Tavis Smiley; Cornel West (Getty Images)

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Annette John-Hall takes up the debate that occurred this week at the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists between African-American leaders over loyalty to President Obama.

… When members of Congress call the first black president of the United States a liar, send racist images of him in e-mails and depict him as a tar baby, the most recent slur, our natural reaction is to try to support him through all the vitriol.

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But lately, some African Americans are starting to wonder out loud if blind support for the president is going against their own interests.

As the economic gap increases between white and black Americans, and the 16.2 percent unemployment rate among blacks is much higher than the national average, the number of Africans Americans who support Obama's policies has dipped from 77 percent to just over half, though overall support remains high.

That's why the difficult discussion that panel members had Thursday about the president and his policies at the National Association of Black Journalists convention, which drew thousands to Philadelphia this week, was right on time.

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Black journalists, already underepresented in newsrooms and on the air, have seen their numbers dwindle as well …

Read Annette John-Hall's complete column at the Philadelphia Inquirer.