When President Obama announced his My Brother's Keeper Initiative, the Black Women's Roundtable was present to witness this historic announcement during Black History Month. We remember vividly the air of excitement and anticipation that reverberated in the room, on social media and across the country.
Racism should not be an alibi for clear failures by this president to maximize the moment. On the other hand, critics should never forget the role of race in the Obama era. As the first African American to ascend to the presidency, Obama has bent over backwards to be reassuring to his white countrymen, almost to a fault. Even when race was unmistakably an issue, as it surely is in Republican voter suppression, or the racial dimension of who suffered disproportionately from the subprime housing collapse, the president has gone out of his way not to mention race. In some respects, Obama is damned if he talks explicitly about race, and damned if he doesn't.