Can Obama Ever Do Enough For Black People?
4 months ago
Not unless blacks rethink feds' role in their lives and get specific about what they want
When President Barack Obama first made his historic move into the White House, many black folks thought his ascension meant that they’d, too, “get put on.”
They just knew that they’d be leaving that low-paying job for good. Affording college would be a whole lot easier. At least one black comic even joked that the election of the first African American president would turn life on its head so much, that 500 years of black enslavement would be repaid with blacks being able to own white slaves.
But they, like Morgan Goodman of Oakland, Calif., soon found out that, well, their college loans didn't just disappear with a "poof" once Obama occupied the White House.
[ALSO READ: Most Outrageous Demands of Obama]
“I have a huge amount of [student] loans to pay back, along with copious amounts of taxes [on my income,]” says Goodman, a 28-year-old business sales rep. “I'm not rich, but a single male with no kids. The government pulls more money from me than a church asking for tithes on Sunday.”
There is no denying that after half a millennium of enslavement, legal segregation and blatant oppression of blacks in this country, a black man becoming president is both historic and in line with black ideals for what this country can become. And during his first term, Obama helped to enact policies, like the Affordable Health Care Act, that have positively impacted black people -- along with the rest of America. But can blacks as a whole ever be completely satisfied with the nation's first black president?
If they're like Goodman, who was hoping a black man in the White House would spell tax relief for brothers like him, probably not. And part of the rub lies in the positive impact federal government has historically had on black enfranchisement and empowerment. It took federal intervention to end slavery, to give black men the right to vote, to end legal segregation, and to bar states from depressing the black vote through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests, even violence. Blacks have always been willing to fight for equality, but the battles have been especially difficult at the local and state levels of government.