Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Obama's black critics are wrong by Randall Kennedy

Professor Randall Kennedy
Why Obama's black critics are wrong by Randall Kennedy

Randall Kennedy is a professor at Harvard Law School and the author, most recently, of "The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency" (Pantheon Books).

Cambridge, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Throughout President Barack Obama's political career, he has been dogged by insinuations or, indeed, accusations that he is not "black enough" to warrant strong support from African-Americans.

Rep. Bobby Rush made that assertion when he successfully fended off Obama's effort to wrest from him his seat in the House of Representatives in the Democratic primary in 2000. Alan Keyes voiced that sentiment in his losing campaign against Obama for the U.S. Senate. When Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, the celebrity scholar Cornel West groused that the first African-American standard-bearer for a major party had "run from history" by failing to mention explicitly the "black freedom movement."

Skepticism regarding Obama's racial bona fides has continued to surface since he moved into the White House. Rep. Maxine Waters, for instance, has recently chided him for failing to craft policies that would explicitly target black unemployment and for otherwise neglecting, in her view, to evince a proper acknowledgment of the baleful and disproportionate pain being experienced in black communities on account of the economic downturn.

What is one to make of this critique?

Read more here Why Obama's black critics are wrong by Randall Kennedy

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