What's Happening In Your World

How Hispanics and Gay Activists Could Make Valerie Jarrett Look Silly

valerie-jarrettby Dr. Boyce Watkins

I think that most of us can agree that, in the age of Obama, black journalism is effectively dead.  Being objective about the Obama presidency is nothing short of treasonous, and even if you voted for Obama, that means nothing if you don’t go along with the administration without questioning its policies.

I’m especially curious about two black news websites:  TheRoot.com and TheGrio.com  I honestly wonder how easy it is for their writers to say anything that might be significantly critical of the Obama Administration without receiving a lashing in public.  TheRoot.com is run by Henry Louis Gates, a Harvard colleague of Obama, and a friend to the administration.  TheGrio.com is run by MSNBC, a corporation that appears to be firmly committed to being a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.  In most areas, both publications provide accurate and reliable information that is of tremendous value to the African American community.  But the other truth is that anyone considered too critical of the Obama Administration is likely going to have a hard time getting their article onto the front page.

As an interesting case-in-point, Lawrence Bobo at TheRoot.com recently asked if President Obama owes a debt to African Americans.  The piece was in response to those who feel that the president hasn’t paid much attention to his most loyal constituents, and empirical data suggesting that Obama has led the least racially-responsive Democratic administration in the last 50 years.  But who cares about academic research when you’ve fallen in love?

Bobo states that it is unreasonable to expect President Barack Obama to acknowledge a race-specific agenda for African Americans.  He even refers to those critical of the president as “the black-authenticity police,” arguing that they are demanding that the president govern primarily as a black man, and nothing else.  I find it interesting that the same criticism thrust onto those seeking Obama’s support on black unemployment, poverty and mass incarceration have nothing to say when the president acknowledges a race-specific agenda within the Latino community.

The simple bottom line is that no president should be excused for ignoring clear, empirically-documented, undeniable racial inequality, whether he be white, black or biracial.   It took 400 years of targeted policy to create structural racism, and it’s going to take a tremendous amount of targeted policy to unwind it.  We didn’t let Bush or Clinton get away with ignoring racism, and the same thing must be true for Barack.

Those speaking out for the black community are not asking that we encompass the ENTIRE presidential agenda, or even a significant part of it (black people are accustomed to being ignored).  We just want our share of the pie, which we earned by producing more votes for Obama than any president in American history.

If you can’t provide clear policy examples to show that this president is any better than Bill Clinton, then it’s tough to argue that your decision to silence your Democratic voice is driven by anything other than irrational fanaticism. Fanatics get no respect in Washington, even from politicians they support.  This is part of the reason why I get those White House emails in my inbox that often feature articles from TheGrio.com or presidential interviews with Al Sharpton:   It’s nice when journalists support your quest for good propaganda.

Also interesting is the recent speech given by Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to a group of black journalists who came to visit her at the White House.  Upon being asked whether President Obama was doing things for the black community, Valerie leaned on two important accomplishments:  1) The Affordable Care Act and 2) the extension of unemployment insurance.  Jarrett argued that both policies significantly impact the black community, since millions of African Americans are in need of adequate healthcare and unemployment insurance.  Point taken:  Thank you Valerie for telling us what we already know.

But now, let’s take that same conversation and apply it to a meeting with Hispanic journalists.  We can easily simulate such a discussion:

Question from an Hispanic journalist:  The Latino community is seeking presidential support for the DREAM act.  What has your administration done to this effect?

Jarrett’s answer:  Well, we just passed an extension on unemployment insurance, which helps millions of Latin Americans who have lost their jobs.

Question from a gay journalist:  We are concerned about the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and would also like to know what the Obama Administration is doing to support gay marriage.

Jarrett’s answer:  Well, the gay community is disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic, and our passage of the Affordable Care Act nips that issue right in the bud.  Because of the first gay president (as Obama was described in Newsweek), when gay people get sick, they have inexpensive access to the very best medication.

I hope you get my point here.  If you don’t get my point, then you should probably go read something else.  The fact of the matter is that there is a clear difference in the manner by which Valerie addresses black people vs. the way she might speak to other constituents.  If this doesn’t bother you, then I feel sorry for you.

