News Headlines

Obama Heckled For Ignoring Black Issues

"Siddown," said Barack Obama to a group of hecklers during a town hall meeting today in Florida.

The group — members of the Uhuru Movement — interrupted Obama with a banner reading, "What about the black community, Obama?"

We talked about it on today's reporters' roundtable and we'll follow up on Monday with one of the hecklers involved.

Take a look and tell us how what you think.

What should black people rightfully expect of Barack Obama now as a candidate, and later should he become president?

Read the Full Question & Answer Exchange

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

While I do believe that some aspects of injustice in this country are genuine to the African-American experience, I don't think that an informed voter and citizen can reasonably expect a candidate or president to address these aspects without faltering on others.

It's unfortunate that some black voters are trying to position Obama as the president who will lift up our concerns to the national spotlight, when his candidacy itself is a testament to our ability as individuals to accomplish this arduous feat.

jarrett-carter.com

Sent by Jarrett | 9:03 AM | 8-2-2008

where are those same signs for McCain? I don't see them at McCain speeches heckling him about issues that concern people of color...of all colors! Just because Obama is a man of color means that he must be concern about only issues that concern people of all colors! truth be told all issues concern all people no mattter the color. Depression or recession don't discriminate it affect all people.

Sent by Char | 11:04 AM | 8-2-2008

Senator Obama has never claimed to be a champion or the spokesperson for Black America. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpon was branded the face and voice of Black America by the white media. Senator Obama if elected , will be the President of the United States of America not the United States of Black America. The truth and reality is that White America will have to elect him President not Black America. These kinds of outbursts can only cause harm and doubt in the minds of the Majority. Whatever are the issues facing the Black community, President Obama can't solve them anyway, we have to ourselves. What Senator's Obama can do is bring back that since of "HOPE" to some hopeless people.

Sent by Kenneth W. Prevo | 9:48 PM | 8-2-2008

Obama want to be president of the united state. why would he asked about blacks only problem.

Sent by belina | 5:14 PM | 8-3-2008

Those Blacks who expect Obama to lift blacks up are ignorant. This man is running for President of the United States, he can,t do favors for just one race, he must be for all the people. Blacks arte going to have to lift themselves up by going to school, get a education and stop killing eachother. Stop looking for hand outs. Blacks are the source of their own misery, and untill they stop their low down ways, and start living a honest, and good life, they will always catch he--.

Sent by Wilson | 6:49 PM | 8-3-2008

THERE is almost 0% of black folks in the field of deeper advancement in mathematics and physics. Senator Obama will not touch this topic. THE same can be said of black media.

Sent by jerry a. Myers | 2:21 AM | 8-4-2008

I think its hypocritical to hold Obama to a higher standard than another Presidential candidate.
In ALL of the years I have observed Presidential Town Hall Meetings, I have never seen blacks conduct themselves as these citizens did.
Obama is one man. If elected President, he will be the President for ALL citizens, not just blacks. For those of us who are not black but still regularly listen to News and Notes and keep abreast of issues important to blacks it is disturbing to think that blacks would hold Obama to a higher standard than Bill Clinton.
While many blacks called Bill Clinton the "first black President," if you really look at the Clinton administration's record as it relates to blacks in the US, he really did not do a great deal regarding core issues important to the black community. Let's be fair to Obama. Give him a chance to get into the office before cutting him down!

Sent by Jerry | 11:10 AM | 8-4-2008

I definitely agree that if Senator Obama is elected as President of the United States, his job would be to protect our nation as awhole. I would hope and do believe that his administration would govern within our nation's Consitutional Laws. The United States of America has not always acted with integrity and honesty, especially as recent as the last four and hundreds of years prior. As an African American women born in the mid 60s, I have seen some very ugly things here in the south, and they are still occurring. As president, Obama can not legislate integrity or morality for any specific ethnic or racial group. I think he loves the United States as I do and so many others do. I believe he wants to bring back respectability and intergity to the United States. Any African Americans still angry about slavery and Jim Crow need to put that energy to better use. Build memorials or something because this is our history despite and African American helped to make this nation just as many as any other ethnic group. I suggest we learn from the European Jewish People of the Holocaust and celebrate we survived slavery.

Sent by Jacque Davis | 2:43 PM | 8-4-2008

How about this.

We have Black Mayors, Black City Council persons, black teachers, principles, doctors & lawyers, and they may not be doing what they need to do for the community. If there is an injustice, hit the concrete and assist these people to do a better job.

We've graduated from marching, heckling, or embarrassing people for change. Get into office, work the system, and change your community, and not complain about it.

Did these guys make financial donations to all the issues they were talking about? Did they help solicit lawyers for these people. Did they even send a "Get Better" Hallmark card to these people they claim Obama is ignoring?

Before they start pointing a finger at Obama, there are 4 more point back at them!

Sent by Cal | 4:32 PM | 8-4-2008

"THERE is almost 0% of black folks in the field of deeper advancement in mathematics and physics. Senator Obama will not touch this topic. THE same can be said of black media."

And why is it Barak Obama's responsibility to address this? Considering the "Black Media" is a network of organizations then some of them should be addressing it. Some may actually be addressing it. However, Barack can not try to address every little gripe black America has. We would be the greater fools for expecting him to try.

He is running for president of the United States not messiah/ savior of black America.

Sent by T. Rogers | 5:59 PM | 8-4-2008

I can understand the concerns of the hecklers. All campaigns are subject to hecklers and Obama's no different. Obama has made it a point to speak negatively against the Black community, when he has done so against no other group, and consequently the Black community has a right to challenge him. As a race of people, Blacks have so little esteem that we accept behavior from others, including Obama, that other ethnicities would never tolerate!

