There’s an advertisement running on BET that’s got a few of our own in a tizzy. Well, sort of. It doesn’t have anything to do with BET programming per se, but there is a political ad that’s running in between their shows in Cleveland and Seattle that is rubbing many President Barack Obama supporters the wrong way.
The ad in question features a young Black man and woman criticizing President Obama’s record. The woman kicks it off by paying lip service to the historical significance of Obama’s presidency, i.e. “Of course we were proud of this big ole achievement, y’all!” and then proceeds to ask, ”What has he done as president?”
In July, Obama spoke at the National Urban League conference in New Orleans. Following his speech, National Urban League President and former New Orleans mayor Marc Morial explained to NPR: ”Black-owned businesses still face the challenges of the three C’s. Contracts, which mean opportunities to do business. Contacts, which lead to business opportunities. And capital.”
But I guess Obama signing a $1.15 billion measure to fund a settlement initially reached between the Agriculture Department and minority farmers is meaningless to Frick and Frack in the advertisement.
I gather the same can be said of the reality that many of Obama’s proposals have been thwarted by an obstructionist House of Representatives. I wonder did these Black people in the ad ask themselves how much of that has been fueled by racial animosity — numerous others both Black and White sure have.
As for that claim about the slashing of funds to Black colleges and universities, while there have been some critiques of the order, President Obama signed an executive order, strengthening the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Moreover, although last year’s debt deal cut federally subsidized loans for graduate students, the Obama administration did provide a much-needed boost to the Pell Grant program. By contrast, Mitt Romney and his running mate would essentially gut the program, leaving many Black students in even bigger financial peril.
So when asking, “What has Obama done?” the answer is, “Try Google, fool.”
Seriously, it’s not that hard to work. After you finish that mission, go compare it to Romney interviews like those he recently gave to Black Enterprise. To paraphrase my beloved Nicki Minaj, Mittens ain’t slick and he ain’t saying nothing.
And yes, I did catch the young woman’s snipe about Obama, “And his support of gay marriage is a slap in the face to people of faith.”
Oh, shut up.
“People of faith” need to be “people who read” so they can learn about the history of marriage and how the government is the one who provides their pastor the right to marry and not the other way around. Besides, Obama offered his “personal support” of marriage equality, and since he, too, is a person of faith, one ought to be more considerate of his interpretation of his faith and the law at large. It doesn’t hurt that he’s more qualified than most to give it.
I feel sorry for the kids and their cool mamas minding their business while singing Future on 106 & Park only to have their senses assailed with this foolery. For the record, this mindless advertisement is funded by a PAC called “Pivot Point.” The chairman is Dave Shemwell, who happens to be White.
Speaking with Slate’s David Weigel, Shemwell said he cut a more personal ad in an attempt to appeal to Black voters who think “despite being the first African-American president, Barack Obama hasn’t done anything to help the African-American community.”
Aww, he’s worried for us.
I’d be touched if I didn’t find him so disingenuous and the political ad he’s funding pathetically uninformed. Aiding Shemwell in his efforts is — naturally — some Black evangelical pastor by the name of Wayne Perryman.
Perryman is someone who once claimed:
Whites in America have consistently fought against racism and slavery from the beginning of this country, all the way up to the 1960s and ’70s. They were the ones that were championing the rights of the African Americans.
Clearly, this is the guy you want helping you connect with Black people en masse. If I had a trap door, everyone mentioned above would get a special invitation to fall right through it.
Fret not, though. Two more weeks and these kind of ads all go away…for at least two years.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site,The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter:@youngsinick