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  • David Amakobe

    If you were born in America, and you are Latino or Black, you should already know the lay of the land. You know that by birth, you will start off with a lower credit score, you will need to work twice as hard to earn half as much recognition and to avoid "trouble" with the Law. You will need to know how to navigate the many barriers that have erected physically, socially,psychologically and legally to keep you in your place. If you are a man then you know that you very being in threatening to society. Those are the facts, that is the hand that every young Latino and black person is dealt in the USA.
    Then you are expected to trust the system, because any early flag that you do not trust or conform will be used against you throughout your life. It's also a fact that systems and altitudes are like tankers, you cannot stop or turn them very fast!
    We know that any human relationship is rocky and it takes commitment to remain in one. Marriage is a special relationship that is even rockie, but it provides stability to children if they can find it. Considering these facts, taking into account that the system makes it more profitable to be a single mother, Latino and Black men have to navigate minefields in the homes just to remain there! I actually know two of three cases where case officers advised benefits applicants that it would be better if they were single parents - two of them took the advice!
    Many people responding say that Obama should not say what he says but it needs to be said, and everyone need to look in the mirror.
    Anytime someone says something need to be done by another, for them to succeed, I shutter because at the end of the day Latino and Black men and women will have to work within the system, navigating until they have the controls to change it, otherwise nobody cares!
    I agree with the president, we are our brothers keeper but the brother need to recognize the lay of the land and stop punching the brick wall!

    • John Hardman

      David, I believe you are correct that the solution lies in having marginalized people work within the system to affect change. Much of the problems are not just the absence of fathers, but the sad, neutering of black/brown men in our economy and government. Their children see no hope in joining or confronting the system and often chose to work around the system, dropping out or joining a community of crime. Both fathers and mothers need to become part of society and demand full participation in business and government. It will not be easy. The President is shamed and ridiculed mercilessly, but he is leading by example and showing his daughters that there is a price to pay for personal power and self esteem. No one owes this to you and, yes, it takes hard work, but the result is worth the labor.

  • Jelena Woehr

    Reiterating these stereotypes is bad for fathers, bad for mothers, and bad for children. If the President says over and over in public that he thinks young men can't "keep out of trouble" if their fathers live outside the home, I would imagine that may make youths with fathers living in another household feel predestined to fail. And when you tell single mothers from the presidential pulpit that they're inadequate without a live-in partner, again, that potentially has an effect on how they view their parenting ability. That kind of stigmatization is pervasive enough in society already without help from the President to keep it alive...

    Now what do we need to do to get the Presidential speechwriting team to read your post? This messaging seemed like it started shortly after the President was inaugurated, and it hasn't let up for very long since.

    • PiperAnn

      Black women should not feed into the white woman, "we don't need a man in the home" It is only to their benefit. A family is a family and it needs every parent present. Since the woman power movement began, it has only been to the white women power benefit. Black women are left without men, many of us really do want but tell our self we don''t because of the loud mouths of white women because to feel successful we have been taught to look at them as an example when we have always been in the work force before they got their "RIGHTS" to work. we always took care of our homes and our mans. we already did it all. We never needed the white womans voice to tell us what we need or don't need. Most of our men are in jail or has other issues and they easily grab up the ones that are successful again for their own benefit because of women like this one here. Young men of color can't keep out of trouble because your people target them at an early age to be criminals. They systematically wait for the first opportunity to throw the book at them unlike your boys that get more chances because of course white boys have the potential to "DO" something with their lives. First get an education on other people then try to speak about their situation....better yet...don't. Keep it to yourself.

    • Melinda Anderson

      Actually it started before inauguration. This rhetoric traces back to Senator (and candidate) Obama in 2008. It is insidious because for him to make blaming black fathers the underpinning of every statement to/about black youth. When he propagates these myths, it permeates everything and how everyone views black families and children.

      • PiperAnn

        Sorry, I agree with Obama. He has a black wife who probably also understands this because they both probably have family members who experiences this also. Black families has been systematically targeted to not live together as a real family. This is the result of slavery. A symptom of post traumatic slave disorder. While white families pride them self on being a unity, that they never gave our men nor women a chance to be. This has caused serious issues in our men and fathers loyalty to our people. As a black woman, I know you are aware of these issues. After slavery they still couldnt work where they want, live where they want nor socialize where and how they want...they were still kelpt under restraint of slums and grunt work even though they were good enough, smart enough and educated and civil enough to everyone they meet. It didnt matter what they did. The hopelessness does have a lasting affect that affect even generations afterwards. Many of or men and fathers, lets not lie to ourself would rather marry and have babies and raise babies with a white woman because it is easier for him...because it is a sign of there being successful in the white mans world...because there kids would have a better chance at least they think. Obama as a black man without being raised with a father, knows this all to well and he dated white women whom he could never have married...not she said...he had to show a strong black front to his people if he was in politics but because she did not understand him. She lived under the "He's not really black" idea and I'm sure the question of why are those people so angry, made him not want to look her ever again. My daughter is by bi-racial and her being bi-racial has not sparred her from the black experience even though she is a none threatening girl. Could you imagine Obamas expereince especially in the Ivy league crowd? This is not a stereo-type, that he is spouting about black youth...he knows from experience. Don't you think he had black boys as friends growing up? Obama has definitely had the black experience...even though he dont always depict it. The man has class. I think he may be one of the finest men to ever live aside my dad. No one never knows what he's thinking...what he intends...but by God...It always works out good doesn't it? Only by the hands of God. I like him if nothing else and learn never to underestimate his decisions or words.

      • marvinlzinn

        I live next to a town with highest crime and poverty in the area. Some of it is for segregation and prejudice, but complaining about that is no help with the problem. Disagreements do not need to cause conflict.

        I particularly recognize children who never know who their father's were, and most likely was was a drug seller to the mother. Yes, the drug dealer should be removed from society, but the mother has equal responsibility for accepting it. Either way, a lot of dispute solves nothing.

        I occasionally attend some churches there, and pray for the efforts of the pastors who do all they can to teach what it right. Only few citizens will attend and some ignore, but it is the best they can do.

      • Jelena Woehr

        Wow, that I was not aware of. I thought it started with the presidency as a way to placate certain Ted Nugent-esque elements of the masses. I'll have to reread Audacity of Hope now that you've made me aware of that and see if I catch anything that the lens of my own experiences caused me to skip over previously.

        • PiperAnn

          You can simply just be quiet all together about something that has nothing to do with you. I don't understand why white women feel they have give their opinions on the lives of other people as if they have authority and experience at all. Please just stop. You dont know what is good for women of color. They dont want your advice at least I as a black woman has had enough of the white womans voice that is only for the benefit of themself. Lets not forget...while you all was fighting to be equal to your were fighting just as hard for black women to never be your equal. Just stop. Please. Go do something with your own people.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    This program is definitely a warm blanket as you said. The system really needs to change. We need kids to have access to the same opportunities- and that can only come with bringing the same education to all schools...wondering if there's really a solution.

    • Melinda Anderson

      Imani Perry made a cogent point in commenting on this initiative: "Philanthropy is not policy." The solution is policy that addresses systemic barriers and inequality. It's not enough to challenge black and Latino youth to try harder when the system is set up against them.