Leave It To Cleaver

September 22, 2010


Raynard Jackson


Last week, as I was riding the local train in Washington, DC, I began to ponder on the thoughts that had begun to flood into my mind.


I was president of my senior class at Soldan High School in St. Louis, MO.  I had a lot of my friends who worked hard to get me elected.  So, during this train ride, I wondered how my classmates would have responded if I decided to put all my energies into helping another school across town?


I also pondered what would happened if members of a fraternity or sorority helped elect one of their friend’s as national president; and then they never showed up at any of their own meetings.  But, they seemed to always find time to attend other fraternity’s or sorority’s meetings.


I know, I know.  The thought of that happening would be unimaginable and unthinkable, right? 




Cause that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes.


Blacks are 13% of the American population and gave Obama 96 % of their vote in 2008.  They are the second largest voting block in the country (behind the white population, who is 74 % of the population). 


Obama has done everything in his power to ignore the Black community and finally, some of the Black community’s frustration is spilling over in public.  What took you so long?


As I have said in previous columns, the White House has made a political calculation that they can ignore the Black vote and suffer no consequence.  “Blacks will get mad and do nothing.”


While I am elated that Blacks are finally speaking out, the question is—what are they going to do?

If the recent comments from members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is any indication, I am not very optimistic!


They have been quoted in several newspaper interviews ranting and raving.


John Conyers (Congressman from Michigan) said about Obama, “We want him to know that from this day forward . . . we’ve had it... We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait.” Or what?


No one in America fears ignoring the Black community.  What are members of the CBC going to do if Obama doesn’t change his approach towards them?


When the CBC kicked off their jobs tour during the August recess, Obama did the same thing-- in Iowa.  That shows you how much Obama thinks of Blacks and jobs!


In the immortal words of the Doobie Brothers, from their hit song from the 70s—What a Fool Believes, “But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power, to reason away.
What seems to be is always better than nothing at all.”


The CBC and the Black community want to believe in Obama’s presidency; but there is nothing tangible he has given them to believe in.  “But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.  What seems to be is always better than nothing at all.”


So, members of the CBC have begun to blame the Tea Party for the high unemployment rate in the Black community.  People of good will within the Black community must call out these members of the CBC for what they are—race baiters.  You can’t blame the Tea Party for Obama ignoring his own people.


In 2009 and 2010, Obama controlled the House and the Senate.  He had the votes to ram through any legislation he wanted—and he did nothing.  Can you blame that on the Tea Party also?


Look at what CBC Chairman, Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said, "If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House…There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president."


I found Cleaver’s statement to be extremely offensive to my sensibilities and he should have been called out on these statements.  Where was Al Sharpton, Marc Morial, or Ben Jealous?  Total silence.


So, let me make sure I understand Cleaver and the rest of the CBC.  The Black community’s agenda is predicated upon the skin color of the person in power?  Because Obama is Black, he should not be criticized by other Blacks for ignoring us because we are Black?


So, in a kind of perverted way, you have the first Black president using race to hurt his own (by trying to prove to whites that he is not going to be a “Black” president); and you have the CBC using race to allow the president to get away with it (not criticizing him strictly because he is Black).


Boy, I now have a headache.  So, it’s ok for Blacks to use race to hurt other Blacks; but it’s not ok for whites to use race to hurt Blacks? 


Blacks somehow believe that by not criticizing Obama on his lack of constructive engagement with the Black community that somehow their problems are going to get dealt with through osmosis? 


I guess, if you leave it to Cleaver! 


“What a fool believes……”


Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (, Freedom’s Journal Magazine (, and U.S. Africa Magazine (

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