Barack Obama Is Not A Magical Negro

We can’t and shouldn’t expect former president Obama to bail us out this time.
09/05/2017 04:38 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2017
Dario Ayala / Reuters

When Barack Obama was elected, I wasn’t very optimistic about his presidency. I was “With Her” even in 2008 and thought that the new senator was way too naïve to deal with Republicans in congress. But after Obama won the primary, I was all in. I devoted my time and money to getting Obama elected because the more I listened to him, the more I admired him; but also, I wanted to keep Caribou Barbie, Sarah Palin, as far away from the White House as possible.

After the election, I was surprised at how much was expected from this one man. Obama, just by being elected, was supposed to heal the racial divide in this country. And because he couldn’t end racism, he was accused of causing the racism. Black people accused him of not doing enough for the black community. White people accused him of only focusing on the black community. If he commented on any issue that affected the black community, white people were up in arms. If he didn’t, black people were up in arms. His comments about Trayvon Martin were so heartfelt, and they put into words what many in the African American community were feeling at that time. The president was expressing how it felt to be black in the United States and people listened. And yet, some white people treated it as a betrayal. I have no idea how he and his family walked the tight rope that Americans set up for the first African American president.

After enduring eight years of insults ― the ‘You lie’ comment at the State of the Union, the ‘food stamp president’ comments, the belittling of his wife, his kids, his heritage, and the birther nonsense ― Obama was even ridiculed for giving a speech and getting paid for it. Obama, unlike previous presidents, was supposed to be satisfied with the money he makes writing books.

It was ridiculous to expect Obama to live by some arbitrary standard that only Obama had to live by. When Reagan got paid millions by the Japanese after his presidency, it was the free market at work. Bill Clinton and both Bushes were paid for giving speeches after their presidency. Hell, Trump claims he was paid a million for giving a speech during lunch. And after his presidency no matter how well he does as a president, Trump will make millions giving speeches. On that you can count.

This clean-up is on us."

Now that the Trump administration is enacting every cruel policy they can think of, Americans turn back to Obama to bail us out of this mess? In the New York Times, Caroline Randall Williams called for Obama to speak out on Charlottesville. Twitter is filled with calls for Obama to do more. It seems this country is looking for Barack, the Magic Negro, to bail them out again. As if just by speaking, Barack can stop Trump and his merry band of minions from wreaking havoc on DACA recipients, the black community, women in the work force, federal workers, Medicaid recipients, and on and on and on.

But I hope Obama says nothing. He owes this country nothing. Republicans (and some Democrats) turned their back on Obama in 2008 deciding to elect a Republican congress that would not work with him. And in 2016, this country chose to elect someone who had promised to undo every gain that the Obama administration had made. And that’s exactly what Trump is doing. Trump might be inconsistent on everything else but he has consistently worked to turn back the last eight years that were the Obama presidency.

I hope Barack, Michelle, and their kids continue to vacation on random islands with celebrities. I want to see more pictures of him wind surfing and sipping champagne on yachts. I hope he makes speeches and get paid the Reagan bucks, Michelle too, Sasha, Malia, even the grandmother. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve earned it. And if we want to move this country forward after the Trump administration, however it ends, that will be on the voters. We can’t expect for Barack Obama to fix this. This clean-up is on us.

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