Why Blacks Typically Support Obama

Yeah, yeah, I know. I should be writing about the current primaries and crop of presidential candidates, not the disappointment-in-chief now in office. But, hey, he’s still in office, and the issues are still relevant. Plus, it’s always good to learn from history. Others of you may be thinking that I, a white man, have no business writing about the behaviors and motivations of Black people. To that I say, 1) hogwash!; 2) I still have a brain and can consider data; and 3) I am actually going to quote a book written by a black guy. So there! 😉

Please Stop Helping UsI’m only about half-way through it, but I am quite enjoying and learning a lot from Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (2014) by journalist and WSJ editor Jason Riley. Riley has been confirming a few things I suspected but have not done the research to verify. Riley has the documented facts, professional analysis, and personal experience to back it up, the first of which often flies in the face of the liberal “party line” as echoed by many Blacks in America.

In the first chapter, the author begins by discussing Barack Obama’s (re-)election and ongoing popularity, particularly among Blacks. Here is an excerpt:

“If anything, these polls were underestimating black support for the president. In 2012, black turnout would increase from 2008 and 93 percent would pull the lever for Obama, notwithstanding clear evidence that blacks had lost ground on his watch. When Obama took office in January 2009, unemployment was 12.7 percent for blacks and 7.1 percent for whites. On Election Day in November 2012 it was 14.3 percent for blacks and 7 percent for whites, which meant that the black-white unemployment gap had not only persisted, but widened, during Obama’s first term.

It could be that blacks, like so many others who supported his reelection in 2012, were cutting the president slack because the economy was already in bad shape when Obama took office. As one black voter put it to a reporter in August 2011, ‘No president, not Bush, not Obama, could turn the mess that we are in around in four years.’ But in the past, the black approval rating of a president had tended to correlate with the jobless rate. Yet black unemployment was lower under George W. Bush than it had been at any point during the Obama administration. In addition, the black-white income disparity that widened under Obama actually narrowed in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, even though Reagan also inherited a weak economy from his predecessor. The Great Recession that began under George W. Bush in December 2007 had officially ended in June 2009, six months after Obama took office.

Economic historians, citing one hundred and fifty years of U.S. business cycles, generally agree that the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery. Not so under Obama, and not so especially for blacks. A report released by two former Census Bureau officials in August 2013 found that since the end of the recession, median household incomes had fallen 3.6 percent for whites and 10.9 percent for blacks. Which means that even when controlling for the effects of the economic slowdown that Obama inherited, under his presidency blacks have been worse off both in absolute terms and relative to whites. When Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked black talk-show host Tavis Smiley in October 2013 if black Americans were ‘better off five years into the Obama presidency,’ Smiley responded: ‘Let me answer your question very forthrightly: No, they are not. The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category. On that regard, the president ought to be held responsible.‘ Blacks seem to disagree. According to Gallup, Obama’s job-approval rating among blacks was 85 percent (versus just 43 percent among all groups) when Smiley made those remarks.”

Why do you suppose the economy has been so disappointing, especially for Blacks? Could it be that the policies that Obama and the “progressives” promote and implement are anti-business and bad for the economy? But, the Left continues to push more baloney and Obama sticks to his agenda….

“Broad racial solidarity is another possible explanation for why blacks have remained so bullish on Obama despite his economic record. A black member of Congress told political scientist Carol Swain that ‘one of the advantages, and disadvantages, of representing blacks is their shameless loyalty… You can almost get away with raping babies and be forgiven. You don’t have any vigilance about your performance.’

Ben Jealous (NAACP) / Barack Obama / Marc Morial (NUL)

Ben Jealous (NAACP) / Barack Obama / Marc Morial (NUL)

The political left, which has long embraced identity politics, encourages racial and ethnic loyalty. It is manifest in liberal support for multiculturalism, hate-crime laws, racially gerrymandered voting districts, affirmative-action quotas, and other policies. ‘Stick together, black people,’ says popular black radio host Tom Joyner, and Obama booster. ‘No matter what policies he pursues, the president’s racialized embodiment stands as a symbol of triumphant black achievement,’ asserts MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry. Black politicians have long played off of the notion that blacks owe allegiance to ‘their own.’ Some of the group’s most vicious insults — ‘Uncle Tom,’ ‘Oreo,’ ‘sellout’ — are reserved for those deemed race traitors. Supporting Obama regardless of his job performance is therefore seen by many blacks as not only the right thing to do but the ‘black’ thing to do.

The administration itself has stoked this sentiment in hopes of maintaining strong black support. It has pushed to loosen ‘racist’ drug-sentencing laws. It has sued employers who use criminal background checks to screen job applicants. It has unleashed federal housing officials on white suburban residential communities that it considered insufficiently integrated. The goal is to sustain goodwill with the civil rights establishment and black voters, even if these measures are more symbolic than substantive. Black incarceration rates are not driven by drug laws; empirical research shows that employers who check criminal histories are more likely to hire blacks; and polls have long shown that most black people have no interest in living in mostly white neighborhoods. Yet these kinds of measures are used to foster an ‘us-versus-them’ mentality among blacks and then exploit such thinking for partisan political gain.

Liberals like to complain that, the twice-elected President Obama notwithstanding, we are not a ‘post-racial’ society. The reality is that they wouldn’t have it any other way. Race consciousness helps cohere the political left, and black liberalism’s main agenda is keeping race front and center in our national conversations. That’s why, for example, much more common black-on-black crimes take a back seat to much less common white-on-black crimes. The last thing that organizations like the NAACP want is for America to get ‘beyond’ race. In their view, racial discrimination in one form or another remains a significant barrier to black progress, and government action is the best solution.”

Unfortunately, some will use the above-mentioned epithets against Riley, because he hasn’t bought into what the race-baiters and others on the Left are selling. Thank God for that!

I have an Easter-based series planned for the next few weeks, but maybe after that I’ll post some more from Please Stop Helping Us. Meantime, I highly recommend it, so you may want to pick it up for yourself.


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