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Black Caucus calls on Obama for more help for African Americans

By Perry Bacon Jr.
The Congressional Black Caucus's chairwoman pointedly declared Tuesday night that President Obama must consider targeting his policies to help African Americans.

"The Congressional Black Caucus recognizes that behind virtually every economic indicator you will find gross racial disparities," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). She added that members "believe that tackling systemic inequality requires specific, concrete and targeted action."

Obama said last week, "I think it's a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States, rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are all going to get out of this together."

Other members of the black caucus, particularly Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), have suggested over the last week that the administration has not done enough to help African Americans. Blacks are suffering from even higher rates of increased unemployment and poverty than most ethnic groups in the country in the recession.

"As a candidate, President Obama said in his speech on race during the Democratic primary, 'Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.' The facts speak for themselves," Lee said in a statement, adding, "The Congressional Black Caucus is committed to working with President Obama to address the needs of those who are hurting most and to ensure that existing disparities don't grow wider."

It remains unclear if the differences between the caucus and the administration reflect differences in rhetoric, policy or both. While many members of the caucus frequently speak of racial differences and disparities, many of them say they don't expect Obama to adopt similar rhetoric, as his constituency is much broader than just African Americans.

Caucus members have called for additional help for black banks and African Americans who can't afford their mortgages. Administration officials say privately that they are actively working on these issues but see no benefit of announcing what they have specifically done for blacks.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  December 8, 2009; 10:42 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

To:sammieB-For centuries we had a all White Congress and Senate, and the White House was as it's name indicated until this year. That Sammie is a historical fact, but Blacks voted for Whites, nd we didn't complain. Because we participated, and voted for white candidates didn't mean that we weren't aware of the all white clubs, and codes that precluded us from voting or running for office.

Someone mentioned that they're fed up with Black this and Black that, such as Miss Black America, BET Television, NAACP, Black colleges etc. All of the aforementioned organizations were necessary due to Black exclusion. In fact, Black Colleges were funded by the US Government, and are still viable institutions, and the NAACP received start up support from whites who were interested in equality and fighting the spread of segregation.

These Black organizations and businesses are historical now, and until they are absolutely not needed, I predict they will be a part of American scene. for your information, many of the Black colleges have White students, and many have already graduate, and some have received advanced degrees.

Posted by: lenwilliams6 | December 11, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

MUDDERLAND: You seem to completely disregard the historical significance of white/Black relationships in this country. I never in any way tried to blame the majority of white people in America for the ills of minorities in this country.

I read the commentary by tmassai, and there's nothing expressing that opinion. My belief system was formed a long time a go, and it is based historical fact, and the oral history handed down from slave ancestors. I mentioned the fact Black people were freed from their full employment jobs, with only the ragged clothes on their backs, and were told to fend for themselves. That's a historical fact.

The white property owners and large companies who benefitted from centuries of free labor are still benefitting today. What happened to all the money and assets that the benefactors held? Mudder, that's the "old money," that is still used today to send their kids to college, and to leave millions of dollars and personal wealth to their children and grandchildren.

If you're not one of the beneficiaries, i suggest you weren't paying attention. the color of your skin alone places you between second and third base at least. If you're not one of the benefactors of the third base at birth, you need to stop acting like you hit a triple, and earned your way. We just might be in the same boat.

I've earned my way via hard work and a belief in the Ameriucan dream. I'm also aware that for every Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, there are at least thousands of White people who have helped the plight of Black people. White people were a key componebnt of the "Underground Railroad, and there were countless White people who helped to earn voting rights and other rights and privileges.

So, before you get off on your "whiney lazy blacks" talking point, I'm hoping you will at least consider a historical perspective of Blacks in this country.

Posted by: lenwilliams6 | December 11, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

To:MUDDERLAND--MUDDER, If you're going to tell a stoiry about a ace of people, please tell it with some accuracy and truthfulness, and not from the perspective of a white conservative racist, or of a black oreo. First of all your statistics on black on white crimes including rape didn't come from a state or federal law enforcement data base.

