Crystal Wright is an occasional contributor to The Root DC and is the editor of the political site “Conservative Black Chick”.
An increasing number of blacks appear to finally be getting angry with President Obama and his policies. It’s just too bad it took four years and voting for the president a second time for blacks to realize the president won’t prioritize their issues. Immigration and the president’s determination to get legislation passed granting amnesty to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants seems to be the straw that broke some black liberals’ backs.
Over the past week, some black Americans have been calling into black talk radio shows like “Keeping it Real with Al Sharpton”, complaining immigration is not an important issue to them. This is despite Sharpton’s plea to one caller that amnesty isn’t just a “Hispanic issue”. But according to a 2009 Migration Institute report, blacks from other parts of the world only accounted for nine percent of US immigrants.
With black unemployment at 13.8 percent — almost twice the national rate of 7.9 percent — many argue that granting amnesty to more than 11 million illegal immigrants threatens to make jobs even more scarce for blacks. As black radio host Earl Ingram noted his “listenership is anti-immigration” because they are angry illegals are here taking jobs from them because they are willing to work for less than minimum wage. A Pew Hispanic report found during the height of the economic downturn 2009-2011 Hispanic employment grew by 6.5 percent while black employment grew by a minuscule 1 percent.
After voting overwhelmingly for Obama twice, blacks want to know when the first black president will focus on issues impacting blacks like: rising poverty, unemployment and incarceration rates, growing education gap and economic decline of the black family?
When I tweeted about this lack of love blacks are feeling for their blind support of Obama a second time around, a black person replied: “Obama has always made it clear that he is the POTUS not the President of Black America.”
Indeed, Obama is “president of all Americans” but Obama has made gay marriage a priority and less than 5 percent of the population is gay. He’s also made illegal immigration a priority because 71 percent of Hispanics voted for him but only make up 14 percent of the population. These two groups don’t look like the face of “all Americans.” But Obama seemingly won’t even give blacks a crumb. For starters, he has yet to name one black person to fill a cabinet position in his second term.
It may be too late for blacks to influence Obama because he doesn’t have an election hanging over his head. But blacks should take a hard look at the gang of pundits and activists like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and organizations like NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus purporting to fight for what’s good for blacks and ask them what have they done for blacks?
Blacks also need to question the Congressional Black Caucus about its agenda . In its press release outlining its plan for the 113th Congress, the CBC states “For more than four decades, the Congressional Black Caucus policy agenda has promoted and advocated for legislation that supports social and economic progress, . . .for African Americans.”
So why is immigration reform a key item in the CBC’s agenda? “Advancing legislation and policies that lead to comprehensive immigration reform”, as they write, will do nothing to improve the economic situation for blacks and many black Americans appear to be waking up to this reality.
If black liberals are really at the lack of attention Obama is giving them, perhaps they should use this as a lesson. Instead of voting for candidates based on race or party, perhaps black Americans should try giving candidates a thorough vetting before going to the polls and hold politicians accountable to records in exchange for votes. Maybe then blacks would start getting something in return for their vote other than the status quo.
More from The Root DC