President Obama is on some type of media tour where he’s addressing the killing for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and what they mean for our country. We guess that just as good as going to Ferguson or New York City and addressing the people who are angry and demanding justice? Previously, we’ve shared some pretty harsh criticisms of the President, wondering where his compassion and urgency towards his people is. During an interview with Jeff Johnson, President Obama’s compassion showed up…well kinda.
When Johnson asked President Obama if we can trust the police, he said:
“The understanding that we have made progress. As painful as these incidences are, we can’t equate what’s happening to know to what happened 50 year ago. That gives us hope that we can make even more progress. We have to be persistent. Progress is in steps.
This is not just a Black problem, or a Brown problem. This is an American problem. We take this very seriously, Eric Holder obviously takes this very seriously. In some ways we’ve made progress over the last six years on a wide range of criminal justice issues…Last year, we’ve seen the incarceration rate go down 10 percent. That showed we can have good policing, good law enforcement and be fair and be smart. The fact is, what we’ve seen now on videotape–it used to be folks would say maybe Blacks are exaggerating, some of these situations aren’t what they describe…We’ve now seen on television, for everybody to see give us an opportunity to finally have a conversation that’s been a long time coming.”
While we’re glad President Obama is trying to optimistic about the systematic racism that’s going on in our country, but to say that progress is happening when Black men are being killed over loose cigarettes and cigarellos is insulting. But luckily for us, this interview was over 20 minutes, so President Obama had plenty of time to explain and he said:
“Communities of color need good law enforcement. There’s a lot of crime. You’ve got young people getting caught between police they don’t trust and folks on the street trying to rough them up. They should have confidence the police are on their side. If they had that confidence, the police would have an easier time doing their job and they’re more likely to come home safe.”
But the kicker was when Jeff Johnson brought up the burning topic that we all wanted President Obama to address since the first bullet was shot at Michael Brown–does being the president ever get in the way of reacting like a human being? President Obama said:
“Sometimes people’s concerns are not based on fact because if you look at what happened after Michael Brown, what happened after Trayvon, the decision after Eric Garner, I’m being pretty explicit about my concern and being pretty explicit about the fact that this is a systemic problem. Black folks, Latinos and others aren’t just making this up. I described it in very personal terms. I think what sometimes people are frustrated by is me not simply saying, ‘This is what the outcome should have been’ and that I cannot do institutionally. It is my justice dept that is investigating these cases. Part of the rule of law is that I’m not putting my thumb on the scale of justice. It could compromise investigations if it appeared I was trying to steer to a particular outcome. I’m sure there’s some folks who want me to say, ‘In such and such a case, this is what I think should have happened, if I had been on a grand jury, this is what I would have said, so forth and so on,’ I’ll leave it to people to speculate what I’m saying to myself or to Michelle when we’re alone at night. But what I can say is that this country is at its best when everybody is being treated fairly. We have a history and a legacy of people not being treated fairly in all walks of life. It’s particularly for people to feel like they’re being treated fairly by law enforcement and police because the consequences when they’re not being treated fairly can be deadly. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are doing a really tough job and most of them are doing it well and trying to do the right thing. A combination of bad training, departments that are not trying to rule out biases or sloppy police work or in a lot of cases, subconscious fear of folks who look different. This contributes to a national problem that needs a national solution.”
Well…there you have it–President Obama finally addressed his perceived lack of passion towards Black people suffering through systematic racism in America. We were surprised to see President Obama make an appearance on BET, but we trust Jeff Johnson to conduct a thorough interview and get as many nuggets as he can. And this interview certainly proved that President Obama has compassion, but there’s levels to this thing. He can’t be a card-carrying member of the Darren Wilson hater committee, but he does realize there’s a country in mourning.
And what better way to combat mourning than with laughter? Cut to President Obama’s appearance on “The Colbert Report”:
This show is a satirical coverage of politics and the very lively Stephen Colbert spared no amount of silly as he and the leader of the free world switched gears and made light of how many people President Obama has employed as the Secretary of Defense, that time when the Healthcare.gov site wasn’t working and of course immigration.
We’re aware that “The Colbert Report” is going away after a few more episodes, to make way for Stephen to take over CBS’ “The Late Show.” But who cares? President Obama’s country is weeping right now and we need him. How insulting is it to have this very coveted interview be granted to Colbert, for him to ask if the President leaves his socks around the White House when there’s systematic racism burning through American cities? We’ll answer that…VERY! Our criticism of President Obama is very similar to that of the Ferguson protestors who went to meet the President in the Oval Office. While history certainly was being made, there was no movement, no inspiration, no passion. And like us, they’re underwhelmed by President Obama’s response to the heartbreaking truth that we’re being killed by the police.
We love our President and realize that he can’t voice his opinions as a Black man in America and that he has responsibilities as our leader to offer hope, but not take sides. We just need our leader to show up–kind of in the same way he showed up to “The Colbert Report.”
What do you think about President Obama’s TV appearances from this week? Sound off in the comments below.