When you look at ther history of blacks in this country, please put away your jaded belief system and tell what really happened. when you see a fair or light skinned African American, you're not looking at the descendant of a Black man and a white woman, 99% of the times you're looking at someone whose grand parent or greatgrand parent was raped by a white man.

That is a historical fact, and it happened for centuries, right here in America, and it was sanctioned by our government. You mentioned how other races of people came here and gained traction without help from this government, but you refused to mention the reparation type government aid that was given to displaced immigrants(Indian Reserved Land,the Japanesewho were confined to WWII camps, Refugees from Vietnam/Cambodia, the Chinese Railroad Laborers, etc)There are some who still deny the forced laborcamps thatbtook place after the civil war and lasted up to WWII, benefitting US Steel, New York Life and other large companies that prospered off the backs of that labor-read the book "Slavery by another name" for a solid reference to these facts.. Then wrap it up with the American Government's support of seperate but equal doctrine, the spread of fear by turn of the century politicians such as Benjamin Tillman, Democratic Senator from South Carolina who urged Congress to lynch Blacks to "keep them from in their place.." There is one other factor you would surely omit, and that is color. It is still an amazing fact, and a mystery how the racist can hate the ebony hued skin of Black people, and will kill themselves with sun based cancers. "Mudder," you mentioned how some blacks stayed with their masters and worked, while others left the farm. the one's that stayed and worked were not paid enough to send their children to school or college, and the ones who left were not given stipends like Old masters children were given to attend college. There was and still is an unequal distribution of wealth in this country, and it is amazing, that in spite of the obsticles faced by Blacks, that many have exceeded whites in property, education and income. Your views on Blacks whining and looking for handouts is both narrow and fictionalized. I challenge you to go into a Welfare office and see who is applying for services. You will find a cross section of every race in that community, not the stereotypical Black baby's mama. I referred you some excellent books to read, to expand your mind, now get busy!

Posted by: lenwilliams6 | December 10, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

tmassai,

Not sure how my comments are 'ignorant' as the only 'ignorance' that could be garnered would be if my figures were incorrect, I refer you to http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm. a US Government site which is where my figures came from. So you think that not engaging in any illegal activity somehow qualifies you to hate all white people because you disagree with one? My 'white media' which routinely under reports the black on white crime, hides the race of perps and generally buys into the whole 'white guilt' sham is neither 'my media' or 'white'. As for Al and Jesse, well if you respect them I think that speaks for it's self. My problem with you is that you are doing what all productive members of society should do but you think it makes you special. Get a grip man, look around and re-read what I wrote...

Posted by: Mudderland | December 10, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

To koatz1;

Affiliations and rights to assembly is not designed to discreminate and base the assembl/affiliation on race such as the black (only) caucus. Im sure that if white people formed a white caucus all the balcks would complain... Racism will always exist if these racist organizations exist - as they perpatrate race rather than people....

Posted by: SammyB1 | December 10, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

mudderland:

As a Black man who has never received any kind of public assistance, never been to jail, never raped any white woman or committed any crime against any white person, never used illegal drugs, paid back my student loans, been gainfully employed for 25 years until recently and still self-employed, and even though I respect Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson I don't consider them a "spokesperson" for Black Americans, (that's something your white media created), I feel that such, bitter and ignorant comments like yours cause reasonable Black people to have little or no respect for white Americans in general. I know all, or even most white Americans, don't espouse your views but just knowing people like you exist is cause to not trust white people and their motives. While I don't expect everybody to like or respect Black Americans, your hatred is based on such ignorant stereotypes that its obvious that the hatred is personal and that you are a sad, bitter, broken individual who is projecting your failure on others.

