Black Activists in Chicago React to Obamaâ€™s State of the Union Speech â€“ and It Isnâ€™t Pretty
A group of black grassroots activists in Chicago sat and listened to President Barack Obamaâ€™s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, hoping to hear a new and uplifting message. Instead, they say they heard much of the same empty rhetoric that they have grown accustomed to hearing from politicians in Washington.
The activists gave their reactions to Obamaâ€™s big speech in a number of eye-opening interviews with the conservative blog Rebel Pundit. Given the presidentâ€™s strong support within the black community, many of their comments will come as a surprise to some.
J.R. Fleming, a member of Chicagoâ€™s Anti-Eviction Campaign, said Obamaâ€™s speech was â€śthe same olâ€™, same olâ€™.â€ť He summed up the address as a â€śbunch of talk and rhetoric to give favor to a dying economy in America.â€ť
â€śAnd the reason why our economy is dying is the presidentâ€™s approach is always to place blame,â€ť he added. â€śItâ€™s not the 1 percent problem, itâ€™s not the 99 percent problem, itâ€™s an American problem. And the problem is patronage, nepotism and cronyism.â€ť
Joe Watkins, the founder of V.O.T.E. (Voices of the Ex-Offender), said Obama has been â€śmore hurtful to the black race than he has been helpful.â€ť He claimed some people will accept his failures due to â€śsymbolicâ€ť reasons relating to the color of his skin.
â€śBut those of us at the bottom of the ladder donâ€™t accept that,â€ť he added.
Watkins also criticized the president for focusing so much on raising the minimum wage when too many people donâ€™t have jobs at all. How will raising the minimum wage â€śgoing to help people who donâ€™t have any jobs right now?â€ť he asked.
Another activist with V.O.T.E. actually addressed Obama personally, telling him the black community would probably better off if he ended his presidency right now.
â€śJust quit,â€ť Mark Carter said. â€śBecause if this is what you call helping us, then just stop helping us.â€ť
Watch the video via Rebel Pundit, which already has more than 112,000 views:
It should be noted that just because this particular group of activists are openly critical of the president, that doesnâ€™t automatically mean that they are conservative. In fact, it is possible that the activists are disappointed that Obama hasnâ€™t been far-left enough during his time in office. The video doesnâ€™t provide any insight into the activistsâ€™ personal political views.