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Writing for Salon, Rutgers professor Brittney Cooper makes an interesting argument about President Obama: he’s forgotten about Black women.

This week, news broke that the president planned to sign an executive order outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ individuals for federal contractors, and a previous executive order has given marginal deportation relief to “Dreamers”—undocumented youngsters who were brought to the USA before they turned 16. Couple those moves with the president’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative aimed and helping boys of color, and many Black women are wondering if we’ve been left out in the cold.

Black women voted in droves to elect President Obama, and Cooper argues that he’s failed to hold up his end of the bargain.

She writes:

Black women, Obama’s single largest voting demographic, have been the subject of no executive orders, no White House initiatives and no pieces of progressive legislation. Ninety-six percent of black women voters voted for Obama compared to 87 percent of black men. Seventy-six percent of Latinas voted for the president compared to 65 percent of Latino men.

Though black and other women of color who are a part of the LGBTQ community will benefit from this latest executive order, no initiative has explicitly addressed the structural issues of racism, classism, poor education, heavy policing and sexual and domestic violence that disproportionately affect black and Latina women.

As a black woman who voted twice for this president, despite some misgivings, I find myself wondering how we will fit into the legacy of progressive policy initiatives that the president is trying to craft as part of his exit strategy.

This is unacceptable.

While I appreciate the carrots that the president continues to throw out to his liberal base, it is clear that black women on the whole are being overlooked and actively dismissed by this administration. I say this, not in an attempt to set racial concerns at odds with LGBTQ issues. LGBTQ people are black and brown, too. But robust attention to discrimination against queer-identified people does not constitute a racial justice program.

While Cooper points out the ways in which the president has addressed other constituencies—Black men, the LGBTQ community, immigrants—she stops short of offering policy suggestions that could specifically target Black women.

Many of the issues affecting Black women affect our community (and our country) as a whole—education, healthcare, safe communities, racism—and the president has tried to address some of these challenges through education reform, implementing the Affordable Care Act, and lobbying for equal pay. While none of his policies have specifically named Black women as the intended targets, if successful, they could affect change in the lives of millions of African American women and girls.

Critics like Cooper and others are right to hold the president’s feet to the fire to insure the remainder of his White House tenure yields positive and lasting results for Black women and African Americans as a whole.

But has President Obama forgotten about Black women? Sound-off!

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  • Rihsus

    What should he do for black women that won’t help others and doesn’t already exist?

  • ThatGirl

    I think racism is part of the reason why Obama seems to abandon us for other groups’ causes. I’m not saying Obama is racist. I believe the system he is working in is racist. To me, he appears as a guy that wants to appear inclusive and fighting for all. I don’t think he wants to appear favoring Blacks because he’s Black. Just look how he speaks to us compared to other groups. I don’t think that is by accident. Many Whites would be unhappy if he pushed for a lot of things that would benefit our group voluntarily. Fighting for gays and immigrants seem to be in fashion. I think we might have to fight for our issues disguised as helping the working poor so it appears inclusive.

  • chivalrous1won

    examine the *standards* for precisely what they are and you will see that when it comes to personal grooming and precisely hair the only features considered and built upon are those unlike ours when it comes to textures and styling…..so basically the *standards* dictate that you must conform to and adopt euro *standards* of acceptability while eschewing your own natural features….the SELF HATE is deep and strong

  • Jon

    Let’s be brutally honest here! Nobody, has forgotten “more” about Black people then have “black people themselves”! And, also continues to forget about black people…just look around, and you’ll see that for yourself! Clearly 1/3 of the black people in the US today live in abject poverty, and who’s fault is that? It’s certainly not the President’s, because that’s the way it’s been for sometime now, and instead of working together as a people (like other races) to make things better…instead black people…..as usual only continue to complain, follow ignorant “so-called leaders like Sharpton and Jackson” who’s never changing stratgey is to only MARCH! As, if that’s really going to change anything! Now, right on “cue” here comes black women ..”as usual” always complaining about anything, and everything! Now, they’re saying that the President has forgotten Black Women. Oh, please..enough already! He’s, not just Black people’s President, as he’s stated precviously. Nor, is he only Black Women’s President either. These are the very same black women that chased after Hillary, and threw their support to “as aways to “white women”. Black women only care about themselves, but not Black People as a whole. That’s exactly why the black families are in a terrible state, and instead of foucusing on key issues of that magnitude. If, anyone has forgotten about the continuing plight of black people collectively ..then it’s Black people themselves, who in all truth only complain, and do nothing!