Pres. Obama Rightfully Tells CBC to “Stop Complaining”
Matt | On 27, Sep 2011
President Obama made his annual appearance on Saturday at the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.
This year, however, he walked away with more side-eyes and media attention than he probably bargained for. And truth be told, I’m fully ok with that.
For context, let’s remember that the president is a former member of the CBC from 2005-2009. I’m black also, just so you know for the context of my comments.
In his speech to the CBC Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner, he addressed the loud outcry in recent weeks from the group (and really the shit-starting media) about his perceived lack of attention to the black community. The main issue has been about jobs and how black unemployment has at times been double the national average.
The president urged the crowd to action in somewhat blunt terms.
“Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC,” Obama said.
People were up in arms about the “stop complaining” part, of course. Observers, particularly CBC members, felt that President Obama would not make that same statement to members of the Jewish, LGBT, or Latino communities. There may be some truth in that. But, since he is a former member of the group that he’s speaking too, there is some level of inherent familiarity. I also think he was also talking indirectly to black voters.
Here is my confusion, though.
Why are black people so up in arms about that comment, yet if you look at the context of what he said, he was telling the truth? People weren’t nearly as upset about the scores of African-Americans who sat at home during the midterm elections. These are the same people, MY people, who are desperately in need of jobs. Democrats losing the House of Representatives lessened the chances of success for any type of Obama agenda.
A lot of blacks I have seen thought that because the president is also African-American that things were miraculously going to change for our community. Our unemployment has BEEN sky high for years before he took office. The Democratic Congress had not passed a jobs bill by November 2010. So, riddle me as to why were black voters at home in the midterm elections? I’ll wait.
Let’s look at economic realities for a second. The president doesn’t “create” jobs, no matter what popular opinion is. People create jobs when they find a need in the marketplace and fill it. Government can create the right climate for business, but they don’t “create the job.”
Does the president have work to do in addressing the black community? Of course. We are really going to have to stop complaining about a lot of issues, roll up our sleeves, educate our youth and ourselves, build back up the black family, hold each other accountable, and clean up our own house. There is no crime in reminding us to do that.
Let’s stop being so damn sensitive every time somebody gets in our faces about our improvement areas. The president clearly didn’t attempt to demean anyone. It was a call to action.
::drops mic and walks away::