Obama Needs More Connection To Black Community


In a Thursday New York Post article, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus, "ripped President Obama's bus tour for ignoring suffering African-American communities as it rolls through pastoral- and mostly white- heartland towns." The story points out that Detroit is suffering from a 12.5% unemployment rate, double Iowa's 6%.

Is the African-American community slowly becoming disenchanted with the president? A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll indicated, “The number of African-Americans who believe the president’s actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77% in October to just over half of those surveyed.” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told the Huffington Post “he was not surprised at the increased dissatisfaction among the president’s base," but cautioned that "many [African-Americans and other liberals] elected the president with inflated expectations.” And so, disappointment was almost assured.

To make matters worse regarding Obama's Midwest bus tour, the outer shells of the two buses were manufactured in Canada. Together, the buses cost a total of $2.2 million. One might ask why so much money was spent on such extravagant transportation for a campaign junket. This is an irrelevant side issue raised by the media that plagues all politicians who travel at the expense of the voters.

The discontent in the African-American community seems to be growing, as Obama has not done very much for the group that supported him so loyally in the last election. I made a comment on fellow PolicyMic colleague Andrew Wilkes' article "Assessing Obama's Urban Policy: A Lot of Words, Little Action" that focused on this general subject. Andrew replied: "But I also share, to a lesser extent, your judgment that he is not adequately addressing the issues of minorities that helped elect him — mortgage relief, comprehensive immigration reform, significantly, and not just slightly, reducing crack-cocaine sentencing disparities, etc."

The president has been careful to not be too connected to the African-American community. He is trying to be the president of all the people, something that, frankly, has disconcerted blacks throughout the country. I believe he should be doing more for this group; it was an important part of his mandate when he was elected.

Photo Credit: rosshammersley