Bruce A. Dixon
Black Agenda Report, 18 January 2012
Next week will mark the third anniversary of Barack Obama’s inauguration, and the unveiling of his fourth budget. Already White House spokespeople admit that it will be bad news for black and poor Americans. In three years this president has investigated and prosecuted not a single Wall Street banker or institution, not held up the wave of foreclosures a single week, not addressed the issues of black unemployment or black mass incarceration. But black America has silenced itself to protect the career of the First Black President.
Three years ago this week, more than 2 million souls, at least half of them African American, converged upon the nation’s capital. They came, in what my colleague Glen Ford called the Great Black Hajj of 2008, to witness and celebrate the swearing in of the nation’s first African American president. They wept and danced and sang and prophesied. They marveled at how far they had come. It was, their leaders assured them, the beginning of a new day.
Three years later, it’s clear that this is indeed a new day, a new era. But for most of black America, it’s not the one they hoped for. Nobody expected urban poverty would begin to vanish overnight, or that millions of acres of lost black farmland would be restored. But promises were made, and expectations were justifiably high, not because Barack Obama had promised to investigate Wall Street, prosecute banksters, or stop the imperial wars and illegal foreclosures, but because humans do have the right to expect justice at home and peace abroad, whether their leaders deliver these things or not.