>Newsweek: The audacity of hoping

>I stumbled across this article while browsing the web. It was written by Allison Samuels of Newsweek and she explores some of the high (unrealistic?) expectations we African-Americans have of President Obama–and why we must be patient.

In the article, Samuels points out the “parochial” issues African-Americans want Obama to address: the three-strike rule, HIV/AIDS infections among black, more specifically black women, foreclosures, inequality in public education and health care.
“Those are things I’m sure Bush didn’t give a hoot about,” says 34-year-old Lisha Crenshaw, a Chicago elementary-school teacher I ran into in D.C. “The number of jails we’re building to put our young men in instead of investing that money into their future and schools to educate them is so sad. And the AIDS epidemic was big news when white men were dying of it. But when black women have it, no one cares. Obama needs to care.”

Samuels argues that African-Americans need to be more “patient” with Obama as he is juggling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and two international wars that don’t seem to be progressing in our favor. 

I tend to agree with her. Throughout Obama’s campaign, many African-Americans propped Obama up as the savior to the African-American community. Many believed he would be the answer to all our problems: disproportionately high incarceration rates among black men, high dropout rates among black teens, increasing HIV/AIDS infections among young black women and men, high number of foreclosures hitting our neighborhoods, numerous layoffs and the biggest elephant in the room–discrimination and racism in almost every sector of American life. 

Sure, it was great to see one of our “own” ascend to the highest office in the land. I must admit, I was beaming with pride at noon Jan. 20 when my brotha was sworn in to lead our country. Many of our brown faces were bearing broad, toothy smiles, with tears of hope and joy streaming down our cheeks as we saw, for the first time, a first family that looked like us flash across television screens and other forms of media.

However, black folk can not give up on the grassroots efforts to solve our own problems. We can not expect one man just to serve our interests and solve our community’s problems. It’s unfair to Obama and to us to expect one man to only come to our aid.

We must continue to advocate at the local level the change we expect. We must attend local government meetings; feed the hungry; teach our children about our history; talk to our young boys and girls about racism and the importance of getting an education; prepare our children for a world that won’t be so kind to them.
Here’s an MSNBC video on a roundtable discussion on solutions to problems in our community:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/28877884#28877884.msnbcLinks {font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #999; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 425px;} .msnbcLinks a {text-decoration:none !important; border-bottom: 1px dotted #999 !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px;} .msnbcLinks a:link, .msnbcLinks a:visited {color: #5799db !important;} .msnbcLinks a:hover, .msnbcLinks a:active {color:#CC0000 !important;}

Black folk must emulate the change we expect from Obama. Our community must help Obama make the changes we so desperately need to see in this country. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. 

Well, it will take a community to bring black folk out of these dark times.