ChicagoFatherhood in black culture is laced with explosives. President Barack Obama seems to have a taste for pyrotechnics.

On Friday, he hit his old Chicago stomping grounds to speak at Hyde Park Academy. The hot button issue in the Chi these days continue to be guns and violence, but Obama didn’t spend much time on gun chatter to this group. He talked about fathers in black communities.

“For a lot of young boys and young men in particular, they don’t see an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families and be held up in respect,” Obama said. “And so that means that this is not just a gun issue; it’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building.”

OK, well, he didn’t single out “black fathers.” He merely spoke to a school resplendent with brown faces about absentee fathers underpinning the urban dysfunction in their neighborhoods.

It was pointed and unmistakable. It was redundant.

This isn’t the first time Obama has taken black men to task. At a Father’s Day speech in 2008, again in Chicago’s South Side, he bore into them again:

“Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes,” Mr. Obama said, to a chorus of approving murmurs from the audience. “They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”

Cool, no problem there. Then it got interesting:

“I know how hard it is to get kids to eat properly,” Mr. Obama said. “But I also know that folks are letting our children drink eight sodas a day, which some parents do, or, you know, eat a bag of potato chips for lunch. Buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework.”

Bill Cosby undoubtedly smiled. So did the mostly black church audience that day. It’s a familiar trope: Put the heat on the individual, espousing the bootstrap, making the story easier to swallow and the real issues of poverty, systemic decay ignored.

It’s one thing to promote fatherhood and community in the context of overcoming and pushing for riddance of systemic ills. It’s another to sell the merits of dads as panacea. That’s irresponsible.

Black and white fathers abandon their children, yet I’d be hard-pressed to imagine a speech like this given to children living in Newtown, Conn. Statistics are often reported to justify this strategy, but one side doesn’t have a monopoly on favorable statistics.

In 2007, a study conducted by Boston University reported that black fathers who don’t reside in the home are more likely to sustain regular contact with their children than fathers of any other group. This isn’t to exonerate black men who neglect their duties, but to emphasize how collective the issue is.

More engaging fathers is only one hurdle. There are still other more daunting obstacles (public education, job attrition, rising college tuition) that stand in the way of reversing urban decline and building sustainable models of success.

It’s more than fathers who are failing children. How are guns flowing through our areas? How are guns getting in the hands of our youth? It ain’t Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Obama’s speech went against an accepted narrative about his political roots, that he was familiar with his old base in Chicago’s South Side. That since he made his political bones there, he has insight where others don’t.

His continuation of the hackneyed black pathology rhetoric of his political predecessors is more than disappointing. It’s a sobering reminder that when it comes to uprooting the ills of urban black America, the leadership in this country still lacks a clue.

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  • Mademoiselle

    So white children get murdered, and he’s moved to pass gun legislation without delay. Black children get murdered, and he’s moved to lecture black parents? It’s times like these that make me feel like he’s just a white man in a black man’s skin. How many of our white politicians would love to stand in front of us and tell us to our faces (with rounds of applause, no less) that we’re our own problems and our only salvation is to pull ourselves out of our own ditch?

    • kylieky

      Would you deny that we are our own problems when our children are running the streets?

    • Mademoiselle

      I wouldn’t deny that parenting is a problem in Chicago any more than I would’ve denied mental health a problem in Newtown. In one case, Obama addressed the most immediate problem: guns; in the other, where the same immediate problem exists, he addressed the systemic farsighted problem instead. Even if all these young boys’ fathers reappeared in their lives today, it would take years/generations to undo that damage, just like any mental health campaign would. However, the rhetoric is different depending on the audience’s makeup. In one, the priority is to take immediate action, and in the other, the priority is to prod and lecture about personal development. While we wait on absentee fathers to get the message, what’s Obama’s take on addressing Chicago’s immediate needs?

    • we are not our own problem. the system of white supremacy is black peoples problem.

    • victoria

      When my mother use to confront me about my poor behavior the last thing I could do was mention someone else’s name. In other words, Mom wanted to know why I behaved poorly. Not what the other person did. She didnt care about them. Her concern was ME. Concerning our neighborhoods, Newtown, CT doesnt need to be mentioned. White parents dont need to be mentioned. They are not there. So if Obama spoke about divorce rates and gun violence in Newtown, CT will this make a difference concerning the black neighborhoods?

      Obama spoke the truth, “And so that means that this is not just a gun issue; it’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building.” We are building weak communities with weak men. This is our fault. Newtown, CT plays no part in our shortcomings.

    • victoria

      James, b/c white supremacy is our problem, this should be the fire that holds black families together. Real men should stick around, support their kids, help them fight white supremacy.

