The need for President Barack Obama to outline a specific agenda for blacks has been the center of much debate for the last month.
But some civil rights leaders say the president has already taken steps to remedy areas where blacks have suffered disproportionately compared to whites.
“To meet about black unemployment is a black agenda unless you feel the black unemployed don’t count,” Sharpton told theGrio, in reference to his meeting last month with President Obama. “You can’t get a blacker agenda to me…”
Several prominent black leaders and scholars gathered in Chicago recently, some of which criticized President Obama’s lack of outreach to African-Americans.
”[It’s] a difference between being in the press box, being in the fancy suites at a football game and being down on the field,” said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. “And I think where I am, where Rev. Sharpton is, is down on the field helping to move the ball forward [for African-Americans].”
Morial also cited the recent health care bill as evidence the president is conscious of what ails blacks, such as high numbers of uninsured.
”[The bill] is one of the most significant pieces of social justice legislation ever proposed in the history of this nation,” Morial said. “It would end the disparity in health insurance coverage instantaneously…where 20 percent of African-Americans and only 10 percent of white Americans are without health insurance.”
Rev. Sharpton reiterated he has no problem with “black intellectuals” criticizing him or the President.
”[African-Americans] have always had a multiplicity of styles and functions,” Sharpton said. ”[Civil rights leaders] all agree that we should do with this president what we’ve done with every other president and that’s what we’re doing.”