Sent by kcw | 8:36 PM | 8-4-2008

THE no.1# technological issue is the extreme levels of mathematics beyond Calculus and Algebra. NOT only black folks face this divide, but so do NASA and the science world in the United states. THE presidential candidates should address this topic.Since NO one in mass media is discussing this as an election issue. IF a non-allied country contolled this mathematical technology, some bloggers literally be singing a diffent tune.

Sent by jerry a. Myers | 2:36 AM | 8-5-2008

Every Democratic candidate that has run in my lifetime, from Carter to Mondale, Dukakis to Clinton, Gore to Kerry, has been asked by the Black community, "what are you going to do for us". The understanding behind the question is that these candidates were about to get 90% of our vote, and we had an expectation that they should be dealing with our issues. When Jesse Jackson raised the question at the '84 and '88 conventions, we applauded him. Now when the question is asked to Obama, we're saying that he's being held to a higher standard?

The issue isn't why Obama's getting the question and McCain's not. McCain isn't going to get 90% of our vote. And the issue isn't whether Obama has to govern the entire country. Clearly he must. But does that mean that our issues must become invisible in order for him to do so?

Or is it our hope that once elected he'll have the freedom to address our issues, ignoring the fact that most presidents spend four years positioning themselves to get re-elected?

Or is it our hope that race neutral solutions to issues like health care and housing will lift the Black community disproportionately, ignoring the fact that the history of such race neutral policies is that they tend to widen the gap between the White poor and the Black poor, or the the White middle class and the Black middle class?

Is it so wrong to seek answers to these questions? And for those that read this and think i'm an Obama hater, be clear that i did outreach to support him during not just one but two different state primaries.

Sent by Cliff | 10:19 AM | 8-5-2008

"The issue isn't why Obama's getting the question and McCain's not. McCain isn't going to get 90% of our vote."

Cliff I hear what you are saying. However, maybe the problem is Obama is automatically getting 90% of the black vote. McCain does not have to produce any policy proposals aimed at blacks because he knows we will not vote for him en masse.

Obama really does not have to do it either because he knows he has the black vote sewed up. If we really want presidential candidates to address our issues then we have to make our vote more available to both sides.

Of course, that's an entire thread in and of itself.

Sent by T. Rogers | 11:43 AM | 8-5-2008

The general comments that a constituency or group should not advocate or protest the positions of a person seeking elected office are mind boggling. To say that one should not challenge someone running for the office of President to use government resources to alleviate problems means that the office ceases to have any meaning. That you vote for someone for inspiration and not results - is really a way of saying don't hold Obama accountable. The reason the young men chose to challenge Obama rather than McCain is because no one expects anything from McCain at all, it does not make sense to try and influence someone who has never really even hinted at any concern to the black community. Other groups continually hold candidates accountable for positions they take, that includes Latinos on immigration issues and Jewish voters on support to Israel, but for people to suggest that members of the black community should just shut up and vote for "hope" really says something about the state of politics or the ability of a black constituency to demand governmental action on policies and agendas that are important to them. Lastly challenging Obama does not mean that people have not and won't continue to engage in other activities to support their community the two are not mutually exclusive.

Sent by Kamau Franklin | 11:44 AM | 8-5-2008

You know... I just really have to sit and shake my head in disbelief. We as African Americans have to stop placing the buck on everyone else and start doing for self. I am an Obama supporter, however I do not expect him to champion issues that I myself am not addressing at the grass roots level. Groups such as the Uhuru Movement are divisive to say the least. We cannot allow such radicals to be the voice of all African Americans just as we cannot expect Senator Obama to be the voice for us as well. We must realize that his is only opening the door for us to begin to speak for, and do for ourselves. We must find our own voice and come together in unity to bring about change.

Sent by Tina | 3:02 PM | 8-5-2008

The idea that Barack Obama can scold the Black Community and not offer anything but symbolism is ridiculous. Barrack has made clear that he will toe the line for the Israeli lobby, gay lobby and everybody else . Why not the the Black Community? Many of you want to run that line that Obama is not running for the President of Black American but yet ignore the fact that African Americans are citizens and voters and ought to be able to make just as many demands as any other interest group.

Sent by Sayeed | 3:20 PM | 8-5-2008

KAMAU
The quote: 'government resources to alleviate problems means that the office ceases to have any meaning

NO IT MEANS SOME LOOK TO GOVERNMENT FOR DIFFERENT THINGS OR RELY/EXPECT TOO MUCH OF GOVERNMENT. BESIDES GOVERNMENTS CAN'T DO WHAT YOU'RE ASKING.

2nd quote: 'that you vote for someone for inspiration and not results - is really a way of saying don't hold Obama accountable.

WE SHOULD HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE..BE INSPIRED SO WE CHANGE & ACTUALIZE THE RESULTS LONG AFTER OBAMA HAS COME & GONE.

no one expects anything from McCain at all, it does not make sense to try and influence someone who has never really even hinted at any concern to the black community.

WELL, BASED ON THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO PLAY THE ROLE OF SPOILER. YOU CAN'T HOLD SOMEONE ACCOUNTABLE UNTIL THEY'VE HAD A CHANCE TO DO THE JOB. ONLY THE NAIVE CAN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN CAMPAIGNING & GOVERNING. 2 TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS.