Posted by: tmassai | December 10, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"I won't dignify the negative reaction to the need for a Black Congressional Caucus, or enterprises such as BET Programs. I will leave that up to the historical formulation of this country, but please bear in mind, after slavery, the ex-slaves were dismissed from their full employment jobs with nothing but the ragged clothing on their backs, and told to fend for themselves." lenwilliams6

And a lot of them stayed right where they were and had a job working the cotten fields, others picked up and traveled. So what? The Irish came to this country with nothing and endured prejudice from the ruling whites already here. The Chinese couldn't even own land when they came here and now their neighborhoods (Chinatown in any major city) aren't full of burnt out buildings and rusting hulks of cars. When people, any people are continually given hand outs they lose the incentive to better themselves. The 'Great Society' has proven it's self to be a failure. Reperation? How about the blacks pay society back for all the welfare 'babymomma's' subsistence and the cost of housing the 'babydaddy's' in prison. I have been out of work for over 3 months and my particular industry is not going to 'bounce back' for some time according to people in the know but I am not looking for a special government handout. Another reader brought up the fact that at least some of the current financial crisis is due to the bad loans banking institutions were forced to make for racial quotas. Of course the 'bcb' doesn't want to hear that, that would require taking responsibility and God Forbid any black man would take responsibility for their actions, their family or feeding them selves... nope, that is Whiteys job because Whitey has discriminated against the black man, made him commit a disproportianite number of crimes, caused the high incidence of under-age pregnancy, forced blacks to rape white women at a rate of 30:1 over whites raping black women. Blacks commit violent crime against white victims at a 60/40 percentile as white on white crime, even though blacks account for only 12% of the population. White Guilt? Never had it never will... stop whining and being so racist, don't like America? Go back to the 'Motherland', but first and foremost stop whining about not getting enough handouts. While I am on this rant, if Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were my spokes people I would be ashamed! When is the Justice Dept. going to investigate those two criminals for their crimes? Oh, yeah... they are black and not responsible for their actions.

Posted by: Mudderland | December 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

President Lyndon Johnson:
"You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race, then say, you're free to compete with all the others.... Much of the Negro community is buried under a blanket of history and circumstance. It is not a lasting solution to lift just one corner of the blanket."

Further,...The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The constitutional right of peaceful assembly means that people can gather in public to discuss their opinions about government or other concerns. This right of assemble also guarantees the right of association in groups, such as political parties, labor unions, and business organizations.

Posted by: koatz1 | December 9, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not one of the few misguided, who believes in the truthfulness of the Limbaugh song, "Barack the magic Negro!" To many posters, the fight for equal rights are over. African Americans can apply for a job along side a White applicant and expect to be treated fairly, and hired just as well as the white guy. Without a lingering doubt.

We're supposed to believe that because Barack H. Obama was elected president, the centuries old hatred and racial prejudice have magically disappeared from America. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!

The election of our first African American president have brought about a fierce and relentless opposition to racial harmony, not unlike that of the reconstruction era of the 1860-70s. Gone were the days of blacks depicted as monkeys and witch doctors, and posters of blacks being hanged with the infamous noose at public rallies.

White reactionaries such as "tea baggers and deathers" are gaining traction. Since the election of President Obama right wing conservative radio personalities have grown in popularity and have spawn racial haters such as Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity and Lou Dobbs.

I won't dignify the negative reaction to the need for a Black Congressional Caucus, or enterprises such as BET Programs. I will leave that up to the historical formulation of this country, but please bear in mind, after slavery, the ex-slaves were dismissed from their full employment jobs with nothing but the ragged clothing on their backs, and told to fend for themselves.

All assets and property belonged to the white slave owners. There were no 40 Acres and a Mule, as some descendants of white slave owners are still complaining about. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!

Posted by: lenwilliams6 | December 9, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

"While many members of the caucus frequently speak of racial differences and disparities, many of them say they don't expect Obama to adopt similar rhetoric, as his constituency is much broader than just African Americans."

This statement of fact is the gist of this whole article. Black politicians are no different than white politicians in that they say what they think their constituents want to hear. The "many members of the caucus" referred to here is probably the vast majority but they'll remain nameless because they wouldn't want anyone running against them to call them a sell out just the same as a white republican won't come out for the pending health care reform bill because they wouldn't want to give ammunition to their election opponents as being "pro-Obama". This whole article is political posturing. Black Americans aren't stupid, we know President Obama can kiss his agenda and any chance of re-election good-bye if he even utters his support for any initiative that would target Black people for special help. Why? Because white Americans, like those posting on this board, think that doing ANYTHING that would help Black Americans is dead wrong. I disagree, but this is America and everybody is entitled to their opinion.

Posted by: tmassai | December 9, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

There will never be an end to the black
cry for more and more for nothing in
return except a guaranteed vote for Democratic
candidates. Take a good look at the cities
of Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia,
and eight to ten more all run by big Democratic
machines and populated by black majorities.
It is chaos personified. And, until the
blacks decide they want to change the
culture of crime, illegitimate children,
and welfare they will remain chained to
the life they seem to have chosen.

Posted by: ekakuku | December 9, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

It is the blacks who perpetuate racism....and it is tiresome. When they have no legitimate argument, they always fall back on "racism". As I said, it is tiresome and hopefully people are awakening to the illegitimacy of "racism" as a legitimate argument.

Posted by: Keeptrying | December 9, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Just like the posters here, the CBC expressed a point of view. Nothing more nothing less.

Posted by: Mas1 | December 9, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Just how much more can we give these "people". We have given blacks more than what they deserve. E.E.O. Minotity "Set aside" Hiring minorities that are part of the contractual obligation of the contractor.Subsidized college entrance to Ivy League Colleges. It goes on and on and what has this all accomoplished-------- Blacks on corners selling dope or becomes members of a street gang, and they won't attend school because they know that someone--- the Government will "bail them out"
They need to get a life.

Posted by: jiggy1119 | December 9, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

One can't make the weak strong by weaking the strong.

Posted by: wcato | December 9, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that Chinese Americans don't ask for help? Just asking.

Posted by: hyades | December 9, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

could some give a quote where the CBC actually says obama should help Aa'S rather than those who are just suffering more?

Posted by: tru-indy | December 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The opening and closing statements say it all -- discrimination. How ugly these groups can get. Help should be blind to race and age.

Posted by: 45upnorth | December 9, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

As long as discriminatory organizations such as the Black Caucus exist, there will always be racism. How can blacks preach equality when blacks can have associations, businesses (Black Entertainment Television), activities (Miss Black Pageant) based on race – thereby discriminating against all other people. In the end, black people always end up being black people rather than just “people” and will always fall back to their race rather than just falling back on being a person like everyone else…

Posted by: SammyB1 | December 9, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

One should visit Obama's home neighborhood of Hyde Park to see the effects of the recession on black people.

We have many more boarded up houses, vacant store fronts and people with their hands out than this time last year.

His priorities do not appear to be the individuals who supported him the most.

Posted by: mwhoke | December 9, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I went to the fairfax county free clinic and was turned away by a black man working there...
so...
sympathy...
I have none...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 9, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

what amazes me is that ghandi cared little for blacks yet the cbc does nothing about the million or so indians that come to America each year throwing blacks out of work...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 9, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

--Blacks are suffering from even higher rates of increased unemployment and poverty than most ethnic groups in the country in the recession.--

THAT'S BECAUSE BLACKS ARE LAZY !!!

LISTEN TO WHAT BILL COSBY SAID THIS WEEK, "BLACKS NEED TO STOP WALKING AROUND WITH THEIR HANDS OUR AND START TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES BY WORKING !!"

Posted by: SideShowBob1 | December 9, 2009 5:39 AM
-------------------------------

Your name is appropriate, because you are a clown! You are very funny!

But let's have a more nuanced discussion, shall we?

When you make such statements, it is very easy to simply dismiss you as a racist. Whether you are or not becomes irrelevant. Black as a group are no more lazy that white people are racist. Unless you are comfortable with being called a racist, I would suggest you refrain from calling all black people lazy. Black people at this point have held every position of power in both the public AND private sector. Some have excelled, some have failed.

Bill Cosby? It is easy to make the statements he makes when you are a millionaire.

Now back to the CBC.

They are antiquated and becoming more and more irrelevant. Same with the NAACP. The best quote I heard about their organizations status came from a black lobbyist, "I was so excited to work this year with a black President in office. But everything is still the same and it is depressing." As if Obama was suddenly going to throw bones to every member of the CBC.

Posted by: keithrjackson | December 9, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

here we go again.....

who's racist?

who's trying to divide the country?

Look at two of the "leaders" of the Black Caucus....Maxine Waters and John "i don't read the bill" Conyers...

Blacks in the country (percentage wise) receive more benefits provided by white citizens than the other way around.

Also the last time I checked, we had a Black president....time to move on to another subject....

Posted by: analgesic33 | December 9, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey lady, your full of crap, Why must we give the blacks SPECIAL treatment. I am TIRED of hearing this all the time...JUST STOP !!!!!! In my eyes and in the eyes of alot of other people, the Congressional Black Caucus is a bunch of racist SOB. All they want to do is DIVIDE this country between balck and white. We are all equal, it just depends on what you want to do with your life. There are alot of black people that broke away from the typical LAZY, GIVE ME attitude that must black people have and went out there and WORKED hard for something, unlike must that just want everything handed to them.

Posted by: vr58po1 | December 9, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

"Caucus members have called for additional help for black banks and African Americans who can't afford their mortgages. Administration officials say privately that they are actively working on these issues but see no benefit of announcing what they have specifically done for blacks."

do we have a racist administration in the whitehouse...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 9, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

if the black caucas cared so much...
why hasn't it stopped the visa labour programs...
these programs have thrown million of middle class blacks back to proverty...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 9, 2009 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Americans from all walks of life are sufferring...
the black caucas is trying to discriminate against all non blacks...
the constitution dictates that all must be helped, not just blacks alone...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 9, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

OUT

Posted by: SideShowBob1 | December 9, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

--Blacks are suffering from even higher rates of increased unemployment and poverty than most ethnic groups in the country in the recession.--

THAT'S BECAUSE BLACKS ARE LAZY !!!

LISTEN TO WHAT BILL COSBY SAID THIS WEEK, "BLACKS NEED TO STOP WALKING AROUND WITH THEIR HANDS OUR AND START TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES BY WORKING !!"

Posted by: SideShowBob1 | December 9, 2009 5:39 AM | Report abuse

the ignorance of some of these commenters is dismaying, to say the least.

do these commenters imagine that, because on election day 2008 X millions of people pulled a lever next to the name "barack obama", suddenly at that moment america's inner city schools received better labs and text books, more teachers and improved test scores?

and did that same pull on the lever erase crime, higher rates of unemployment and persistent gang violence in african-american neighborhoods?

did it also eliminate job discrimination based on race? fewer and more poorly equipped hospitals and emergency rooms? poor to non-existent access to pre-natal and neo-natal care?

america's legacy of racial discrimination still has weight and consequences. and certainly black responsiblity is a crucial element in eliminating it.

but observers who wear blinders don't help to move that difficult process forward.

therefore, i say, please, congressional black caucus, continue to press your vital agenda! it's one of the key reasons you were sent to congress.

Posted by: doggedstrength | December 9, 2009 3:14 AM | Report abuse

We are all equal now that there is a black POTUS. No more extra help for black people. It's time to do away with affirmative action and entitlements. The NAACP and the congressional black caucus are racist organizations that have no place in this post racial USA.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | December 9, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

what a joke. these are racist politicians,except they are black.gots to give to the cause if they want to vote. more $$$ to put in the freezer.

Posted by: pofinpa | December 9, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Correction:

Why don't these idiots in the Congressional Black Caucus address illegal immigration? The influx of illegal aliens into the USA taking jobs from U.S. citizens and moving into black neighborhoods have made a negative impact on U.S. black citizens. This group is useless and there is no need for a Congressional Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Women Caucus in Congress. These idiots are supposed to serve all U.S. citizens/voters.

Posted by: Ward4DC | December 9, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

What don't these idiots in the Congressional Black Caucus not address illegal immigration. The influx of illegal aliens into the USA, jobs, and into black neighborhoods have been a negative impact of black America. This group is useless and there is no need for a Congressional Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Women Caucus in Congress. These idiots are supposed to serve all U.S. citizens/voters.

Posted by: Ward4DC | December 9, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Why do blacks demand to be treated as equals, then turn around and ask for more handouts?

Posted by: cschotta1 | December 8, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

The mere fact that there exists something as racist as the "Congressional Black Caucus" is disturbing.

To think that our president could possibly mold his decisions based on their platform is sick.

Maybe we should get byrd his pointy hat back?

Posted by: docwhocuts | December 8, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

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