No sooner did President Barack Obama and a group of senators separately outline proposals to revamp the nation's immigration system than the phone lines on several African-American-oriented talk radio shows heated up with callers blasting the plans.
"Amnesty," complained Frankie from Maryland recently on the nationally syndicated "Keeping it Real with Al Sharpton."
A political payback to Hispanic voters that does little or nothing for African-Americans, reasoned Sam from Milwaukee on Wisconsin's 1290 WMCS AM's "Earl Ingram Show."
"Our issues are not being highlighted and pushed, and things like gay marriage and (immigration) are being pushed to the forefront," the caller said. "Hispanics are effectively organized. For us not to be organized and for us not to hold our leadership accountable is disheartening."
Although the civil rights establishment, from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to the Urban League and Sharpton, squarely back Obama's desire to tackle immigration, the president's call has reignited complaints within the African-American community that he is addressing the specific needs of almost all major voting blocs - Hispanics, women, gays - except for the African-Americans who gave him 93 percent of their vote.
Obama addressed the immigration issue again Tuesday in his State of the Union address and is expected to do so when he travels to Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday and visits Chicago and suburban Atlanta on Thursday to sell his second-term agenda.
"There (are) clearly different views in the African-American community around immigration," Sharpton said on his radio show last month. "Some have said they're (illegal immigrants) taking our jobs, they dilute our strength. Others have said we've got to have rights for everybody or we don't have it for anybody, and this is not just a Latino issue because immigration laws cover the Caribbean, cover Africans, cover South Americans."
Some angst over Obama addressing immigration and other issues so soon in his second term has boiled over into public criticism of the nation's first African-American president by many African-Americans, from the grassroots to the political levels.
Bernard Anderson, an Obama supporter and a former assistant labor secretary during Bill Clinton's presidency, recently told an African-American economic summit at Washington's Howard University that African-Americans should no longer give Obama "a pass" on dealing with issues that directly impact their community.
"He is not going to run again for anything. He does not deserve a pass anymore," Anderson said. "Let him not only find his voice but summon his courage and use his political capital to address racial inequality. He owes that to the African-American."
Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are quietly seething because Obama hasn't met with the 42-member group since May 13, 2011. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., vented to the National Newspaper Publishers Association last month. He said the black caucus sent the White House the names of 61 potential candidates for positions in a second-term administration that already is coming under fire for being heavy on white males.
"Not one of that 61 was selected - not one," Hastings told the African-American newspaper publishers at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., conference.
Obama administration officials reject assertions that the president is race-adverse. Obama has consistently said he takes a "rising tide lifts all boats" approach to governing and that his policies benefit all Americans, not just one group.
Most Popular Stories
- Entrepreneurs Chase Social Media
- European Car Sales up First Time in 20 Months
- Schedule packed with talent at the Fox
- I never set out to be a role model but it's great to be one ; IN THE HOTSEATBetter known by his stage name Wretch 32, Jermaine Sinclair is a 28-year-old rapper from London. In 2011 his debut album Black and White sold over a million copies and scored three top five singles. His latest single Blackout was released this week
- Manila's Hollywood Week
- Austin musicians point to a variety of reasons to appreciate McCartney
- SINCE YOU ASKED [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]
- Financial Times Twitter, Email Hacked
- Apple's iPhones, iPads Approved for Military Use, Sir Yes Sir!
- Promoter McLean 'provided more musical joy than Dylan and Prince combined'