    • victoria

      The GLUE that holds black families together

    • Mademoiselle

      Believe me, I’m not playing a “they did it first” game. My point is Obama faces the exact same platform in two racially different communities, and he treats the white communities with compassion and ignores their underlying issues so that he can address their most immediate needs, whereas he points fingers at the black community’s underlying issues and glazes over their most immediate needs. This is the same treatment black people have been getting for years from people that don’t look as much like them as Obama does. I’m calling out disparity in his approach. If he’s putting on gloves to address one group’s problem, I expect him as the president to do the same for the next group’s problem. His approach to Newtown will (and has) undoubtedly get (gotten) federal funding to back up his stance. His approach to Chicago (telling fathers to step up) is free to him and the government. Black issues = blacks’ problems; white issues = federal problems.

      Now if your mother went around shedding tears and breaking her back to curtail everyone else’s behavioral challenges and just shook her head and told you to get it together, you’d definitely have a problem with the differences in her approach, would you not?

    • Anon

      Oh come on. Get real here. All of this “years” crap is just shunting off the immediate problem of absentee fathers and a crumbling family structure.

      I get the feeling that if y’all could get away with it, the story between you and James would be that white men came in the middle of the night and kidnapped all of the black men that would have happily raised their children and built the foundations of a sustaining community, therefore absolving black men of ANY personal responsibility whatsoever.

    • Mademoiselle

      You’d be absolutely wrong to make that assumption about me. I never once said the discussion about absentee black fathers shouldn’t be had. My case has been about Obama using a long standing issue that would require a long-term fix to just about place blame on the black community for having the same problem that the white community has. My case has been that in a discussion Obama had with a black audience about gun violence, his solution was to find the fathers, whereas when he had the same discussion with a white audience, his solution was address legislation loopholes, act without hesitation, put a task force in place led by the VP, analyze schoolyard security, publicly condemn violence, publicly proclaim the innocence of those kids, etc. The black audience got a speech about how distraught he was over not having a father at home. The white audience got action, pledges, and funding.

      Furthermore, I never made an argument about white supremacy or white oppression. The only reason I bring up white people is because the president is giving them current-day preferential treatment, and doing it under the guise of being one of us.

    • The Other Jess

      @ kylieky, would you deny that obama didn’t make that same lazy, scapegoating speech when talking to the communities where white criminals come from?

    • victoria

      You stated , ”black issues=black problems,”…my sentiments exactly. I dont care about the disparity in his approach. Waiting for Obama to address everyone fairly isnt going to make a difference concerning US. I asked this in my earlier commentt, if Obama addressed the white community in the same manner will this make a difference in our community? Will absentee dads then decide to parent their children?

    • Mademoiselle

      If ALL he did was address absentee fathers in other communities, as he’s done for the black community, he’d be taken to task for being a typical politician full of talk, wagging his finger, with no concrete plans to address real issues. As the black community, though, we seem satisfied with just being told we do things backwards and not demanding more than just blame every time the president visits the most war-torn area of our country.

      Speaking as a woman who has no kids and chooses to live in the suburbs to avoid dealing with issues even the government won’t touch, if I did live in the most violent community in the nation and sat in an audience listening to the POTUS tell me and my neighbors that the answer to our problems is to get the fathers of these young villains back into their homes, I’d feel fucked over (excuse the dialect) because I know for certain there’s nothing I could do to impress upon someone like Hadiya’s murderer’s father that his outlaw son needs him in his life. I’d feel hopelessness, despair, fear, bewilderment, lonely, forgotten, and inaudible after being told I have to wait until every delinquent’s father steps up before I can be made to feel safe in my neighborhood. Moreover, whether I’m a parent or not, if I were living in such an environment and asking the government to help prevent me and/or my loved ones from being gunned down, and the president basically told me the best idea he has for preventing me and my family from being shot is to motivate absentee fathers, I’d be insulted at how little value he places on my life because I have no hope that any of these thugs or their fathers will soon become the brady bunch and stop putting me at risk of death by their hands. These aren’t at risk kids acting out as a way to get attention from their parents. These are neighborhood terrorists and organized criminals, with very fluid access to weaponry and no regard for human life putting Chicago residents in their crosshairs. I would be devastated as a resident of Chicago to have the president leave his boys’ club in DC just to come tell me that the fathers that failed these kids are the solution to my fears. I’d be sick to my stomach with grief that this was the most Obama could offer to a problem I face everyday — a problem that leaves me no time to wait for Thug Sr. to school Thug Jr. on how to be a real man because Thug Jr. likely has a vendetta he’s trying to avenge as we speak that puts me at risk of death in the moment.

