Covering

Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mr. President, Are You Forgetting Your Own?

We've tackled, and we've heard stories about this issue before.  

Has President Obama done enough for the Black agenda?   Is President Obama Black enough?   Has the President forgotten about the African Americans who helped propel him into the White House?

I can't help remember the answer Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave on 'Washington Watch' featuring Roland Martin when she was asked whether or not anything is being done specifically for African Americans to have better health care optiions.  [African Americans are reported as having the highest rate of certain kinds health care issues of any other race, and are also the least likely to receive the same quality health care treatment and options as whites.]

Sebelius answered, "There are no provisions in place for African Americans in health care", and "No talks are on the table geared specifically for African Americans."

Her answer has haunted me ever since.

I've watched this Administration provide 'answers' and try to 'solve' problematic issues that continue to plague Americans the most:  job creation, homelessness, homeless veterans, treatment of gays in the military, support for military families, equal pay for women in the work place.   All of which haven't necessarily had the face of color attached to it when in the spotlight.

On the day the President signed his Health Care Reform bill into law, there standing byside him wasn't the face of an African American, but rather a sobbing white woman who told her story of not having enough health care for her child.

When it comes to joblessness, the face of 'Joe the Plumber' talking to President Obama resonates quite vividly. Not the faces of those who are facing staggering unemployment the most.

During his back yard visits to families across America, where he held discussions on the economy, were where the African American families?

When President Obama visited small businesses to discuss 'the Plan For Small businessess' which African American small business did Obama visit? 

Just last month when the President and First Lady hosted their bullying conference, not one African American face was represented in the entire presentation.  Had it not been for these behind-the-scene photos  most people would think the President hasn't spoken at the White House with African Americans on any issue during his presidency.

Even columnist, Maureen Dawd, a white woman, said the President needs some color in his cabinent, calling his Administration "too white".

And now the latest.  A hometown Chicagoan is saying the President has forgotten his own. 

Publisher Hermene Hartman says even she is feeling a bit neglected since Barack has taken his foothold in the White House. Said Hartman on her relationship with the Obamas:  "It used to be good. It used to be superb before they got to the White House. I haven’t been invited, and I’m insulted."  More here.

Yes, we're aware of the President's Black History Month Proclamation, the Celebration of Motown at the White House tribute, the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative to help underserved students.  We're aware of the president's "if it helps America, then everybody wins" speech.

Yet still, even as the economy appears to be tilting towards recovery, African Americans still remain disportionately unemployed in every major U.S. city, compared to their white counterparts.

It seems the so-called First African American U.S. president, is seen as having less interaction with African Americans than any other U.S. president.

To that point, I'd just like to say to President Obama:  We applaud everything you do to help make this country a better place than when you first took office.   We get that.  We know you have a lot of supporters.

But...

Mr. President, African Americans want to be included too. Young African American children, elder African Americans who rejoice in your history making saga, want their faces seen front and center - in front of the cameras - by your side, receiving hugs, support, and showed recognition on a global scale - just as you do everyone else - perhaps, even just a little bit more.  Not as an afterthought. And not behind the scenes because you don't want to appear as being too supportive of your own people.

You should support your own - without shame. Just as your own have supported you - without shame.

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Question:  When was the last time you saw President Obama on CNN or other major outlets embracing an African American?

Just askin'.

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