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WaPo) — A top aide to President Obama got a public grilling Monday night from black lawmakers and civil rights leaders, who vented frustration at a jobs forum here that the administration was not doing more to directly help distressed black communities.
Tensions rose when Don Graves, executive director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, told a lively crowd of hundreds in a black church sanctuary that Obama was “focused on every community across the country.”
When he added that “certain communities have been hit harder than other communities,” one lawmaker pressed him for specificity.
“Let me hear you say ‘black,’” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
As the crowd erupted in cheers, Graves responded quietly: “Black, African-American, Latino, these communities have been hard hit.”
The exchange illustrated an emerging tension between some black lawmakers and the country’s first black president over the disproportionately poor economic conditions in the African-American community, where unemployment stands at 16 percent.
Obama and his aides say all Americans including blacks benefit from broad-based policies. But many black lawmakers and civil rights leaders want direct, targeted aid — and some worry that Obama’s pursuit of white independent voters might make him reluctant to advocate for blacks.
Buried deep inside the new “financial reform” law is a scheme to force affirmative action on small-business lending — a “reform” with ominous implications for the US economy.
Aimed at curtailing supposed discrimination, the race-based lending mandate is guaranteed to have perverse effects — just like the drive for “racial fairness” in mortgage lending paved the way for the subprime crisis and the 2008 financial meltdown.
The new Dodd-Frank banking law sets up a data-collection system to monitor small-business loans for racial bias. Lenders must report if a business that applied for a loan is minority-owned, and whether the application was rejected.
In case you missed the embattled Congressman’s speech today, here it is: