posted 2012-05-12 23:09:30

Obama’s “African American Problem”

Focus on Romney’s lack of campaign diversity ignores Obama’s

Precious Piovanetti

Contributing Writer

With election time getting closer, the campaigns of the candidates have been under scrutiny by the media and political officials. Mitt Romney is being criticized for not attempting to “diversify” his campaign, and by diversify they mean attempt to attract the support of African American voters. So far Mitt Romney has yet to gain any notable African American endorsers or high-ranking campaigners. However, although there are many articles stating this fact, I’m not really surprised. I assumed that the wealthy Mormon Republican wouldn’t try to reach out to the African American demographic because, well, he’s a wealthy Mormon Republican. However, on the other end of the spectrum it is assumed that the first African American president would have the most diverse campaign in campaign history, but that’s actually not the case. It actually hasn’t been the case for his whole Presidential term.

The Congressional Black Caucus recently asked White House officials for statistics on diversity within the government officials appointed by the president. The White House officials claimed they don’t keep that data. Coincidence? If that wasn’t suspicious enough, a photo of Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago surfaced, which just showed a plethora of white faces. If that wasn’t proof enough, Stefanie Brown, who is the director of Obama’s “African American Vote” program in his campaign, sent an urgent email asking all qualified African Americans to join his campaign. I guess the Obama campaign isn’t known for being subtle. Since the early days of Obama’s campaign he has advocated building a diverse administration, so why is diversity so absent in his current campaign? More importantly, why is his lack of diversity for the past four years being overlooked?

I gotta say, Mitt Romney has at least stayed true to his beliefs, regardless of how obscure they may be. With that said I don’t think that necessarily means he has what the media has been referring to as an “African American” problem. I think it would be worse if he went out and tried to get support by notable African American supporters at the last minute just to say “ See, look who supports me! I’m diverse!” If he did that, he would look like he’s just trying to get more votes from a demographic that isn’t naturally inclined to vote for him. Even if he did do that, African Americans aren’t going to suddenly start supporting him. Why? Because they automatically assume Obama has a diverse administration, and who could blame them? I thought the same thing because, well, he’s African American so of course he’d have a more diverse administration than the white Mormon Republican. The same assumptions are the reasons why Obama didn’t find the need to diversify his administration till now, because the average person wouldn’t think to question it.

I’m not a Republican, nor am I a fan of Mitt Romney, but I think it’s a double standard that the media is saying he has an “African American problem” and yet Obama doesn’t. Obama is blatantly desperately trying to get African American’s to join his campaign because it’s almost election time and wants to secure votes, and yet that isn’t an “African American problem?” I’m also very surprised that this doesn’t bother a majority of African Americans. Yes there are a few articles about it but that’s where the concern ends. The articles have an “It is what it is” tone and I don’t think that’s the appropriate answer to this issue.

Based on the current numbers there is a strong probability that Obama will get re-elected. In contrast to the competition, I’m totally ok with that, but that doesn’t mean we should re-elect him blindly. We need to keep informed and not make decisions based on automatic assumptions. Our President has advocated a diverse administration so why hasn’t he worked on that these past four years? Why is he only now, on the last leg of his term, trying to assemble a diverse campaign? These are the type of questions the President should be asked during this election time. Granted our questions should be geared towards the bigger issues first such as health care, the economy, and the war on women but his inability to deliver on a simple commitment such as a diverse campaign reflects how he’ll handle the bigger issues.