According to the White House media advisory, Obama will talk about his signature Race to the Top program:
The President’s speech will focus on the dramatic reforms that states, school districts, schools and teachers unions have undertaken over the past 18 months, including steps to improve teacher effectiveness and transform persistently low-performing schools.
During his recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Urban League President Marc Morial said they are “going to have a constructive discussion about race and education, race and jobs, race and health care.”
That’s nice, but a lot of folks want a constructive discussion about race and White House West Wing.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd dared to say what black folks are still reluctant to say in public:
The first black president should expand beyond his campaign security blanket, the smug cordon of overprotective white guys surrounding him — a long political tradition underscored by Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 when she complained about the “smart-ass white boys” from Walter Mondale’s campaign who tried to boss her around.
Otherwise, this administration will keep tripping over race rather than inspiring on race.
It was Martin’s job to keep the presidents he served from stumbling into a race-baiting ambush like the one Andrew Breitbart sprung on the Obama administration and the NAACP. The right-wing blogger set off racial shockwaves when he released a 2-minute, 38-second video clip from a nearly hour-long speech that Shirley Sherrod, a regional USDA official, gave to a Georgia NAACP branch in March.
For years Martin helped Democratic presidents avoid such missteps. But in an administration that believes simply repeating that Obama “is not the president of black America” keeps him from hitting the racial tripwire, there is no one in the West Wing with Martin’s portfolio.
That’s too bad — and might be politically fatal. In the multifront war Obama’s political enemies are forcing this nation’s first black president to fight, he has left his most vulnerable flank lightly guarded. From the moment he emerged from the pack to become a viable candidate for his party’s presidential nomination, the race issue has been his Achilles’ heel.
And if Obama doesn’t get someone on his staff soon who knows how to protect it, it’ll be his undoing.
DeWayne is speaking truth to empower.