Like most Black people, I must admit, I felt for a moment (just a moment) after the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States, I felt just maybe Black people stood somewhat of a better opportunity of attaining a piece of this so-called American dream; nothing major just maybe justice, equality and equal access. But let’s be clear, none of these feelings came as a result of anything our dear brother Obama said he was going to do for Black people during the campaign. So in fairness to him, he never said he was going to do anything specific for Negros, so I can’t put my dreams of a better America for Black people on my dear brother Barack.
I can hear some of you now, “Tony, he didn’t run as the Black President, nor could he have promised us things and won the white house or White folks.” And some would say, “Besides, he’s not just the Black President; he’s the President.” I often wonder how all of my post-racial friends can say America is moving towards being a post-racial society while at the same time saying Obama can’t do anything for Black people . . . just how does that work?
But just for a minute, let’s use that Negro logic. When this administration, (I’m going to try and say administration, because I know if I keep saying Obama too many times, many of you will stop reading and get mad as supposed to just thinking about what I’m saying) met with the National Women’s Organization (NOW), Gay groups, the disabled, Latinos and every other ethnic group of people in this country they all asked what’s in it for them. And we all know that the dominate society laid out their wish list of things they wanted before ever allowing him to run. None of these groups, not a one, met with this administration merely as Americans. They all met with a primary if not the sole focus on, if we support you, what’s in it for us. They didn’t call the meeting to lobby for all of Americans; they met to talk about their group of Americans as any intelligent group of people would do. They knew going into the meeting that if he won, he would be the president of the United States of America, but what they needed to know was, what would this mean for the America they live in. You will admit that Jackson, Mississippi America is slightly different than San Francisco, California America. And South Central Los Angeles America, is different than Newport Beach America, and it aint because one is on the water and the other is inland. For them, being American wasn’t the issue, hell if they weren’t at least that, they would have never gotten the damn meeting in the first place.
This administration knew it had to deal with them as representatives of a specific community, representing a specific group, with a specific ask. Do you really believe that the Gays, NOW, the disabled, Latinos and other ethnic communities cared about how Obama would be perceived by the American public if he gave them something for their vote? And don’t you think for one minute, that any of them would have supported him if he hadn’t committed something to them. And guess what, they didn’t go into the meeting singing that ole Negro anthem, “Well, we really don’t have any other choice, so I guess we just have to vote for you even if we don’t get anything for it.” The hell with that, if you can’t get something for your vote you can abstain, or write in your own damn name!
Black people voted 97% for Obama, Whites only voted 42% for him and we got no return on our investment other than bragging rights, which does you no good collecting unemployment. I know this is a shock to some of you, but guess what, if we Black people had not shown up at the poles in such large numbers there would not be a Black president. You do know that in politics as in life, things are often reciprocal; if I do this for you, you do that for me. You think I’m wrong? Most people only give their 10% in church only because they are looking at getting it back with interest. Why do you think before taking the offering, the preacher says that you will get it back with good measure, press down, shaken together and running over. Because he knows most of us wouldn’t give a quarter if we didn’t think we would get it back. I know it’s tight, but its right!
So if we give to God looking for something back and many of us do, and when we don’t receive a return on our investment, we say, “What’s up with that?” We don’t feel like we’re being disrespectful to God, now do we? You’re only looking for God to do what he said he would do, after all you are only going by what’s written in the book, right? So why is it wrong for us, Black people, in 2012 to ask the question, “If I do this for you, what are you going to for me?” Surly if you can play the church like you play the Power Ball, you can ask what’s in it for me. For those of you that don’t want to address these issues for yourselves, then do it for the most vulnerable among us. You do remember them don’t you; the ill, the aged, our children, the disabled and the poor. Not the middle class, but the poor, you do know they haven’t gone anywhere.
In 2012, before we cast our vote, can we ask ourselves, what can we look forward to by way of addressing unemployment for African Americans which is projected to reach a 25-year high, with the national rate soaring to 17.2 % and in some states it exceeds 20%. Before you punch that card, ask yourself, what is this person, whoever it is you’re voting for, going to do to address the fact that blacks are three times as likely to be poor than Whites; that Blacks earn 62 cent for every $1 Whites earn; and that the family median net worth for Whites is $170,400, compared to $27,800 for Blacks. Will that person, whomever you vote for, going to try and do something to address these facts?
Do you have the courage to ask your candidate and yourself, “What are you going to do to address the fact that about 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 are being incarcerated compared to only 1.2% of White men in that same age group.” Is it not ours and their obligation to address the fact that Black men going to prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago and what’s up with that? We aren’t being like crabs in the barrel if we ask these questions and then wait and expect an answer. That is what intelligent people do. You’re not “player hatin” if you ask, if we vote for this guy (whoever it is), what is he going to do to address the fact that the large proportions of Black men ages 15 to 24 with high school diplomas are unemployed.
So, we have had four years of celebrating having the first Black man living in a White house, now don’t you think it’s time to ask the question , “What’s in it for us?”