Why Obama's Black Critics Are Wrong

The race line will ensnare the president no matter how he proceeds, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy writes in an opinion piece for CNN.

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama (Getty)

Randall Kennedy, the Harvard law professor and author, writes in an opinion piece for CNN that every black in a predominantly white setting faces, at one time or another, claims from fellow blacks that he or she is "selling out." Why should President Barack Obama be any different?

Throughout President Barack Obama's political career, he has been dogged by insinuations or, indeed, accusations that he is not "black enough" to warrant strong support from African-Americans.

Rep. Bobby Rush made that assertion when he successfully fended off Obama's effort to wrest from him his seat in the House of Representatives in the Democratic primary in 2000. Alan Keyes voiced that sentiment in his losing campaign against Obama for the U.S. Senate. When Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, the celebrity scholar Cornel West groused that the first African-American standard-bearer for a major party had "run from history" by failing to mention explicitly the "black freedom movement."

Skepticism regarding Obama's racial bona fides has continued to surface since he moved into the White House. Rep. Maxine Waters, for instance, has recently chided him for failing to craft policies that would explicitly target black unemployment and for otherwise neglecting, in her view, to evince a proper acknowledgment of the baleful and disproportionate pain being experienced in black communities on account of the economic downturn.

Read Randall Kennedy's entire column at CNN.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM