Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama’s Blast: Wrong Day?
I commend Barack Obama for recently pulling the coat of black men who help create children and then abandon them with such cowardice justification: “Any fool can make a baby, but it takes dedication and commitment to be a father.” So true! His personal history lends credence to his statement considering he is a product of a single mother. Again, I salute him for addressing an issue many fail to acknowledge is an MAJOR epidemic within the black community e.g. words from the typical black mother: ‘I can raise my son myself. I don’t need that Negro.’ Black women and their new destructive attitudes!

I remember when Bill Cosby commandingly uttered similar words to Barack’s. But, because he said it with such so called disdain for the neglectful behavior he was immediately reprimanded by scores of black men and women. Another truth teller shot down as an old quack because he said IT in a language that we all as black people knowingly understand: NO JIVE TALK, BUT STRAIGHT TALK. Cosby probably was beat-up relentlessly by Michael Eric Dyson-types because he aired our soiled laundry in ear shot of white people. A laundry that is well known by those folk we for some reason believe are not already aware that some of our black fathers are MIA. Just down-right losers who have evaded personal responsibility and accountability.

I also was amazed Barack Obama found it necessary to tell the truth at this time. Yes, he was at a black church delivering the message on Father's Day. The typical place these days where outlandish, but truthful dialect is shared with the world. He was on holy ground: ‘The Marvelous Black Church’. However, Mr. Obama has yet, during this campaign, to sit down with black leaders to discuss this critical matter. And, let’s be frank, it is not a serious campaign talking point considering he will be Everyone’s President. Righhht?

Barack waited to voice his opinion during a time when he was assured to receive A LOT of publicity, Father’s Day. A day Tim Russert’s family was more than likely praising him.

The national media carried Obama’s statements as their leading story concerning him all day Monday. Was this their way of reminding black people that the ‘leaders’ of the black family are chumps? We are well informed in this department. We have people like Barack Obama and Bill Cosby who have told us that we are America’s failures. Thanks, Barack. Thanks for highlighting the obvious, and not glorifying the JJ Steele’s, Harvey Johnson’s, Eric Johnson’s, and Patrick Medley’s. Four of MANY responsible black men! Just what we need: another indictment handed down by a black man in the pulpit of a black church.

The purpose of my commentary:

I am a little bothered that Obama blasted these black men on such a large scale on a day we should have been honoring the black fathers who take full custody of their children because momma is the deadbeat. Actually, I am so blown by the number of black women who have decided that they do not care to be a mother after birthing a child.

Perhaps, I am conflicted: Why be upset with Barack when I was not with Bill? Why the turn around this week when I spend countless hours criticizing with truth the black man?

One thing you can expect from me: TRANSPARENCY with the hopes my hypocrisy will be held up to criticism. At least I am admitting to it.

Inspired by effort to provide full disclosure while praying that you will have the same moment of reflection if you are guilty of what I have conveyed to you today or if hypocrisy taps you on the shoulder from time to time. What say you? More on Barack's Criticism of the black men deserving a reprimand:


Written by Muata.


Muata said...

Dr. Boyce Watkins Responds to Barack Obama via a letter. Read it below. Watkins and I share a few sentiments:

Dear Senator Obama,

I recently read about your Father's Day comments at a predominantly black church. In your remarks, you mentioned that too many black fathers are absent from the lives of their children. "We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception" were your words.

As a boy whose father abandoned him at birth, I applaud your commitment to strong fatherhood. I also agree 100% with your commitment to personal responsibility, for this is how I've lived my life. I do, however, have some questions for you:

1) If you have a message about the value of fatherhood, why did you wait to speak at a predominantly black church to give the message only to black parents? As a man who has taught mostly non-black students at the college level for the past 15 years, I can assure you that black parents do not have a monopoly on bad parenting. If I didn't know you better, I would believe that you somehow feel it is OK to criticize the black community, while the courage to "tell it like it is" wanes when you are speaking to an audience that is not black.

2) While we're attacking black fathers for the poor choices of some (not all) individuals in this group, did you make an equally valiant effort to hold the non-black community accountable for their extraordinarily high and equally devastating divorce rates? Divorce is arguably more detrimental to the well-being of a child, since one solid, consistent parent can be better than having two parents who fight like hell, rip your family apart and abruptly reduce your standard of living. I am not a bible thumper here, but it seems that if you are attacking black men for what some of us do wrong, you would construct an equivalent message to be shared with everyone. In fact, based on my experience working with CNN, part of me believes that if 99% of black men did everything right, the media and politicians would find joy in focusing on the 1% who make bad choices. That's why Michael Vick will always get more airtime than the hundreds of Morehouse Men who graduate from college every year.

3) Is Father's Day a time to celebrate the actions of wonderful fathers or to become obsessed with the choices of neglectful fathers? In spite of what you and others may lead the media to believe, black men have just as much of a commitment to black youth as white men. I would encourage you to be more optimistic in your Father's Day addresses in the future, as those of us who try to do the right thing find it ironic that politicians want to paint us with the brush created by men who do the wrong thing. I didn't spend Father's Day complaining about the one man who abandoned me. I spent that day celebrating the five men who were strong enough to take his place.

4) While you seem to have moved away from almost any discussion of race in your campaign, we as a black community (including myself) have continued to support you. However, I find it odd that one of the few times you feel comfortable mentioning race is when it is time to paint the entire black male community as a pack of neglectful fathers. I would have no problem with a message on the importance of good fatherhood were it delivered in a mixed race venue and left out the word "black". I know a lot of men who aren't black who could use such a message. In fact Senator Obama, I would prefer that you not even mention race in this election. I will continue to give you my support if you are race neutral, for I truly understand the political damage of you being painted as the "black candidate". However, if you decide that one sided attacks of African American males (who are already attacked, disdained and misrepresented by nearly every segment of society) is a way to get more votes, then I cannot give you my support. Yes, black men can do a better job, but so can white men, white women, black women and everyone else. The message of "What's wrong with you brothers?" is getting old and neglects personal responsibility that all of us play in the plight of our society. I am part of an organization (Brothers of the Academy) with hundreds of black male PhDs who are negatively impacted by these consistently harmful messages. To be honest brother, we are getting sick of it.

As I mentioned before Senator Obama, you have my vote. But I expect the same respect you give everyone else as you move forward with your candidacy. If you can give blanket affirmation to Israeli policies against the Palestinians, and you are not allowed to criticize White America for failing to even apologize for the atrocities of slavery, then I expect you to remember that many black men care for our children, just like everyone else.

We sir, are not animals. The same group of black men who created Flavor Flav and Willie Horton also created Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Boyce Watkins and Senator BARACK OBAMA. I hope you will keep this in mind.

Good luck in the election,
Dr. Boyce Watkins



Muata said...

Reader Responds:

I commend him. What better day to address the need of the Black Father returning to his roost and taking care of his young that Father’s Day?


Muata said...

Reader HJ Responds:

I did not mind Obama's words. I think we have some serious cultural
challenges that we as Blacks must address if we ever want to level the playing field in the U.S. I read somewhere that 70% of our children are born to single mothers. This has created that destructive attitude you
wrote about.


Muata said...

Muata Responds to HJ:

Were you in support of what Cosby said last year? He has made similar comments? Did you have a problem with Cosby?


Muata said...

Reader HJ Responds to Muata:

No I was not upset w/Cosby either. Blacks need to own our issues and
take steps to change them.


Muata said...

Muata Responds to HJ:

exactly. so true. we need to also focus on the message and not the man. i include myself in that recommendation. our focus needs to change. stop being so mesmerized by Barack and focus on the MESSAGE. why am i big on this: BECAUSE MAN WILL LET YOU DOWN. and, barack will because he is a darn politician!! wake-up people!


FREEDOM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FREEDOM said...

This goes to heart of how I see the black race now. We have to depend upon OURSELVES! NO ONE is coming to rescue us. NO ONE! We are it! God has given us all we need...EACH OTHER! We are his reflection. Look at the nearest black person to you and tell them it is up to you, me, us to fix the plague that is/has ruining/ruined the black race. NO ONE IS COMING TO RESCUE US BUT US! The task is up to each and every black face, Afrikan FACE in this world to pull together and help ourselves. Until we as a race awaken from our 400 plus sleep of thinking that white folks will give up their wealth to us and educate our children the way we want them too. Employ our men with decent jobs. We, my brothers and sisters will be waiting forever! We have to do it for ourselves. Black men are missing (MIA) because the are underemployed and unemployed. They are dealing with anger black women who are mad at them for having to depend on another race of men to provide for them. They are ashamed and mad as hell in the way America has mistreated them for centuries.

