Heres something Obama said I can get behind (of course it was in 2004)
- 11-07-2008, 11:14 AM
Heres something Obama said I can get behind (of course it was in 2004)
''Go into any inner-city neighborhood,'' Barack Obama said in his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, ''and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.'' In a speech filled with rousing applause lines, it was a line that many black Democratic delegates found especially galvanizing. Not just because they agreed, but because it was a home truth they'd seldom heard a politician say out loud.
Why has it been so difficult for black leaders to say such things in public, without being pilloried for ''blaming the victim''? Why the huge flap over Bill Cosby's insistence that black teenagers do their homework, stay in school, master standard English and stop having babies? Any black person who frequents a barbershop or beauty parlor in the inner city knows that Mr. Cosby was only echoing sentiments widely shared in the black community.
''If our people studied calculus like we studied basketball,'' my father, age 91, once remarked as we drove past a packed inner-city basketball court at midnight, ''we'd be running M.I.T.'' When my brother and I were growing up in the 50's, our parents convinced us that the ''blackest'' thing that we could be was a doctor or a lawyer. We admired Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, but our real heroes were people like Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Benjamin Mays and Mary McLeod Bethune.
Yet in too many black neighborhoods today, academic achievement has actually come to be stigmatized. ''We are just not the same people anymore,'' says the mayor of Memphis, Dr. Willie W. Herenton. ''We are worse off than we were before Brown v. Board,'' says Dr. James Comer, a child psychiatrist at Yale. ''And a large part of the reason for this is that we have abandoned our own black traditional core values, values that sustained us through slavery and Jim Crow segregation.''
Making it, as Mr. Obama told me, ''requires diligent effort and deferred gratification. Everybody sitting around their kitchen table knows that.''
''Americans suffer from anti-intellectualism, starting in the White House,'' Mr. Obama went on. ''Our people can least afford to be anti-intellectual.'' Too many of our children have come to believe that it's easier to become a black professional athlete than a doctor or lawyer. Reality check: according to the 2000 census, there were more than 31,000 black physicians and surgeons, 33,000 black lawyers and 5,000 black dentists. Guess how many black athletes are playing professional basketball, football and baseball combined. About 1,400. In fact, there are more board-certified black cardiologists than there are black professional basketball players. ''We talk about leaving no child behind,'' says Dena Wallerson, a sociologist at Connecticut College. ''The reality is that we are allowing our own children to be left behind.'' Nearly a third of black children are born into poverty. The question is: why?
Scholars such as my Harvard colleague William Julius Wilson say that the causes of black poverty are both structural and behavioral. Think of structural causes as ''the devil made me do it,'' and behavioral causes as ''the devil is in me.'' Structural causes are faceless systemic forces, like the disappearance of jobs. Behavioral causes are self-destructive life choices and personal habits. To break the conspiracy of silence, we have to address both of these factors.
''A lot of us,'' Mr. Obama argues, ''hesitate to discuss these things in public because we think that if we do so it lets the larger society off the hook. We're stuck in an either/or mentality -- that the problem is either societal or it's cultural.''
It's important to talk about life chances -- about the constricted set of opportunities that poverty brings. But to treat black people as if they're helpless rag dolls swept up and buffeted by vast social trends -- as if they had no say in the shaping of their lives -- is a supreme act of condescension. Only 50 percent of all black children graduate from high school; an estimated 64 percent of black teenage girls will become pregnant. (Black children raised by female ''householders'' are five times as likely to live in poverty as those raised by married couples.) Are white racists forcing black teenagers to drop out of school or to have babies?
Mr. Cosby got a lot of flak for complaining about children who couldn't speak standard English. Yet it isn't a derogation of the black vernacular -- a marvelously rich and inventive tongue -- to point out that there's a language of the marketplace, too, and learning to speak that language has generally been a precondition for economic success, whoever you are. When we let black youth become monolingual, we've limited their imaginative and economic possibilities.
These issues can be ticklish, no question, but they're badly served by silence or squeamishness. Mr. Obama showed how to get the balance right. We've got to create as many opportunities as we can for the worst-off -- and ''make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life.'' But values matter, too. We can't talk about the choices people have without talking about the choices people make.
- 11-07-2008, 11:15 AM
I like the author's style as well particularly the sentiment at the end
But values matter, too. We can't talk about the choices people have without talking about the choices people make.
11-07-2008, 11:47 AM
Whats the point of posting all these threads? Is it going too change the election? Im sure 4-5 years ago you would be spouting "Support the president in time of war" rhetoric, but now when its an ethnicity you dont like you've found countless ways to try and attack him.
I dont like obama, not because bill oreilly/rush limbaugh convinced me hes bad, but for my own reasons.
Why dont you post up similar articles quoting George Bush, then arbitrarily attack southern redneck a$$holes.
11-07-2008, 11:59 AM
I'm not sure how posting this is an attack. Did you actually read it? Its a sentiment that I am supportive of...
whats the point of most of the threads here on AM? Conversation between people
11-07-2008, 12:23 PM
future...how do you come up with your own political views without reading, listening, and talking with others?
11-07-2008, 01:58 PM
The point of posting is education. We read, therefore we learn.
I am happy to live in a country where i can openly criticize those in power without fear of repercussion.
For the past 20 or so years, we have chosen "political correctness" over identifying the problem and seeking out solutions. We werent allowed to criticize the fact that 64% of black teenagers end up pregnant.. its still deemed racist in some circles. We didnt have the statistics to back up this information.
If we want to evolve into a diverse nation under the leadership of a culturally diverse president which 97% of black voters voted for we need to stop being suppressed by political correctness and start working towards joint solutions for the betterment of the country and the economy.
The less people dependent on welfare, the more money and buying power in our economy.
Good post easy
while i attest obama's ties to sallie mae, freddie mac, negative amortization loans, and the source collapse of the housing industry.... i do hope he is separated enough from lobbyists to clean up some of washingtons trash... but i wont bet on it
11-07-2008, 02:02 PM
To go on with my personal philosophy here, back when I had more free time (before I started working out, and only had 1 kid) I spent a significant amount of my free time working to set up and provide computer systems in inner city low income areas. I called companies looking for machines they were willing to donate, re-imaged drives, put educational + productivity software on them, set them up in community centers, etc. I can see that maybe we do have to give a little more opportunity for the young kids, but they and their parents have to take the opportunity and put their effort in as well.
11-07-2008, 03:31 PM
11-07-2008, 03:34 PM
it was more that i've finally found something I like, even it if it older, and an initiative i'd support if he presses forwards with it. I actually find it far more reliable than what he's said more recently as he wasn't running a presidential campaign at the time.
11-07-2008, 03:35 PM
11-07-2008, 03:37 PM
11-07-2008, 03:46 PM
Well, I still think his taxation plans are a complete financial disaster, but thats another topic....
I'm hoping I can find something he plans that I can support. He's said he's going to be a post partisan president, so i'm trying to see what pieces of his policies and beliefs align with either my conservative or progressive policies. This seems like an extension of some of Bush's compassionate conservatism, which was one of the things I liked about Bush. Give people opportunity, dont just throw money at them though, make them contribute as well.
11-07-2008, 04:36 PM
Easy, while I appreciate your effort, all of your negativity (not so much in this thread) is making you come off badly my friend. The election is over, and right now the dems are in control. I hope that as an American, you will get behind the current administration and hope for the best. Who knows, in 2012, if it still has not been fixed, the American people will get the chance to make a dramatic statement again the way they did this past Tuesday.
11-07-2008, 04:49 PM
11-07-2008, 05:13 PM
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