Dr. Cornel West is yet again coming for President Obama’s neck over the way he has publicly responded to the acquittal of child murderer George Zimmernman earlier this month. Dr. West, who has been one of President Obama’s most cynical critics, recently spoke out about the issue, slamming the POTUS for not bringing attention to “the new Jim Crow” or taking action against the flawed justice system at the federal level.
via Democracy Now
On Obama’s remarks comparing himself to Trayvon Martin, West says: “Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there’s a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of precious, poor black and brown brothers? [Obama] hasn’t said a word until now — five years in office and can’t say a word about a ‘new Jim Crow.’ Will they [President Obama And Attorney General Eric] Holder — will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so — [but] don’t hold your breath. There’s going to be many people who say, ‘We see this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people.’”
Dr. West then went on to liken President Obama to recently acquitted child murderer George Zimmerman for his initial response to the trial outcome, which many felt was too safe and neutral.
“Well, the first thing, I think we have to acknowledge that President Obama has very little moral authority at this point, because we know anybody who tries to rationalize the killing of innocent peoples, a criminal—George Zimmerman is a criminal—but President Obama is a global George Zimmerman, because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense, so that there’s actually parallels here.”
One undisputable truth that has to be kept in mind no matter how unfavorable it might sound is that regardless of how bad things are for the African-American community right now, President Obama is not currently, never was, and will never be the President of the United States of Black People…he is the President of the United States of America.
Let’s be real. President Obama is a middle-aged black man from Chicago with two black teenage daughters and a black wife who is very much in touch with the negativity currently plaguing the black community…….do you seriously not think that his personal stance with regard to Zimmerman’s acquittal doesn’t mirror that of the majority of African-Americans? Of course it does. But derailing all of the hard-fought progress he’s made thus far just for the sake of appearing to be more in touch with the black community will not do anyone of us any good in the the very short long run, because, if we’re being realistic, President Obama is not going to bring about sufficient change to the justice system in one year. Reason being, whatever he’d even think to put in place has to make it through Congress before approval anyway.
Republican backing of legislation designed to the benefit African-Americans when he has to move heaven and earth before they even consider legislation that would benefit the AVERAGE American in general (see: healthcare, equal pay for women, tax cuts to the rich, etc.)? Not a chance. This being the case, President Obama has to focus on the big picture, which is getting as many things accomplished for the betterment of the working class of American citizens (which largely includes African-Americans) as possible before his term ends. And unfortunately, with this Congress, nothing on “the black agenda” is getting through.
So while he may be able to voice his concern, empathy, compassion and even obvious relatability to important issues currently facing African-Americans, it’s unlikely and unrealistic to think that President Obama will voice his personal stance to the point of doing things like openly condemning the justice system or heading up a modern-day civil rights movement.
Pay attention to the overall message that President Obama has sent in the wake of this ludicrous Zimmerman acquittal, and it’s easy to see what he’s really saying: he’s encouraging the African-American community to get active, stay informed and take a stand against racial injustice in ways that he simply can’t right now as the President of the United States. If we want to see change on THIS issue, we have to stop waiting on President Obama to morph into a Black Panther party leader, let him focus on doing his job, and step up to the plate together as a community to do all that we can to keep fighting for justice for Trayvon and every other black life taken in vain in productive, progressive ways until our voices are heard and the government has no choice but to take action.