Obama Calls for More Responsibility From Black Fathers

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posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 06:07 PM
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NY Times

On Fathers day...



CHICAGO — Addressing a packed congregation at one of the city’s largest black churches, Senator Barack Obama on Sunday invoked his own absent father to deliver a sharp message to black men, saying “we need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn’t just end at conception.”

In an address that was striking for its bluntness and where he chose to give it, Mr. Obama directly addressed one of the most delicate topics confronting black leaders: how much responsibility absent fathers bear for some of the intractable problems afflicting black Americans. Mr. Obama noted that “more than half of all black children live in single-parent households,” a number that he said had doubled since his own childhood.

“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.”


This is a controversial subject, I know. And I hope we can keep it civil.

I agree with this stance. That's certainly not to let white absentee fathers off the hook. But I want, for this country, all races, for families to take responsibility, realize the consequences of actions and buck up and do the right thing and act with personal responsibility.

I want true equality and one... ONE... way that people can help to that end is to stay and take care of the babies they make. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see Obama touching on this subject. HE needs to be the one talking about it. Not me, not white people. This is the kind of change that needs to come from within.

One of the reasons I'm voting for Obama is because of his race. NOT simply because he's black, but because of what that means to our country. He is the hope of people who have, for many years, lived in an unfair and cruel place. And he is a leader who can get the message across.

Thoughts?




posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

This is a controversial subject, I know. And I hope we can keep it civil.
Thoughts?


Why would this even be a controversial subject?

Have we really sunk this far in the world where it's controversial to suggest that fathers take care of the kids???? And that any politician (not just Obama) gets praised for telling this to fathers? And giving this message is portrayed as if he's done something courageous??

Put another way, what could anybody possibly argue about with Obama's message:

"No Barry.... you got it all wrong.... Why should I have to stay home and take care of my own kids??? Can't you see I'm black man! Doesn't that give me a right to walk out on my family???"

I mean c'mon.... this is no more controversial than telling kids to brush their teeth. Of course Obama is 100% right in every word he said. I'm just not sure why it's newsworthy or controversial.

And um.... I'm pretty sure we can keep this civil.



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:11 AM
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reply to post by jamie83
 


I guess you missed all of the backlash that Bill Cosby got from the black community for saying the same thing. It is a controversial subject.

[edit on 17-6-2008 by Karlhungis]



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:19 AM
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I certainly agree with this, but he should have included all races and color.

I dont think he's doing himself any good segregating issues now.

I hope, as undecided as i am, that he gets the presidency and not

Bush #2, McCain.

Obama is now our only hope. If he speaks in general terms things will go better.

We need to pray for him (those of us who do)



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:49 AM
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Originally posted by Karlhungis
reply to post by jamie83
 


I guess you missed all of the backlash that Bill Cosby got from the black community for saying the same thing. It is a controversial subject.



Help me out. What was the controversy? What possible backlash could the black community dish out for somebody saying that fathers should be responsible and take care of their kids???

Seriously, if there was any backlash, it couldn't have been from saying fathers should be more responsible. It had to be something else, right?



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 01:32 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Um... that's not what he said. I had this same conversation at a black political blog earlier today, and they were all mad at me.

He did not single out black men.



"But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

You and I know how true this is, ["especially"*] in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households..."

"...even as we face difficult circumstances, there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers – whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb. "
Text


While I agree that some black men have slacked off in their responsibilities, some white, hispanic, and whatever else men are doing the same thing. Last I checked, marriage was not trending upwards in this country.

This is a message men of all colors need to hear.



*The text of the speech is the written version. Public speakers sometimes change, or ad lib, depending on the circumstance. I watched the speech several times on C-span and clips on MSNBC. He said "especially in the black community."



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 01:44 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie

He did not single out black men.


I'm confused. You said he did not single out black men, but...



"But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

You and I know how true this is in the [*especially] African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households..."

"...even as we face difficult circumstances, there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers – whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb. "
Text



Even with the "especially" added it's still sounding like he's saying the problem is worse in regard to black men.



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:09 AM
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Originally posted by jamie83
I'm confused. You said he did not single out black men, but...

Even with the "especially" added it's still sounding like he's saying the problem is worse in regard to black men.

Yeah, I'm having this discussion with the bf right now, actually.

The overarching theme of the speech was: Fathers, be there for your kids, either in body or in mind, and teach them the values of excellence and empathy. You do your part, and the government will do ours.

He obviously tailored the speech to the audience. Since it was a black church, and he's black, he felt comfortable enough to talk about the issue in the context of the black family.

