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'The American president for everyone'

NAACP President Ben Jealous, National Urban League President Marc Morial and the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network didn't let a blizzard stop them from making an Oval Office meeting with President Obama. They went in to talk about jobs, how African Americans were getting especially clobbered by the worst recession since the Great Depression and what the government could do about it. They emerged playing down the notion that Obama must pursue a definable "black agenda" to achieve those goals.

"You could see that the president felt the gravity of the problem facing not only African Americans, but all Americans,"
Sharpton said afterwards. He told Politico, “We’re not looking for a race-based program. We’re looking to make sure everyone is involved. We don’t expect him to be the black president. We expect him to be the American president of everyone including blacks.”

This is a maturity that I wish others in the African American community would emulate. That doesn't mean Obama should be let off the hook for not pursuing policies that help the most vulnerable and those continually left behind even in good times. But it does mean recognizing that the pride of the black community is now responsible for and accountable to the entire country. A surefire way to relieve him of that duty is to insist that he play favorites.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 11, 2010; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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"This is a maturity that I wish others in the African American community would emulate..."

With overall U.S. unemployment at 9.7% and black male unemployment at 17.6% how "mature" would you like "others in the African American" community to remain?

Funny isn't it, that black office holders are made to feel guilty about representing their constituents but when the Blue Dogs stand up for "rural" America and Bush hands a tax break to his constituents making over $200K it's all good.

When more Blacks are involved in the correctional system than as Slaves in 1850 ( you want Ben Jealous and Marc Morial to stay quiet. Why? This is the time they should be speaking out. No matter what color or what party the President is.

Posted by: laurenburke007 | February 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Interested in discussing current and emerging Black leaders in Boston as well as the continued issues with unemployment? Boston City Councilor-at-large Ayanna Pressley joins our Basic Black broadcast discussion as a special guest panelist tonight, Thursday, at 7:30 pm LIVE at of on channel 2 in Boston! You can also participate in a live chat at during the show.

Posted by: saltzmas | February 11, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Are you interested in issues facing the African American community? If so, tune into the PBS show Basic Black, the longest running show addressing people of color on television. Watch TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m EST LIVE at or on channel 2 in Boston. You can also participate in a live chat at starting at 4 pm.

Posted by: MardeniWGBH | February 11, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

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