President Obama and Black Joblessness


                  Nobody knows the troubles I’ve Seen

 Is Barack to blame for Black Unemployment?

This commentary was sparked by an article posted on my Facebook page regarding a statement made by NAACP leader Ben Jealous, on the black unemployment crisis under the Obama Administration. The interpretation given this statement by some of the black commentators revealed such gross ignorance of the political process and the obstacles President Obama has faced trying to exercise his vision of government, that I was compelled to respond in the hope of adding clarity on this important issue.

Originally posted on the Website “Your Black World” – an attempt to clone the now defunct website “The Black World Today” – the article quotes Ben Jealous to the effect that “Black Americans are doing far worse than when President Obama took office…the country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started…White people in this country are doing a bit better.  Black people are doing far worse.”  

Jealous’ statement is illustrated by numbers cited from the bureau of Labor Statistics.  “The Most staggering statistic is reported in September 2011,” we are told, “when black unemployment reached 16.7 percent – making it the highest unemployment rate for African-Americans since 1983.” 

The article goes on to tell us: “Commentators such as Yvette Carnell, Dr. Wilmer Leon and Boyce Watkins at Your Black World have consistently stated that the president’s performance should be judged based on the quality of his results not the color of his skin.”  From the comment it appears that the author considers this pedestrian observation a statement of profound insight.

However based upon the statements the author chose to cite from these commentators, one gets the impression that Mr. Obama is not to be judged on his performance in the extremely complex job as Chief Executive Officer of the United States and Commander-In-Chief of American Armed Forces; but as a racial spokesman such as Ben Jealous, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson – and according to Dr. Cornel West, MLK Jr.

We are told that these leaders intend to present the President with a “Black Agenda” that he should pursue in his next four years.   Dr. Boyce Watkins, the self-styled “People’s Scholar,” had this to say: “I’m hopeful that Ben is serious in what he’s saying about the Obama Administration, since I’m sure he’s getting in trouble with Obama’s cabinet over his remarks…I have had a hard time finding any concrete evidence whatsoever that the black community at-large has benefitted from having a bi-racial president.”  This kind of talk is more befitting a color obsessed ignoramus or charlatan than someone who expects to be taken seriously as a scholar.

Much noise was made about the fact that Dr. Watkins was refused tenure by his colleagues at Syracuse.  According to Watkins he was denied tenure because of racism, but his colleagues said his work just didn’t measure up…that he was incompetent.  Based upon his comments here I am inclined to believe his colleagues.

For if he is no better at finance than he is at political analysis he deserved to be kicked to the curb!  Having been booted out of his cushy job in the academy, Watkins now seeks to become yet another spokesman for the race, and his PR hook seems to be bashing Obama like his role model Cornel West.  Every mediocre actor knows you can always get over playing to the cheap seats.

Like the other comments cited in this article, Boyce Watkins statements are a burlesque on serious political analysis; he is a pompous poseur, just another pretentious chatty academic mediocrity.  When it comes to making a good political deal he reminds me of a man who can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground. It is a matter of public record that President Obama has tried his best to get the Congress to pass his jobs bills, but the Republicans in the House repeatedly block it.

These jobs bills are designed to address all the unemployed, including white workers.  So I would like the know-it-alls like Boyce Watkins to tell us how the President is supposed to get a “black agenda” designed to deal specifically with black problems through this Congress?   And beyond these jobs bills will Mr. Watkins and the other “experts” please tell us what the President can do to affect the unemployment rate?  I anxiously await their answers.

The fact is that the only thing any President can do to deal with mass unemployment is what FDR did: MAKE THE GOVERNMENT THE EMPLOYER OF LAST RESORT!!!!!!  And since the president is not a king who can wave his scepter and make shit happen…tell us what he is supposed to do?  It is easy for intellectuals who have never run an election for village dog catcher to talk tough.  But the President of the United States is a politician and Chief Executive of the largest and most powerful country in the world.

Hence he can’t run around talking smack about being black…he has to govern!  Barack, brilliant politician that he is, recognizes that this would be a bad move; once he pitches the employment crisis in racial terms he will be walking into the trap the Republicans have been setting since right after he won his first term.

They want to make this a racial issue because they know that in any racial conflict they will win…this is not rocket science its basic arithmetic!  These colored jokers posing as serious thinkers just run their mouths, but Barack has to run the country!!!!  These are very different tasks that require different tactics, and if he listened to these guys “advice” Barack would be standing on the sidelines running his mouth along with them!

So Watkins and his fellow angry egg heads are full of BS, and I don’t mean bean soup.  Rather I mean the same thing the distinguished Princeton Philosopher Harry G. Franks meant in his book titled “Bullshit!”  And as for those who are claiming that Barack dissed the black church: That is a damned lie!!!!

I dare them to present any evidence for that claim!!!  As for those like Boyce Watkins, who refer to Barack as “bi-racial” in an attempt to diminish his blackness: let me remind you that so was Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and BEN JEALOUS!!!!!!   So what has that got to do with anything?  Is Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Allen West, Allen Keyes and Tim Scott black enough for you?  Please grow the hell up and act like rational beings!!!!!!!

When Work Disappears


The community is thrown into crisis

If Watkins, Cornel West and their fellow malcontent eggheads want to actually do something constructive: ORGANIZE A MILLION WORKER MARCH ON THE CONGRESS TO INSIST THAT THE PASS THE PRESIDENT’S JOBS BILL!!!   Furthermore, I see a lot of doctors by the name of the President’s black critics, but I see no important SCHOLARLY WORKS on the president’s actual accomplishments from them.  ALL OF THE IMPORTANT WORK IS BEING DONE BY OTHER – MAINLY WHITE – SCHOLARS AND JOURNALISTS!!!

Anyone who really wants some in-depth analysis of President Obama’s accomplishments that benefited black people should hurry up and read, “THE New New Deal” by the award winning Time magazine reporter Michael Grunwald, and if you want to know why he has not been able to do more read “It’s Even Worse Than it Looks,” by the leading scholars on the US Congress, Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann.

But one need not dig so deeply to recognize the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will be a tremendous benefit to the black community where 70% or more households are headed by women!  And who will benefit more from taking the banks out of the College Loan program?  What about the $100 million dollar grant to black colleges, what about universal health care?  Clearly Watkins is either a bald headed liar or a damned fool!!!!

If the president’s black critics read some real scholarship they would not be taking these intellectual lightweights like Boyce Watkins and Cornel West so seriously.  And if you want a broad based understanding of the President’s foreign and domestic policies there are 500 essays that deal with these questions incisively at

Incidently there is a section titled “On Dr. Cornel West,” in which there are nine essays where he is seriously critiqued the way he has called for critiquing President Obama…and he fares far worse than the President.  If the veil of ignorance remains firmly over your eyes regarding the facts about Barack Obama’s actual achievements it’s your own damned fault!  So go sit down somewhere and shut your silly trap!!!!!!


Playthell George Benjamin

Harlem New York

January 3, 2013

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