The welfare system was set up to separate the black man from the black woman. What does this system say to the black man? It says I will help your black woman and black child very little and keep them depended upon me, while you the black man cannot live with your family and support them even if this black man is underemployed and working hard. Even if this black man is doing the best he can and striving for so much more for him and his family by going out there in a rude cruel world to create a better life for him, his lady and his child/children. No, I say America and Obama on Sunday June 15, 2008 has FAILED the black father!

Stop TALKING about the black man and LISTEN to him. He has been telling you for centuries WHAT HE NEEDS AND HOW TO HELP HIM... SET HIM FREE...LISTEN TO HIM PLEASE!


Muata said...

Reader HJ responds to Muata:

My expectations for Obama are not to cure the ill of Black America. He
should not focus on that. He cannot focus on that. He is merely an
example of what we can do if you make the proper choices in life. I am
all for him but he is not our savior.


Muata said...

Muata responds to HJ:

Don't you believe he should focus on the issues within our communities? Reagan and Clinton created special task force to address issues that affected our community. Why not Barack? Is he concerned he will be looked unfavorably by white people because he is black? Possibly accused of 'helping black people too much'?

You, JJ, EJ, KJ, and I are examples also. It is too bad so many of us see him as a savior. With that focus on him he is bound to be viewed as 'bad president' when the changes do not occur when he is in office. Gas will not go down. We are not leaving Iraq. Healthcare will remain in shambles. He just does not have enough time to make the necessary changes. Too bad for Barack. He will be a sitting duck. A crucified modern day Jesus.


Muata said...

Reader HJ Responds to Muata:

These task forces did not accomplish much at all. Why is that? There is
help for those that want help now. Those that want out of the situation
will get out. Those that don't will continue to perpetuate it.

And we will get out of Iraq. There is nothing to be gained there. We
cannot control their oil, so we might as well leave now. Obama is
following the worst administration in recent history. Bush will be
considered a step below Jimmy Carter. And that is really bad. He has now where to go but up.


Muata said...

Reader KM Responds:

Like Rev. Wright said...it's not the person but the office that he is seeking. I love Obama as well but there is much to be discussed, challenged and yes even criticized. So once Obama gets in office he'll catch the heat and rightfully so. We cannot be silent over the next 4-8 years just because he's black. Anyone who thinks so just doesn't get it!!


"If you have no critics you'll likely have no success."
- Malcolm X

Muata said...

Muata Responds to KM:

we have to revamp the enitre process to make that change. we are in trouble, km! trouble. it is high time we as a people invest in us and stop focusing on meshing with this corrupt system.


Muata said...

KM responds to Muata:


"it is high time we as a people invest in us and stop focusing on meshing with this corrupt system."

All that effort that I put into standing up for Jena 6 changed me and I now think twice before standing up for black folks... don't run yet. I'm just being honest. I have a lot inside that I must either audio record or get on paper soon. I hope to share my reflections on it all at some point before the anniversary of that "event" that I foolishly thougt would turn into a "movement". Ha!

Black folks will never come together unless it's over a "bread and butter" issue. On a larger scale, folks are only worried about what affects their own family and things that are a DIRECT threat to food, clothing, shelter, and water. Anything beneath the surface will pass just like Jena.

I'm sorry...it's the cynic in me. Understand that I have watched my parents mortgage their entire lives for "the people" and it's tiring. Especially when people really don't give a ____.

I've been cursed with a heart for "the people"...so I'll continue to do what I do because that's my passion. To keep myself grounded I plan to focus on what I'm going to do instead of what "we" as a people need to do. I'm tired of being let down by my own community...so I'm changing my expectations.


Muata said...

Muata Responds to KM:


I have been where you are and just moved back to the place where I can begin to have a little faith in black folk. Let me tell ya: I devoted myself to the empowerment of us, and I got slapped in the face by ignorance, shiftlessness, foolishness, laziness, and un-motivated black people. I was giving back as a Program Director at an all black YMCA expecting my work to be appreciated. Guess what? It was not. Just recently, I returned to my giving and trusting ways, however, I am well aware we (black folk) are somewhat too far gone from our original roots. I just pray I am a difference maker for someone. If it is only my son so be it. Hang in there. Do quit! Do it for your higher power. Do it for our ancestors. We owe them so much. Don't be the black person to disrespect Malcolm and the others like him!!


Muata said...

Reader JS responds:

I think it was an absolutely perfect day and an the right scene and stage for Barack to raise this issue. This issue needs national attention, not black attention!My reasons for feeling this way are way too numerous to mention in an email, but I will give you a few.

