Black Americans refer to an ethnic group in the United States whose roots can be traced partially or totally from the black people of Africa. They are the third most populous racial group after the white Americans and Hispanics (Jackson 124-126). Since they were initially slaves for the white people, they have been considered inferior and have continuously faced discrimination in their own country. In 1790, the Naturalization act that restricted American citizenship and voting to whites only was implemented creating further divisions. However, the act was later on abolished by the Civil Rights Movements, participation in the Great Military Conflicts, and Racial Segregation elimination. In 2008, Barrack Obama was elected as the first black president of the United States. According to Jackson (124-126), he was born in Hawaii but his father was an African from Kenya. His election was viewed as a major break-through for the black community in the US which has continued to be sidelined in various issues.
African Americans participate in the political process of the United States than any other minority group (Jackson 124-126). They have managed to make positive political, social, and economic changes regarding black people through the Black Power Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Previously, the group used to face extreme violence, cruelty, and discrimination often resulting in deaths. However, until 2008, of the forty-three presidents in the US, the black community had never produced one. Obama first received attention nationally in 2004 in his keynote address while seeking to represent Illinois as a Senator. In 2008, after winning the nomination for Democratic Party presidential candidate, he defeated John McCain in the general elections to become the president. This event was a new beginning socially and politically to the African Americans who had for a long time fought against racial segregation.
The election of Obama was a blow to the many years of slavery and institutional racism against the blacks. On the day he was announced the winner, there was euphoria and joy in the African Americans home. Although elections in the US are a matter of Democrats versus Republicans, this particular one was an unprecedented victory for a minority group that has long been viewed as inferior. There was hope that he would liberate them from historical injustices. According to Jackson (124-126), the black people in America face unemployment two times as much as the indigenous group. Additionally, their housing and schools have poorer conditions. Although Obama would not make a drastic change, his election also symbolized the end of institutional racism and opened a gate for the Africans to pursue their interests with confidence.
In his presidency from 2008 to 2016, Obama made a great impact on all citizens, more so the black people. He was able to promote equal educational opportunities and affordable healthcare to the majority of black citizens. He also championed for workforce development to ensure that the country retained the best and most productive workforce despite their race (The Record). In his two terms, minority groups such as the black Americans who are largely poor were able to gain access to capital for wealth generation activity.
During Obamas tenure, the government emphasized on empowering and uplifting the black males. He introduced a program known as My Brothers Keeper that focused on the improvement of the young male black Americans. The initiative encourages organizations to raise up to two hundred million dollars to fund programs that focus on young men of color. Although this program is not funded by the federal government, his efforts to assist the black community that had been lagging behind cannot go unrecognized. Additionally, his administration was responsible in getting the unemployed working, majority of whom were the black people. The rate of unemployment among Africans was estimated to be about ten percent, well above the national average of five percent. According to The Record, his government injected more than ten million jobs to the economy and unemployment dropped drastically to a 15-year low.
Obama also came up with the Affordable care act that made healthcare more affordable to the financially unstable families. As a result, the coverage served over six million African Americans who had no access to quality healthcare previously. The act also aimed to reduce ethnic and racial disparities in provision of health. It invested in collection of data and research study to establish disparities among the racial groups and address them appropriately. The act also promotes increased racial diversity among the healthcare professionals. Previously, they were very few Africans working as professionals in the healthcare sector. It also served as a message to the white community that the black people in the US were as capable as their counterparts in professional activities.
Even as Obama leaves office, he has left a great impact on the conception about Africans Americans. It helped build confidence among African Americans in various institutions as cases of racial prejudice have gone low. It is no doubt that their lives became better during the presidency of Obama. It was a clear sign that African-Americans have the same capability as whites and their potential can only be realized if given an opportunity. It signified an end to the many years the black community has faced racial prejudice and oppression.
Jackson, Berry F. Obama Administration Record for the African American Community. The Journal of Political Science 82.4 (2012): 124-126.
The Record. Whitehouse.gov. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
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