From Arizona’s Immigration bill to President Barack Obama‘s birth certificate, this year was rife with colorful moments that made us equally applaud and cringe. Here is NewsOne’s top-10 black political stories of 2011!
1) Obama Gets Osama
Whoever thought President Obama was soft got a reality check when he walked to the podium with the swaggiest of swags to announce:
Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
Obama may be many things to his critics, but no one can call him soft.
2) Herman Cain’s Rise And Fall
How many white women does it take to crack a chocolate walnut’s campaign? At least five when you include Ginger White. As ignorant as Cain was on world affairs and anything else presidential, his rise does indicate that America is realizing Dr. Martin Luther King‘s vision of judging people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
As much as Cain wanted to blame racism for his downfall, his character was what took him out of the White House race.
Now that is true racial progress.
3) Blagojevich Goes To Prison, Jesse Jackson Jr. Hopes To Be Cleared
Former-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich considered Oprah for then-President-elect Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat and was caught on F.B.I wiretap trying to sell it to the highest bidder in 2008. In December, he was sentenced to corruption charges from that scandal. Jesse Jackson Jr., a man many thought could take the seat honestly, also got embroiled in the “pay-to-play” drama, which ended up pounding him and his image into near irrelevance.
Nonetheless, Jackson feels he will soon be vindicated.
4) Voter ID Legislation
Arguably the most-important issue for American Americans in the upcoming 2012 presidential election, states across the nation are making it harder for citizens to vote. Voters who only needed a social security card or utility bill in the past, now need a photo ID to cast their ballot. The U.S. Justice Department and civil rights organizations say these changes will disproportionately affect communities of color and poor people who may not have the funds or transportation to buy photo ID in their states.
The U.S. Justice Department released a statement saying Arizona law enforcement officials use racial profiling and other discrimination tactics to round up people whom they feel are illegally residing in the United States. The issue of immigration is a hot button issue within the black community, because some feel illegal immigration diminishes their already challenging economic and employment opportunities.
6) Kwame Kilpatrick Goes To Jail and Gets Out … Again
Kwame Kilpatrick can’t seem to stay out of the public eye. Forced out of the mayor’s mansion in disgrace for lying under oath during trail, Kilpatrick has been cash-strapped with more than $900,000 in restitution payments that are owed to the city of Detroit. While the former college lineman has cried broke, officials from Michigan overseeing his restitution payments say he’s paying more for his cable bill than for his monthly payments to the state of Michigan.
Kilpatrick is set to stand trial in 2012 on federal corruption charges. Can someone say, “Reality show?”
7) Uganda Anti-Homosexual Bill
If you’re gay in Uganda, you should die in some instances. At least that’s how the current anti-homosexuality bill reads. Though the bill was introduced in Parliament in 2009, it has drawn international scrutiny; recently, Britain threatened to cut aid to Uganda. The bill has been shelved several times because of threats from several western countries to withhold foreign aid.
This year, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered, and the Obama administration decided to include LGBT rights into its foreign policy to the consternation of African and Middle Eastern heads of state.
8) Obama-CBC Battle
Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus have been beefing all year, but the arguments intensified when Maxine Waters and a few other CBC members went on a jobs tour around the country addressing issues they felt Obama was neglecting. Lately, though, they seem to be getting along better.
9) Obama Birth Certificate Drama
The Birther Movement was given a jolt of celebrity fame when Donald Trump challenged President Obama to release his birth certificate. While President Obama eventually did, the entire birth certificate fiasco will remain one of the most-humiliating periods in U.S. presidential history.
10) “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repealed
We always knew Obama supported the LGBT community, but when he started campaigning for president, he stepped into the political closet. His repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” though, showed a increasingly discouraged LGBT community that he did in fact care about their issues.