Monday, June 15, 2009

Dr Deborah Stroman on Obama

When considering the scorecard for Pres. Obama and race in his first 100 days, I am immediately reminded of the adage "Think Globally. Act Locally." Our first Black president took over the steering wheel of a car with four flat tires that was not approaching a cliff, but was already in the air having begun its whirlwind descent to massive destruction. No, wait! It's time for divine intervention -- insert Superbrotha Man for rescue! Get real folks!

Although the list can be expanded and deconstructed, I have identified the two major issues to assist the Black community in this perilous time: Economics and Education. At this time, Pres. Obama does not need to specifically address race in terms of his immediate goals or policies because the entire nation is suffering. When people are drowning it doesn't matter who is in 25 feet versus 50 feet of water. Just throw the life line! Remember, we are spiraling downward very fast; he has had to respond to Iraq and Afghanistan policies (e.g., exit timeline changed to 19 months and 30,000 troops redirected) and the financial markets implosion (e.g., $787B stimulus package and the rescue of major automakers). Yes, many Blacks are still in dire straits such as our likelihood of losing homes to foreclosure, twice as likely to be unemployed, and three times as likely to live in poverty. However, the emotional kick we all received with his election should not cloud our thinking to the extent that we could ever believe that with the touch of a magic wand all conditions would improve. And I would argue that the trending situation could not even be changed within a year.

The election of Pres. Obama provided the platform for us to believe in ourselves and our community again. We can look with optimism at our potential and ability to achieve anything. Let's use that collective energy to effect change in our own communities. To become engaged in our local schools to offer solutions, volunteer, and "inspect what we expect." If we all read more books and turned off the television, our young people just might be exposed to people and places that would motivate them to achieve and dream again. We can also become more service-minded and help those less fortunate who can't read their financial reports or their electric bill. It's time for more proactive economic workshops at our churches and community centers. Once again, it's time for us to stop looking over yonder but rather celebrate and position our own power. Onward!

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