How does the African-American community in North Carolina view President Obama four years after his historic win? Here in North Carolina, polls show support softening, but softening down to 89 percent, from a whopping 95 percent in 2008.
Here & Now’s Robin Young visited the Little Rock AME Zion Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and spoke with churchgoers and Pastor Dwayne Walker. The conversation with Walker is excerpted below.
In a recent article, Robert Levy, Moore County Republican Party Chair in North Carolina, asked why, when unemployment is at 14 percent among blacks, they still overwhelmingly support the president. He said that President Obama doesn’t know or care about their suffering. What is your response?
I would say to that person, in a very nice way, that that’s not true. Barack Obama spent a great deal of time in Chicago as a community organizer. I’m from Chicago and so I know very well of his work in neighborhoods and he’s very much concerned about the community.
Furthermore, every effort that he’s made to [reduce] the unemployment rate has been fought by Republicans [whose] intent has always been to make him a one term president.
What did you think when you heard Mitch McConnell and other Republicans leaders say that their goal was to make this a one term presidency?
I thought that was very sad and unfair. There has been all kinds of deliberate attempts to ensure that Barack Obama is a one term president and that the economy remains in bad shape. It’s turning down stimulus money, then you end up laying off people when they could have had jobs.
What about the criticisms that Barack Obama did not attend the NAACP convention this year. And we remember a year ago, when NAACP and the Rev. Jesse Jackson were concerned about huge unemployment among young African Americans. They said it should be declared an emergency. One leader said if this was a white president, people would be up in arms.
My thoughts on it is that any attention that he would give specifically to African Americans… he would be accused of showing favoritism.
As you watch a black man be president, are you thinking of other things when for instance, President Obama maybe had to be careful about being angry, because he is a black man.
Yeah. They will paint him all kinds of ways and I think he’s done well to watch how he says what he says. Even when he broke out at the Apollo and sang that [Al Green] song, he was criticized. And I said, “Man, give this brother a break.” But the things that he has to watch others would not have to.