Obama’s Legacy for African Americans

by Antwane Young

In the final weekend of the month of July, Republican primary nominee Donald Trump fired a shot at the President. He alleged that Obama had done little to nothing for the African American community during his presidency. Trump went on to further speculate that there will not be another black president of the United States for decades to come because of Obama’s impotence as commander-in-chief (ABC News, “Obama Trump Black Community”).

Is there any truth behind what the Donald is saying?

It seems the community is in no rush to disagree with Trump. Carol Edwards, 61, a California resident lamented, “Not much has changed but that’s better than making it worse. If Trump get in there we are all going down.”  Other interviewees considered her statements to be accurate. On the topic of unemployment, the landscape has been up and down slightly but there were no significant increases or decreases in the rate of unemployment in the black community.

It’s not as if Obama is the head of a dictatorship or anything close to it. Our democracy does not allow one person to have too much power, which limits the ability of even the most powerful man in the system. With that being said, Obama’s supposedly lackluster performance as president as interpreted by Trump’s politically-incorrect aspersions are no reason to conclude that Obama has done nothing for the black community.

According to Politicalfact.com, you can track the promises Obama has made over the course of his presidency on a tool called “The Obameter.” Covering a variety of political categories like education, health care, taxes, and the economy, this website provides a great scope for how well things went for Obama. Tallying a total of over 500 promises administered during his campaign, 46% of the promises he made were indeed kept, while 26% of promises were fulfilled only after compromise. However, Obama did not keep 22% of his promises to the county.  The remaining 6% of his promises are still up in the air and yet to be decided. It looks like Obama, for the most part, kept his promises as well as he could, given we live in a democracy that requires compromise.

Other members of the black community have different, more positive insights into the Obama administration. Timothy Williams, 20, said “Obama is not perfect, but he is trying. He started the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.” Focusing specifically on young black men, the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative will help nonprofit organizations to raise millions of dollars in support of black men with educational and other upward-mobility programs. It will still be changing lives long after Obama’s presidency.

You can talk about the way the Justice Department is going, point out the dramatic difference in wealth distribution, or a bevy of other political criteria to analyze whether Obama has really done anything for the black community.

The short of it is, he left the community better than he found it.

When you consider there was a time when the nation believed Obama might be under the influence of Jeremiah Wright, a former emeritus pastor for Trinity United Church of Christ known for his controversial comments on our government in 2008, Obama has been far less radical than some predicted.  However, he has still been an effective force of good in the black community. As long as society keeps moving in the right direction, his efforts as president will stand the test of time.

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