Anthony Asadullah Samad

*This is the debate our community was waiting to have. It is a “must have.” We will discover everybody’s motives as this conversation shakes out. Those who claim they’re with Obama, and just want him to “do something” to help black people. They who claim they’re with Obama, and just want to “push him” to be “great.” Those who say they don’t hate Obama, they just want “what’s best for the people.” And they that are true Obama-haters, but can’t admit it lest they lose legitimacy with the very people they claim to represent.

Because the people love Obama, and three years of a difficult power transition has not caused their “Hope” to wane, some want to push their impatience on the masses of the people or give the impression Obama is losing support. Black people have tolerated 232 years of bullsh*t before seeing themselves in the ultimate power seat in America. We can wait a few more years until he straighten it out. This national “impatience” that others have around Obama, namely the Republican and the Tea Party, can’t drive our decisions about how we calculate our political future’s best interests and we can’t let people in our community, who never supported Obama in the first place, drive the hysteria.

I’d like to thank my friend, Tavis Smiley, for causing me to engage on this issue, with his so-called poverty tour and trust me…I’m in it to win it now. And we ain’t gonna go the route of Steve Harvey (who has since apologized for the name calling—but not accusation of disingenuousness tied to the poverty tour). Harvey should have never called them Uncle Toms. We can have differences without being disrespectful. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are too invested in this community to be dissed like that. Last week, I just called them misguided on this issue and called for them to come clean on their anti-Obama sentiment. A national debate about Obama “accountability” will give everybody a chance to “come clean” or “piss test dirty.” Defend your claim. I don’t see anybody on the Presidential landscape that has our interests covered better than Barack Obama.

Yet, now we have to have a national conversation about whether President Barack Obama has “done enough” for black people to support for re-election, in the same way we had to have a national conversation four years ago as to whether then candidate Barack Obama was “black enough” for black people to support for Democratic nomination. And some of the same people who didn’t think he was “black enough” then, want to drive the national debate on whether he’s done enough now.

What a freakin “coincidence?”  The “out group” wants to dictate what the “in group” does when it comes to how we support the President. Why they didn’t do that three weeks ago to the Republicans (the House’s in-group) had their foot on the Democrat’s (the outgroup) necks? Why didn’t the Congressional Black Caucus “fight harder” or “unleash” then? They’re just as many of them as there are Tea Party members? The Congressional Black Caucus didn’t throw down like the Tea Partiers did. They could have been as loud as the Tea Party while the fight was taking place in Washington. They waited until the recess to get loud, and oh, that’s right. They didn’t want to face voter backlash. They’re waiting for their constituents to “unleash” them.

In fact, they wanna “unleashed” black people now and so dysfunctional black leadership that didn’t have the vision to get us to the presidency and had little, or NOTHING, to do with Obama getting elected, can openly criticize him without fear of voter backlash. Now that’s some funny sh*t, right there. What do their constituents know that obviously their elected and self-anointed leadership doesn’t? Well, they see the only black man in the nation’s history is in a candy store (and America is a candy store, where money flows like candy), where nobody wants him and they’re following him all around the store. He has opposition on all fronts, hypercritical media that never gives him credit for anything he does, a panicked public for problems he didn’t cause, and political opportunists trying to exploit his apparent vulnerability to cause him to lose. Hmmm…you think the people see that? I think they do. I think they know he’s trying.

They know that President Barack Obama put 1.5 billion to prevent homelessness, put another one billion dollars in anti poverty programs-more by the way than any President in American history (check that fact) and has extended unemployment longer than any President since the benefit was started. Who do you think, the people think, it benefits? Well, who’s been out of work the longest? And what do you think the people think when they see in a poverty tour, and those trying to bring “accountability” sleeping with the homeless in Washington, D.C., when the very city the convener is from is the homeless capital of the nation? Did the tour bus go through downtown Los Angeles? You think they see some grandstanding going on? I think they do.

