Agree or Disagree: Having A Black President Makes It Harder to Address Racial Issues


But there is some concern that in Obama’s efforts to transcend race and unite the country, the African-American community could inadvertently lose political clout in determining crucial social-policy issues — from education to healthcare — vital to its well-being.

“What was the price of Obama’s election? In part, it was that we can no longer talk about race explicitly around national policy issues, or at least [Obama] can’t, without being accused of playing identity politics,” says Eddie Glaude, professor at the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. “So the question is then: How do African-American communities engage issues in light of their particular experiences without being accused of pushing a racial agenda?”

Your thoughts?

13 thoughts on “Agree or Disagree: Having A Black President Makes It Harder to Address Racial Issues

  1. Snob,We’re a year or so away from the White America getting over its ‘peaceful, easy feeling’ over electing the current President and being totally ticked off with the fact that he’s the captain of a ship that still feels like its sinking. It won’t be pretty.For a preview, ask those readers of yours in Massachusetts how warm and fuzzy things are given the flinty combination of a soggy economic climate and a brown chief executive.

  2. I think it’s harder. We’re supposed to feel vindicated and ‘stop complaining’ because there’s a we have a black president. As is all the wrongs that have been done to us, and are still being have been righted.

  3. I don’t think it really matters. African Americans have been accused of pushing a racial agenda for years now – the election of Obama just gives another angle for the same argument. As far as some whites are concerned, they have been under attack since the Clinton administration. If you look at the rhetoric from that time, it hasn’t really changed, it’s just moved from the fringe (remember when Pat Buchanan wanted a wall along the US/Mexico border and people thought he was crazy) to the mainstream.

  4. Somehow folks think putting a black man in office will solve all Black folks’ problems. Well…it hasn’t so we need to continue to address the issues at hand. I say let ’em get mad and say whatever the heck they wanna say. They are going to anyway, right? It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation, and we have too much work to do as a people to be concerned about naysayers. As long as the sun rises in the morning, we need to continue finding solutions to problems effecting our community. As long as race is an underlying motive for little kids getting kicked out of public pools, we can’t stop fighting. Let Obama work on the big picture (all Americans). We need to work on the details.A little ad-lib fun: "Having a black president makes it harder to address racial issues"…when talking to a friend whose husband thinks the president is the anti-Christ. True story.

  5. Like seriously? This isn’t an ironic question? I don’t think this conversation about the conversation, or the conversation itself would exist if that man had not handily won the White House. The conversation isn’t new. What’s new is the conversation of the conversation that wasn’t even a conversation for white people previous to this President. If you break that all apart, its just white denial of white denial of racism. I guess that’s better than ignoring.No one around here is comfortable with discussions of race, until Nov 4 happened. I think it allows us to have more conversation, but alot of it comes out as conversation of the conversation we were supposed to be having.

  6. The same people who say we are post racial are the ones who previously said, "I’m not racist, my cousin married a Mexican."

  7. I’d like to add to the point that a previous poster, jeffdiogenes, made when he wrote, "I don’t think this conversation about the conversation, or the conversation itself would exist if that man had not handily won the White House. The conversation isn’t new."My question is where was this conversation before President Obama was elected? If anything, his election has brought us closer to the possibility of having some "real" discussions about race issues in America.–something more than that same old, tired dialogue pushed by the likes of Tavis Smiley and Cornell West. Frankly, I’m sick of everything under the sun being blamed on the President. I’ve never heard President Obama say or suggest to Black people or anyone else that we should not discuss race because it would interfere with his carrying out his agenda.

  8. Danielle,I don’t think that Barack Obama can or will lead this discussion (for a number of reasons), and it would be a mistake for African American politicians, intellectuals, media, Et al. to give him a pass. He should be pushed like any other president. Especially by elected officials, especially those representing the hardest hit segments of black America. These folks must transcend outdated notions about racial solidarity, as the president has done, and push the White House to pay more than lip service to the problems of structural inequality. Maybe I’m not reading the right news outlets but I have not heard anyone from the Congressional Black Caucus, for instance, asking Barack Obama for straight answer on policy initiatives affecting poor and working class African Americans. Granted, addressing problems facing the poor regardless of race or ethnicity, also benefits African Americans, but how about drilling down into the data about the Black unemployment rates or home foreclosures, which are truly alarming, and before offering platitudes about these problems? To sum, it shouldn’t matter what color the president’s skin is when talking about injustice.

  9. The answer is it makes issues easier to talk about. As President Obama said in his speech before the NAACP deny anyone the pportunity for a decent education harms the entire nation. When you combine the harm to the nation and the obvious effect on AfricanAmericans you have the case made. It is irrelevant if white people would prefer to suffer.

  10. sometimes I wonder if the door to racial equality and harmony was truly opened, would we (us Black folk) walk through it with so much invested over the years in being shut out…Racial issues are, at the heart, issues of humanity. Each time we forget this, we feed into our collective stupidity.Maybe Obama’s Presidency will help us see that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. Hmm, now where have I heard that before?

  11. What can the Black Caucas say to the President when most of them were diehard hillary Clinton supporters. I have been accused of giving the president a pass. I feel that when he is working on healthcare, home recovery, credit card issues and equal pay, these are things that we have more problems with that the rest of society. If we are working towards education, does that not affect us even more than others? I am glad to see that the AG Holder has said that he intends to come down harder on civil rights violations and so there are things being done. But it’s not said directly to the Black community. While these things are being put into place, this is the time for our people to come down on our political figures to make them more apropro to us. Our we ourselves, but how do we do that? I think that’s the biggest question.

  12. I think it allows more racism. it is essentially used as the "throwing a bone" method. it could have made it better if obama really had a say. like when that cop busted into that guys house and treated him with hostility, obama rewarded the cop with getting to have a beer with the president. im pretty sure that cop still snickers about it with racist fantasized anecdotes. that right there was obamas first real failure as a representative of the people.

  13. playing identity agenda?are these people crazy? why is it when a black person-any black person-succeeds against odds stacked to the sky, against opposition that has power, wealth and control of the media, there's-suddenly-a level playing field (or so people of a lighter color say)and we're all suppose to hold hands and sing songs together (but we better move on before dark). these are the same people that state that after 30+ years of affirmative action laws (after our people built the bedrock of this country-for free-for 400 years) "we don't need those laws any more 'cause everything's just fine now…".i would say 'nigger, please', but some of them might take it as a compliment..

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