Everyone looks to their president for protection against calamity, and black voters are no different. One little discussed fact of the Obama presidency is how it has been a singularly disastrous economic period for the first black president’s most loyal constituency: black people.
This has led to a running joke in families like mine where, nonetheless, black people cannot utter a word of criticism about him. They love him unconditionally.
On a recent visit to my older relatives in Detroit, I again asked whether there was anything more they thought President Barack Obama could do for blacks. These are wise retired folks in their 70s and 80s, fixed-income veterans of America’s race relations and unions. With their beloved city then teetering on bankruptcy, declared just days ago, none offered anything but new ways to praise him.
This muted feeling of unacknowledged (but not unrequited) love in the face of so much hardship was finally answered when Obama—unannounced, without notes yet with immaculate clarity—spoke candidly about the acquittal of the man who killed an innocent black Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin.