The door is wide open. As Mr. Obama’s critics on the black left have noted, blacks haven’t benefited from his presidency as much as other factions of the Democratic coalition. He’s less of a Malcolm X than a Booker T. Washington, who would have endorsed the president’s belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Yet most of Mr. Obama’s black critics, mainly from academia, want him only to move further left; they seem to lack confidence in the ability of blacks to create businesses, when blacks have been operating businesses since colonial times. Since 1979, when I moved to inner-city Oakland, I’ve observed the work ethic of those residents holding legitimate low-wage jobs as well as those engaged in the underground economy.