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Atlanta Mayor agrees that President Obama can’t directly help Blacks

August 15, 2011

On August 4th the National Association of Black Journalists held a plenary session at their 2011 conference that consisted of Michael Steele, Dr. Cornel West, Sophia Nelson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The session stirred up a lot of engaging discussion but what stuck out to me most was a statement made by our Atlanta mayor. Though I like him as a politician, voted for him and think he is a smart business man, a remark made by him at this conference severely disturbed me. Reed responded to a statement West made in reference to President Obama helping the poor. According to the Huffington Post He said, “The minute Obama tries to provide programs specifically for Blacks, he will be out of office faster than you can bat an eye…” Steve Harvey had his share of remarks on his syndicated show saying, “Healthcare reform is a plan that helps Blacks the most and we should understand if the POTUS doesn’t mention a program being directly for Black folks… he is the President of the entire United States, not president of the hood.”

What I am trying to understand is why do politicians mask helping Blacks as helping poor, convicts our jobless. Will there ever be a time when can we directly say, “I pour out this liquor for my black homies”, similar to when the president (or other elected official) says this program is for Native Americans (federally protected reserves, casino subsidies), hispanic immigrants (immigration repeals, ESOL in public schools), corporations (stimulus packages), unions (protective laws for collective bargaining) or for the gay community (incorporation of civil liberties). What is the shame  in helping Blacks? Is this really political progress or is it societal setback? Imagine the commander of a military unit that refuses to help remove a fallen soldier from danger, even if that soldier brought the situation upon himself?

Are Blacks that soiled, infected and bastardized that a politician can’t say, this program, aid or relief is designed for Black folks without committing political suicide? Are we only good enough to meet up with shady elected official at the motel but not good enough to say hi to him at a political function? These are the same persons who directly ask for the votes of Blacks. This seems as exploitive as the crooked pastor who says tithe your entire paycheck this week and you will see a doubling of your investment within a week and when it doesn’t happen, find rationale to justify them missing the mark. Meanwhile, when they asked for the money they promised an instant return by a specific deadline! This seems zero-sum to me. It keeps the Black group poor but Black politicians economically sound and America divided.

The vast majority of national voters are White, so when we say we can lose a national political seat we are accepting that Whites dictate what is politically acceptable. However, after further assessment of this design I feel that not being able to directly assist Blacks only contradicts many of the statements made by Whites (and others) that racism is a thing of the past. I would want to believe that the majority of our country isn’t racist, so why is helping a disenfranchised group political suicide? If the educated members of the Black group who have been selected by a diverse group of people aren’t the ones to help tear down these walls of division, then who is it supposed to be?

Exactly what is it? Is it that blacks are too ugly to take to the prom, or is having a relationship with us against the religion of our country? Always a bridesmaid but never a bride? I would be the first to point out when we, as Blacks go wrong but in this case it’s hard to go against us socio-economically when there’s no justification.

If an esteemed, respected and prestigious Black politician isn’t there to help change the way people view Blacks but are willing to help change the way people view Latinos or Gays, what are they there for? We are not talking about White politicians who would feel it would lead them to political suicide because they are directly helping Blacks. There may be some patience in that area. However, we are talking about “supposed” Black change agents who are able to reverse the stereotypes that plague the Black group, cripple America and keep us racially divided and at odds!

As soon as it is time for Blacks to receive relief, our President becomes the President of the United States, which infers to me that theoretically Blacks aren’t a part of the United States. If you are President of the United States, president of a state, or president of a city then there should be no issue helping a woman, man, child, animal, Black, Jew, White, immigrant, poor, business owner, union, teacher, convict, Latino and all others because all of these groups contribute to the growth of this country.

At the end of the day we know hate is wrong in theory but so few are willing to take the step to bridge the disparities. I always say, if no one takes a chance, it leaves everyone at risk. Let’s stop feeling like being friends with the less popular people in our society is a stain to our personal repertoire because really and truly it is a stain on us as a nation.

Devin Robinson is a business and economics professor, columnist and author or “Rebuilding the Black Infrastructure: Making America a Colorless Nation.” You can reach him at

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 4:59 pm

    Why should we put our trust in Obama or any other man when God told us to trust HIM. The world
    is facing spiritual warfare created by Satan. But mankind has willfully embraced Satan’s way. Man
    putting trust in man for solutions is in vain, but genuine trust in God will never fail. Jeremiah 17:5 tells us that “cursed is the man who trusts in man,” but “blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord” (v. 7).
    Humanly, the problems of mankind are overwhelming, but the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 11:15) will resolve them. Man will then learn to live God’s way; the way of love toward God and neighbor. This will happen when the Ten Commandments are written nor just on tables of stone, but in the heart and mind of mankind (Hebrews 8:10–12). This will provide the perfect solution for ALL of man’s problems – a solution that will last forever! Bottomline…God allowed Obama to become President to use him for HIS purpose. I am a seventy year old black woman who lived through the JIM CROW era and protested with Dr. King. We had WHITE PEOPLE in the movement too. It is time for Black Americans to stop being the VICTIM and create
    our own jobs from within our communities. Please read: REBUILDING THE BLACK INFRASTRUCTURE by Professor Devin Robinson. This book is a road map for our cause today. Blacks once had an infrastructure in my day. Integration wiped it out.Nor were we prepared for integration. Read the book, I bought it because it caught my attention…”Making America a Colorless Nation”.But we must first quit the jealousy and fighting among ourselves. Thanks for listening


  2. Sanja permalink
    August 17, 2011 8:40 pm

    Sexual orientation is the tie that binds gays together, being a legal resident of the US is the tie that binds Hispanics together. Struggling for surrival on a reservation is the tie that binds Native Americans together in short what is the tie that binds blacks together? We are a diverse people, we are not all on welfare, in prison or having illegitimate children. We are not comprised of only doctors, lawyers and teachers either. So, what exactly is black and what is it that we need?

    How could we expect anyone, to change how someone else feels about another person, including President Obama. Gays are fighting for laws to change that doesn’t mean people will see them any differently or change their view of them, that is irrevlant; however, what does happen is they ( gays) have the law on their side to support them in what they themselves go forth to do. That ‘s where blacks drop the ball we don’t go forward to do! How can President Obama change the black sterotype , when we keep insisting the sterotype is who we are, begging for help and handouts and catch this now the gripe is we want it stated loud and clear. Ms. Gloria was on point it is time for black responsbility. Black responsbility has to start in our own home, church, community and then spread abroad. I enjoy this blog and the thought provoking material posted.

  3. August 23, 2011 12:10 am

    When will blacks get back into trusting ourselves When? When will we knock down the wall about color Never? So sick and tired of hearing all this trash. President Obama is only one man for all, and he can not do it by his self. We as blacks can cater to each other, When will we start? We are hurting, We are dying, When will we live again When?

  4. August 27, 2011 2:28 am

    Until there is enough of us that cares to doing something about our race as a whole together, nothing can be done. Enough meaning it doesn’t have to be ALL of our black people but enough to make a difference and go out and reach others….our families, our friends, our church family and people in our communities. Now that will make a difference and begin the infrastruction of what is our black race. Until that happens those of us who are aware will continue to push but it is hard sometimes trying to push a brick wall. God says to never give up. As long as we have faith and believe, everytime we awaken with breath in our body, we should do one thing each day to make a difference.

    To those who care keep pushing, keep pushing.
    Great article Dutchie and stay bless!

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