President Barack Obama says he is “not the president of black America,” responding to criticism that he has not done enough for African Americans.
“My general view has been consistent throughout, which is that I want all businesses to succeed,” Obama told Black Enterprise
magazine in an interview in the Oval Office. “I want all Americans to have opportunity. I’m not the president of black America.
“I’m the president of the United States of America, but the programs that we have put in place have been directed at those folks who are least able to get financing through conventional means, who have been in the past locked out of opportunities that were available to everybody.
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“So, I’ll put my track record up against anybody in terms of us putting in place broad-based programs that ultimately had a huge benefit for African-American businesses,” Obama said.
Criticism of Obama’s commitment to African Americans has intensified in the past year – most notably by author and Princeton University professor Cornel West, who once described the president as being a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”
And just last month, the 1,300-member Coalition of African-American Pastors called on blacks to boycott Obama and sign petitions demanding that the administration withdraw its support for gay marriage.
“We were once proud of President Obama, but our pride has turned to shame,” said Rev. William Owens, president of the Memphis-based group.
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