President Barack Obama was just too nice to combat racism in America, according to Slate’s top reporter on race relations.
Slate Chief Political Correspondent Jamelle Bouie asserts that Obama wasn’t as radical as his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Bouie asserts that the appropriate way for Obama to combat the nation’s racism was to draw more from Wright’s influence.
“Had Obama not been so quick to explain away Wright’s pessimism, he would have seen the dangers that lay ahead,” Bouie wrote in his op-ed. “But then he likely wouldn’t have been Barack Obama, president of the United States.”
“That is the great irony of the moment: The optimism that helped Obama reach this office-the same faith in our ever-perfecting union-is wholly inadequate in the face of the revanchist rage that gave us President Trump,” Bouie concludes.
The article goes on to bemoan Obama’s trust in the American people. “Progress has been made, argues Obama,” the article continued. “We are no longer bound to the past. And in making that case, Obama also presents himself as fundamentally different from Wright.”
“He will not damn America,” Bouie wrote, referencing Rev. Wright’s now infamous “God damn America” sermon given in 2003. “He believes in it. He trusts is. He is black, yes, but he doesn’t hold Wright’s grievance-Wright’s anger.”
Bouie goes on to say that Obama’s courtesy is inadequate in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s support. Obama can’t seem to understand the simple truth that “racism is a fundamental feature” of American democracy.
Black voters nationwide were clearly underwhelmed by Obama’s legacy. The outgoing president campaigned heavily for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the election. Obama put his legacy as the nation’s first black president on the line, telling black voters that he would be personally insulted if black voters didn’t come out for Clinton.
When America headed to the polls in November, black voters were noticeably absent, a strong message to the Obama legacy. Although Bouie appears to believe that Obama just wasn’t radical enough for the White House, other black activists are content with the fact that he was elected.
The Atlantic published an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates that appreciated the first black president for the gains he made just by being elected to the office. Coates also noted the limited gains Obama made for the black community, but argued that other members of his cabinet represented the black community like Eric Holder.
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