Fine but fails to cite Mr Obama's main obstacles in bringing up race
himself, rather than relying on Congress to do its job on the subject.1--
if you read comments, including those on DN articles, you read over and over
direct or indirect reference to his only caring about Black people. Millions of
Americans believe what my cousin said in 2008: "When the Blacks get in, they
give everything away to each other" Even his recent statements brought many
of those comments.2-- the present Republican strategy of doing whatever is
necessary to have him fail means that the same things get debated over and over
(I think the House has taken 37 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act), so it
is hard to introduce more programs.3-- let's get real about race:
when Republican figures kept saying he was Kenyan, when one suggested that Mrs
Obama (a stellar first lady) is related to gorillas. (get the point?)Is it not disingenuous of this paper, in a Stete which elects people who want
to stop him at every turn, to suggest he ought to do more, rather than noticing
that co-operating with the President is the American Way?
"Social divisions are deepest when it comes to African-American boys and
young men:"One of the biggest problems for young black men is
finding a job. The Black American Leadership Conference has called upon the
President and congress to stop the "Immigration reform". It will only
make life more difficult for this group. Obama needs to look in the mirror to
and hear the door click to realize he is part of the problem.
Michael Gerson properly identifies a paradox in which the president has found
himself since the day he took office. As the nations first African American
president should he use his standing to agressively address the long standing
divisiveness that continues to plague our country 150 years after Lincoln signed
the Emancipation Proclamation. Should the president have been more forceful in
his first term in talking about race relations in America? I would suggest that
even Mr. Gerson would have been critical of him for doing so because there were
so many other issues afflicting the nation - especialy the economy - that his
focusing on race - a subject for which he is more qualfied to speak than any
president before him - those who have proven to be his reliable enemies would
have used that as an indication that race relations was all he cared about.The Travon Martin case was settled by a jury. George Zimmerman will not
be tried again, no matter how much protest there is across the nation. Nothing
can be done to bring Travon back to life. But that case can provide a context
for further discussion about race in America. The conversation should continue.
On average, more young African American men live in poverty, are under-educated,
are raised by a single parent, and are unemployed than whites or Hispanics.
These statistics amount to a formula for criminal conduct. Our solution has
been tougher and tougher criminal penalties - that have filled our prisons with
young African American men. It cost more to send a person to prison than it
does to send them to Harvard University. Every American, every year, pays over
$4,000. for our criminal justice system. We can and should do better.
President Obamas' address to the nation certainly did not go far enough! It
was in fact a 'poor me because I am black' excuse, sympathy, and
This is an African American problem, and they are the only ones that can solve
it. Why? Well when white Americans try to offer any solutions, they are called
all the names, insensitive, out of touch, and even racist, for the opinions they
may have. I saw that on a news show last night. A white journalist asking and
offering answers to a black leader, and the only thing the black leader could
say was, we have to have a conversation about these issues, implying the white
guy didn't know what he was talking about. Many in the black community
seem to want to hold onto the past rather than change what can be changed,
namely the future. Unless a time machine is invented and slavery is changed
from American history, the black community is always going to have that in their
past. What good does it do for them to continue to focas on what they
can't change instead of changing what they can?
Every young black American needs to hear the message loud and clear that respect
is something that must be earned. While it may not be someone's fault that
they were born into a poor household, never knew their father, and were raised
by their grandmother because their mother was still a child herself, that is not
an excuse for a life of crime, dropping out of school, and perpetual government
handouts.Unfortunately, the media, the community, and President
Obama do not want to deliver them that message. They are constantly told that
they are victims and that it is someone else's fault that they are in their
current condition.As a Mormon, I always knew that there were a lot
of people out there who would dislike me and treat me poorly just because I was
a member of the church. But I was always taught to "live my life so that
they don't have an excuse for treating me that way". If every young
black person had that message engrained in them, most of the problems facing the
black community would disappear.
Being America’s first African-American President is deeper than Jackie
Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball. But there is a
corollary in that both Robinson and Obama were painfully aware of the historic
significance and felt under pressure to get it right lest their failure have a
damaging effect for their race.Obama came into office knowing that
he was to be President of all the people, not just African-Americans. A civil
rights activist or any other kind of activist can afford the luxury of speaking
out openly on a single issue. Boat rockers serve a useful purpose in society.
But a President must be a boat steadier. Overall, I believe Obama has tried hard
and succeeded in striking the right balance.
"Typically, President Obama's 18-minute remarks did not aspire to
memorable rhetoric."This statement struck me as funny because it
reminded me that his predecessor's rhetoric is memorable only because it
was comedy gold.
"The problem of African-American boys and young men is a complex mix of
lingering racial prejudice..."No. The problem with
African-American boys and young men is they still refer to themselves as
'African-American.' They are American. They should drop the
'African' and identify themselves as American and things will vastly
improve. None of them, zero, nil, nada, were born in Africa. The main cause of
segregation is the continued use of references as a segregated community."...urban economic dislocation..."Whaaat?"...collapsing family structure..."Now you're onto
something. Seventy-three percent of all Black births are out-of-wedlock. You
wanna see disaster when these babies grow to young manhood? That's the
cause. They have no father in the home to add discipline and direction of young
lives into avenues of success and social acceptance. Instead they learn the
fine art of forming into gangs, robbing others, drugs, and killing themselves as
we can see happening in Chicago."...failing schools..."Schools are not failing. What's failing are families supporting
the schools, disciplining school children, insisting on a thorough and complete
education."...and sick, atomized communities."Whaaat?
@Beverly:"We can and should do better."Perhaps you can
supply ideas of ways we can do better.And perhaps I can help you...
Cohesive families with a married father and mother are the root of a civilized
society. The black family society has hit rock bottom... becoming nonexistent.
Their leaders, including our black president, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton.
et.al., should step up and provide solutions. But no... they sit back to moan
and complain about mistreatment. And the president, when he has an opportunity
to address the situation, completely fumbled it. They want to perpetuate their
condition for some reason. @happy2bhere:"Well when white
Americans try to offer any solutions, they are called all the names,
insensitive, out of touch, and even racist, for the opinions they may
have."Black Americans don't want solutions. They want
sympathy. And some, like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don't wanna
jeopardize their money making schemes from racism and segregation. "I saw that on a news show last night. A white journalist asking and
offering answers to a black leader..."I saw it too... Bill
O'Reilly's The Factor. They don't want answers.
LowonoilYou want comedy gold? Obama and Biden have said things that
even the writers on Saturday Night Live could not have thought of. More like
"You want comedy gold? Obama and Biden have said things that even the
writers on Saturday Night Live could not have thought of. More like comedy
platinum."I'm sure that's true and we could trade
examples all day, but I really must get off the internets and get back to
putting food on my family.
Gerson is not dealing with the reality of the massive opposition Obama
encountered when he became president. Any focus on race issues by Obama
would've hyper-charged the atmosphere.It will be interesting to
see what Obama does once he is no longer president. Re:JoeCapitalist2"As a Mormon, I always knew that there were a lot
of people out there who would dislike me and treat me poorly just because I was
a member of the church. "And how could one tell you were Mormon?
By the color of your skin? Are you asked for ID whenever you go to visit your
parents living inside a gated community? When you are pulled over by police
(while adhering to the speed limit) do they search your car? Are you followed
when you go in stores? Sorry, being Mormon isn't akin to
discrimination based on skin color. What an ironic comment coming from a member
of (our) church which once discriminated against blacks. However,
Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison recently recounted what he told his
children. He told them their (paraphrasing) behaivor has to be better than
average--exemplary--to make it easier for those who come behind them.
LowonoilPlease don't put the food "on" your family, it
would be better used in them. And by the way, if you really are low on oil,
then Big Oil ought to be just the ticket. Maybe you are really low on green
energy.Truthseeker Being identified as a Mormon is very
easy if one is representing the Church and living the standards. JoeCap was
referring to people who know him, not necessarily strangers. And the last time
I read it, discrimination based on race, religion, creed, sexual orientation,
ect.... was all considered the same. So, yes it is akin to being discriminated
by skin color. At least as far as the federal government is concerned.
If BO would stop stirring the racial pot things would get better not worse. He
needs to get busy creating some jobs for Blacks especially those in the 25-30%
unemployment rate. Jobs not rhetoric.
The speech was designed to riled up his supporters, and make the country forget
about his scandals. The biggest problem the black community has, is the black
leadership. They acomplish very little for them.
Truthseeker who said "Sorry, being Mormon isn't akin to discrimination
based on skin color." (I guess because strangers can't necessarily tell
I am Mormon right away just from looking at me)I'm not sure,
but it seems like in the past you have railed on people for descriminating
against gays and denying them civil rights and compared it to racial
descrimination. Since not everyone can always tell who is gay and who is not
just by looking at them, are you going to use this same argument there? Or do
you want it both ways?
happy2bhere: "Please don't put the food "on" your family, it
would be better used in them."I guess not everyone recognized I
was speaking in Bushisms.
I am bewildered by some of these comments.... stuff like "If BO would stop
stirring the racial pot things would get better not worse."Two
things here... it is highly unlikely this person even listened to the speech
other than some small snippets.... and second, exactly how often has Obama
raised up race? When was the last time before this?In fact, in his
speech, he said race issues is not something that government can effectively
deal with. What - did Fox/name your conservative infotainment outlet not play
that clip?The only people who are inserting race comments here ...
are the posters here. Obama simply stated some simple facts about growing up
black. Just like when I was young, most of my peers had some level of belief
that Mormons still practiced polygamy. For complexionly challenged
people to even pretend to think they know what it is like to grow up black is as
strange as a Hindu saying they know what it is like to be a mormon.... because
they saw an interview on TV. Whites people... ( an bizarre term) are just as
good as placing the race-bating game as are blacks (equally bizarre term).
re:JoeCapitalist2The issue with gays primarily involves same-sex
marriage--equal treatment under the law, allowing gays the same federal and
state benefits given to married heterosexual people and rights against
discrimination. Until recently, if a gay marine mentioned he had a boyfriend, it
was grounds for discharge. Blacks (and women) were denied rights under the law
which was changed with the 15th/19th Amendments and the Civil Rights Act. Despite the evolution of laws we still have problems of racism and
prejudice in our society. The election of Obama--while a big milestone--also
exposed the ugly racism that still exists. There's a difference between
criticism of policies/procedure and perpetuating conspiracy theories about
one's citizenship/country of birth. Racism isn't confined to just
black people. White people can be victims of racism--I've experienced it
first hand--once. Unlike people who are brown or black, mostly my family can
live free of being judged by the color of our skin. We have a
shameful history in our country when it comes to the treatment of
minorities--American Indians, Japanese, Latinos and African Americans. Early
on, Mormons also experienced prejudice/fear.
I listened to his speech it was very well reasoned and thought out.He explained that the accused had a right to trial by jury, the jury was
properly instructed and acquitted. That was the final say. He said
he didn't think a national discussion on racism was necessary because it
wouldn't be productive, and largely he was right.There was no
rile up the crowd, the speech was given in a very matter of fact way of
speaking. If you disagree, please cite your reasons.
I guess the message I got from the president's speech was different than
others. I heard that really unfair things happen to African
Americans, and when African Americans do really unfair violence on total
strangers who are white, we need to be understanding. This was 90% of what he
talked about. The 10% talking about the verdict and being guardedly supportive
of the jury, just seemed very underdone.I guess I just wanted to
hear him say that beating up people for being white is just as wrong as beating
up people for being black. But that message was completely absent.Alfred is right. They don't want answers. The activists just want to
nurse their anger and hate, and tell us they are justified in it.
@Truthseeker:"We have a shameful history in our country when it comes
to the treatment of minorities--American Indians, Japanese, Latinos and African
Americans. Early on, Mormons also experienced prejudice/fear."Ask yourself where many of those minorities would be had they not come (or
been brought) to America. For example, the NFL and NBA are full of minorities
making millions with millions of admiring fans. Would they be playing
football/basketball living in expansive houses and driving expensive cars in
@Miss Piggie:I respectfully disagree with your comments that blacks
playing in the NFL and NBA should be thankful that their ancestors were stolen
from Africa and brought to the US. At most, they should be thankful for their
ancestors who suffered and that should build in them a desire to succeed. But
they should not be thankful for the people or the system that did it to them.
What was done to their ancestors was slimy and despicable. I don't know
the statistic, but something like half the people who were brought over on slave
ships died in passage.
@badger.... where did Obama say "I heard that really unfair things happen to
African Americans, and when African Americans do really unfair violence on total
strangers who are white, we need to be understanding.?Please.... how
did you interpret that from that speech? Where, anywhere did he talk about
crimes between races? I would love to understand what part of the speech you
drew this from.
Once young black men stop being responsible for a wildly disproportionate
percentage of street crime, people will stop being afraid of them and the
problem will take care of itself. However, as long as 70% of them are born out
of wedlock and are growing up without fathers, the problem will only get worse.
The black community has to get its own house in order, and that means bringing
back intact families, and probably God. White people can't make this
happen, but Obama could do much more than he has done to help this process
Mickey.... I completely agree with you.... the problem does need to be fixed
within the african american community. The good news is the percentage of
blacks living "middle class" lives continues to expand... and except
poverty.But because the media loves stuff like this so much, it is
not hard to see how a young black man can feel that the justice system does not
operate the same for them, as it does for others. There are numbers to back
some of this up.... when you compare outcomes of trials. So perceived, or
real, there is this perception in balance in the justice system. But you also need to remember that this is the same state that found a young
mother innocent of killer her daughter - when just about everyone felt she had
responsibility. Somehow that trail was able to fade into our memories.... while
the media love to fed the flames of racism.