What Would an Obama Presidency Mean for Black America?

Thomas Chatterton Williams answers this question.

Black children would be able to avoid internalizing what James Baldwin called “the propaganda of race inferiority,” since every night on the news there would be a visible reminder that there is nothing whites can do that blacks cannot. That is the real change Obama offers-all of a sudden the world young black kids imagine themselves inhabiting would seem a richer place to live, one without an upper limit. To Biggie Smalls’ dismal list of career options afforded young black males-“You either slang crack rock / Or you got a wicked jump shot”-we could add the office of president. And in response to what Jay-Z cynically defined as the black man’s lot in life-“All we got is sports and entertainment/ Until we even, thievin”-we could say, No, not anymore.

The symbolism of a black man in the Oval Office would certainly advance the cause of racial equality in America. Unfortunately, we do not elect a symbol for President, we elect a man (or woman) who has a worldview and a set of policies that they wish to enact to shape the country and world to their liking.

If Obama were elected, racial reconciliation would improve in America. But the plight of the unborn will become more bleak. The black woman’s womb will be one of the most dangerous places in America, government expansion might make poverty worse in America which will adversely affect blacks, and an out of control liberal media will further their attempts to silence voices of dissension.

I wish to God I could vote for the first black Presidential to run successfully at the top of a major ticket. But I’m afraid the cost is simply too high.

  1. Ryan, I’m not sure I understand your question. What I’m saying is that an Obama President would make both abortion and poverty worse. I don’t see how its possible for him to reduce abortions, when he has consistently supported making it more accessible and even opposed the Infants Born Alive act in the IL senate. He eluded this question well in the debate.

  2. Sorry, man. My question was poorly worded.

    Is your reason for not voting for Obama because of his beliefs about abortion a principled one (I can’t vote for a candidate who is “pro-choice” ), a pragmatic one (The abortion rate will rise under Obama therefore I can’t vote for him), or something different?

    Let me put the question in context. Poor women often get abortions because they believe that they have no way to support a child. Essentially, they are hopeless. However, the US has experienced prosperous years and years of decline under both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” presidents. From my understanding, if the economy is doing well abortion declines and vice-versa. So then, the economy and other factors often lead to an increase or decrease in abortion, which makes it possible for abortion to decline under a “pro-choice” president.

    I often wonder if people who will not vote “pro-choice” tend to put more weight on a candidate’s stated beliefs about abortion (principled), rather than how the abortion rate may change because of policies which aren’t blatantly abortion related (pragmatic). Principled reasons and pragmatic reasons aren’t mutually exclusive. However, I just wonder if you would hypothetically vote for a “pro-choice” candidate if somehow there was a way for you to know that abortions would go down( not that I believe there is), or if your conscience still wouldn’t allow you to vote for him.

    I ask and say this not to advocate for Obama, because I’m not voting for him, nor am I advocating for him. I’m just trying to better understand your reasoning.


  3. Your question: Principled or pragmatic?

    My answer is this: both. I hear this sort of thinking all the time from Christians who equivocate the direct act of aborting a child to the circumstances attending and leading to the act of aborting a child. Everyone wants to see poverty reduced or eliminated. No one takes a “pro-poverty” platform and runs for public office.

    This is not the same with abortion. Those who support abortion rights do not always lament the great numbers of abortions or speak to a desire to see them reduced. Abortion is a profitable industry for slick professionals. Others profit from poverty as well, but no one sets up a poverty clinic for someone to come in and make themselves poor.

    I believe that Obama’s policies will lead to more people being poor and thus more abortions taking place. I am opposed to both poverty and abortion.

    Suppose Giuliani were the nominee, who would be more fiscally conservative but pro-choice, I would not vote for him either, even though I think he would deal with poverty better.

    If Obama were pro-life, then I believe the symbol of a black president would have a strong effect on the black psyche and would be good for this country, and I could potentially vote for him in that case.

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