When you sign up to be president of the United States, you basically sign up for indefinite criticism and ridicule over every decision you make. But when you’re the first black president of the United States in a time when divisiveness over race in the country rivals that of the ’60s, the expectations from communities of color are at an all time high — and so is the disappointment at times.
Samaria Rice has let it be known she’s in the disappointed camp. The mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was killed by Cleveland police in 2014, was asked by MSNBC’s Joy Reid how she feels about Black Lives Matter, Barack Obama, and Ohio governor John Kasich in the wake of the next presidential election.(It goes without saying she has nothing for Donald Trump.) Of Black Lives Matter, Rice is appreciative, but when it comes to President Obama and Kasich, the mother just feels disappointed.
“President Barack Obama, I don’t know what you’re doing,” she said. “I don’t know how you’re able to sleep at night — just sleep and wake up and see that another murder has happened on behalf of the government and nobody is getting any justice. He did some things, but we’re talking about lives being saved. I don’t know what category to put him in. I’m just disappointed with him. I’m very disappointed with him.”
Rice’s stance isn’t uncommon or necessarily unpopular. Though we argued that President Obama held it down for us during the Dallas Police Memorial, not many agreed. But the truth is, it’s easy to say what you would do when you’re not actually in a position to do those things. And when there’s no policy cosign that can make things right — like President Obama’s previous support of same-sex marriage — it’s hard to pinpoint just what the leader of the free world can and should do in these times.
But that doesn’t stop many, like Rice, from offering up their own conjecture — and from the stakes being exceptionally high when it comes to a man of color who holds the highest office in the country being on his way out, and one of two questionable successors on their way in. So imagine for a second you were in President Barack Obama’s shoes. What would you say regarding police brutality, police shootings, and how this country can move forward?