We’re still waiting, Mr. President

By Dexter Rogers, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: August 1, 2010

INDIANA (BASN) — Remember when President Barack Obama was forced to give a speech on race relations in Philadelphia because the media had successfully conquered and divided the relationship he had with Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Remember a year ago when the Henry Louis Gates fiasco consistently in the news? Gates, a famed professor was arrested on bogus charges and the charges were promptly dropped?

Remember when Health Care was the talk of the town and it somehow firmly divided people along political and racial lines?

Now we’ve firmly digested the Shirley Sherrod situation and how it was botched by President Obama’s cabinet and the Department of Agriculture. President Obama won’t meet with Sherrod.

Apparently the two spoke on the phone but is that enough? After what Sherrod has been through should President Obama give here a formal apology in person? Not sure that’s going to happen. I’m not holding my breath.

Here’s what Sherrod stated, “I’d like to talk to him about the experiences of people like me, people at the grassroots level, people who live out here in rural America people, who live in the South. I know he does not have that kind of experience.”

Recently CNN aired a special on Sherrod’s life. It was very compelling indeed. In all honesty she’s been more of a champion for equality of opportunity in her quiet life than President Obama has in his much gloried run at oval office glory.

President Obama is accountable to those who voted for him: He is employed by those who made it possible for him to achieve his dreams. It’s like a stock holder in a business.

Those individuals who have a financial stake in that business also have a say in how that business should be run. Therefore the American people should have a stake in what direction this country goes.

Make sense?

Who better than President Obama to ignite and sustain a much needed talk about race relations? He has a degree in Constitutional Law therefore he should be well groomed about the lack of rights Africans slaves had during slavery and those rights the oppressed masses supposed to have today.

Is it more important for President Obama to continue a meaningless war in Afghanistan than do some real work? Again, the only time President Obama spoke on race to any substantial degree was in Philadelphia. Many will point to that speech and say that’s enough.

What resulted from that speech? Exactly, nothing.

President Obama was handed a speech and told to read it. If it were up to him he’d just let the Rev. Wright situation dissipate into thin air but the media kept forcing Wright’s rhetoric down our throats.

President Obama spoke because he wanted to win the “race,” not face it.

Now that he’s won what has President Obama really delivered for African-Americans? How has he acknowledged the Herculean efforts of African-Americans past and present that embraced his run at Presidential glory?

Let’s be fair here. I don’t put this all on President Obama. I also blame the media structure as well. The vast majority (88 percent) of the commentary we digest comes from a white vantage point.

It’s logical to assert a large percentage of media contingent don’t understand the intricacies of racism and lack the life experience to adequately talk about it. How can one talk about something they have rarely been afflicted with?

The solution?

The media structure needs to be more diversified. The media should reflect those who read news and are governed.

This provides varied perspectives and not just one.

Next those African-Americans who have platforms with a level of awareness should use them. We need more African-Americans as journalists but they need to be visible to induce others to become a part of the media.

But how can people be induced to be something they rarely see?

The few African-American journalists should utilize their talents for more than writing stories. They should use them to make a difference where we all can benefit from the added discussion about topics we often are afraid to address.

The opportunity to advance forward and along racial and social lines is better than any time in history. When will President Obama step up and ignite that discussion?

Not sure. I’m not holding my breath.