During his first term in office, some critics condemned President Barack Obama for not being vocal enough about issues that hurt the Black community, including racial injustice, poverty, and unemployment.
But in the twilight years of his second term, PolitickerOne has noticed he’s speaking more openly about events as he chooses, especially those concerning Black America.
Here are 4 times he stood up for Black America:
1. The president celebrated Black women, making them the center of his speech Saturday at the Phoenix Awards, a banquet to culminate the 45th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Women of color still get paid “30 fewer cents for every dollar a White man earns,” he said.
“We’ve got to do more than say…we’d put a woman on the ten-dollar bill,” Obama said, calling the wage gap a “mockery of our economy” before declaring that, while the $10 campaign is nice idea, America needs to ensure that Black women earn equal pay.
2. Obama called for criminal justice reform this summer at the NAACP’s 106th National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, saying the system is “particularly skewed by race and by wealth,” which is not only a tremendous burden on taxpayers, but on society as a whole.
“In too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails,” Obama told more than 3,000 audience members at the convention. “Mass incarceration makes our country worse off and we need to do something about it.”
A day earlier, he granted clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders–the most a president has commuted at one time since Lyndon B. Johnson.
3. He condemned racism during a moving eulogy that both memorialized the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and called for the removal of the Confederate flag after the reverend and eight others were massacred in June at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“A flag did not cause these murders,” the president said. “For many, Black and White, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.” But “removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness, it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgement for the cause for which they fought, for slavery, is wrong…It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history, a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds…By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.”
4. He called out America’s religious hypocrisy in February during a wide-ranging talk at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., pointing out how the U.S. justified slavery and Jim Crow in the name of Christ. The statement came during a talk about religious freedom amid violence in cities around the world, including attacks by Muslim extremist group ISIS in Paris and the murder of Muslims and Christians by Boko Haram in the religious war in the Central African Republic.
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the crowd. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
What do you think about the president’s comments?
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty