One of the strangest talking points of President Barack Obama’s presidency is that he did nothing for African Americans. This is despite slashing the Black unemployment rate in half, which Trump often took credit for, appointing a historic amount of Black judges to the federal bench, a My Brother’s Keeper Initiative that focused on Black men, and much more.
While promoting his memoir A Promised Land, Obama addressed these critiques in an interview with The Breakfast Club, saying, “I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope… And I also think we generally viewed the presidency as almost like a monarchy. In the sense of, ‘once the President is there he can just do whatever he needs to get done and if he’s not doing it then it must be because he didn’t want to do.’”
Nonetheless, Obama stated he has the data and receipts to back up his record. As he explained, three million African Americans received healthcare who didn’t have it before, Black poverty dropped to its lowest level since 1968, the incarceration rate declined and he instituted massive criminal justice reforms like the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act.
After giving specifics, Charlamagne asked, “I think people will want to know what did you do specifically for Black people… The systemic things that we've done to Black people to put us in these positions, we need specific systemic things to get us out.”
Obama repeated himself, “But what I'm saying Charlamagne is, Black poverty dropped faster than everybody else. Black incomes went up more than a lot of other folks. So, the issue is sometimes we just didn't go around advertising that because once again, the goal here is to build coalitions where everybody is getting something so that they all feel like they've got a stake in it.”
He also added, “The truth of the matter is at the end of the day, there is no way in eight years to make up for 200 years.”
Watch the interview below:
(ABC via Getty Images)