Courtland Milloy: Black America Shouldn’t Give Obama A Pass

I hope President Obama appreciates the grand bargain he’s getting from African Americans: unwavering support, stratospheric approval rating, muted exasperation when he disappoints, vociferous defense when he’s under attack.

– Courtland Milloy

by Courtland Milloy
The Washington Post

A recent spate of polls suggests that Obama himself is the payoff — that he need not do much more than be the first black president, the most powerful symbol of racial progress in American history.

“Our poll showed that there is great pride in having Obama as the leader of the free world,” said Robert L. Johnson, a black billionaire businessman who commissioned Zogby to survey African American attitudes in March. “But that pride is part of a Faustian bargain we made. We will not push Obama to pull us up if we think that doing so might bring him down.”

Black respondents to a poll by NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released Tuesday, sounded as if Obama had finally let the good times roll. More than half said their lives have gotten better in the years since Obama took office, and a whopping 83 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with their lives overall.

And yet, Black America just took an economic beating of historic proportions — in many instances swindled out of two generations of wealth by fraudulent mortgage lenders. Nearly 40 percent of black children live in poverty; nearly 50 percent of young black men in some of country’s largest urban areas are unemployed; the incarceration rate for black men is so high that it amounts to a state-sponsored crime.

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