his win over  Hilary Clinton. Our people came out by the thousands at countless venues to cheer him on. Our people gave their hard earned dollars as well to contribute to his campaign.

Although I was under no illusion, but the majority of our people believed that his slogan “Change We Can Believe In” was going to be made a reality and would improve our condition. When he was elected, many hoped that we would be joining hands as one big happy melting pot family, ushering in the “post-racial” era. Some of us thought that the color of our skin would no longer be an issue since one of our own would be sworn into the highest office in the land.

We have received a wake up call and We MUST Understand that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. As Malcolm X said, we’ve been “Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!”

During President  Obama’s 2008 campaign, the media resurfaced a 2003 sermon by his former pastor Jeremiah Wright wherein he was heavily critical of the corruptness, hypocrisy and laws of the U.S. Government.

In that sermon, Rev. Wright said in part, “And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian decent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese decent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African decent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no. Not “God Bless America”; God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God Damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!”

Rev. Wright did not lie. He told the truth. However, President Obama did a speech in Philadelphia in March 2008 in response to this video that appeared to be an attempt by his opposition to derail his presidential run.

He said, “The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of White and Black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.”

Well, Mr. Obama, six years and more grey hairs later, the harsh reality is that the euphoria has worn off. He looks like he’s ready to turn in the keys to the White House. He can barely get any policies passed with facing opposition and vitriol. He and his family have been racially attacked from day one. It only proves that no matter how high we go up, White society still only sees one thing: Black skin.

Nothing has changed much in America, let alone for Black people. We’re still treated like three-fifths of a human being, unjustly gunned down, unemployed, leading in most negative health statistics, and more.

That change we can believe in will only come from us doing it ourselves. Not from the White House on Pennsylvania Ave.