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Obama: The Drones and Deportations President

Stating the Obvious: First black president of the U.S. has been a disaster for many people of color

On Friday, reports emerged that Barack Obama was open to a Republican no-path-to-citizenship immigration plan. Another betrayal of his promise of comprehensive immigration reform.

In light of this report and other recent remarks on immigration, we said Obama has been acting like a Republican in blackface. Several were offended, some even called us racist.

What they may not know is that the term “blackface” in this context is not used literally or as a slur, as in Obama has a black face. It is, however, meant as a political statement, a rebuke of many of the policies of the first black president of the United States, especially those related to Mexico and immigration reform. We recognize that it could be misinterpreted and seen as offensive, but we felt it was necessary to express our deep disappointment with Obama and his administration.

The reality is that we’re offended that the United States’ first black president has turned to the Republican practice of scapegoating Mexicans, and has in fact, deported 2 million, more than any other president in U.S. history, separating thousands of families in the process.

“Republican in blackface” is also a reference to a comment made by Dr. Cornel West during the 2012 election. “I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies,” West told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now back in a November 9, 2012, interview. We agree!

Internationally, Obama’s record hasn’t been much better. War hawks at the Pentagon seem to be calling the shots, or at least dictating the United States’ foreign policy.

“Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack…eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians,” reports the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

At the end of the day, Obama’s record speaks for itself. He’s chosen the cynical path of scapegoating and war to appease a far rightwing who has never supported him, and likely never will. This is a problem Obama has created for himself. After all, he was elected with a mandate to end wars. Instead, he has been in many regards worse on this matter than was his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama has not only been a huge disappointment, he’s been somehow able to escape much of the criticism that he rightfully deserves. As we’ve stated in the past, imagine if Romney had won the election and was setting records for deportations and drone strikes? There would surely be uproar in the streets. Ignoring the fact that the first African American president of the U.S. has been unfriendly and even disastrous for the Mexican community — and other people of color — is not something we’re willing to do. We ask people of good conscience to stand with us, including our black brothers and sisters. It’s time that we hold Obama accountable on these and other issues.

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