An article in today’s New York Times describes frustration amongst black activists over what they see as insufficiently preferential treatment from the President. Here’s an example:
On Capitol Hill, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed irritation that Mr. Obama has not created programs tailored specifically to African-Americans, who are suffering disproportionately in the recession. In December, some of them threatened to oppose new financial rules for banks until the White House promised to address the needs of minorities.
“I don’t think we expected anything to change overnight because we had an African-American in the White House, but the fact still remains that we’ve got a constituency that is suffering,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland. “I think he could do more, and he will do more.”
Well, maybe he will, and maybe he won’t. Apparently the problem, at least in part, is that this President negelects his duty to educate the people (I’m still looking over Article II for this one, but it must be in there somewhere, I guess):
Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociologist and longtime supporter of Mr. Obama, is exasperated. “All these teachable moments,” he said, “but the professor refuses to come to the class.”
Yes, I’m sure all of us feel short-changed in this respect. It would be nice if Professor Obama could find the time to lecture us more often. We know so little.
The president, to his credit, clearly understands that he serves a broader constituency:
In an interview in late December with American Urban Radio Networks, a group of black-owned stations, Mr. Obama conceded that there was “grumbling” among African-Americans, especially about his jobs policies. But he rejected the idea that he should pay special attention to them — an argument that Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a black author and political analyst, called “disingenuous at best, and an insult at worst.”
Mr. Obama framed it this way: “I can’t pass laws that say I’m just helping black folks. I’m the president of the United States. What I can do is make sure that I am passing laws that help all people, particularly those who are most vulnerable and most in need. That in turn is going to help lift up the African-American community.”
In other words, if the government is going to intervene for the creation of jobs, it is because people are suffering and need help. Because his constituency comprises all Americans, the President should see to it that any such programs are directed toward all who are suffering and need help. Mr. Obama understands this, and has in mind two important facts: first, that if the nation’s wealth is redistributed according to need alone, any group that is disproportionately needy will be aided disproportionately, too; and second, that overt racial preferences for his identity group simply aren’t going to get anywhere in the current political climate.
The article provided an jaw-dropping glimpse of a mind in which any conceivable circumstance whatsoever becomes an instance of racism, victimhood, and entitlement:
Until now, black leaders have tended to tread lightly in criticizing Mr. Obama, and some find it painful. Black Americans remain overwhelmingly supportive of Mr. Obama; a recent ABC News poll found that 96 percent approve of his job performance.
But Elinor Tatum, the editor and publisher of the black-owned Amsterdam News, says that if blacks were asked “Is he doing a good job for African-Americans?” his numbers would be lower.
“Every time someone brings up an issue that affects blacks, he says that’s an issue that affects all of America,” Ms. Tatum said. “But at the same time, if he were of a different race or ethnicity, he would be playing to the black community. So there’s a double standard there. Should we be the victims in that?”
This is such a hugely mis-shapen thought that a rational mind must unmount the hinges just to get it in the door. If I can unravel it, it asserts the following:
1) Black people are suffering, presumably because of white racism.
2) A remedy for this ought to be provided by the government.
3) Any allegation by the president that economic suffering is not specific to blacks, and that therefore redistributive government remediation should be given to all who suffer without regard to race, is false.
4) Because the suffering of blacks is due, as always, to white racism, it would be better to have a white person in power, because a white person would be “playing to the black community”. In other words: white racism means that black people can expect to be treated better by whites than blacks, and therefore it is clearly to their disadvantage to have a black man as President. It’s a “double standard”.
5) Because they do have a black man as President — a sure sign of their oppression if ever there was one — and are therefore at an unfair racial disadvantage, black people will be less likely to receive preferential treatment from the government, in the form of redistributive social programs that white people would rightly be barred from taking advantage of.
6) Therefore, they are, as always, victims.
I have to say: even by today’s high standards, that’s some pretty impressive work. Read the article here.