      But, like I said, I chose suburban life because at least I know Newtown is few and far between, and even if it were to happen in my neck of the woods, I live in a community that would evoke emotions closer to those expressed for Sandy Hook Elementary than those expressed for Chicago, so assuming I survive, I know a real solution wouldn’t take long to be put in place. Unfortunately for the black community at large (and Chicago in particular), we don’t all have the means to remove ourselves from the warzone. Let’s see what difference Obama telling father’s to be more active will have, though. I gather from a lot of the comments that many people think that’s the one message Chicago was waiting to hear to get their act together.

    • I agree with the message but this is not the time for the message GUN CONTROL is the issue how many of those white mass murderers grew up with “daddy” if he wants to talk black fathers where is the administrative’s policy stance on fatherhood programs in these communities???

    • Kaeli

      What percentage of gun violence do you think is at the hands of white mass murderers? Sure that is what makes the news but it is the tip of the iceberg and mostly committed by people with mental health issues. Gun violence in urban areas doesn’t make the news for obvious reasons but that is the normal face of gun violence. So we can sit hear and talk about media sensationalized violence or we can have some real talk.

    • Anonymous

      Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States. It is deeper than gun violence in that particular city, so I don’t disagree with President Obama addressing community issues.

    • The Other Jess

      @Kaeli, your statement is just amazing. why is it that you drank the kool-aid and believed that most white criminals have unaddressed mental illness but cannot see that maybe Black violence stems from the same thing? Or that white criminals have no more mental illness than black criminals? It’s sad tht you are willing to give a pass in the caseof white violence, but not when it comes to the same problem n black communities. SMH.

    • Kaeli

      Did I say that. Nope. I did not mention white violence. I talked about MASS SHOOTINGS. They are not the typical act of violence but what the news like to focus on and typically perpetrated my people with mental illness. If a black person walked into a school and shot a bunch of small children I would chock it up to mental illness as well.

    • Kaeli

      @Jess please in my comment show me where I mentioned white violence. If you read closer you will see about connecting mental illness with MASS MURDER. Crimes like that happen infrequently and are outside the norm of gun violence so using these events to discuss the typical gun violence in black communities is pointless. In no way did I say that white criminals suffer from mental illness and black criminals are just bad hateful people.

    • The Other Jess

      Agree totally, Mademoiselle. Black people deserve to be a part of the broader conversation of gun control and anti-violence policies and legislation too. Our communities obviously need more help to end the violence, just as those in the wider American populace. If white parents are getting lectured, then neither do we need to be. We need solutions, not lectures.

    • Tara

      Although crimes are committed by whites with guns, It cannot compare to the crime rates in black communities. Stop acting like everything is equal. There are all white communities in America where the crime rates are really low. Little to no murder. Everywhere in America where there is a large black presence, the crime rates are the highest . I (like the woman listed above) lives in a predominantly white area and they take care of their own kind. Every home has a father in it on my street and where there is none, the father passed away. I think that there is anger among young, fatherless, black men in Chicago that you dont see with a lot of white men with fathers. The mass shooting by white kids are increasing but it cant compare to crime committed by these fatherless hoolingans in the hood.

    • Joy

      Mad: The President is the President of the country. Not just Chicago. At least he’s making an effort. He can’t be the end all, be all, and answer to every thing in Chicago, or the country for that matter. And yes I’ll say it….we need to pull ourselves out of our own ditches. I for one know plenty of black people that have. They didn’t, and don’t sit around waiting on someone else to do something for them

    • Nila

      Wow! The tragedy that befell Sandy Hook was not a color issue, it was a monumental tragedy and as the elected leader of this country, he had to address it accordingly. Black children get murdered but that doesn’t mean that he needs to turn his back on innocent lives suffer the same fate, regardless of color. Geez!

    • Mademoiselle

      Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with the way Obama addressed Newtown. I’m saying, knowing that he’s capable of mobilizing full-scale federal aid to fix an anomalous event in Newtown, and knowing how long Chicago has had a growing gun violence problem, it sells the black community short to allow him to come through with parenthood tips instead of palpable/tangible assistance.

      I’m not expecting Obama to be the president of Chicago. I don’t expect him to be the president of Newtown, either. I expect him, as the POTUS, to hold the leaders of one of the states under his command accountable for repairing their damaged community. I expect the POTUS to set concrete expectations of all the officials that report to him of what’s acceptable (addressing violence in their areas without delay) and what’s unacceptable (allowing terror to reign, death counts to rise, and certain swaths of their constituencies to live in fear while thumbs are twiddled and cans are kicked down the road). And, I expect him to support (financially, politically, or otherwise) the leaders of these states in their efforts uniformly.

    • Lisa

      If we continue to blame white supremacy for all our problems, we’ll remain eternal victims & 50 years from now, we’ll still be steeped in the same problems & lamenting over how the white man is to blame for all our woes. It’s time that we focused on what parts of our problems we bring upon ourselves and how to fix that. Sure, white supremacy has wreaked a lot of havoc upon us. Sure, white businessmen are making guns easily accessible to youth in our communities. But these white businessmen are not standing next to the perpetrators of gun violence & telling them to pull the trigger & kill their own brothers & sisters. And these white businessmen are not going around telling black men to abandon their sons so that the boys grow up feeling that they need to join a gang to belong. Lets own up to our failings as a people so that we can move forward.

    • whatever

      Exactly! Adam Lanza can be added to that list of children in single parent homes. Maybe if his father wasn’t living 2 states away and stayed in his home to raise his problematic child he wouldn’t have gunned down 26 children.

      Obama LOVES these pull yourselves up by your bootstrap speeches for black people! The funny thing is Romney said the EXACT same thing when the issue of gun control came up during their debate and black ppl were up in arms…. Obama says it and it’s the gospel, SMH. Wake up people! This weak ass speech will NOT get gangs and guns off the streets of any neighborhood in America. It starts at the top and as you can see the person at the very top is not trying to take responsibility for our out of control gun market. Instead let’s act like it’s impossible to control gangs and crime…. but wait!… when a spike in real estate let’s you know an area is ready for gentrification, all of a sudden neighborhoods can get cleaned up and turned around in the blink of an eye street by street.

  • Guest1234

    This is ridiculous. Since when is it an attack to tell people to get control of themselves? True. There are issues plaguing inner-city communities that are outside of individual control. Fatherhood is NOT one of them. The quality of parent one decides to be is ENTIRELY within that individual’s control and NOONE ELSE’S. And deciding to be an active, present parent is the best thing in the world ANYBODY can do for their child. Kudos to President Obama for saying so!

    I’m glad to see the president say that people need to take responsibility for the children they bring into this world. What’s wrong with saying that? The mere fact that you think THAT’s some kind of attack betrays a troubling attitude with Americans these days – one of incessant, insidious victimhood. Black men are not victims of Obama’s words. Please stop painting them as such. They are grown men who aren’t going to break down and fall apart just because somebody speaks a bit of truth to them once in a while. Stop coddling and babying them, please. I think we ALL know that such coddling hasn’t done them a damned bit of good over the years. It’s okay for the president to address the young men of his community as men. It’s okay for him to have greater expectations of them than to give up on themselves, their lives and their children just because their communities aren’t perfect. My guess is that if more people did that, more young black men would rise to the occasion.

    Black men are just that. MEN. And it’s high time somebody started treating them like it. I have no doubt in my mind that the President has reached at least one young man. And his concern has changed at least one life. And that’s reason enough to keep doing it. I’m not going to listen to any of this crap about how black men shouldn’t be confronted about absentee fathering so long as life’s not fair. Life will never be fair. But there ARE things that they can control such as being a present, good father (and that includes treating the child’s mother well, AND/OR using a condom to prevent unwanted pregnancies.) And I applaud anybody that says so out loud, and calls people out on their BS. Our children deserve better than that. Period.

    • Ooh La La

      I couldn’t agree more. People hate to be called out an love to resort to excuses. It’s not to say that out black men don’t endure challenges, but at some point you have to take responsibility for you. There are some black fathers who manage to do so despite the same odds and all the complaining and apathy are only hurting your children and our communities as a whole. It really just blows my mind how much people neglect how substantial a stable and supportive familial structure is to the development of an individual.

    • victoria

      The best comment I have read on this site in ages

    • victoria

      @Guest 1234
      The best comment I have hread on this site in ages

    • I know women are going to bash me for agreeing with this statement but at the end of the day ladies this commenter is right if we want to hold accountable absent father’s we MUST put some of the accountability on the MOTHER’S who are present in their children’s lives daily…there is a myriad of problems but ultimately the irresponsible choices of both the mother and father is the issue

    • Wanda

      I agree too.

      Except I think that the younger generations were conditioned to promote single motherhood and baby mama-ism as a healthy and suitable alternative to the marriage-based families we USED to have, when they are not.

      If over 70 percent of our children are born to us when we are single, how are being “abandoned” b y anybody anyhow? I never get this point.

      How do we compare a wife who is left by a husband, with single women who are choosing (and that’s what it is…) to bring a life into the world, on their very own?

