28.05.2016 Author: Martin Berger

Should African-Americans Be Thanking Obama?


There’s little doubt that once Barack Obama leaves his post he will leave a bitter sense of disappointment creeping over the members of the international community and common American citizens alike.

And what could we have expected? Over recent decades we have witnessed Washington’s “democracy” at its best, as Western oligarchs have been promoting the most spineless candidates to make sure that they can be properly controlled, after a clear message was sent to all presidential candidates back in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was a message that said no American president would pursue policies that haven’t been approved by Wall Street.

It is a widely recognized fact that the presidential election campaigns in the United States have been transformed into a TV show in order to divert public attention away from the poor from their hardships and the routine violation of their fundamental rights. And since racial tensions have been on the rise in the US, President Barack Obama’s figure was introduced to the US political scene to reduce the frustration of the African-American population across the country.

Now American oligarchs are trying to pull out a similar stunt with Hillary Clinton’s election campaign, trying to show a half of all voters, namely American women by providing them with an illusion that they do have a say in this unraveling “democracy”.

It’s should be recalled that in January 2005, Obama was first elected to the US Congress as a senator for Illinois. That’s when PR teams started promoting Barack Obama as a symbol of “racial fairness”. On August 28, 2008 he accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and soon became the first African-American President of the United States.

During his presidential campaign Obama heavily relied on the notions of human rights protection, support of the middle class and narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. He became an advocate for more affordable education and housing for most Americans, along with the reduction of tax rates for working families. He positioned himself as a supporter of a moderate policy towards immigrants, saying that they should be supported by the government through a number of various programs.

There’s no use discussing these promises after Obama’s two terms in office, since none of them have been fulfilled.

For common African-Americans Barack Obama’s victory was a triumph and a miracle. His triumph was the culmination of more than a half-century of struggle to gain access to the ballot and create political space within the once-hostile Democratic Party for a mobilized black electorate. However, as it has been noted by MSNBC, while we prepare to draw the curtain on the Obama era, African Americans remain well behind their white counterparts on nearly every measure of health, wealth, education and even physical longevity.

According to the Census Bureau, as of 2014, African Americans earn 59 cents on the dollar compared to white Americans, a disparity that has not changed much since the 1970s. According to the Brookings Institute, black children born into the bottom fifth of household income distribution will still be there at age 40; and even blacks born into the middle class have a 7 in 10 chance of falling into the bottom two quintiles by the time they are adults.

The respectable alternative media source CounterPunch would note:

The black unemployment rate topped out at 30.0 percent and not 16.8 percent. You see, this administration has been understating the national and African American unemployment rates for the last eight years and the 16.8 percent is an understated rate. the 30.0 percent rate of unemployment placed the black population in the category of having experienced a Great Depression versus a Great Recession, as the rate of unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

The Huffington Post would go one step further by publishing the preliminary findings of the UN expert group on the problems of racial inequality in education systems. They’ve come to the conclusion that American schools are hotbeds for racial discrimination. The overall findings – which touch on topics of police brutality, school curriculum and mass incarceration – are bleak for African-Americans who tend to have lower levels of income, education and food security than other Americans This reflects “the level of structural discrimination that creates de facto barriers for people of African descent to fully exercise their human rights.”

The Pew Research Center notes that a growing share of Americans view racism as a “big problem.” Half of Americans now say this, up from 33% five years earlier, reflecting an increase across all demographic groups.

Since the end of the last recession, wealth disparity between black and white families increased. In 2010, white families were on average 10 times wealthier that black ones, while in 2013 the ratio increased to 13 times, shows the data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. This growing racial inequality suggests that the economic recovery since the Great Recession has not benefited all households alike, in fact, there’s a stark divide in the experiences of white and black households during the economic recovery. From 2010 to 2013, the median wealth of white households increased by 2.4%, while the median wealth of black households fell by a third.

Therefore it’s not surprising that an organized movement Black Lives Matter, which was formed in the wake of the continuous murder of black men by law enforcement officials in Ferguson, New York, San Francisco and other cities, started to carry out acts of civil disobedience across the country on a regular basis. Reuters would report:

Students are holding events designed to bring attention to racial issues on a handful of US college campuses, spurred on by the impact of protests at the University of Missouri, at Yale University, Ithaca college and Smith college in the Northeastern United States, where hundreds of students and teachers protested what they saw as soft handling of reports of racial abuse.

Even in Washington, where President Obama still appears occasionally in between his golf games, racial discrimination is easy to see. According to The Daily Caller more than a quarter of African-Americans in the US capital live below the poverty line, and the overall growing prosperity Washington’s residents had no effect on the poor black communities. A new study released by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), a liberal-leaning non-profit group, shows that 26 percent of black people in the city lived below the poverty line in 2014. Only 7 percent of non-Hispanic whites lived at that level.

Therefore, the famous American patriotic song God Bless America, which Irving Berlin wrote in 1918 during his service in the US Army, has become particularly relevant these days. And the notion about the guidance should be remembered by today’s voters since they’re are running the risk of falling victims to yet another cheap PR trick, when voting for representatives of certain ethnic minorities or feminists.

Still, one could only hope that Americans would elect a worthy candidate who would save the country from sliding further into the abyss of financial ruin and military aggression due to the countless military contractors of the US military. A worthy president would be more bothered with the social problems of ordinary Americans which constitute an absolute majority in the US.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”