The “Black Agenda” pushes mainstream U.S. politics toward the left. President Barack Obama knows that. That’s why he never directly addresses the specific interests of the national Black community.
Without apology, the Black Agenda calls for more public spending on employment, housing, public education and for other basic human services. And this means more taxes on the filthy rich. This is what it is: a redistribution of wealth through taxation.
In the framework of the national Democratic Party, where most Black voters are registered, the interests of the Black community are, largely, on the far left. In contrast, Obama’s politics are clearly center-right on the Democratic Party spectrum. His track record on domestic and foreign affairs says loud and clear that he does not belong to, or wish to belong to, the progressive wing of the party.
Obama must be situated within the spectrum of the Democratic Party because that’s where he belongs. That absolute nonsense we often hear that Obama, of all people, is a “socialist” obviously comes from some right- wing imbeciles who must be high on something they had at a tea party.
Obama has the politics and the propensity of Blue Dog Democrats to “compromise”–rollover–with the GOP. The president is quick to compromise because he sympathizes with Republican Party politics.
The key issues in the Black Agenda would benefit the vast majority of U.S. citizens, and this has always been true. By dismissing these issues as only benefitting Black people, the center-right Obama ad- ministration has been able to largely ignore these critical problems altogether.
At the present moment, poverty is a major U.S. crisis that Obama has, at best, only mentioned in passing. If Obama addressed the specifics of African-American urban poverty, he would have to go further and address U.S. poverty both in general and in particulars. Native American poverty and Latino poverty are prime examples in the latter category.
When asked about spe- cific issues in the African- American community, the president has, on occasion, dismissed them with the backhand snipe that he is the president of the United States–not the president of Black America.
With that punch line, the first Black president of the United States has established a major precedence in U.S. race relations. For example, the next time NAACP President Ben Jealous criticizes New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg for the city’s infamous “stop-and-frisk” policy, Bloomberg can follow the Obama precedence and retort he is the mayor of New York City and not the mayor of Black New York.
This snide remark may come back to haunt Obama. His evasion of the Black Agenda will not by any means appease those many, many white folks who innately oppose Black people. They are also the post-racial white folks who are the first and last to shout, “We elected a Black president when foreign critics complained about ongoing U.S. racism!” Come January 2017, when there will be a post-Obama White House, they can also be counted on to say that Obama evaded attacking racism head-on while he was in office.
His “I’m not the president of Black America” statement may come to epitomize his presidential legacy and major contribution to U.S. race relations.
The Obama administration’s response to the Black Agenda must also be understood in the context of the widely reported changing demographics of the U.S. population. The establishment is horning its strategy to maintain the status quo.
Should Hillary Clinton win the White House in 2016, look for her to tell women’s rights advocates that she is the president of the United States and not the president of the National Organization for Women.
On some fine day in the not too distinct future, the United States will send to the White House its first Latino president. And the president will tell the Latino community that he or she is the president of the U.S.A. and not the president of La Raza.
In both cases, the objective will be to prevent mainstream U.S. politics from moving toward more equity, democracy and justice.That is also what the Obama administration’s response to the Black Agenda is all about.