Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, echoes the Black community’s deep sentiments concerning President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.
Rev Anthony Evans, NBCI president, voiced his disappointment in the nomination, saying “President Obama has intellectually assaulted the collective Black psyche with his pick of another White male who he believes is qualified. Obama continues to overlook qualified, and indeed overly qualified, African American women jurists to serve in the nation’s highest court. This comes despite the fact that African American women have consistently supported him in office. His choice of another White male is the height of disrespect to every Black woman in America. What does it take Mr. President, for you to recognize Black women as equal to anyone else?”
In 200 years of the history of the Supreme Court, a Black woman has neither served nor ever been nominated to this body. President Obama continues to show his disdain for Black women while celebrating in their support for him by refusing to nominate any one of them even the eleventh hour of his presidency. This is why the Black Church will stand for the dignity of Black women and refuse to support his nominee to the Supreme Court. This is a moral shame.
Alongside the Black Church, scholars agree with Obama’s abandonment of Black America. In his 2012 book The Price of the Ticket, Columbia professor Fredrick Harris argued persuasively that Obama felt less compelled to act on behalf of Black Americans in part because African-American leaders were unwilling to apply pressure to the first Black president. In contrast, other liberal-leaning constituencies, particularly gay rights activists, treated Obama like any other president, aggressively pressing him to adopt their policy goals. The Black church feels no such restraints.
“President Obama energetically peppers his words to Blacks with talk of responsibility in one public scolding after another,” Dyson writes in The Black Presidency. “When Obama upbraids Black folk while barely mentioning the flaws of White Americans, he leaves the impression that race is the concern solely of Black people, and that Blackness is full of pathology.”
Evans went on to say that “the Black community has tirelessly supported Obama and defended him even when he misspoke concerning the death of Michael Brown and the other countless Black youths. His justice department that is supposed to protect the lives of all Americans has repeatedly failed Black Americans. They have refused to bring civil rights charges against any of the racist White cops who have murdered innocent African American youths. Against this backdrop, he expects the Black church and the Black community to defend his choice of another privileged Harvard educated White male in the name of democracy. We will not.”
Obama’s silence and non-action continues to cause death in the Black community. His White House has refused to defend the human rights of Black Americans. He has treated us like the general society has – as second class citizens. He has done everything in his power not to show any favoritism toward Black Americans. He has done a perfect job of not doing anything for African Americans. African Americans continue to suffer in every catalog in this democracy and there has been no real improvement under his administration.