Pete Souza/White House Photo via Getty Images
There’s a huge difference between having a President that’s Black and having a Black President. With Barack, we thought we hit the jackpot and were finally gonna get both, but boy were we wrong.
Almost eight years into the Obama Era and we’ve still not grappled with some of the vexing issues of negritude and resolved some of the more serious quandaries facing our community. I mean, yeah, President Obama’s done a lot, but has he really done enough to help solve black folks’ concerns?
Let’s take a moment and explore some of the most glaring failures of leadership from the Obama Administration.
10.) What room can we sit in?
When the Barack Obama took office, we were in the midst of a failing real estate market in which African Americans were disproportionally exposed to risk based on shady loans and exploding rate mortgages. Through initiatives like the Home Affordable Refinance Program and an expanding economy that’s made homeownership an option for African American families again. And that’s all well and good, but yo…
Can we sit in that front room (pronounced: “frunchroom”) if we don’t have company? Can we lamp on the good sofa, maybe lounge about on its fine plastic cover while we run our toes ever-so-gingerly across the carpet with its perfectly vacuumed lines? Can we admire the knick-knacks and brickabrack collected over the past 50 years of domestic vacations and family reunions in peace, or do we have to take our “little friends” to the other room, or worse, down in the basement like we’re some animals? The Black President could’ve given us the opportunity not just to keep or own our homes, but to truly enjoy all of our homes unencumbered by Big Momma’s rules.
9.) What do we do with our copies of “Gifted Hands” now?
Upon his inauguration, Barack Obama faced determined resistance from the Republican Party which, in its haste to appear diverse and inclusive, embraced African Americans like Michael Steele, Herman Cain, and Ben Carson. Lawd, lawd, lawd, Ben Carson…
When I was 15 or 16, someone got me the book “Gifted Hands” the Ben Carson biography. It was, at the time, an inspirational tale of a black man who came from beginnings like mine to become a world renowned neurosurgeon. It let me know I could do or be anything. But now, they got them shits on Amazon for damn near free and, turns out, Ben Carson is a strange amalgam of medical genius, pathological personal narrative fabricator, and Droopy. So we need the Black President to let us know if and when it’s okay to dispose of these copies of this book (and the movie) and how me might be able to do so in the most environmentally friendly yet personally disrespectful way possible.
8.) What are we gonna do about R. Kelly?
Having appointed the first African American Attorney General in Eric Holder, President Obama made reforming the criminal justice system a priority. From the disparity in sentencing between powder and crack cocaine to ending solitary confinement in federal prisons and even commuting sentences for non-violent drug offenders, this president has made it his mission to begin rolling back the damage done from the war on drugs. That’s cool and all, but let’s be real for a sec…
Look, for all the clemencies and commutations of black folks in our prisons, there’s one black guy that clearly needs to be locked up; R. Kelly. Seriously. Yeah, we all enjoy his music and making fun of his marginal literacy can be quite the hoot, but if we can get real about Bill Cosby then we can be honest with Arruh. He’s a pedophile and a predator, we have it on tape and if there’s one person who can be the impartial arbiter of justice here it would be the Black President. No more talk about how he might’ve been framed or victim blaming or shifting the discussion to how dope TP2.com was, nah. Just an edict from the Black President to finally clear this mess up since we can’t seem to agree amongst ourselves.
7.) What about these grits?
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (see: Obamacare) many African Americans were able to access healthcare and health insurance that they may have been prevented from receiving due to excessive costs. One of the leading drivers of the high uninsured rate among black Americans was preexisting conditions, especially chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes. Man, that’s really awesome. It is, howsoever…
How are we preparing these grits, man? Are we doing sugar and committing to diabetes or are we doing salt & pepper and doubling down on that high blood pressure? We got coverage now, so we can go either way with this, we just gotta know. This is a dispute requiring an executive action that only the Black President can order. From the White House to the Waffle House, his word would be bond and we could end decades, if not centuries of brunch disputes once and for all.
6.) Are we allowed to actually hoop in Jordans?
Speaking of Obamacare, one of the hidden perks of the ACA is that it covers behavior that are considered preventative care like yoga and gym memberships. That’s right, you can get a discount on your monthly fee at LA fitness and then use all that dough you’re saving for a fresh pair of Jordans.
But does anyone outside of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, or Jimmy Butler actually play ball in their J’s? I mean, $200 for some shoes I can’t hoop in, I might as well buy some peanut butter Timbs and use the rest on like three tanks of gas (thanks, Obama!). We need the Black President to make the call; Jordans, gym shoes or dress shoes, once a for all.
5.) How long are we supposed to keep this grease?
When it comes down to environmental policy, Barack Obama has taken positive stands on affirming science backed claims of climate change and taking steps to curb emissions and manmade activity that may contribute to the deterioration of the planet. Great, but hey…
We’ve been saving our cooking oil in a Chock Full O’Nuts can on top of the stove since like 1987. Tell us, Mr. Black President; is keeping this old dusty ass tin of grease good for the environment or what? How are we supposed to dispose of our collective canisters of aged cooking oils in a manner that won’t turn the back of Aunty Alfreda’s house into a Superfund site?
4.) Can Puerto Ricans use the N-word or nah?
While often maligned for his inability to get cooperation from congressional Republicans, one piece of bipartisan legislation Barack Obama was able to pass was the Puerto Rican debt-relief bill. The bill, while imperfect, provided the island protectorate with the breathing room it needed to renegotiate its debt, restructure its finances, and save itself from a future of economic doom. That’s good, but yo…
What’s up with out Boriquen cousins and the N-word, man? We’ve been wondering this for a while. We need to know if the Black President will exercise the Fat Joe Exception Clause and make it official outside of New York or if those folks have been grandfathered in and we’re not accepting anymore N-word licenses.
3.) Are we ever gonna get another Fugees album?
Barack Obama brokered an historic deal to limit nuclear weapons with Iran, insuring relative peace for the coming decades and abating one of our greatest Middle Eastern regional adversaries. And that’s cool and all, buuuuuut…
Can we get the Black President to get the Fugees back together? Hell, we’ll even settle for the Black President just getting Lauryn Hill to her show on time. We’ll let him ship Wycelf and Pras to Gitmo for a chance to live out that dream. If Barack Obama can get the Ayatollah to back down on the nukes, the Black President can get Lauryn on stage before last call.
2.) Is Scooter fitna pay me my money?
Unemployment on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated was 8.3%. Today’s unemployment rate is 4.8%.
Word to the Black President, if Scooter ain’t payin’, it’s ‘cause you weak, dawg.
1.) Is Tupac still alive?
Because Barack Obama killed Bin Laden and opened up Cuba which means he knows how to find people who are supposed to be dead (and make them dead) and now, he has unfettered access to the last bastion of Cold War isolation in the western hemisphere. I’m just sayin’…
If Tupac Shakur is, then the Black President knows where he’s at. If he ain’t, then he knows who killed him (I’ve seen the second National Treasure movie). Either way, the black community needs some closure with this and the Black President owes it to us to finish his term out with the unvarnished truth about the African American Bigfoot.
Barack Obama may have had two terms full of accomplishments, but the Black President has left us all hanging. Here’s hoping that our citrus and basketball brethren and sistren aren’t as disappointed if we elect our first orange president.