Have the lives of African-Americans improved in the eight years since President Barack Obama took office?
That is the question economist and columnist Dr. Julianne Malveaux asked in her new book, Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy.
Malveaux recently sat down with Roland Martin on the set of NewsOne Now to discuss her book and the answer to the question it poses.
She told Martin President Obama “didn’t push us forward, but he didn’t move us backward – he missed an opportunity.”
Dr. Malveaux opined that Obama missed opportunities in “every area,” and said, “He has targeted certain communities, but he’s never targeted the African-American community.”
Malveaux, President Emeritus of Bennett College for Women, continued, “I would have liked to have seen the kind of passion when he talked about transgender issues that he had to talk about African-American issues – he never said to any school, ‘I will withhold your civil rights money if you discriminate.'”
She later said, “He (President Barack Obama) simply has not been a champion of African-Americans in the same way that he’s been a champion of others.”
Another area where President Obama seems to have left Black America hanging is on the topic of HBCUs. Dr. Malveaux called the Parent PLUS Loan “the most ridiculous thing that I have ever experienced in my lifetime – that an African-American president would put our money on the table – $85 million – that (President) Bush put in there that he was going to take out.”
Malveaux explained those funds were for infrastructure and “designed to help us catch up in terms of technology that we didn’t have and things like that.”
“It was insanity that this president would do that,” said Malveaux.
She later said, “There was insensitivity to HBCUs and a sense that we didn’t quote deserve the money.” According to Malveaux, after a lot of back and forth, the funds were restored, but this incident “put HBCUs and the president at odds very early in his administration, and that should not have been the case.”
Watch Roland Martin and Dr. Julianne Malveaux discuss Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy in the video clip above.
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