WHEN YOU MENTIONED LATINOS YOU SITED A ISSUE, AS YOU DID WITH JEWISH VOTERS, YOU SITED A PARTICULAR ISSUE. BUT YOU DIDN'T SITE ONE WHEN REFERRING TO BLACKS, ONLY VAGUE ALL ENCOMPASSING, ONE SIZE FITS ALL FOR ALL BLACKS UP & DOWN THE SOCIO-ECO SPECTRUM....GOVERNMENTAL ACTION ON POLICIES & AGENDAS?

Sent by Jon J | 3:39 PM | 8-5-2008

Cliff,

Every Democratic candidate that has run in my lifetime, from Carter to Mondale, Dukakis to Clinton, Gore to Kerry, has been asked by the Black community, "what are you going to do for us".

YES AND NOT ONE TILL NOW HAS SAID WHAT HE EXPECTS US TO DO OR ASKED US FOR ANYTHING. That's the real question and I'm glad a politician has finally done that. Maybe the other Democratic candidate didn't feel we had the capacity to do anything.

There is NOTHING a politician can promise and then deliver to Blacks only in 2008, this isn't 1960. EVERYTHING from housing, healthcare, economy, education, energy, environment affect us and our future.

The term 'the Black community'...this isn't 1950 or 60, so where is the Black community...well, of course you'll hear rhetoric about collective consciousness, which is basically a fantasy. But where; what streets? Black Americans are a diverse group with both overlapping & completely different issues. Represented up & down the socio-eco spectrum living all over the place; this term is out-dated and the premise leads people to make over generalizations that produce flawed premises (and bad policy). As always limiting and reducing the flesh & blood Black American to a political abstraction.

Sent by Jon J | 3:52 PM | 8-5-2008

All points aformentioned have strong points and make sense. There is no right or wrong answer because there will always be two or more sides -two or more perspectives. What is critical to understand -a point made in an earlier comment- is that the Black community must hold themselves just as accountable as they do any politician who seeks to represent their community and issues. The issue is not that they ar holding him accountable. The issue is the "unfair" "advantage" that Obama has with being a Black man. The idea that he has "the cat in the bag" with Black voters may be true because there simply aren't any better alternatives (not to mention the fact that Obama is strong in his convictions). The issue is the fact that we DO NOT hold and have not held our White candidates to the same standard. granted, we may not expect them to be as passionate or as concerned with Black issues because it is not their primary struggle -but that is part of the larger problem. Ask McCain that question and what will he say he will do for the Black Community? Or even the Latino community?
Obama said it best when he addressed the young men in saying:
"That doesn't mean I am always going to satisfy the way you want these issues framed... which gives you the option of voting for somebody else, it gives you the option of running for office yourself, those are all options."
He is right on. We HAVE OPTIONS. Let us not allow electing one man be the configuration of the "end all" solution to this very immense and socially complex equation. WE have to be the change WE seek. Let us challenge but also let us be sure to challenge our LOCAL body politicians because THEY are the ones who WILL have the most DIRECT impact on OUR communities. Obama being commander in chief mean he will account for all-encompassing issues that go along with that title. And let us not also misunderstand his stance on the issues. He has addressed Black issues as fairly as he has addressed others. Are the sub-prime mortgae crises, job losses, excessively high oil prices, access to healthcare and equal (reformed) public education not ALL related to BLACK ISSUES?!!! Lest we so easily forget OUR isues within the Black community are entrenched in every thread of fabric that weaves this nation. All of those issues effect us so let us hold him accountable for what we know he realistically can address as commander in chief.

Sent by Lady J | 3:56 PM | 8-5-2008

AS FOR THE HECKLER

A guy holds up a sign and he's given major airtime? The Uhuru movement...this is a good laugh but are you kidding me? This is the fringe of fringe, there is no movement; in fact in my community the Uhuru group is mostly comprised of a weird odd band of Whites (till they need a spokesperson). The nation of Islam despite all it's attention never rose above a mostly fringe organization back in the days when the term 'the Black community' had meaning & was accurately used. Their membership peaked at around 50k back then, you think this group has traction, enough to grant legitimacy...please?

None of his premises were challenged...like his use of the term 'Africans' to refer to Black Americans, ridiculous. When I visited Africa they referred to me as 'the American' and not the 'evil westerner' or 'African in America' not even brother. In fact far from being loathed and specifically because I was American, I was invited to homes for dinner, to visit a school, etc. Even they realized that once the African set foot in the new world, he would become and became something different. Please stop with this nonsense!

Because it's not only ridiculous but REAL easy for those who are doing nothing more than stylizing their politics to refer to themselves as persecuted Africans in America, meanwhile on the continent REAL Africans are under tremendous strife: droughts, civil wars, starvation, genocide, etc., conditions not even remotely related to conditions here. They don't have time or the luxury and certainly are not as affluent (relatively) as Diop and those of his ilk, to entertain these fashionable convenient notions without risk and tout this easy indignation.

This is a group with no traction or mass following, but advocates of a socialist agenda..so the obvious question is how's that working out on the continent so far?

Fantasy world...Pan Africanism never had a chance of materializing, not even with the work of Malcolm X.

Being a socialist organization it's obvious that nothing Obama says will appease them. So if Uhuru is REALLY concerned about Africans, well Diop and his group should take a trip to Zimbabwe then come back (if they make it) and tell us how that worked out. Let's see how deep your convictions run. Hold up a sign in Zimbabwe!

Only in America!

Sent by Jon J | 4:10 PM | 8-5-2008

Governments can and do a lot, they redistribute wealth, create millions of jobs, create social safety nets, create militaries and go to war, buy and sell arms, overthrow leaders, offer billions of dollars in tax breaks - so what is that you think government can't do that's beings asked for. The US government after the WWII helped rebuild the European and the Japanese economy and made a profit doing it; Post WWII government loan/grants programs created suburban communities, provided free college tuition to million of WWII and low costs mortgages to vets that created a layer of wealth and supported the creation of a middle class white America, so you think suggesting job creation, and poverty reduction programs through a real urban planning model is not do doable in urban areas.
If the government can't (or really won't) spend its resources in a given community then why am I paying taxes to that government. If this is a democracy then you should influence (or attempt to) what that government does. Otherwise what's the point to be inspired.
People do hold themselves accountable, again its not an either or thing, its mutual, but if people are only suppose to depend on themselves then having a state that collects taxes and doles out money to various constituencies and programs except yours means what -taxation without representation.
You hold someone accountable when they run for office - just like what is being done by other constituencies, if you want my vote what are your promising to do for me so that I can hold you accountable to. So I agree the Black community, we need to be organized to not only change conditions ourselves, but to demand that the government any government that collects taxes for responds to the stated desires of that constituency. Only the truly na??ve think that someone who does not make pledges to you before being elected will some how make them after -- that's more hope.
Just to name a few if you can't figure them out - Issues of concern to the majority of the black people living in America (some may be issues that others are also concerned about) -- police brutality, the imprisonment of black men for low level drug offenses, public education spending in urban communities, job creation in urban communities, affirmative action programs, health care, infant mortality rates.
I could go on but these are all things that the governments respond to and take some responsibility for all around the world, but you can't ask Obama about that according to you jon j, because the government (at least in America) has no responsibilities, except getting elected.

Sent by Kamau Franklin | 5:30 PM | 8-5-2008

For those of you who ask 'why some Blacks aren't holding signs at McCain meetings' or assume that Black folks have been silent as it relates to other presidential candidates and presidents YOU ARE DEAD WRONG! Just because you did not hear about the fight or see the fight on television news DOES NOT mean that Black folks have been silent and inactive as it relates to other politicians and people of power. I personally have attended meetings on the local, state and national level to fight on behalf of the black community. IT IS INSULTING to us who have been doing this level of work for years for you to think that just because of Obama, black people are now speaking out and have some expectations of a presidential candidate. STOP INSULTING ME, MY MAMA AND DADDY, MY ELDERS IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, BLACK NATIONALIST MOVEMENT ....

Perhaps, if you had been in the struggle in the first place, you would be able to see Obama's campaign for what it really is... the same old white man's hustle of all of us!

Sent by Jolivette | 10:05 AM | 8-6-2008

So Jon J you address the question of Black political accountability by red baiting and Black baiting the questioner. Yet the question remains unanswered: What about the BLACK COMMUNITY?. Surely you don't believe that merely putting a Black face in a place automatically delivers what Black people need. We have too many mayors, city councilmen, congressmen and even governors and senators to believe that we just need a competent Black man/woman following the failed agenda of neo liberalism and everything will be alright.

Sent by Sayeed | 12:04 PM | 8-6-2008

I must say, this is onr of the most INTELLIGENT discussions I have seen anywhere on this and related subjects. THANK ALL OF YOU for your thoughts and critical thinking. I am especially moved by KCW, Cliff,Sayeed, Jolivette and Jon J (with whom I disagree 99% of the time he or she posts). This is informative and its brings into relief the charge that black people should not expect anything from Obama, all the while Obama has made EXPLICIT appeals pandering to Jews (his position on Israel and Palestine is indefensible and not just), Immigration, Don't Ask Don't Tell etc., AND NONE Of these groups will vote for him as will Blacks. Isn't this what Marx called, "inverted consciousness"?

Sent by Massai | 2:42 PM | 8-6-2008

Do we expect white presidential candidates to get up and speak about white issues and what they are going to do for the white community? How would we as African Americans re-act if a Asian presidential candidate went around talking about what he's going to do the Asian American community?
Gays come from all ethnic and racial groups. What happens with Jews, the Middle Eastand Palestine affects all of us ----black, white, red, and yellow are dying in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Sent by Glenda | 5:16 PM | 8-6-2008

Sayeed,
I have no idea what 'red baiting or Black baiting means so you'll have to explain that one?

You had to read what I wrote about the term 'Black Community re-read that.

Surely you don't believe that merely putting a Black face in a place automatically delivers what Black people need.

NEVER SAID THAT, YOUR THOUGHTS & YOUR WORDS, NOT MINE. DON'T HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS. I HAVEN'T TALKED TO ALL BLACKS AND DON'T KNOW WHAT ONE PARTICULAR BLACK NEEDS? WHAT I NEED OR WANT MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM THE NEXT BLACK. BUT PERSONALLY I DON'T BELIEVE ANYONE CAN DELIVER WHAT BLACKS NEED...WHATEVER ONE NEEDS HE/SHE IS GOING TO HAVE TO GO GET IT.

DO YOU THINK YOU NEED THE SAME THING I NEED? AND HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS IF YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MEN?

We have too many mayors, city councilmen, congressmen and even governors and senators to believe that we just need a competent Black man/woman following the failed agenda of neo liberalism and everything will be alright.

WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU READING, AGAIN, YOU'RE RESPONDING TO WHATS IN YOUR OWN HEAD, NOT WHAT I ACTUALLY WROTE...BUT IF YOU CAN ASSUME WHAT I NEED THEN IT FOLLOWS, I GUESS. AND I'M FAR FROM BELIEVING IN A NEO-LIBERAL ANYTHING AND IN FACT HAVE BEEN A BIG CRITIC OF LIBERALS THIS ENTIRE CAMPAIGN.