And what do you think “the people” think when they’ve been taught that it’s the “squeaky wheel” that gets the grease, but no grease ever comes their way. Their lives are just as rough as it was 20 twenty ago when they elected the squeakiest wheel in Congress, whose been representing them for over 20 years now, but can’t get her constituents the time of day with her community’s most popular figure—who they love and supported over squeaky’s endorsement of somebody else, and since she can’t call him—now just wants to “call him out.” But wants her constituents approve first. Hmmm…I think they see through that too. But what do the people think of that? Exactly what can we call that?

Let’s call it “the Audacity of Dope.” That’s it. Because you got to be dopey as hell to think anybody falling for that okee-doke. But we are willing to entertain the conversation, if it means we can move past this, and get Barack Obama re-elected President of the United States. This conversation is taking place at a critical where have people asking rhetorical questions, like, “Are we any better off after integration, at the same time Presidential candidates are telling people that “slavery wasn’t so bad.” Can you see where they’re going with this, and some of us would gladly back with them.

We can play these rhetoric games if we want to, but we know blacks are better off after integration—like we know most white folks segregated again after Reagan (they just forgot to tell y’all) to obstruct and disrupt the politics of anti-poverty and like we know one President is not going to cure poverty. We know that we have people that have gone from organizing in Watts to living in Hancock Park in twenty years, so if “the people” haven’t made progress—somebody’s making some progress. We also know people who went from organizing on the Southside of Chicago to living in the White House in less than ten years. I think that’s progress that wouldn’t have happened in the segregation era (for those dumb enough to go backwards). So let’s stop playin’ stupid’ like we don’t know what’s up here. The CBC knows the obstruction game bein played here.

Moreover, it’s not like the CBC doesn’t understand the obstructionism that has taken place the past three years. But instead of helping the President fight against it, some of the CBC have chosen to become a part of it, and like the other obstructionist group, namely the Tea Party, use extreme statement in the media to gain press where there otherwise would be none—knowing the media is all too willing to play “divide and conquer” with black people given how well it has worked in the past. So now “our” so-called leaders are calling out the President, instead of calling out Congress or business leaders who are busy writing Republican Presidential candidates million dollar checks to defeat him. This not about taking our community for granted. This is about the folk in the field (CBC) refusing to fight the other folk in the field (Tea Party) who are obstructing the President from doing what he can for the poor and despaired. I guess since they figured they couldn’t beat em, they joined em. But that doesn’t help us. Politics is a war fought on many level. The President is winning at his level. From what I’m seeing we’re losing this war in the battlefield field. The Tea Partiers Congress people are getting the best of all the rest, but the CBC claims the President needs to fight harder.

Hell, our members in Congress need to fight harder. And activists in the community need to fight big business to pay their share. Why make this about Obama?

Poverty is a function of society unwilling to contribute to the good of the whole. That’s the President conversation about “shared sacrifice” and the rich not being willing to pay its way. The last two American generations are the only to not have invested in the nation aging infrastructure, now pushing 90 years old. This President has and it has created more jobs than in all of George W. Bush’s eight years in office. It may not be enough to pull the country out of a recession, but it’s a damn good start. And the only thing we can say is he hasn’t done enough on poverty or jobs? PA-LEEEASE!!!

Let’s have the conversation and not one side of the conversation. So, we’ll play along with this “rope-a-dope” and let y’all pound on the President for a minute. Just know after y’all are all punched out, the people’s knockout is coming because we’re not leaving his side. And because there’s no real reason for us to have this conversation in the first place, beyond some people’s personal agenda, one of which, I am convinced, is to see Barack Obama lose. So now, consider me, UNLEASHED. I’m willing to have the accountability conversation, as long as it swings both ways and we have accountability conversations about those who are “calling for” accountability conversations. What are all our roles in the play? The “people” want to know. Let’s do this.

I’ve never been one on a leash, nor have I been one to allow anyone to try to put a leash on me but I’m signing out until week, when we pick up this conversation again. And again and again, if we have to. This is Samad…UNLEASHED!!! Dueces.

Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum ( and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.