However, the over-arching theme remains, for all fathers. For example,



It’s a wonderful thing if you are married and living in a home with your children, but don’t just sit in the house and watch “SportsCenter” all weekend long. That’s why so many children are growing up in front of the television. As fathers and parents, we’ve got to spend more time with them, and help them with their homework, and replace the video game or the remote control with a book once in awhile. That’s how we build that foundation.

We know that education is everything to our children’s future. We know that they will no longer just compete for good jobs with children from Indiana, but children from India and China and all over the world. We know the work and the studying and the level of education that requires.


Unless white people have a secret plan as to how their children will avoid the effects of globalization and thereby not "compete for good jobs with ... children from India and China and all over the world", he's talking about our children, all of them. (btw, I don't have kids, "our" in the patriotic sense
)


edit to clarify

[edit on 17-6-2008 by HarlemHottie]



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:13 AM
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The overarching theme of the speech was: Fathers, be there for your kids, either in body or in mind, and teach them the values of excellence and empathy. You do your part, and the government will do ours.


The government will do their part? Just what is that part supposed to be?



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:18 AM
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reply to post by jetxnet
 


Did you read it?



We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices and harder for those who avoid them. We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.
Again, text



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:49 AM
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You know the Irony in this is that it will probably be a BLACK MAN that assasinates him if he makes it into the Oval office.

"Uncle tom sale out"

wouldn't in the least surprise me.

[edit on 17-6-2008 by menguard]



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 02:58 AM
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We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit


Larger income tax credit? How about a income tax credit. Father's who pay child support get 0 as it is. The only way is if they have had the child in their custody for at least 6 months out of the year, but that falls more into shared custody.

If Obama really wants to help Fathers who pay child support, how about changing the over-bloated child support formula that determines the monthly cost?

The formula is so rediculous, that it factors in money you don't even have access to at the time (or if you ever will) like retirement income.

Creating new taxes and then income credits doesn't lower those payments or give anything back longer term.

How about not making it so easy for these mothers that are having children as a business for getting income from multiple fathers, from having a kid every 2-3 years, to get the new checks and welfare benefits?

To me, that would be addressing the problem.



posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
Um... that's not what he said.


*What* is not what he said? I quoted an article.



He did not single out black men.


He was not exclusive, but like you said, he tailored his message to his audience and said, "especially the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households..." It's splitting hairs to say that he didn't single out black men. Please read my entire post and you'll see that I understand that he was talking about fathers in general. And so was I.



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 06:01 AM
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Originally posted by dgtempe
I hope, as undecided as i am, that he gets the presidency and not
Bush #2, McCain. Obama is now our only hope.


Just a few months ago you were sure he was the anti-christ.
So how did he go from being the anti-christ to 'our only hope'??



Originally posted by menguard
You know the Irony in this is that it will probably be a BLACK MAN that assasinates him if he makes it into the Oval office.

oh geeeeeze .. don't even go there. no no no



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 06:22 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 



Obama is just echoing the idea behind the 'Million Man March'...

wasn't that several years ago...and the shortlived passions fizzled out on that 'taking responibility' movement.



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
*What* is not what he said? I quoted an article.

For clarity's sake, the quote would have been more apparent if you had put it in quotation marks. As it stands, it appears as though they're your words. I get where you're coming from with the rest of your post, but I felt the need to make it clear that those were not his words.

I apologize for my 'tone' (haha), but I'm a bit touchy about this because I knew the media would frame it this way. So, now, instead of a conversation about fathers spending more time with their kids and raising them right, we're talking about black fathers, again.

Meanwhile, white fathers (and mothers) are still doing stuff like this, sans national discussion on white parents stepping up to the (non-murderous) plate.

Remember, black people are a minority, so whose ineptitude at parenting will have the larger effect on the country, numerically? The majority's.

And who aren't we talking about right now? The majority. As usual.



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 07:09 PM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
For clarity's sake, the quote would have been more apparent if you had put it in quotation marks. As it stands, it appears as though they're your words.


I still don't know what you're referring to. I put the quote in external source tags. Those clearly aren't my words.

But anyway... I hear what you're saying. AND I'm sure you know that it's a big talking point among certain people that "black fathers abandon their children". And that's why this is good. Bear with me. Because anyone who would be thinking that Barack Obama is going to give black people a big break of some kind - and are afraid of that - can see that he's calling for accountability in the black community. That's a good thing because people who might be afraid of Obama because of his race might have second thoughts about their fears. Do you see what I mean?



So, now, instead of a conversation about fathers spending more time with their kids and raising them right, we're talking about black fathers, again.


Don't you agree that it would be a great improvement for the black community if the percentage of fathers who abandon their children would decrease to the same percentage of white fathers who abandon their children?

Yeah, white people still do bad things and always will. But should the percentages be more equal?

We NEED to talk about black fathers. It's an issue. It stands out. Anytime there's a concentrated problem like that it's important to look at it. No, it doesn't excuse what white people do.

I don't see anything wrong with talking about black fathers. Again. Just because white parents aren't perfect is no reason to ignore the obvious problem in the black community.



Remember, black people are a minority, so whose ineptitude at parenting will have the larger effect on the country, numerically? The majority's.


Oh, come, on, HH. Do you think that's my concern? Numbers? This is not about blame. I want equality. I want black kids to grow up with self-respect and security. I want them to have the same opportunities as everyone else. And one way to make that more likely is to talk about black fathers, Again.


If 50% of white kids were growing up without a father, we'd damn sure be talking about that.

[edit on 18-6-2008 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 07:16 PM
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It is a controversial issue because is an issue that affect many communities and families around our nation.

I live in the south I see first hand how hard is for mothers around here to get support for their children when it comes to the fathers.

But is not limited to black fathers but also white and any other race even Spanish now in the south that are becoming a growing problem when it come to abandoning their women and children, because many are illegal is easier to disappear.



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by HarlemHottie
The overarching theme of the speech was: Fathers, be there for your kids, either in body or in mind, and teach them the values of excellence and empathy. You do your part, and the government will do ours.


Fathers should be there in BOTH body and mind. There is no "OR" when you're dealing with raising another human life. If you take the "OR" position you are slacking in your responsibilities, period. And there are more important values than just excellence and empathy. You know, like "love" for starters. And then there's responsibility, trust, honesty, loyalty, care, discipline, attention, warmth, compassion. Yep, having Dad around is a big plus. But, it also helps if Dad has his act together, because if he doesn't he'll be nothing but a bad influence and not a good role model at all.


Originally posted by HarlemHottie
You do your part, and the government will do ours.


What does this mean?
Actually, the government shouldn't do anything at all. Raising a kid is a personal responsibility, not the government's responsibility. There should be no rewards or perks. You had them, you take care of them (or find a way.......but don't depend on Uncle Sam or my tax money).



posted on Jun, 18 2008 @ 08:42 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I still don't know what you're referring to.

The title, which is the title of the article you referenced, and not your own words.



That's a good thing because people who might be afraid of Obama because of his race might have second thoughts about their fears. Do you see what I mean?

I see what you mean, but I don't think Obama should have to "throw [black men] under the bus" to assuage the fears of some voters. And I don't think he did. Instead, I believe his words are being spun that way.



Don't you agree that it would be a great improvement for the black community if the percentage of fathers who abandon their children would decrease to the same percentage of white fathers who abandon their children?

What are the percentages? The reason I ask is, I'm wondering how they gauge how many kids are "abandoned". Like, is it just the kids whose parents aren't married? Do they include the children of parents who are separated or divorced? Or do they have some kind of "how much time do you spend with your kid" metric? That information would greatly influence this conversation.



But should the percentages be more equal?

A lot of things should be equal, yet aren't, like remuneration for the same work and incarceration rates for the same crimes. Could that be the root of the problem? We'll never know if our sole focus is the pathology of the black man (ie, what's wrong with them that they won't raise their kids).

Again, not making excuses. Stating facts.



We NEED to talk about black fathers.

That's the problem. White people (no offense to you, hon, I know your heart is in the right place), and a whole bunch of middle-class blacks, insist on talking about black men, instead of to them. Have you ever heard of such an experiment? Asking them? I haven't.

When I talk to them in real-life, it's usually the same reason: life was good until their girlfriend had the baby, then she started to ask for money he didn't have. The guys usually try out a few minimum-wage jobs with no potential for advancement and find the money isn't enough. Meanwhile, the kid has needs. So, they take some kind of under the table job (no taxes), or start hustling, and we all know where that leads. At that point, the mother of the child writes him off and finds another way to get the money, all the while, thinking poorly of the father because he was unable to "provide.

A series of poor choices, no doubt, but the people we're talking about are usually very young (16-25), the years when we don't expect especially good judgment.

In effect, young black women buy into the American ideal of a male who provides for their families, are disappointed, and take it out on the fathers of their children.

So, instead of blame, they need jobs with potential. It really is that simple.

If you wanted to know...




If 50% of white kids were growing up without a father, we'd damn sure be talking about that.

If those "blue-collar" jobs don't come back, we might be having that conversation in a few years.





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