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'America's First Black President' Update

6 years ago
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That's the moniker that novelist Toni Morrison bestowed upon Bill Clinton. Indeed, many African Americans felt heartened by Mr. Clinton's time in office, going so far as to believe that during his tenure they fared better than they had under any other modern president. But is that perception true?

In today's edition of Slate, an article by Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a Princeton University Professor of Politics and African American Studies, explodes the claim that Bill improved the lives of America's black population in anything other than symbolic import. Salient bit:

As Clinton performed blackness, real black people got poorer. The poorest African-Americans experienced an absolute decline in income, and they also became poorer relative to the poorest whites. The richest African-Americans saw an increase in income, but even the highest-earning blacks still considerably lagged their white counterparts. Furthermore, the '90's witnessed the continued growth of the significant gap between black and white median wealth.

The full article can be read here. Hillary Clinton has left South Carolina in Bill's capable hands, banking that the good relationship he has with the black community will be enough to pull out a win there. If professor Harris-Lacewell's study is right, however, it would seem that "America's First Black President" wasn't all he's cracked up to be.

UPDATE: Toni Morrison has announced that she is endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary.

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