By Linn Washington, Jr.
So, some black folks are bashing Princeton Professor Cornell West for his sharply phrased critiques of President Barack Obama’s failure to specifically address crisis- proportion problems in a long-suffering segment of American society: the black community.
Black supporters of the first African-American president echo the rationale advanced by Obama himself that he is the president of all Americans so addressing issues specific to African-American would be inappropriate.
However, that view side-steps the critical issue of the very American right to criticize a U.S. President.
Compounding the First Amendment criticism issue is the reality that Obama has addressed issues important to specific groups, including gays and women. He has even been addressing the issues of his political adversaries, the Republicans, like his embracing their demands for deficit reducing austerity by slashing services to the most needy.
“Are African Americans expected to shut up and suffer?” asked Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., chair of Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies, in a commentary about the controversy over criticism of Obama by blacks. “That’s just not democratic.”
Black-owned businesses, historically marginalized in federal contracting, have received a paltry 3.5% of federal contracts funded through Obama’s stimulus between February 2009 and November 2010 compared to white-owned businesses receiving 81.3% of stimulus-funded contracts during that period, according to Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.
An American president has a duty to address obviously discriminatory contracting adversely impacting Americans regardless of their race. The failure of the Obama Administration to deal with such discrimination causes black critics like Cornell West to conclude that this president – like his white predecessors – treats blacks differently.
Black bashers of Dr. West, like civil rights leader Rev Al Sharpton, professor/media commentator Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry and syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, are particularly incensed with barbs from West like his tagging Obama a “mascot” of Wall Street.
Setting aside the tone of West’s “mascot” tag, facts do document that Obama received huge financial contributions from mega-financial/corporate entities during his 2008 presidential campaign, with ten of Obama’s top twenty contributors coming from that sector, including Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs and corporate titan General Electric.
And facts also document that the Obama Administration bailed out Wall Street without extracting tough (and overdue) reforms in return. That lack of thorough reform was an unseemly break for Wall Street, particularly its financial fraudsters, whether or not it was pay-back for those campaign contributions...
For the rest of this article by LINN WASHINGTON, JR. in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online alternative newspaper now beginning its second year of daily publication, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!