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Washington Post: Al Sharpton & Others demanding racial loyalty.


Al Sharpton and other black leaders are calling for blacks to go to the polls in 2012 out of racial loyalty to Obama. They also want blacks to cease any public criticism of Obama.

Even Obama himself is making thinly veiled appeals to black racial loyalty.

From Washington Post…

Even as Obama and his campaign play down the suggestion that support among African Americans is flagging, a cadre of powerful allies is snapping back at critics in the black community and making explicit appeals for racial loyalty.

“Let’s not even deal with the facts right now. Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride — and loyalty,” Joyner wrote on his BlackAmericaWeb.com blog. “We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man.”

That message is pointed at racial unity much more than it was in 2008, when just the prospect of electing the nation’s first black president brought out record numbers of African American voters. This time, high-profile Obama supporters are tailoring their appeal in hopes of reigniting enthusiasm among blacks, a critical part of the president’s base that has been disproportionately hurt by the lagging economy and high unemployment rates.

Recent Washington Post-ABC News polls have shown a drop in the number of blacks who have ”strongly favorable” views of Obama and those who think his policies are improving the economy. This has coincided with vocal criticism of the president among some members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other African American leaders.

But the focus on sticking together has prompted criticism from some who call it an overly simplistic view that shuts off dialogue about Obama’s achievements and his failures.

“It truncates vibrant conversation in the black community,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University. “What I hear them saying is, ‘Black folk need to get in lock step because we don’t want Republicans to take the White House.’ There is a kind of disciplining of the black polity that doesn’t lend itself to a vibrant and detailed consideration about political issues.”

The message is that criticism of Obama should be treated like a family argument — not to be made public — said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University.

The White House has turned to black radio often in recent weeks, building on the relationships Obama established during his 2008 primary campaign. In a video greeting to thousands at an Atlanta event this month sponsored by a gospel radio host, the president spoke about blacks supporting one another.

“It is in times like these that we need our faith more than ever,” Obama said. “Because we’ve been through hard times before. . . . We have moved forward one step at a time with the knowledge that I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.”