Obama does get this criticism often. He does try to enact policies that will benefit Black people (i.e. Pigford, fair sentencing), though perhaps not by label. But, I don’t think that this is the real complaint from many Black people. For some, it’s the optics and the vocals that mean just as much as the policies. He needs to seem like he is doing more for Black people by being seen speaking out more for Black people.
When Obama condemns Iran while Netanyahu applauds (though meanwhile Netanyahu is publicly bashing Africans [you know, the same continent Obama’s father is from] and inciting race-based hatred and violence against Black Africans in Israel—then tries to later condemn this as if his words were not fuel to the fire), that is something specific for a specific group. When he mentions support for LGBT marriage, that is optics and vocals for a specific group (though of course there has been some LGBT legislative successes as well.) When he targets unfair pay policies with The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, that is legislation, optics and vocals for a specific group.
But see, there is a problem, a huge elephant that is not being discussed about why the optics and the vocals of pro-Blackness can’t come out of Obama’s mouth. (Even the slight hint of it in reference to his commentary about Trayvon reveals the virulent reaction that any connection to Blackness that Obama portrays will receive.) And contrary to various editorial beliefs, it is not because Black people aren’t worthy of it, are too complacent or that Obama doesn’t care. I tweeted about why this is:
Obama DOES speak out on specific groups. He can with women, LGBT and Jews b/c these groups include Whites. “Blacks” do not.— Trudy (@thetrudz) June 3, 2012
And, whenever he does anything that seems to place Blackness in the center, it is will be criticized harder than anything else he does.— Trudy (@thetrudz) June 3, 2012
We won’t ever have a candidate that can be both Black & speak out on Blacks as a group. He can for any “minority” group if Whites are in it.— Trudy (@thetrudz) June 3, 2012