“I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” a particularly hopped-up-looking President Obama shouted to the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday night. “You wanna gimme a good sendoff? Go vote!” First, just imagine the national burning and looting that would erupt, starting inside America’s newsrooms, if Donald J. Trump said he would consider it a “personal insult” if white people did not vote for him. Second, how insulting! Obama speaks about black people as if we were his servants, and he our master. Black people owe Obama nothing. Au contraire, he owes black people plenty. Black voters turned out and backed him by 95 percent in 2008, according to the Roper Center. And then, in 2012, black support plunged — all the way down to 93 percent.
And in exchange for this blind loyalty, black folks got what from Obama? Very little. The promised land that many expected never arrived. In most cities, black neighborhoods still tend to be the go-to places for economic hardship, educational disadvantage, and crime. Obama’s economic performance among black Americans has been highly mixed, at best, with recent bright spots overshadowed by years of abundant bad news. Since he became president, according to the latest-available data, here is how black Americans have fared on selected economic indicators: