Tag Archives: African-American

Obama’s Preaching Doesn’t Reach

Interesting article from Anthea Butler at Religion Dispatches.

For the record, she is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Pennsylvania and an African-American woman.

While I continue to support President Obama, I have my concerns as well.

He’s been much friendlier to Wall Street than Main Street…

He doesn’t seem to “dance with the ones who brought him” too well.  Sometimes, it’s almost like he’s ashamed to be seen with us.  He had to be pushed and pushed to take action on Gay issues, but he did take action.

Now he’s pushing some buttons with another core constituency.

I hope he’s had a true realization- on the Road to Damascus, so to speak- and this isn’t just fear driven based on recent polls.

If he had pushed the agenda he was elected to pursue, instead of tilting at the windmills of compromise with the GOP, we wouldn’t be having this dialogue…

Here is an excerpt from Dr Butler’s column and a link to the full version:

Obama’s performance of black preaching may play well to church folks who love him no matter what, but to those critical of his policies that have placed African Americans at the highest unemployment rates, the president’s fake whooping rings hollow. Why is it that every time the president speaks to a predominately black audience, he goes into a preacher’s cadence, and starts to speak as though he were at a pulpit? Why is it that he never gets “righteously angry” with the white folks as often as he does at the black folks?

If you think I am harsh, consider a segment of the president’s 2010 CBC speech: “I need everybody here to go back to your neighborhoods to go back to your workplaces, to go to churches and go to the barbershops and go to the beauty shops, and tell them we’ve got more work to do.”

Damn. I think most black people I know do more than just work, go to church, and get their hair done.

Let me say it more bluntly. The president said at the end of his CBC speech: “[I] expect all of you to march with me and press on. 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.”

That was the moment that the president turned into a jackleg preacher. A jackleg preacher is an untrained preacher who relies on tried and true tropes to get his audience to respond to preaching. If a jackleg is really good, he or she can get the money or whatever else they want by hitting the sweet spot, that emotional place where the congregation always responds well, because they recognize the feelings and emotions the jackleg preacher wants to evoke. Referring to taking off the slippers and putting on marching shoes is a tired racist trope, and besides, isn’t Snooki the person who wears her slippers in public? I don’t think she’s African American.

There is a history with Obama’s speeches to predominantly black audiences that either try to use respectability or shame to change steroetypical behavior. Obama’s 2008 speech excoriating absent black fathers at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, and his comments on the campaign trail in 2008 in Beaumont, Texas urging black parents “not to feed their kids cold Popeye’s chicken for breakfast,” are just two examples of how Obama deploys this racially-coded rhetorical strategy. The president’s behavior since taking office towards the African American community has been either to tell black folks to get in line and get to work, or gee, I love ya’ll, but I need your vote. If only he would speak to Republicans and Tea Partiers in the same harsh manner.

MORE:   Obama’s Preaching Doesn’t Reach | Religion Dispatches.

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Black Unemployment At Depression Level Highs In Some Cities

Another under-reported story….

From The Huffington Post:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the decade leading up to the Great Recession, Wanda Nolan grew accustomed to steady progress.

From an entry-level job as a fill-in bank teller, she forged a career as a commercial banking assistant, earning enough to become a homeowner. She finished college and then got an MBA. Even after the recession unfolded in late 2007, her degrees and her familiarity with the business world lent her a sense of immunity to the forces ravaging much of the American economy. Nolan was an exemplar of the African American middle class and the increasingly professional ranks of the so-called New South.

But in September 2008, everything changed.

A bank human resources officer called her into a private conference room. “All I heard was, ‘Your position has been eliminated,’” says Nolan, 37, who, despite being one of the more than 13 million officially unemployed Americans, still spends most days in her self-styled banker’s uniform of pearls and pants and practical flats. “My mind started racing.”

More than two years later, Nolan is still looking for a job and feeling increasingly anxious about a future that once felt assured. Her life has devolved from a model of middle class African American upward mobility into an example of a disturbing trend: She is among the 15.5 percent of African Americans out of work and still looking for a job.

For economists, that number may sound awful, but it’s not surprising. The nation’s overall unemployment rate sits at 8.8 percent and the rate among white Americans is at 7.9 percent. For a variety of reasons — ranging from levels of education and continuing discrimination to the relatively young age of black workers — black unemployment tends to run twice the rate for whites. Yet since the Great Recession, joblessness has remained so critically elevated among African Americans that it is challenging longstanding ideas about what it takes to find work in the modern-day economy.

via Black Unemployment At Depression Level Highs In Some Cities.

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If You’re Looking For A Little Diversity On Television, Try HGTV: NPR

Very interesting story that I heard on NPR on Wednesday.

You can click through the link below to another link to hear the whole story…

Neda Ulaby reports on Wednesday’s Morning Edition that there’s a surprising channel where you can see Latino, Asian, or African-American people, as well as gays and lesbians, in significantly larger numbers than in much of the rest of broadcast and cable television.

That channel is HGTV — from Home And Garden Television — which features people of color as hosts and homeowners, as well as designers and retailers. Neda considers an episode of House Hunters, for instance, that featured a black couple where one was a tech consultant and one was a government nuclear inspector. The president of HGTV makes clear that the diversity of participants — not only the homeowners, but the design professionals and other consultants — is entirely intentional, and has resulted in an overall increase in its audience and an even bigger increase in its minority audiences.

via If You’re Looking For A Little Diversity On Television, Try HGTV : Monkey See : NPR.

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