Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

News & Politics News & Politics

The Evasions of the President's Speech

Posted by on Jul. 22, 2013 at 2:35 AM
  • 21 Replies

POSTED ON  BY PAUL MIRENGOFF

THE EVASIONS OF THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH

In re-reading President Obama’s remarks about the Martin-Zimmerman matter, I was struck by his assurances that the African-American community isn’t “naïve” about the social “dysfunction” (Obama’s term) that prevails in many black neighborhoods. First, he stated:

Now, this isn’t to say that the African-American community is naïve about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.

Then, a little bit later, Obama said:

I think the African-American community is also not naïve in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.

Obama’s assurances were unnecessary. I doubt that many whites believe that African-Americans are naïve about what’s occurring in their communities. But some whites fear that African-Americans are unwilling to take responsibility for curing the social pathologies that afflict them.

Obama’s speech reinforces this concern. First, mischaracterizing the concern is itself an evasion.

Second, Obama refused to assign responsibility to blacks. Instead, he stated:

We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. . . .

Now, I don’t deny the existence of a connection between the “very difficult history” Obama refers to and the dysfunction is question. But, as John argues, that history is well past its sell-by date as a major explanation of the dysfunction. And, in any event, the history is written in stone — it cannot be altered.

Accordingly, to rely on historical explanations, without more, is an evasion of responsibility for the present and the future.

So what did Obama offer by way of “more”? First, he talked about changes (or at least tweaks) to the law enforcement system. Second, he referred to the possibility of more federal programs, but said he is not “naïve” (that word again) about the shortcomings of this approach. Third, he spoke vaguely about doing a “better job helping young African-American men feel that they’re a full part of this society.” Finally, he asked for “some soul-searching.” This, he said, would consist mainly of folks trying to “wring[] as much bias” out of themselves as they can.

None of these ideas places any significant responsibility on the black community. They are all evasions, to one degree or another.

Obama failed to mention the one (and probably the only) way out of the dysfunction that plagues the African-American community — responsible, conscientious, and effective parenting.

As long as the nearly three out of four black children are born out of wedlock, often to teenage mothers, it’s virtually impossible to see how the dysfunction ends. As long as so many black fathers disengage themselves from parenting, it’s virtually impossible to see how the dysfunction ends.

As Roger Clegg points out, this — not introspection about bias — is the real soul-searching that needs to occur.

I don’t blame Obama for not mentioning it in a speech about Trayvon Martin. His purpose was to calm the black community, and to prepare it for the likely absence of federal action against George Zimmerman, not to inflame it.

But it would be naïve to regard Obama’s speech as a serious discussion about race, crime, and African-American youth. And it will be extremely unfortunate if, at some point in his presidency, Obama doesn’t focus on helping the African-American community face up to its shortcomings and their relation to the dysfunction that no one is naïve enough to deny.

by on Jul. 22, 2013 at 2:35 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Platinum Member on Jul. 22, 2013 at 6:01 AM

If people would actually pay attention and stop seeing things through hate filled eyes they might find something of use...


Obama has tough-love message for African-Americans


NEW YORK | Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:36am EDT

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama had a tough-love message for fellow African-Americans on Thursday, urging black parents to push their children to think beyond dreams of being sports stars or rap music performers.

Obama's election as the first African-American president buoyed the black community. At the 100th anniversary celebration of the NAACP, the country's oldest civil rights group, he urged blacks to take greater responsibility for themselves and move away from reliance on governmentprograms.

"We need a new mindset, a new set of attitudes -- because one of the most durable and destructive legacies of discrimination is the way that we have internalized a sense of limitation; how so many in our community have come to expect so little of ourselves," he said.

Obama told a packed ballroom at a Manhattan hotel that blacks need to recapture the spirit of the civil rights movement of a half century ago to tackle problems that have struck African-Americans disproportionately -- joblessness, spiraling healthcare costs and HIV-AIDS.

"What is required to overcome today's barriers is the same as was needed then -- the same commitment. The same sense of urgency. The same sense of sacrifice," he said.

Obama said parents need to force their children to set aside the video games and get to bed at a reasonable hour, and push them to set their sights beyond such iconic figures as NBA star LeBron James and rap singer Lil Wayne.

Education is the path to a better future, said Obama.

"Our kids can't all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be president of the United States," he said.

Obama noted that his own life could have taken a different path, had it not been for his mother's urgings.

'SHE TOOK NO LIP'

"That mother of mine gave me love; she pushed me, and cared about my education," he said. "She took no lip and taught me right from wrong. Because of her, I had a chance to make the most of my abilities. I had the chance to make the most of my opportunities. I had the chance to make the most of life."

Obama was on one of his first major political outings since he took office January 20.

In Holmdel, New Jersey, he spoke twice for Gov. Jon Corzine, who is seeking re-election but lagging badly in the polls against Republican nominee Chris Christie.

New Jersey and Virginia hold gubernatorial elections in November. Though local issues typically define who wins, the outcome is likely to be viewed as an early referendum on Obama's leadership, ahead of the 2010 congressional elections.

Obama himself enjoys strong public approval ratings well over 50 percent, but they have been dropping in recent weeks from the lofty heights he had enjoyed in the first months of his presidency, suggesting his political honeymoon was coming to an end as Americans begin to examine his policies.

Obama said in recession-hit New Jersey that turning around the jobless rate is usually one of the lagging indicators at the end of an economic downturn.

After earlier in the week announcing it was now his economy to fix, he was tough in his criticism of Republicans, blaming them for getting the country into the current predicament.

Corzine, speaking to thousands at an open-air arena, attempted to tie his Republican opponents to the unpopular presidency of George W. Bush, a strategy similar to that which Obama employed in defeating John McCain last November.

"The same people who miserably failed in the White House now want you to hand the keys to the statehouse to them. No way!" Corzine said.

143myboys9496
by Gold Member on Jul. 22, 2013 at 8:35 AM
3 moms liked this

 "As long as the nearly three out of four black children are born out of wedlock, often to teenage mothers, it’s virtually impossible to see how the dysfunction ends. As long as so many black fathers disengage themselves from parenting, it’s virtually impossible to see how the dysfunction ends."

Didn't Barry address this in a college graduation speech a few months ago? And didn't the African-American community berate him for such comments??

History is written in stone. And to keep using it as an excuse for "it's not my fault" just stagnats a community, a group of people. It needs to no longer be used as a crutch. Enough already.

 

 

JanuaryBaby06
by on Jul. 22, 2013 at 1:31 PM

like ive said before i enjoyed his speech. it wa heartfelt and well spoken. i really dont get why it is getting attacked like this. hes not trying to get the verdict overturned or anything.

Naturewoman4
by Silver Member on Jul. 22, 2013 at 1:46 PM
As a white woman, when I listened to his speech I was ok with what he was saying, until he said the part about if TM was white and GZ was black, that the results could of been different. Why people are ignoring this is distrubing and beyond me. Why Americans don't feel that IMO it put white Americans lives at risk, since the largest of rallies were going to happen the next day. A black person listening to what he said, don't you think any black person hearing this, would get angry more at white people and want to go out and attack them? Is what he said, bringing up whites when this had NOTHING to do with race and GZ not even a white person, do YOU think that the majority of white Americans would be happy that our President would say something like that? Do you feel that helped relations between blacks and whites? I say as a white person, it severely damaged and put fuel into the fire to the already tensions we are facing. I can see how blacks and white liberals would NOT say Obama's speech hurt race tensions. Because, they are supporters of him.
Quoting JanuaryBaby06:

like ive said before i enjoyed his speech. it wa heartfelt and well spoken. i really dont get why it is getting attacked like this. hes not trying to get the verdict overturned or anything.


JanuaryBaby06
by on Jul. 22, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Quoting Naturewoman4:

As a white woman, when I listened to his speech I was ok with what he was saying, until he said the part about if TM was white and GZ was black, that the results could of been different. Why people are ignoring this is distrubing and beyond me. Why Americans don't feel that IMO it put white Americans lives at risk, since the largest of rallies were going to happen the next day. A black person listening to what he said, don't you think any black person hearing this, would get angry more at white people and want to go out and attack them? Is what he said, bringing up whites when this had NOTHING to do with race and GZ not even a white person, do YOU think that the majority of white Americans would be happy that our President would say something like that? Do you feel that helped relations between blacks and whites? I say as a white person, it severely damaged and put fuel into the fire to the already tensions we are facing. I can see how blacks and white liberals would NOT say Obama's speech hurt race tensions. Because, they are supporters of him.
Quoting JanuaryBaby06:

like ive said before i enjoyed his speech. it wa heartfelt and well spoken. i really dont get why it is getting attacked like this. hes not trying to get the verdict overturned or anything.



ive disagreed with obama over a whole host of things but this is not one of them. idk if it helped race relations but i dont think it hurt them. i think you and i inturrupted it completely differently... i always find it facinating when 2ppl hear and see the same thing but they can come to way different conclutions. im not calling you wrong at all... you just saw it far different then i did.
Naturewoman4
by Silver Member on Jul. 22, 2013 at 2:24 PM
Yeah, I agree. I wonder how is it people sees/hears things SO differently? But, thank-you for being respectful in agreeing to disagree. :) But, I feel that Obama's speech last Fri. sadly, didn't help race tensions at all. IMO of course, I feel it has further damage relations.
Quoting JanuaryBaby06:


Quoting Naturewoman4:

As a white woman, when I listened to his speech I was ok with what he was saying, until he said the part about if TM was white and GZ was black, that the results could of been different. Why people are ignoring this is distrubing and beyond me. Why Americans don't feel that IMO it put white Americans lives at risk, since the largest of rallies were going to happen the next day. A black person listening to what he said, don't you think any black person hearing this, would get angry more at white people and want to go out and attack them? Is what he said, bringing up whites when this had NOTHING to do with race and GZ not even a white person, do YOU think that the majority of white Americans would be happy that our President would say something like that? Do you feel that helped relations between blacks and whites? I say as a white person, it severely damaged and put fuel into the fire to the already tensions we are facing. I can see how blacks and white liberals would NOT say Obama's speech hurt race tensions. Because, they are supporters of him.
Quoting JanuaryBaby06:

like ive said before i enjoyed his speech. it wa heartfelt and well spoken. i really dont get why it is getting attacked like this. hes not trying to get the verdict overturned or anything.



ive disagreed with obama over a whole host of things but this is not one of them. idk if it helped race relations but i dont think it hurt them. i think you and i inturrupted it completely differently... i always find it facinating when 2ppl hear and see the same thing but they can come to way different conclutions. im not calling you wrong at all... you just saw it far different then i did.

Naturewoman4
by Silver Member on Jul. 22, 2013 at 2:55 PM
Yes, maybe he's not trying to get the verdict overturned, but why is he make a statement that IF TM were white, GZ were black that the case could of turned out differently? WHY use this case? When this case isn't about race and isn't about white people because GZ wasn't even white. To me, it DOES inflame the already tense moments in American between whites and black. Can you image GZ when it WASN'T about race and WASN'T about whites, yet a lot of Americans are making it about that how it feels for him and his family? Then, even though everyone in this case/trial are saying it doesn't have anything to do with race, yet the Dept. of "Just Us" is investigating him for Civil Rights Violations. How would you feel if that happen to you or one of your loved ones? How is that 'heartfelt and well spoken', I just don't get that. To me it shows that neither blacks or whites understand one another's struggles. The President and Holder are making it about the black's struggles. I would of hoped that Obama would come out and bring us together, not further divide us. Fact is that is what he did & that is why we are seeing many outraged over his speech. People can deny it all they want, but the facts are the facts. The outraged over his speech, when he had the great opportunity as our President to TRY and bring us together. To heal and move forward. He didn't do that and I don't feel he ever intended to do that, sadly.
Quoting JanuaryBaby06:

like ive said before i enjoyed his speech. it wa heartfelt and well spoken. i really dont get why it is getting attacked like this. hes not trying to get the verdict overturned or anything.


1Giovanni
by Bronze Member on Jul. 22, 2013 at 3:05 PM
It will only damage relations if you and others choose to. I tell my dh the something last night.

Quoting Naturewoman4:

Yeah, I agree. I wonder how is it people sees/hears things SO differently? But, thank-you for being respectful in agreeing to disagree. :) But, I feel that Obama's speech last Fri. sadly, didn't help race tensions at all. IMO of course, I feel it has further damage relations.





Quoting JanuaryBaby06:



Quoting Naturewoman4:

As a white woman, when I listened to his speech I was ok with what he was saying, until he said the part about if TM was white and GZ was black, that the results could of been different. Why people are ignoring this is distrubing and beyond me. Why Americans don't feel that IMO it put white Americans lives at risk, since the largest of rallies were going to happen the next day. A black person listening to what he said, don't you think any black person hearing this, would get angry more at white people and want to go out and attack them? Is what he said, bringing up whites when this had NOTHING to do with race and GZ not even a white person, do YOU think that the majority of white Americans would be happy that our President would say something like that? Do you feel that helped relations between blacks and whites? I say as a white person, it severely damaged and put fuel into the fire to the already tensions we are facing. I can see how blacks and white liberals would NOT say Obama's speech hurt race tensions. Because, they are supporters of him.




Quoting JanuaryBaby06:

like ive said before i enjoyed his speech. it wa heartfelt and well spoken. i really dont get why it is getting attacked like this. hes not trying to get the verdict overturned or anything.





ive disagreed with obama over a whole host of things but this is not one of them. idk if it helped race relations but i dont think it hurt them. i think you and i inturrupted it completely differently... i always find it facinating when 2ppl hear and see the same thing but they can come to way different conclutions. im not calling you wrong at all... you just saw it far different then i did.


JustCJ
by on Jul. 22, 2013 at 3:12 PM
1 mom liked this
Who actually goes out of their way to be set apart? The "African American community" does. Why?

Quoting -Celestial-:

If people would actually pay attention and stop seeing things through hate filled eyes they might find something of use...


Obama has tough-love message for African-Americans


NEW YORK | Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:36am EDT

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama had a tough-love message for fellow African-Americans on Thursday, urging black parents to push their children to think beyond dreams of being sports stars or rap music performers.

Obama's election as the first African-American president buoyed the black community. At the 100th anniversary celebration of the NAACP, the country's oldest civil rights group, he urged blacks to take greater responsibility for themselves and move away from reliance on governmentprograms.

"We need a new mindset, a new set of attitudes -- because one of the most durable and destructive legacies of discrimination is the way that we have internalized a sense of limitation; how so many in our community have come to expect so little of ourselves," he said.

Obama told a packed ballroom at a Manhattan hotel that blacks need to recapture the spirit of the civil rights movement of a half century ago to tackle problems that have struck African-Americans disproportionately -- joblessness, spiraling healthcare costs and HIV-AIDS.

"What is required to overcome today's barriers is the same as was needed then -- the same commitment. The same sense of urgency. The same sense of sacrifice," he said.

Obama said parents need to force their children to set aside the video games and get to bed at a reasonable hour, and push them to set their sights beyond such iconic figures as NBA star LeBron James and rap singer Lil Wayne.

Education is the path to a better future, said Obama.

"Our kids can't all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be president of the United States," he said.

Obama noted that his own life could have taken a different path, had it not been for his mother's urgings.

'SHE TOOK NO LIP'

"That mother of mine gave me love; she pushed me, and cared about my education," he said. "She took no lip and taught me right from wrong. Because of her, I had a chance to make the most of my abilities. I had the chance to make the most of my opportunities. I had the chance to make the most of life."

Obama was on one of his first major political outings since he took office January 20.

In Holmdel, New Jersey, he spoke twice for Gov. Jon Corzine, who is seeking re-election but lagging badly in the polls against Republican nominee Chris Christie.

New Jersey and Virginia hold gubernatorial elections in November. Though local issues typically define who wins, the outcome is likely to be viewed as an early referendum on Obama's leadership, ahead of the 2010 congressional elections.

Obama himself enjoys strong public approval ratings well over 50 percent, but they have been dropping in recent weeks from the lofty heights he had enjoyed in the first months of his presidency, suggesting his political honeymoon was coming to an end as Americans begin to examine his policies.

Obama said in recession-hit New Jersey that turning around the jobless rate is usually one of the lagging indicators at the end of an economic downturn.

After earlier in the week announcing it was now his economy to fix, he was tough in his criticism of Republicans, blaming them for getting the country into the current predicament.

Corzine, speaking to thousands at an open-air arena, attempted to tie his Republican opponents to the unpopular presidency of George W. Bush, a strategy similar to that which Obama employed in defeating John McCain last November.

"The same people who miserably failed in the White House now want you to hand the keys to the statehouse to them. No way!" Corzine said.

Ednarooni160
by Eds on Jul. 22, 2013 at 3:17 PM
1 mom liked this

Second, Obama refused to assign responsibility to blacks. Instead, he stated:

We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. . . .

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN