Sorry Mr. President, but with all due respect, when they do "listen" all they hear is just more of the same kind of things you have been saying.
And I get it, you are the president of all Americans, you can't seem to be favoring those Negroes over all others. It's how you got elected in the first place: The "Magic Negro", the "uniter", who speaks well and seems so non-threatening. The Negro who views himself as an American first and who only sees "one America."
If you had been any other kind of Negro you would not have been elected.
But I also understand the angst and criticism that you are getting from folks like my homeboy, Marc Lamont Hill.
"In an official White House statement on Wednesday and a brief speech from Martha's Vineyard on Thursday, the President played his usual role of "the uniter," preaching calm and healing to the American public.
I wish he'd just said nothing.
To be clear, I didn't have any unrealistic expectations for Obama. I didn't expect him to pump a black fist in solidarity or scream "fight the power" from the makeshift press room. I didn't even need him to take a clear side on the issue. I did, however, expect him to tell the truth. Instead, the President delivered a polite but ultimately dangerous message to the American public.
Noticeably absent from President Obama's remarks was the issue of race. Despite Ferguson being 68% black, Ferguson's police force is nearly all white. Blacks in the town comprise 86% of all vehicle stops and 85% of all arrests. Over the past week, black residents of the town have complained of racial harassment from law enforcement. That, combined with the trend of unarmed black men being the victims of extrajudicial killings, makes the racial implications of Brown's death quite strong.
Even if one were to believe that Michael Brown's killing had nothing to do with race -- a naïve position at best -- the wave of protests and debates that emerged after it happened have been undeniably racial. By not mentioning this racial dimension, the President reinforced the immature notion that racism can be defeated simply by pretending it doesn't exist." [Source]
The thing is, Marc, in the minds of most Americans it doesn't exist. And that black person speaking from the podium with the Presidential seal on it, in their minds, proves it.
One of the bitter ironies of all of this is that in spite of Barack Obama going out of his way to be the president of all Americans and not show favoritism to his father's ancestors, he is still viewed by those on the right to be the most divisive president ever.
They are decrying the fact that racial tensions have increased and not decreased during his presidency. Failing to realize, of course, that the anger and hate have come primarily from their ideological soul-mates in the majority population, who resent the fact that a black man such as Obama could have been elected to lead them. (Twice!)
So yes, racial tensions have increased, but it's not because of the way that the very non-racial Barack Obama acted in office; it's because he is in that office in the first place.
"There are young black men that commit crime. We can argue about why that happened — because the poverty they were born into or the school systems that failed them or what have you— but if they commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted," Obama said. "Because every community has an interest in public safety."
Yes they do "need to be prosecuted," and so do the police officers who are charged with keeping the public safe and not breaking the very law that they are charged to uphold.
*Pic from Scott Olsen-Getty Images.