      I could not have imagined making the choice – as WE do the vast majority of the times we bring a child into the world – to do it by myself. Black in America? Puh-lease…

    • Wanda

      Oops. This was supposed to be a reply to lexdiamonz point from above. Sorry.

    • Nic

      If they are they are either in denial or projecting.
      Black women and girls do need to exercise better judgement in who they lay down with and open their legs for.

      If you lay down with trash then don’t be surprised when he is gone in the morning and you are left with a baby 9 months later.

      Black women tolerate a lot of garbage either b/c they don’t love themselves enough or b/c too many are growing up watching their mothers do the same thing. if you didn’t see your father married to or even loving your mom, you aren’t going to think that is what a family looks like, and you aren’t going to use love and commitment as a requirement for carrying a baby for someone.

      If you saw your mom laying down with a different man every few months and none of your siblings have the same father as you, you’re going to think that is normal too.

      We all have a responsibility to improve our communities, even if you weren’t raised in one plagued by problems.

      I volunteer with high schoolers b/c in 2013, it is amazing how much poor black kids think they can’t do b/c they never get to see examples of it (I have kids who are shocked by where I went to school and what I do for a living and who say “oh, black people don’t ever get to do that.”)

      I’ve had people who are “shocked” and said I was “blessed” that I didn’t have (presumably unplanned) kids (and the first time that was said to me, I was 21 and not married; I was like WTF, why would I have kids at this age and with no husband? But that is some people’s normal).

    • victoria

      Chillyroad and Lexdiamonz

      If Michelle Obama stated this, does this mean Obama’s words are null and void?

    • Anon

      Guest, a STADIUM of applause for your comment!

    • MySister’sKeeper

      I can’t believe the thumbs down to this comment. It’s like black women want to demean black men but refuse to acknowledge their role. Ridiculous.

    • The Other Jess

      Here’s the problem – Obama himself is a product of a single mother and missing Black father. But guess what? he obvioulsy cam eout OK – more than OK. As do many “urban” youth from similar home situations. He should not blame urban crime on “single mothers” or “missing fathers”. That is just not the reason for the crime.

      Did he criticize the mothers of the white male mass shooters? Did he examine their fathers? NO. Why? Because he understands that there are larger problems leading to the violent youth in America than what demographic their household falls into.

      He can’t have it both ways . If he’s going to criticize single mothers and deadbeat fathers as the problem, then he needs to criticize HIS OWN single-mother-who-didn’t-close-her-legs and HIS OWN deadbeat-father-who-didn’t-stay. Obviously Obama’s mother didn’t choose her man well either, as he dumped her before the baby came. Do we criticize her too and tell her she should have “kept her legs closed” like you all are so happy to tell Black women? Or tell Obama’s father about how he is a deadbeat who may have led Obama to failure and a gangbanger? Please.

      Everyone, including other Black people should get out of the black communities bedrooms and start dealing with the REAL reasons for violent crime in America.

    • Anon

      Obama was raised by an Asian step-father and White grandparents. That’s the difference.

      ““single mothers” or “missing fathers”. That is just not the reason for the crime.” 9 times out of 10 that IS the reason for crime. Yes, children from single parent households are MORE likely to commit crimes, have out of wedlock children, not graduate high school (much less college), you name it.

    • The Other Jess

      Anon, you’re reaching there. I mean really. Again, the overwhelming majority of the children from single parent households in the Black community are not doing the crime. A small percentage of youth are guilty of many crimes. The problem is so much more than single mother/absent father, for the Black community as mush as the white and broader American community.

      Your argument is that Black people should solve the violence problem oall on our own, and she be removed from seeking solutions through broader societal policies and legislation. That is blatantly unfair and ultimately racist.

      When criminals harm people in white communities, to the point that those communities can no longer deal with the crime on their own, they ask for help form government and other powerful bodies that can do a more effective job than they. Why shouldn’t black people ask the same?
      Many Black communities are much poorerer than white or Asian communities and do not have the resources to do violence-preventing initiatives, such as renovating abandoned buildings in order to eliminate gang hideouts or building large scale entertainment and retail centers so that youth have more to do than hang out on the streets. Black communities need HELP, not insulting preaching.

      White communities acannot solve the violence problems on their own so they are asking for help. Black communities canot solve the violence problems on our own so we are asking for help too. There is absolutley nothing wrong with that.

    • The Other Jess

      BTW, Anon, my parents both had single mothers, and they were not raised by whites or Asians, and they came out great, just as I did. Successful, professional, well-traveled. What, you think that only Asians and whites can keep a Black child from becoming a gangbanger or pregnant teen and lead them to success?

      Your statement is pathetic and scary in it’s self hate, if you are black. You truly believe Black people are inferior.

    • Joy

      Thee: So school us. What are the REAL reason(s) for violent crime in America? I don’t know about you; but I for one realize there are many reasons. Again….what’s your take on the (reasons). And while you’re at it please give your take on why some people overcome obstacles, and some people don’t?

    • Tara

      Wait a minute. Obamas mother MARRIED his father and his father had a PhD. She took a calculated risk. She did not expect what she got. I KNOW black women who get pregnant by someone that they KNOW dont want a kid by them. Women who KNOW that he has other kids by other women and dont take care of those kids. Women who have kids by men that they KNOW dont love them. It’s like marrying a dream guy and it turning into a nightmare. A lot of black women know that the guy was a knucklehead. A lot of African men talk a good game. But let’s keep in mind they were married and educated. She was a divorced mother not a baby mama like a lot of black women.

    • .Correction Obama was raised by his mother and step father after that they sent him back to Hawaii to be raise by his grandmother and his grandfather until he left to go to college in California, he was never raised by a single mother read his book he always had two parents.

    • Anon

      @The other Jess,

      Yeah, miss me with that “self-hate” shame and apply it to someone where it would be true.

      Obama wasn’t raised in a poor black communiity, he was raised with MEN in the homes for the majority of his childhood and in communities where children weren’t running the streets with guns.

      “to the point that those communities can no longer deal with the crime on their own, “–> White communities usually don’t let it GET to that point in the first place.

      “violence-preventing initiatives,”–> That used to be called EFFECTIVE parenting, usually within a functioning community.

    • Bingo! You deserve a prize! I guess my mom was right…hit dogs do holler…and can we STOP the “well white people or non-black people do it too and have such in such…” who gives a damn we are worried about OUR community and the people in it. Just because others do it doesn’t make your sh*t stink less, sh*t is sh*t wake up people.

    • Standing ovation. I’d venture to say that irresponsible parenting is the LEADING cause of our problems in the community today. We have worked hard to legally lessen the effects of institutional racism but now our attention MUST turn inward. Babies you aren’t prepared for will practically guarantee struggle and hardship.

    • That’s right guest that’ll do it !!

      Let’s beat on black men!t easy!! It’s fun ! It’s safe!!

      And you don’t even have to call black women into question for their choices in men or their sexual behavior!

      Forget about mass incarceration!Forget about job discrimination!Forget about hustoric ant-black male bias!Forget about about black women willingly having children out of wedlock!No we’ll just blame that bad ol’ black man and get away scot free.

    • Anon

      Wah Wah Wah.

      Mass incarceration–> quit committing crimes.

      Job discrimination–> We get it too, and?

      Historic black male bias?–> What group of women is daily degraded by men in their community for profit, and sold as a form of entertainment with NOT ONE male detractor?

      Who exactly is getting away scot free? These kids are being raised by someone, somewhere. Didn’t say it was always WELL, but they’re going home to somebody’s house.

    • Nic

      Seriously, he’s a black man and a good husband and father. So not only does he know what he’s talking about, he’s exactly who a lot of the people running away from their responsibilities need to hear from-a real father figure.
      There are real problems that plague our communities and the lack of stable family units is a HUGE one. He turned his moment of compassion into a teachable moment. B/c that little girl WAS killed b/c of the problems in her community. The kids killed in Connecticut were killed in SPITE of having good families, but to get mad that “he didn’t lecture the white people” is ridiculous.
      If black kids were getting killed in spite of having married parents and present mothers and fathers and no drug use or gangs plaguing the neighborhoods, it would be a different conversation.
      White kids get killed at school by angry white boys and men. Black kids get killed b/c of imploding families, gangs, and drugs. And someone needs to talk about that or it will never end.

      If he didn’t talk about it, people would be whining that he is ignoring black people and communities, or ignoring his own blackness.

    • JNoire

      *standing ovation* Everything you said is truth. Thank you! I was thinking the same thing! You put it so eloquently.

    • JNoire

      *standing ovation* Guest1234 Everything you said is truth. Thank you! I was thinking the same thing! You put it so eloquently.

  • kylieky

    I don’t understand your dismay at his speech. To solve a problem, you need to get to the root of it and that is what I believe he was doing. If these same boys running around Chicago had decent fathers at home to begin with, then they wouldn’t be shooting each other like animals. The issue is not that he is reiterating the message, it’s that enough people are not reiterating it.

    I also don’t understand you Connecticut analogy. Why the hell would he be giving a speech like that in Newtown Connecticut? Do you know the demographics on families there?

    • the root of the problem for black people is the system of white supremacy which teaches that black people are somehow worse than others.

      did the crazy white mass killers have fathers in the house? did you hear it even mentioned? no?

    • kylieky

      You are right. White supremacy is the root of the problem. It has really messed our people up when you consider the fact that hundreds of years later they have unshackled us and we are now the ones oppressing, enslaving, and killing ourselves.

    • Kaeli

      Ok, white supremacy is the root of the problem…now what. It’s time for BLACK people to fix the problems created by years of white supremacy not sit down and just observe that that is causing us problems. The best way to fight white supremacy is the be successful. To have strong communities and strong families. To educate ourselves and take back the power over our lives. I agree that white supremacy has created issues but I refuse to let it hold me down.

      As far as your white mass killers with fathers in the home comment the answer is who cares. Like you said, black people have been dealt a different hand than white people therefore what might contribute to issues in one community might not be the issue in the other. The “crazy white male mass killer” is in no way the norm. These incidents might make the news but it isn’t an everyday occurrence. The drug dealers and gang members committing senseless acts of violence over perceived disrespect and stealing is. Let’s focus on viable ways to uplift our communities and stop focusing our much needed effort asking useless questions.

    • AnGe

      Actually the media did bring up the upbringing of the the Sandy murderer. They analyzed his relationship with his mother and how troubled it was.

      The media often brings up the issue of the “broken home” when it comes to white murderers. Even with columbine, the media looked into bullying and lack of structure in schools and of course that same old gun control routine. They evaluated the relationship with the parents and their lack of supervision.

      Long story short, everyone has issues. Why get bent outta shape when someone talks about one of ours?

    • The Other Jess

      i’m sorry, but i’m agreeing with JAMESFRMPHILLY on this one. It’s tiring. If Obama was going to give this speech on parenting, he should have done the same at Sandy Hook and other centers of white violence.

      I agree with James – how are Hadiya Pendleton’ss murderers any different than Joan Benet Ramsey’s murderers? Are white criminals parents blamed, or instead, does law enforcement actually go about the business of doing their jobs and go after the killers?

      When the victim is white, we go after the killers and write policy and legislation. When the victim is Black we blame every other Black person who has nothing to do with the crime, from the parents to the secretary or construction worker down the block .

      It’s true that it is because we believe we are inferior and deserve less than others.

  • Apple

    But I thought lack of fathers was part of the big problem ? At least that’s the theory I’ve been hearing for over a decade

  • Kacey

    The problem is not that what Obama is saying is wrong (it’s actually completely true) but it also seems to be the only thing he ever has to say when he’s addressing this crowd. It’s a lecture and an admonition and, for him, it’s the same-ole-same-ole. Fatherless homes are definitely part of the problem, but not the only problem. The production and availability of these weapons is also a problem. The sentencing for gun-related crimes is also a problem. The lack of jobs for a disenfranchised community is also a problem. How about Obama stop dusting-off and recycling the same speech every time he has to address the black community.

    • why would he do that? he has tapped into a rich vein of black self hate. he plys it expertly. black people love to hear how terrible we are. how it’s all our own fault. we eat that stuff up.

    • Guess

      I’ve always been ambivalent about Obama’s ability to directly relate to Black ppl. He seems to be very disconnected in general – shallow & wishy washy. I’m starting to believe he truly has no real platform or insight into our issues. The statements about Us shuffling around in houseslippers & statements about fatherlessness are completely incongrouos. Just as one blogger pointed out, he didn’t attempt to address mental health issues or the security breach in the Connecticut school shooting. Deflection, projection & self-hatred are the order of the day… SMH

    • AnGe

      So do you believe that the current condition of African American people in this country is solely the fault of white supremacy? That there is nothing that can be done on our end to improve upon that condition?

      There is a long list of men, films, music, etc that do the very opposite of promoting family and unity in the black community. Why is it so wrong for Obama to be one person that actively promotes traditional family values?

      I’m sorry but everything is not the fault of white supremacy. And wanting to make improvements in the community and bring back the discipline, ingenuity, and organization clearly exhibited during the Civil Rights movement does not qualify as black hate and self loathing.

      @Chillyroad asked would we be so receptive if Michelle spoke out about children being born out of wedlock. Yes. Yes I would. I would welcome that kind of championing. Who cares what the stats show. That black fathers are more likely to stick around and yadda yadda yadda. Whats so wrong with wanting better. Wanting to see marriages reestablished. See more two parent homes. See fewer of us receiving government benefits. See less of us contracting HIV. See more of us in politics. See fewer of us incarcerated.

