"I'm not the president of black America." - President Barack Obama in a 2012 interview with Black Enterprise magazine. But, what if he was? . . .
Consider if he said this:
Sisters and brothers, you probably heard me tell Congress last week that the state of the union is stronger. But the state you're in, not so much.
Therefore, I have decided to break my silence on race-specific issues, steel myself against the backlash from right-wing demagogues and pledge to redouble my efforts to deal with the travesty unfolding before our eyes.
Today, one in every 15 black men is incarcerated - that's a 500 percent increase since 1986.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there have been more than 250,000 black-on-black homicides since 1976. Our "school to prison pipeline" is so huge that it would make the Keystone XL pipeline look like a soda straw.
It's surreal: Big Oil getting its black gold out of the ground while we bury ours.
Throughout the South, where the majority of African Americans live - including our nation's capital - the high school dropout rate among our poorest students approaches 60 percent.
That represents a landslide. Not like a lopsided outcome in a political contest but more like what happens in Third World countries when a mountainside gives way and whole villages are buried.
Our village - the one it takes to raise a child - is being lost beneath the rubble of ignorance and poverty, and we've got to dig out.
Back in January 2008, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, I said that it would take a unified coalition to bring down "the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way" of justice and equality. I have been trying to forge such a coalition ever since. But as this second term begins, it occurs to me that I may have left out the very core around which the coalition would be built: black people.