Sent by Jon J | 10:25 PM | 8-6-2008

KAMAU,
Government does all of that you mentioned but it does not 'alleviate problems'...we still have problems right? And we do get something for our tax dollars, just look around...your roads, police, garbage, fire, schools, community colleges, state universities, infrastructure for business small & large, etc., etc.

You hold someone accountable when they run for office -

HOW? THEY'RE NOT IN POSITION YET TO DELIVER ANYTHING, ONLY CAMPAIGNING. YOU EITHER BELIEVE THEM OR YOU DON'T?

just like what is being done by other constituencies, if you want my vote what are your promising to do for me so that I can hold you accountable to.

YES, AFTER THEY'RE ELECTED AND HAD A CHANCE TO PERFORM. IT'S THE WAY OUR SYSTEM WORKS, IT'S BASED ON BELIEVE OR TRUST, THEN YOU HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE?
AS FOR constituencies, I HATE THAT GAME BECAUSE IT'S USUALLY SINGLE ISSUE STUFF.

Only the truly na??ve think that someone who does not make pledges to you before being elected will some how make them after -- that's more hope.

YES, BUT TO ME, HAVING READ THROUGH ISSUES ON HIS WEBSITE I'VE SEEN WHAT I NEED TO SEE AND HEARD WHAT I NEED TO HEAR.

:) LOL, IT'S ALL HOPE...YOU HOPE THE POLITICIAN FOLLOWS THRU..LIKE IN EVERY ELECTION...AND IF HE OR SHE DOESN'T THEN YOU HOPE FOR A BETTER CANDIDATE THEN HOPE HE/SHE GOVERNS BETTER.

Just to name a few if you can't figure them out -
IT'S NOT THAT I CAN'T FIGURE THEM OUT BUT YOU BROUGHT IT UP.

Issues of concern to the majority of the black people living in America (some may be issues that others are also concerned about)
-- police brutality
A LOCAL ISSUES FOR SPECIFIC COMMUNITIES TO ADDRESS THROUGH THEIR LOCAL POLITICIAN. WHERE I LIVE A MAJORITY OF BRUTALITY IS COMMITTED BY A CITIZEN ATTACKING ANOTHER CITIZEN. THE % SAY THAT I'M MORE LIKELY TO BE ASSAULTED BY SOMEONE WHO LOOKS LIKE ME THAN A CASE OF POLICE BRUTALITY. SO I'M MORE CONCERNED ABOUT CRIME....WHICH I'M MORE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE.

the imprisonment of black men for low level drug offenses.

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS AND OTHER BLACK 'LEADERS' WERE RIGHT IN LINE WITH AND SUPPORTED THE DRUG WAR POLICIES & SENTENCING, MAINLY BECAUSE THE DRUG/GANG ACTIVITIES WERE AFFECTING BLACK CITIZENS.
BUT YOU KNOW IT'S PRETTY EASY TO NOT GET ARRESTED, 1000'S OF KIDS IN INNER CITY COMMUNITIES MANAGE NOT TO GET ARRESTED, WHAT'S THEIR SECRET? AND BY THE TIME MOST OF THESE GUYS GET ARRESTED THEY'VE COMMITTED OTHER CRIMES, RECKED HAVOC & HARASSED CITIZENS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD...BLACK CITIZENS, SO PLEASE!

public education spending in urban communities.

EQUITY OF FUNDING IS AN ISSUE, BUT POURING MONEY INTO A BROKEN OUT-DATED SYSTEM THAT PUMPS OUT KIDS READY FOR A 1950'S ECONOMY ISN'T THE SOLUTION. TOTAL EDUCATION REFORM IS...BUT TEACHERS UNION WHO YOU SHOULD HOLD ACCOUNTABLE...BLOCKS ALL OF THAT. BESIDES KIDS THAT WANT TO LEARN...LEARN...FAMILIES, EVEN IN POOR AREAS, (SEE IMMIGRANTS WITH LANGUAGE ISSUES AND BLACK IMMIGRANTS FROM PLACES LIKE THE WEST INDIES, ETC.) THAT VALUE EDUCATION FIND WAYS. CAN'T WAIT TILL REFORM TO START VALUING EDUCATION...AT LEAST SHOW UP!

job creation in urban communities,

READ JERAMEY RIFKINS, THE END OF WORK AND WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT THE PUBLIC SECTOR...AND THE EMERGING OR NEED FOR A 3RD SECTOR.

DON'T THINK THE GOVERNMENT DOES A GOOD JOB OF THAT...AND ESPECIALLY WITH SHRINKING BUDGETS & CUT BACKS DON'T EXPECT MORE OF THAT....AND BESIDES THE INFLEXIBLE, BUERACRACIES WITH 1950'S TOP DOWN HIERARCHY & STRUCTURES ARE NOT EFFICIENT AND CAN'T MOVE FAST ENOUGH TO ADDRESS ISSUES. INNOVATION, ENTREPRENEURS AND SMALL BUS (WHICH EMPLOYS MOST OF THE PEOPLE) IS WHAT WILL CREATE JOBS.

affirmative action programs,
PERSONALLY NOT CONCERNED WITH THAT...NO ONE CAN ADDRESS IT WITH SHRINKING BUDGETS, OUT-SOURCING AND A TRANSITION ECONOMY, EDUCATION...SIMPLE (NEED & PERFORMANCE, PERIOD). BARACK ADDRESSED IT HE SAID HIS KIDS SHOULD NOT GET IT, THEY'VE HAD ALL THE ADVANTAGES AND NEED TO PERFORM.

health care, infant mortality rates.
LIKE EVERY OTHER AMERICAN

but you can't ask Obama about that according to you jon j, because the government (at least in America) has no responsibilities, except getting elected.

WELL, IN ADDITION TO PUTTING WORDS IN MY MOUTH, YOU ARE MIXING 2 DIFFERENT THINGS...IF YOU WANT TO ASK THE GOVERNMENT ABOUT ANYTHING THEN ADDRESS THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION...THE 'GOVERNMENT ISN'T TRYING TO GET ELECTED BARACK IS....YOU CAN ASK OBAMA AND YOU CAN LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS, READ THROUGH HIS WEBSITE, HIS WRITINGS & PAST WORK.. DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE AS AN INDIVIDUAL...I HEAR PEOPLE ALL THE TIME SAYING 'WHAT THEY HAVEN'T HEARD AND USUALLY IT'S ADDRESSED ON HIS WEBSITE OR HE HAS MENTIONED IT IN A SPEECH, WRITINGS, ETC. BUT PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO DO THEIR DUE DILIGENCE AND ACCESS INFORMATION, WANT IT SPOON FEED IN SOUND BITES.

GOVERNING IS DIFFERENT THAN CAMPAIGNING, I JUST DON'T SEE WHY THAT'S SO HARD TO GRASP.

Sent by Jon J | 11:46 PM | 8-6-2008

MASSAI,
GLAD YOU DISAGREE WITH THE MAJORITY OF WHAT I POST, THANKS...ESPECIALLY QUOTING MARX.

CAMPAIGNING & ELECTIONS....A SCIENCE THAT 'EXPERTS' WHO RUN CAMPAIGNS PAY ATTENTION TOO, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS...A SMALL % BUMP HERE OR THERE CAN MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BTWN WINNING & LOSING.

OF COURSE YOU CAMPAIGN FOR SUPPORT IN AREAS WHERE THE NUMBERS TELL YOU IT'S NEEDED.

I'M JUST AMAZED READING THESE POST AND HOW UNSOPHISTICATED PEOPLE ARE ABOUT THIS PROCESS....IT'S LAUGHABLE WHEN NOT DOWN RIGHT SAD.

AND THE COMMENT THAT BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD NOT EXPECT ANYTHING FROM OBAMA IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. UNBELIEVABLE... SO BLACK PEOPLE CAN'T BENEFIT FROM ANY OF THE ISSUES ON HIS PLATFORM......ENVIRONMENT, EDUCATION, ENERGY, HEALTHCARE, ETC.?

DAMN! EXAMPLE: YOU CAN'T SAY EDUCATION REFORM, MAKING SCHOOLS WORK, PAYING TEACHERS, ETC. NO THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH...IT HAS TO BE EXPLICITLY EXACTLY TO THE POINT OF HOW IT WILL AFFECT BLACK PEOPLE....WTF? PEOPLE CAN'T TAKE THE INFORMATION AND APPLY IT TO THEIR LIVES..EXTRAPOLATE, MAKE THE CONNECTION?
WHAT MORE CAN BE SAID, I'LL STOP BY YOUR HOUSE, PICK UP YOUR KID TAKE THEM TO SCHOOL, MAKE SURE THEY LISTEN, PAY ATTENTION, MAKE INQUIRIES AND STUDY..THEN MAKE SURE THE PARENT IS INVOLVED? TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHAT'S ALREADY THERE TO PROVE YOU WANT MORE.
WHINING....WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR ME...WHAT ARE YO GOING TO DO FOR ME..

THE PROBLEM IS MANY ARE LOOKING FOR HEALING.. PSYCHE-PLAY, YEAH IT'S CLOAKED IN 'THE ISSUES' BUT REALLY... AND NO POLITICIAN CAN SATISFY THAT...PLEASE, YOU ALL SHOULD LOOK TO YOUR CLERGY OR THERAPIST FOR THAT SORT OF EMOTIONAL HEALING.

Sent by Jon J | 12:18 AM | 8-7-2008

See Jon J, you confirm my disagreement with your thinking. I sincerely don't understand WHAT your are talking about and it seems, neither do you. To deny that African Americans have special claims against the U.S. state and society--just on the matter of what Jim Crow segregation did (I am not mentioning slavery because that generation is all gone) to the tens of millions of LIVING Black Americans--the most overlooked dimension of the "no reparations"--position; living beings like holocaust survivors, japanese internment survivors, Native Americans (gaming is providing them reparations for what happened to their ancestors, not LIVING Indians)specifically around the GROUP, rather than individual, harm which was experienced. Handout? It is not about "what are you going to do for me," as you write. It is about JUSTICE and RECONCILIATION for what was done TO my LIVING 83 year old mother, born in South Carolina, her father, and the legacies of injustice that have impacted the health and sanity of too many people in my community and family. There are causes and effects. We tend to look at the effect and judge it, will giving a pass on the cause. Many of us who make it out of these "handicapped" beginnings, are the exceptions that prove the rule. Don't talk about handouts or reparations for slavery. Answer how it is justifiable for the U.S. state--with NOOOOOOOOO protest from whites or the national media--that Japanese Americans, Native Americans, can quietly receive recompense for the injustices which their LIVING and DEAD experienced but oppose--Obama included--anything other than three century too late apologies offered to no one in particular. Only NEGROES police one another's legitimate demands against the state and call it begging. Sounds like you buy into the white liberal mantra concerning the poor welfare recipients, and the white conservatives'disdain for them. Self-hatred performs the task of making black folk feel like what happened to them, didn't. It is their lack of personal responsibility, it is routinely charged. Well, please TELL ME WHEN IN THE HELL IS SOME SMART DUDE LIKE YOU GONNA TALK ABOUT "NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY" for ITS ACTIONS (and welfare and affirmative action benefit white women more than anyone so, please don't pull those out of your pocket as proof of reparations).

Sent by Massai | 1:30 PM | 8-7-2008

Lost in all of this discussion is what Senator Obama has already done in the black community....I would like to add that Senator Obama should be given credit (and respect) for his work as a community organizer in the "hood" and his time as a civil rights attorney (in spite of his Harvard Law Review editorship which gave him a pass to corporate American and big money),and his years in the IL state senate where actively sought to support the funding and other of needs of his constitutents---many of whom lived in the Chicago's black communities.
I think that anybody who is wondering about Obama's concerns about the Black community, should look at what he has been doing in Chicago for the over 20 years--and get some clues.

What has begun to bother me most about Obama's candidacy and the African American community (Jon J touched on this), is the lack of effort put forth by many folks to actually look at his background and accomplishments, check out his website (and dare I say read one of his books?), so that they don't let the media define him.
If it's necessary to challenged Senator Obama, I think it should be done in a respectful manner from an informed perspective.
Personally, I think that there are enough people around to point out what Senator Obama is not doing or should do differently.
Mr. Obama has said that he is not perfect and if elected, he won't be a perfect president. Rather than join in the criticizing chorus or cast stones with the crowd---something I see black commentators on CNN do on a regular basis, I think we (his supporters within he black community), should be more proactive and positive about his candidacy.

Sent by Glenda | 1:53 AM | 8-8-2008

Massai,
Truly unbelievable and why it's difficult to have a conversation at times because transition & what's actually said or written gets lost or isn't addressed...speculations, accusations, cliches get off topic and on tangents...where you end up arguing against 'prevailing wisdom or partisan ideas/frames..or routine charges.
an example:

you wrote: don't talk about handouts or reparations for slavery. DIDN'T TALK ABOUT EITHER OR USE THE TERM HANDOUTS.

call it begging- NEVER USED THAT WORD EITHER.

Self-hatred- CLICHE', EASY INDIGNATION SPIN-TACTIC....FREUDIAN, THEREFORE WHITE, THEREFORE LIBERAL...SO WHO EXACTLY HAS BOUGHT INTO THE MANTRA?

personal responsibility- ANOTHER CLICHE', NOW YOU'RE BUYING INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S FRAME...LIKE WHOEVER 'ROUTINELY CHARGES' IT.

welfare and affirmative action benefit white women more than anyone so, please don't pull those out of your pocket as proof of reparations.

AGAIN...IN FACT I AGREE WITH THAT COMMENT. WHICH IS WHY I COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT IT AS A POLICY..AND DON'T FALL INTO THE ARGUMENT WHERE BOTH ARE FRAMED AS 'BLACK ISSUES'..AND I END UP ARGUING ABOUT OR IN FAVOR OF POLICY THAT DOESN'T BENEFIT BLACKS AND YET USED AS STIGMA! BASE IT ON NEED (BLACKS THAT NEED IT WOULD BENEFIT) & MOVE ON.

But the problem is you aren't having a conversation with ME, you're responding to all sorts of cliches, frames & things routinely charged.

So of course you don't know what I'm talking about because you don't understand who you're talking too! See because ALL of what you wrote is true and I agree with the sentiment in the context of a historical conversation..there are however other aspects of history and that conversation narrows & leaves out too much that informs our (Black Americans) time & role in this country. 2 things can be equally true and our story is complex. Many many things inform our humanity, it isn't all pain!
we need to see the Black American experience through a wider more complex frame than repression/oppression...to me the question is..is that all we are? Reduced to political abstractions..only relevant in relation to the power dynamics & mechanisms of this country? Basically only in relation to where we stand relative to Whites? To me that's granting waay too much to Whites and it puts Whites at the center.

you ask: how it is justifiable for the U.S. state--with NOOOOOOOOO protest from whites or the national media.

TO THEM IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE JUSTIFIABLE..WHEN THEY CAN CHANGE THE SUBJECT, DENY OR SIMPLY REMAIN SILENT...I CAN 'YEAH YOU TELL'M' BUT WITHOUT THE NUMBERS & NO MAGIC TRUTH SERUM, I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO WITH THAT..POLITICALLY.

Reparations: being a self-hating black conservative (as the reactionary in you would have it) i'm not for it. The case you make is undeniable and logical to any reasonable person...if one wants to have a REAL conversation about the matter. But we as a nation won't and can't have that conversation in any reasonable manner..YOU KNOW THAT. Imagine the media, we just do not have the capacity and the masses not informed enough or secure enough....it's sad but true. So I feel it's not a wise use of political capital. It would be waste of energy & time. With a transitioning economy and all the uncertainty, insecurity in industrial states, mid-west, etc...with gas prices, a housing crunch and xenophobic fear on high alert, you think a conversation about reparations is going to take off? Black tax payers would have to be exempt right? So play that argument out. NOW, if you going after corporate money/resources for those corporations who benefited that's a different story.

Many of us who make it out of these "handicapped" beginnings, are the exceptions.

SO ISN'T THAT THE STORY....ESPECIALLY FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T MADE IT OUT OF THOSE 'HANDICAPPED' BEGINNINGS...THEY'D BE BETTER SERVED WITH THAT STORY...DON'T NEED TO TELL THEM ABOUT THE DIRE STRAITS...I THINK THEY'VE FIGURED THAT OUT BY NOW. I WOULD SUSPECT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR WAYS OUT, NOT CAUSES OF CONDITIONS. AND I'M SURE THEY BELIEVE FOR MORE IN THEIR OWN CAPACITY, GIVEN A LITTLE LUCK, THAN WAITING FOR 'WHITES & THE NATIONAL MEDIA' TO GET IT.