      There was just an article about Lil Wayne spewing out a bunch of trash in reference to Emmit Till. I see Obamas statements as providing some form of balance. A dominant public african american male figure actually putting out positive ideas. What’s wrong with that?

    • Skye

      @AnGe yes people find it so insulting that a black educated man with a wife and children would dare to address grown men of color. I have some issues with Obama but come on self-hater yet you have a bunch of males shooting each other up instead of white supremacy let’s talk about Black Supremacy. We can blame them for education and business(outside sources) but our personal and intimate relationships absolutely not it falls on us!

    • KnowYourHistory

      I haven’t been posting on Clutch for long, but one thing I’ve noticed RIGHT AWAY; James, is that you ain’t never lied, my dude. Props for enduring the Clutchettes’ disappointed wrath, as you constantly seek to keep their oft-bedazzled, rose-colored eyes on the true problem underlying the reason why blacks get leapfrogged over by every other group. It’s an inconvenient truth that Black women oftimes are a little too busy being fabulous, and accomodating to whites, to see.

      “we eat that stuff up.”

      Not black men; that’s why WE remain, largely “on the outs” with white people. Black women more readily go for the white people’s “okie-doke” WAY more readily than the men. That’s why Black men and male youth have to continually be marginalized. Black woman will follow white people ANYWHERE, as long as you dangle “God” in front of them, swath it in needless, overpriced “fashion”, ( as exemplified by the willingness to “follow” by altering their natural [hair] attributes ), or blame Black men and male youth.

      White people did NOT get to the top of the social-economic pyramid by adhering to the teachings that they foist on Black people in church on Sunday. Nope. White men got on top by virtue of the sword, and the firearm. They’ve maintained their REAL agenda and control in the backrooms of their clubs and “associations” on Saturday night. See, Black men have LONG peeped the white man’s hole card, LONG pulled the curtain back, LONG sought to be NATURAL MEN, and as a result we have LONG been ostracized, and marginalized.

      Black people will NEVER garner anything NEAR the commensurate wealth that whites have accumulated, by going to church, and “believing”; it’s not gonna happen.
      Despite their heavy p.r., whites DID NOT get to the top that way.

      Humans are human. I’ve always maintained that. It’s just that as a legacy of slavery, whites have ALWAYS had the financial wherewithal to construct their OWN image to be viewed by Black women, and the rest of the world.

    • Val


      I agree with you. Obama’s strategy is that if everyone in a failed community believes all the ills of that community are of their own making, then that relieves him and other politicians and society in general of any responsibility.

      Then they can all sit back and shake their heads at how terrible Black people are.

      The more difficult thing to do is rather than giving tired speeches to propose legislation to make these communities Free Trade Zones. to lobby business to being jobs in, to develop strategies for long-term investment.

      But, these days none of that is required because most Black people can’t see the forest for the trees. They have been brainwashed to believe that all of these ills are the fault of trifling Black folks.

      And when JamesfromPhilly mentions White Supremacy these folks attack him and defend White folks more than White folks would defend themselves.

      There are root causes and systematic issues that keep families in poverty for generations. These systems operate at full bore today but are much less conspicuous than they were decades ago. So, unfortunately many Black people think they don’t exist anymore and that these Black people just want to live like they are living.

      The greatest strength of White Supremacy is that it is able to convince the victims of it to defend it by denying its existence.

    • omfg

      just because a person doesn’t want to attribute all the ills of black people to white supremacy doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t acknowledge it exists and impacts people’s lives.

      what bothers me is when i hear black people like you who may be educated (college, etc.), professional, etc. address the situation in a way that excuses poor behaviour and effort of others even though you would never employs those low standards in your own life.

      white supremacy is alive. it sure is. but, the difference is you have rights as a black person – you CAN be educated. you CAN make a change in your life, even today. i look at my life and that of my 84 year old grandmother (a Louisiana high school drop out who was strict and emphasized education to her four children) and i can definitely see where racism kept her from achieving things.

      the mentality you support coddles people and makes it okay for them to have low expectations for themselves and those around them. if all you have to do is blame white people, you can never do anything.

      it’s simply a poor mentality to have. it contributes to a despairing mindset that pervades the black community. stop enabling bad behaviour.

    • PBR

      James, knowyourhistory and all the other men who have been posting about white supremacy. You may be right about the white man keeping you down, but to this date your approach to dealing with that white supremacy has FAILED. You have been FAILING the black community. Maybe you should be more open to listening to what barack obama and other successful married black men have to say about fatherhood, making money, loving women and building up the community.