A slightly different version of this got me banned from Ta-Nehisi Coates comments. I will therefore say here that anyone who uses these remarks in support of racism, to claim that Obama is racist, or to claim that I believe Obama is racist is twisting my words, and doing so without my support. The final question is not to me rhetorical.
The fact of Obama's blackness is an enormous boon to black people everywhere in the world. It is such an enormous symbolic victory, to have a black President of the United States of America. And yet Obama's economic and immigration policies fall hard on US blacks. Statistics show that blacks were among the groups hardest hit by the mortgage crisis and that the current high rate of unemployment is also hitting blacks very hard. The Obama administration has done very little about either problem. Obama's intensification of immigration enforcement has granted legitimacy to anti-Muslim bigots and anti-Latino racists, and this, in turn, supports all racism.
I am reminded of Ronald Reagan, who Obama admires. Reagan played the "man of the people" for the white working class, all the while supporting policies that impoverished that class. And now we have Obama, standing as the voice of US blacks and all the while supporting policies that are continuing to impoverish and harm US blacks.
Does the content of Obama's character matter more than the color of his skin?
Update, the following morning: I find the above incredibly sad. It is only one betrayal in a global pattern of betrayals: so many democratically elected leaders are acting against the interests and, often, the expressed will of their publics, but Obama was elected with so much hope and with so much love and--this?
There's more, I think, to say about the betrayals of democracy of the past 30 years, but right now I am too sick at heart.