Is President Obama the worst president for Blacks?

By Dula

Abraham Lincoln left a lasting legacy by freeing Blacks from the shackles of slavery. President Lyndon Johnson passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill was another milestone event. Because of Lincoln and Johnson, Blacks achieved high degree of political freedom, but they have a long way in achieving economic equality and overcoming poverty.Obama Disgusts Human Rights Advocates
In Africa, President George Bush promoted democracy and his AIDS initiative saved or extended the lives of millions of Africans and promoted democracy. President Obama instead of making a serious effort to push for democracy, his laissez-faire policy encouraged leaders in Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi and others to gravitate to a single party dictatorship.

Africans were optimistic for Obama. Professor of political science, Alemayehu G. Mariam of California State University, San Bernardino, CA said in his latest blog that Obama has fallen from grace to disgrace especially after his recent trip to Ethiopia, where he praised the current dictatorial regime. The Washington Post characterized recent visit to an oppressive regime like Ethiopia “unfathomable” Human Rights watch called his remarks and support of the regime in Ethiopia “shocking”.

As far as Black Americans, the plight is even direr. The homicide rate, the number of blacks in prison, high unemployment and police brutality has tarnished America’s image abroad. Not of his own fault, most of the economic progress made in the past was lost in the last Great Recession, which affected Blacks disproportionately. During the last Great Recession, according to NPR minorities experienced a 53% decline or loss of wealth.

To his credit, President Obama has attempted despite lots of oppositions to address some of the problems affecting the middle class and the poor in the area of health care and criminal justice. The symptom that is affecting the majority of the poor especially Blacks is income inequality that is largely related to lack of skills necessary for the new economy. Strengthening the educational system, establishing technical and vocational schools in minority communities would have gone a long way in addressing the issue of income inequality, but it was never in president’s radar screen. Therefore, he is leaving the income inequality gap a lot worse than when he took over.

His other solution to police brutality was use of body camera, but that is not going to solve the problem. The solution is improving the economic condition of Black America by leveraging technology. Most of the blacks killed by police are usually poor, unemployed or underemployed.

African-Americans make up roughly 12% of the U.S. population, but represent less than 2% of the workforce at most Silicon Valley and tech companies. In addition, the race gap in wealth between the median black family and the median white family has widened to 18 fold.

Eric Garner and many others are victims of economics, not just police brutality. Eric Garner was trying to make a living by selling loose cigarettes to support his six children and a wife. If he was trained in simple skills like welding, pipe fitting, wood working, air conditioning, plumbing or other high tech skills most likely he will not have been a victim of police brutality.

In 1999 under President Clinton we proposed putting technology training centers in the ghettos and barrios to train minorities and other economically disadvantaged groups as part of the Immigration Bill that brought over one million tech workers from India and Taiwan to support the tech industries. The powerful technology lobby derailed the amendment and another opportunity to transform America and the Black community was lost. The same initiative was suggested to Obama’s Office of Technology to free Blacks from the shackles of poverty, but it never got any traction.

With little time left in his term, Obama has yet to achieve any real policy victory for Blacks at home or in Africa. Let us say, he will not leave any lasting legacy as the one left by his predecessors.