Open for discussion: Response to the question of “What did Obama do for African Americans of this country?”

For me personally I was too young and uneducated to follow what actions the former president took while in office so I’m not posting to speak about that. I wanted to use this post to explain what I believe Obama did for the black community. He gave us hope, it was the first time in my live that I realized that anything is possible. Up until that point I would’ve never thought that I would be able to look up to a President that has the same skin color as me. He broke the standard of whiteness through a whole lot of adversity and people praying on his downfall. But even hope and breaking the norm has consequences. When President Obama was elected it made everyone believe that racism was over and that the U.S. was in a “post-racial era” as described in class. This belief allowed people to relax even if they didn’t believe that the issue of race was over. This relaxation allowed for the countless acts of discrimination, hatred, harm, and misuse of the law with regard to minorities in this country. Im not saying that these actions wouldn’t have happened otherwise, I’m saying that the slightly period of relaxation allows people to fall to their “roots” and the “roots” of the United States of America is the act of racism and unequal treatment based on systems that were put in place to hinder those who aren’t white.

3 Replies to “Open for discussion: Response to the question of “What did Obama do for African Americans of this country?””

  1. Great question, Dante. I think, and this is what I was trying to get at yesterday morning, that Obama definitely inspired black people. It was both cultural and symbolic! And this is important!

    It will be years before we find out what actually happened during his presidency, but we also know that there was considerable resistance from Republicans (remember that D. Trump, more or less, got his start from the Birther Movement) and that he was elected during the Great Recession, so considering the real obstacles he faced–Obama, though he was called accurately “the Deporter-in-Chief” was, comparatively speaking, a “good” president.

    Yet despite the obstacles, policy-wise, did he help the black community? Sort of. We can point to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. It doesn’t target black people but it also all working-class people.

    His administration supported modest criminal justice reform, partly prompted by the BLMM. In response to BLMM, his administration sponsored the controversial the My Brothers’ Keeper program. He visited a prison and discussed the need for more reform. But again, a lot of this had to do what pressure from BLMM.

    He also blamed black people for poverty by focusing on “black behaviors.” We has never explained poverty among white people in this way. It’s a clear double-standard and it reinforces racist stereotypes of black people.

  2. I have to agree with you that President Obama did instill within the Black community a hope stronger than ever before. I was only eight at the time of his election but I distinctly remember how excited and proud my family was the day he won. As years progressed I did see that hope start to diminish with the rapid social exposure of police brutality and the silence from his administration when any racial issues involving Black people transpired. While the deracialization in many of his speeches was disappointing, having a Black president was a monumental step for America and President Obama was clearly up to the challenge.
    Throughout the years the “Has Obama done anything for Black people” conversation has been a very debated topic even within my own social circles. Each time I’ve read up on or discussed the issue I always reach the general answer that he did the best he could given the circumstances at hand. Just like Professor King stated, the Republican majority were combative his whole presidency which led to less progression. One truly does not miss something until it’s gone as well given the current political turmoil. While I don’t believe President Obama did everything he could to help Black People, one must also remember one Black president was not going to come in and fix hundreds of years’ worth of racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Our inequalities within this nation have been a long term problem. This is not an excuse for his silence on some very serious topics, but it does provide some context as to why he did not achieve everything he set out to do during his presidency.

  3. I just read this blog post and it really spoke to me because Obama was a very influential president due to the fact that he was the first president of color in the US. Also growing up I remember watching Obama’s inauguration speech with my entire school. It represented change in the country and it gave a lot of people hope for a new term. As president I believe that he was presented with many social issues that came from his predecessor and he had to fix those in order to keep the American economy stable. Also I believe that Obama came up with a great health care system, Obamacare. Being from Canada and having free health care it doesn’t make sense to me why the US is one of the first world countries that doesn’t have free healthcare. Obamacare sets up free healthcare for low income families which creates stability for those who cannot afford healthcare. I believe that as a president Obama had to prove so much as a black male, unlike past presidents, due to the fact that he was a person of color and he represented change in the country and not all Americans wanted that change.
    I feel like like the policies that he put in place might not have directly helped black people but he tried to implement the best policies for low income families in the US, which I believe is very important.

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