Is America Ready For A Black President?

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(Conrad Gardner---we do need a Black president).

In The Black Star News’ “Heard It On 125th Street,� series, which measures the political pulse of Harlem, this week writer Tahira Muhammad spoke with several people along Harlem’s most famous street –below is a selection of a few of some of the views—about Senator Barack Obama’s chances of becoming the United States’ first Black president.

Our street “experts� had mixed views, with some expressing fears about Obama's safety; others believe the country is still 100 years away from a Black president; one man believes only a Black president can address woes such as the abysmal incarceration rate of Black men; and, some believe Hilary Clinton has a better chance of becoming the first female president before a Black occupies the White House.

J.E. believes that Barack Obama would be harmed if it appeared he had a chance of winning the presidency. “White people are afraid of Black people having too much power and influence and they are not going to allow a Black man to obtain such an important position as presidency,� J. E. tells The Black Star News.
J.E. doesn’t believe things have changed that much since 1800, in terms of whites’ attitude towards African Americans, and points to the fact that brilliant African Americans such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, ended up being assassinated.

“Hillary Clinton has a better chance of becoming the first woman president before Senator Barack Obama has of becoming the first Black president,� adds a man who is in the entertainment industry, who declined to provide his name. “Former President Bill Clinton is the closest we had to having a Black president. I just do not think this country is ready for such a big change.�

The race of the nation’s president isn’t that important, argues Marvin James, who believes all politicians are essentially the same, and that they all change their tune once elected to office. “In this day and age it is hard to trust the true intentions of the government no matter what color they are,� James says. “Actions speak louder then words, and so far I have not seen any politician live up to the actions behind their words.� Besides, even if Obama were elected president, he would be brought down. “His white counterparts will do everything in their power to set him up to fail—they would try to dig up anything negative in his history to try to undermine him and make others lose respect for him.�

On the other hand, Conrad Gardner, an artist, believes that it could well take the election of a Black president before the country seriously addresses the inadequate and poor education of African Americans, which deprives Black men of opportunities to uplift their lives. “There are just too many young Black males in prison and I hope that he would increase funding for programs for them to keep them out,� Gardner says, of a prospective Obama presidency. “Prevention is better then cure.�

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