President Obama spoke before the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner on Saturday.
In his remarks, Obama acknowledged the disparate impact of the recession on African Americans:
Times have been hard. It’s been three years since we faced down a crisis that began on Wall Street and then spread to Main Street, and hammered working families, and hammered an already hard-hit black community. The unemployment rate for black folks went up to nearly 17 percent -- the highest it’s been in almost three decades; 40 percent, almost, of African American children living in poverty; fewer than half convinced that they can achieve Dr. King’s dream.
He also acknowledged the growing chorus of criticism:
I know at times that gets folks discouraged. I know. I listen to some of y’all.
But Obama has had enough of the bad mouthing:
Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin’, stop grumblin’, stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.
Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy Jr. wrote:
Funny, isn’t it, how Obama always gets the nerve to say shut up when he’s addressing a friendly audience?
The black unemployment rate stands at 16.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 11.5 percent when Obama took office. By some accounts, black people have lost more wealth since the recession began than at any time since slavery. And Obama gets to lecture us?
Hey, “don’t be cryin’ the blues… Don’t nobody bring [Obama] no bad news.”