The essence of equality means that you are given the same respect as everyone else, as well as the same rights and opportunities.  The idea that someone can so blatantly point to severe inconsistencies in the degree of responsiveness of the Obama Administration to black constituents relative to those from gay and Latino communities lets us know that equality has truly left the building.  White people can be outraged about 7% unemployment, and black people are expected to cheer while facing 14% unemployment.  Gay people can get angry about not being allowed to build families, while black people must remain silent about millions of families that have been ruined by 150-year prison sentences given out during the War on Drugs.  When Valerie Jarrett speaks to gay people and Latinos, she gives a sensitive response to their concerns, communicating an appreciation for targeted policy.  When black people come into the room, the conversation turns “negro-licious.”

The goal here is not to be disrespectful, but the truth is that the lines of disrespect were crossed long ago.  The nonsense has to end, and Valerie Jarrett must change her talking points.  People are not as dumb as she would like to believe.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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19 comments

  1. 196409 494061How can I attract much more hits to my composing weblog? 936702

  2. Rev. George Brooks

    Valerie Jarrett is nothing more than a Caucasion-looking Aunt Jemima. She is a long-time, dedicated slave of white and Jew leadership in Chicago, and is not a true spokesperson or leader of black people. And black people should not regard her as such, nor respect her as being truly representive of blacks. In fact, there are NO true blacks advising President Obama in the White House, but only Jews and other whites, in addition to this mainly white, Mulatto woman, Jarrett. And blacks should demand changes, including her removal. — Rev. George Brooks

  3. Funny they all do the same thing uneducated, mis-educated and the educated fools they all react the same way, they make all kinds of excuses for their President of color!

  4. william f collins

    Boyce, my read is that Sister Jarrett gave the same answer to all three groups, i.e. the Obama administration’s initiatives on Obamacare and on the extension of unemployment insurance will impact your community – Black, Latino, Gay,etc.
    She gave the same answer,allegedly, no matter what the questioner asked.

    During several of the previous Presidential administrations, we had much more politically active Black community. Neither Clinton nor Carter administrations had a Black agenda. I do not recall that we collectively held the past four presidential administrations proverbial feet to the fire. Please enlighten me.

  5. william f collins

    Boyce, my read is that Sister Jarrett gave the same answer to all three groups, i.e. the Obama administration’s initiatives on Obamacare and on the extension of unemployment insurance will impact your community – Black, Latino, Gay,etc.
    She gave the same answer,allegedly, no matter what the questioner asked.

    During several of the previous Presidential administrations, we had much more politically active Black community. Neither Clinton nor Carter administrations had a Black agenda. I do not recall that we collectively held the past four presidential administrations proverbial feet to the fire. Please enlighten me.

  6. I totally agree with the point that African Americans are the highest group in unemployment numbers, therefore uninsured. African Americans have been ignored for centuries and I think it is ridiculous to not expect EQUALITY in these areas regardless of who the president is

  7. There is a concept in poly tricks called quid pro quo
    … every group practices this concept except for us the African Americans that considers themselves red blooded Americans…why don’t we practice QUID PRO QUO??? I am 100% sure that the Jewish Americans, the Irish Americans, the Chinese American, the Arab Americans, the German Americans, the so-called Native Americans, the so-called Hispanic Americans, the Gay Americans, the Indian Americans that hail from India, Africans that hail from Africa, Black Caribbean from the Caribbean, and the Korean and Japanese Americans all practice this political concept called Quid Pro Quo!!!! Just look who they do business with…When was the last time you seen one of the above groups coming to a business own by an Black African from America…they do not do business with us period…but we on the other hand do business with them and fail to support our own…WE should be able to hold all of our leaders accountable regardless who they are…from the President on down to the local community organizers…we gave 99.9 % of our vote to elect the Democratic President but we shouldn’t have any expectations….well the groups that I mentioned above would have and the proof is in the pudding… if you are not familiar with the term “Quid Pro Quo” which means Something for Something… if you don’t have a dictionary close by…nobody in life does something for nothing especially in politics, business and even in marriage etc… We need to STOP this foolishness and realize according to Scripture “To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Required” QUID PRO QUO!!!! Dr. Claude Anderson has laid out the concept in his book “PowerNomics” it would behoove us to realize that QUID PRO QUO is our duty and responsibility not only in America but around the Globe especially from whence we were brought here as slaves…as sons and daughters of ex-slaves and slave owners we better understand that we are owed something for something…that which our forefathers and mothers were unable to demand “QUID PRO QUO” nothing from nothing leaves nothing but something for something begets something!!!!

