President Obama gave his year end press briefing on Friday before leaving to go on Christmas vacation. During the briefing, Obama said that blacks, like all other demographics, are “better off” during his administration. Though inequality still exists, according to Obama, it is a consequence of Jim Crow, and not of his policies.
“Like the rest of America, black America in the aggregate is better off now than it was when I came into office,” he said Friday, adding that this country has a “troubled racial past of Jim Crow and slavery” that still impacts African-Americans.
The unemployment rate for blacks is hovering near double that of whites, but Obama says blacks are “hustling” their way forward and not making “excuses.”
“The overwhelming majority of black people understand that’s not an excuse. They’re working hard. They’re out there hustling, trying to get an education and trying to send their kids to college, but they are starting behind oftentimes in the race.”
Although Obama admitted that it may be time for criminal justice reforms, he refused to offer any specific policy remedies.
“One of the things I didn’t talk about in my opening statement is the fact that the last year was the first time in 40 years when we had the federal prison population go down and the crime rate go down at the same time, which indicates the degree to which it’s possible for us to think smarter about who we’re incarcerating, how long we’re incarcerating, how are we dealing with nonviolent offenders, how are we dealing with drug offenses,” he said.
In the video below, BreakingBrown Founder Yvette Carnell and Pascal of Black Agenda Report discuss why Obama’s comments are not only wrong, but offensive to the African-American community.