Asking Your President Help Doesn’t Mean You Hate Him

President Obama
President Obama

AFRICANGLOBE – This week, as I spoke about my campaign with Russell Simmons to get entertainers to help end the War on Drugs, someone immediately took offense that we had the audacity to write an open letter to the president. The person scolded me for thinking that President Obama has any power whatsoever to help end the War on Drugs, as if the Commander-in-Chief is as helpless as any of us when dealing with the issues affecting the criminal justice system.

So much for the Executive Branch being able to get anything done:  To hear some people say it, Obama might as well be the janitor.

I laughed off the person’s remarks, and simply let him know that if other groups have the right to send letters to their president, then so do we.  I also found it astonishing that there are some of us who believe that any appeal to the president, no matter how respectful or diplomatic, is interpreted by some to mean that you are seeking to undermine his success.

Some think that by not sitting quietly and allowing injustice to happen all around you, you are somehow disrupting a delicate balance of the political universe that exists in a world that has become accustomed to Black people saying and doing absolutely nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if some people will ever understand that by asking your president to do a job for you, you are NOT attacking him. You are not his enemy, and you are not Rush Limbaugh’s p**n.

Right wing racism against Obama causes some people to rally around him like a son, brother or husband and excuse his administration for any decision, even when they are clearly wrong. Thinking this way can make us all look silly, since it’s like giving someone a paycheck and telling them not to come to work.

This reminds me of my childhood friend’s mother, who felt that because her son was a bullied young Black male, he should never be held accountable for his own decisions: He was never asked to clean his room, every bad grade was the “racist” teacher’s fault, and it wasn’t his fault when he was arrested for possessing drugs in high school.  Oh yea, every girlfriend he stalked, abused and cheated on over the years “deserved it” because (according to his mother), she simply brought out the worst in him.

The sad part of the story is that 30-years later, that man is still living with his mother…..still accountable to no one….not his kids, not his girlfriends, not his community. Whenever anyone asks him to take responsibility for his actions, his mother says to leave him alone because he is a victim of a racist society.  Her coddling made him soft and reminded him that he has no obligation to show the slightest loyalty even to his most loyal constituent:  His doting mother.

Sometimes true love means pushing our men to step up to the plate, including myself, Barack and every man in our community. No one deserves a pass, no matter how busy they are serving other people. If we give our vote and billions in Black taxpayer money, we deserve as much support as any other group in America. Period. If politicians don’t want to hear our issues, then we should not hear their endless pleas to get our votes.

Russell and I will continue to move forward with our push to end the War on Drugs. I will publicly discuss this initiative with Min. Louis Farrakhan when we meet in Chicago this week for our forum on March 30.

The goal here is to use a top-down, all-inclusive, action-oriented set of strategies to rebuild our families that have been consistently dismantled over the last 40 years.  Everyone has a role in this process, including the president we voted for. Sure, Obama’s not the president of Black America. But he’s not the president of White America either.


By Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit