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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/9/11

Family Feud: Blacks Battle Blacks over Criticism of Obama

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Message Linn Washington

In fact, Obama's health reforms sought to corral rapidly rising health costs that are killing America's economy. He did not seek to covertly compensate blacks who are "sick' of racism.

Consistent with Obama's damned if he does/damned if he doesn't dilemma, his attempts to mitigate white criticism result in his angering many blacks, who understandably feel he is ignoring long festering issues like structural unemployment and mass incarceration.

Much of the mass incarceration across America among blacks arises from this nation's Drug War which marked a dubious 40th Anniversary on June 17, 2011.

Federal studies repeatedly document that more whites use crack cocaine than blacks. Yet, blacks comprised 78.5% of those convicted in federal courts for crack offenses in 2010 compared to the 7.3% white rate, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics.

Journalist George Curry rightly notes that many blacks "do not want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama even if it's true."

This deaf-to-Obama-failings stance taken by many blacks is not substantially different from whites who blindly idolize Ronald Reagan.

That late president dangerously ran-up the national debt during the 1980s and initiated the deregulation responsible for much of the fiscal problems facing the country today--problems Reagan idolizers blame on Obama.

The unquestioning support Obama enjoys among many blacks is curiously similar also to the stance adopted by many Jewish Americans who reflexively attack any criticism of Israel.

"Those public supporters of President Obama who defend him at all costs are clearly doing Black people a major disservice," stated a commentary posted on Black Agenda Report, a website long critical of Obama.

"President Obama and his administration have taken the black vote for granted and feel no need to acknowledge or act on any issues on our behalf."

Actually, this contentious clash within the black community over the propriety of criticizing Obama is healthy because it is part of an often overlooked historical tradition of vigorous debate in the black community.

During the volatile 1960s, for example, Black Power militants verbally fought with the moderate Civil Rights leadership over the best course for conquering race-based inequities in America. Militants belittled Dr. Martin Luther King, calling him an "Uncle Tom" for his non-violent protests, while supporters of King lambasted militants, calling them dangerously misguided for their aggressive stances.

Irrespective of opinions on Obama, pro or con, the fact remains that no U.S. president or any public official wears a cloak-of-immunity from criticism.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
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