  8. Black people have no lobbying group that brings their concerns to congress or the president as a whole. Look at what the meeting with the President of America’s so called black leaders. What did that accomplish. Nada. Black America’s premier leader was not even there. This black leader would have never fired a black woman in such a short period of time over the sayso of historically racist white people and a NAACP leader and the Prersident himself scurry like scared rabbits because some cracker puts forth a lie. Rather then waiting to confirm the story they act like slaves cause “massa said she said”. That’s leadership irregardless that it took place awhile ago but it reinforces they are all show and the white man tells.

  9. Dr Watkins I read your comments with interest. I also read other African American intellectuals who have what seems to be an insurmountable negative affectivity directed toward POTUS. The repeted rationalization and justification is that you were equally critical of previous presidents. I was not prepared to make an objective assessment of this claim but I suspect is is more of a subjective fiction to minimize and deny a vulnerability universal to human kind our people have so aptly labeled as the “crab in the barrel” phenomena. This is a defensive variant that is motivated by woundedness of the self that renders the self esteem susceptible to slights, failures, and dissapointments. These experiences create a perspective of externalized locus of control and a deminished agency. This results in frustration that is expressed by a compensatory targeted devaluation of those who otherwise would trigger envy and low self esteem.

  10. All these groups have more clout than our people Hispanics Gays Midgets Hunchbacks a Meteor has more rights then our people!That 1964-65 Laws brought in was nothing because it was watered down by adding all these other Groups to our fight! We Need Black Rights now & for the future! Separate mine from yours! Stay Black

  11. Dr. Boyce; I’d like to know just how many black people you helped get phd’s at Syracuse where you are a “noted” professor and (scholar)? And how hard was it for you to accomplish this great task given that Syracuse is the one of the bastions of Lilly White Priviledge being the scholarly savior of black people that you claim to be. Since you want to put Obama’s feet to the fire, and you are in a position of authority, a fair exchange is no robbery. Lets see if you can weather the storm of “constructive criticism”. I doubt it. Actions are by intentions and you can tell by a person’s actions just what they intended in words or deeds. And you sir are a snake oil salesman of the worst sort. Hypocrite!!!

    • Thank you sooo much for your comments on Dr. Watkins. HE is constantly bashing OBAMA. Like you said, I haven’t seen where he’s done anything for black people. He’s just trying to make a name for himself at OBAMA’S EXPENSE.

      Watkins complains about SYRACUSE…but I SEE HE HASN’T LEFT YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We as citizens of this country have every right to criticize our presidents as well as praise him.We may not like the message but trying to kill the messenger with ad hominens instead of addressing the message is destructive.Using your criteria of having the right to put Obama’s “feet to the fire” would mean that very few of us could criticize our elected and appointed leaders. Malcom X ,Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglas,Paul Robeson would have to show what they personally did for the advancement of black people before they could criticize the policies of their elected officials.For example Dr. king would not have the right to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott unless he showed that he was trying to get black people to own their own bus company.Rosa park should not have refused to sit in the back of the bus but save her seamtress money to buy her own bus.
      if they adhere to your polycy there would have been no march on washington, or protest in the streets-which brought us to where we are today-in fact your obama would not even been president,had it not been for people who were willing to speak truth to power.

  12. I find it most astonishing that Black Americans built America. Let me be clear! Black Americans built this country, not European Americans or
    African Americans. No! It was the Black American Woman and Man Slave that built this country.
    Via toil, sweat, blood for Four Hundred Years.
    To allow someone to have such ill regard for our elders, history and heritage is utterly disgusting.

    He who controls your history controls your future.

    Our children need to be educated everyday of their lives… of the great contributions of the
    Black race in America.

    We need to control the narrative of our history and our future, if we are to survive as a people.

  13. lets stop always complaining about what everyone should do for us and take all our wonderful intelligence creativity street sence and strength and do for self. Its time to build our own community. Fuckwhat what others do or think.

  14. lets stop always complaining about what everyone should do for us and take all our wonderful intelligence creativity street sence and strength and do for self. Its time to build our own community. Fuckwhat what others do or think.

  15. lets stop always complaining about what everyone should do for us and take all our wonderful intelligence creativity street sence and strength and do for self. Its time to build our own community. Fuckwhat what others do or think.

  16. lets stop always complaining about what everyone should do for us and take all our wonderful intelligence creativity street sence and strength and do for self. Its time to build our own community. Fuckwhat what others do or think.

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