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By: Karen Cecile Wallace, J.D.
I do not blame President Obama at all. He is a politician and as someone famously said, “He does what politicians do.” The problem is that it appears that the majority of African Americans continue to hold the belief that the Obama administration is sacrosanct and that placing any demands or making any requests of it is somehow sacrilege. When the president came out in favor of gay marriage, this clearly demonstrated that the squeaky wheel gets noticed. The LGBT community let their voices be collectively heard.
When any African American exercises his or her right as a citizen to make requests, place demands or lodge critique upon this President, he or she faces stern rebuke from the Black community. Individuals who have devoted their entire life’s work to the eradication of racial and social injustice, when in the continuation of their missions they have dared to pose questions, make challenges and raise concerns, have become piranhas in the same communities they’ve spent decades uplifting. These reactions tend to be knee-jerk with little to no substance. They are often rage filled and irrational. Only a people who devalues itself will hold the belief that their government owes them nothing and that they should remain silent on issues that are of grave concern to their survival as a people.
Racial inequalities are structurally based and were directly introduced through government action. Although there has been much progress, these inequalities have not been eradicated. African American suffering is high and addressing it is a priority. I consider this a societal problem—one which our nation must continue to address if we are to be a truly great. When we are passive in addressing such critical matters under the pretext that to do so will somehow harm the Obama presidency, we are engaging in a harmful analysis that will result in perhaps irreparable damage to our progress as a people. Self-esteem and awareness of self value within the African American community is challenged due to centuries of subjugation, but value yourselves enough to consider what will be your legacy. What kind of nation will you leave for those who come behind you? Will you be complicit in its potential demise or will you play a role in its greatness? The choice is yours.
©Karen C. Wallace, Esq.
Karen C. Wallace is a Chicago attorney, legal consultant, adjunct professor and youth mentor.