Sent by Jon J | 3:51 PM | 8-8-2008

SENATOR OBAMA, PLEASE TELL AMERICA YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL INJUSTICE ???

LETS ALL HOPE OUR MEDIA FRIENDS ALSO SHOW AN INTEREST IN REPORTING ON THIS AMERICAN HORROR FACING THESE (TENS OF THOUSANDS) FORGOTTEN AND TRAPPED POORER AMERICANS, AND HOW THIS POSSIBLE FUTURE PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER HANDLES THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FACING AMERICA'S LATINO AND BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ????

**WITH 80% OF THE BLACK AMERICAN VOTERS SAYING THEY SUPPORT SENATOR OBAMA IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IT IS ONLY FAIR FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW PRIOR BEING ELECTED OUR NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOW THIS DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TRULY FEELS ABOUT THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL HORROR CONTINUING TO INFLICT GRAVE HARM ON THE BLACK AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE ??????

*** WHEN GOD'S FACE BECAME VERY RED ***
THE US SUPREME COURT GAVE ENEMY COMBATANTS FEDERAL APPEAL HC RIGHTS LAWYERS AND PROPER ACCESS TO US FEDERAL COURTS,AND POORER AMERICANS (MANY EVEN ON DEATH ROW) ARE DENIED PROPER FEDERAL APPEAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO OUR US FEDERAL COURTS OF APPEAL, AND ROTTING IN AMERICAN PRISONS NATIONWIDE ?????????

**** INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE DENIED REAL HC RIGHTS WITH THEIR FEDERAL APPEALS !
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE $LOWLY FINDING OUT HOW EA$Y IT I$ FOR MIDDLE CLA$$ AND WORKING POOR AMERICAN$ TO FALL VICTIM TO OUR U$ MONETARY JUDICIAL $Y$TEM.

****WHEN THE US INNOCENT WERE ABANDONED BY THE GUILTY ****
The prison experts have reported that there are 100,000 innocent Americans currently being falsely imprisoned along with the 2,300,000 total US prison population nationwide.

Since our US Congress has never afforded poor prison inmates federal appeal legal counsel for their federal retrials,they have effectively closed the doors on these tens of thousands of innocent citizens ever being capable of possibly exonerating themselves to regain their freedom through being granted new retrials.

This same exact unjust situation was happening in our Southern States when poor and mostly uneducated Black Americans were being falsely imprisoned for endless decades without the needed educational skills to properly submit their own written federal trial appeals.

This devious and deceptive judicial process of making our poor and innocent prison inmates formulate and write their own federal appeal legal cases for possible retrials on their state criminal cases,is still in effect today even though everyone in our US judicial system knows that without proper legal representation, these tens of thousands of innocent prison inmates will be denied their rightful opportunities of ever being granted new trials from our federal appeal judges!!

Sadly, the true US *legal* Federal Appeal situation that occurs when any of our uneducated American prison inmates are forced to attempt to submit their own written Federal Appeals (from our prisons nationwide) without the assistance of proper legal counsel, is that they all are in reality being denied their legitimate rights for Habeas Corpus and will win any future Supreme Court Case concerning this injustice!

For our judicial system and our US Congressional Leaders Of The Free World to continue to pretend that this is a real and fair opportunity for our American Middle Class and Working Poor Citizens, only delays the very needed future change of Federal Financing of all these Federal appeals becoming a normal formula of Our American judicial system.

It was not so very long ago that Public Defenders became a Reality in this country.Prior that legal reality taking place, their were also some who thought giving anyone charged with a crime a free lawyer was a waste of taxpayers $$.

This FACADE and HORROR of our Federal Appeal proce$$ is not worthy of the Greatest Country In The World!

***GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT EVEN THEIR INNOCENT, BECOME THE GUILTY!

A MUST READ ABOUT AMERICAN INJUSTICE:
1) YAHOO AND 2) GOOGLE
MANNY GONZALES THE KID THAT EVERYONE FORGOT IN THE CA PRISON SYSTEM.
** A JUDICIAL RIDE OF ONES LIFE !

lawyersforpooramericans@yahoo.com (424-247-2013)

Sent by DOUGLAS FIELD | 8:46 AM | 8-29-2008

There are so many ways to tackle this issue...who is this monolithic black community of whom everyone speaks? We are sick to death of being taken for granted as voters, and yet we continue the myth that we vote as a block. I know black Republicans, I know black Clinton supporters (still), I know black Independents, I know black folks who don't vote for anybody. I know poor black folks, rich black folks and those in between. I know black right- to-lifers and black pro-choicers. I know a ton of black gay and lesbian folks and even more black homophobes. I know black liberals and black conservatives. I am an African-American, mid-50s, middle class, female, disabled veteran, etc, etc, etc. Pick an issue and we are disproportionatley represented...health care, employment, education, war, judicial system, economy. When he speaks about issues facing black america...he's accused of playing the race card. When he talks of issues facing ALL of us, he's called a traitor to our cause. Chicago's got a lot of needs, and it will take more than four years and one man to solve them. Wouldn't you be upset if he played the hometown card? Stop the madness! We are a nation in crisis! Either we pull together and get this nation back on its feet or we ALL perish together.

Sent by Brenda Johnson | 11:06 PM | 9-13-2008

About