1. Timing:

We have no more time to gingerly dance around this issue. Although the numbers are a little skewed, around 12% of all young black men in this country, ages 18-29 are incarcerated!! Thats about 250,000 young black males in the prime of their lives. These are some of the fathers that are not around for their children. I am sure that many of these young men did not have dads in their lives. We have got to reduce that number now!!!! This cycle cannot end just with assistance of the "black church". This is a systemic problem, aided by schools that fail our black kids, the police department that target black youth, the community that turns it back ills that face our children, and a justice system coerced by big business to help find a cheap labor pool! Barack is talk to the proper audience, AMERICA!

2. Our hard work for nothing!

As the father of two daughters, can I really expect my girls to find good black men to date and marry, if things dont change? I can do everything I can as a father to set a good example for my girls, for what a black man should be in this world, all to have it thrown away because there are too few good black young men to choose from! I can honestly say that I may not have an issue if my girls marry outside our race, but if I had a preference, it would be for them to find a strong black man to call their soulmate.I will not expect my girls to just settle for a descent brother, I want the best for my girls!! I am sure every other parent to a young black woman wants the same! The pool for these great guys is shrinking day by day, year by year, and I refuse to let all the hard work I have put into trying to raise 2 beautiful, strong black women go down the drain by getting with a deadbeat brotha!!

3. They are crying out for us.

As I visit schools and spend time with the young black men in my community, they show me that they are dying for our love and attention!! I often help a friend of mind whose job is to specifically "save troubled black youth'!! These young
men I encounter are intelligent, creative, funny, and full of life!
But they have no hope, very little faith, unapoligetically hurt and scared, and full of fear for life has in store for them! They are victims of one of the worst crimes of humanity!! They are deprived of love from a person that they are connected with for life, all the way down to the very blood that runs through their veins!! The black community needs to know that our children are hurting. But white teachers and counselors, and anyone that they depend on for their safety, security, and well-being need to be aware that they need love! Its not our business to keep to ourselves! The problems needs to be exposed so that it can be dealt with appropriately!!

I dont want Barack to thank us for doing what we are supposed to do. I am thankful that he brought a voice to a problem that needs to be address! He has given a face to victims that suffer in silence! Our precious, adorable, wonderful, black children! Thanks for speaking on their behalf President (elect) Obama!


Muata said...

Muata Responds to JS:

I am with you JJ. I am just amazed by the hypocrisy we appeared to exude day in and day out. Mad at Bill and not challenging Barack when he says somewhat of the the same thing. We will do everything but focus on the issue. I do not believe for moment just because Barack said something things will change. Why? Because we are not ready to examine self.


FREEDOM said...

Just one more note that is ironic. The Thursday before Obama gave his Father's Day speech Fox News referred to Obama's wife Michelle as "Obama's Baby Mama". It is clear that he needs to address more than the black population. Fox news released a statement saying the producer exercised poor judgement.

Muata said...

Muata Provides a few statistics (taken from Bill Damani Keene):

*85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)

*90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)

*71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)

*75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God's Children.)

*63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)


*70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)

*85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

These statistics translate to mean that children from a fatherless home are:

5 times more likely to commit suicide.
32 times more likely to run away.
20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.
14 times more likely to commit rape
9 times more likely to drop out of high school.
10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances.
9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution.
20 times more likely to end up in prison.


"Daughters of single parents are 164% more likely to have a premarital birth, and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.
71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Don said...

Both Barack Obama and Bill Cosby should be commended for their willingness to step out and speak up on issues which, upon improvement, can and should do wonders for our people.

Muata said...

Reader Responds:

What I say? I say - this man spoke to the heart of his personal pain & experience and the BLAZING truth of our reality. There are too many black men abandoning their children. Yes, there are more white men doing the same BUT that is only and number count because there are more white men than black. Just like there are more white men in prision but PERCENTAGE-WISE, we have the highest number among black number count. So, my heart remains true to truth - although you KNOW I LOVE the black man. I come from a family of powerfully, strong black men. And I married a powerfully strong black man who is truly his OWN man and who loves his family. BUT - to the majority - Barack spoke the truth. The sooner we all deal with the truth verses the Excuses for the reason, we will continue to see awesome changes. Because the bottom line is that there is NO SPECIES more awesome to view rising up out of the miry muck and clay than that view of a black man being redeemed and restored. Brothers are unique and they are God's most brilliant creation among the male species world-wide.

My excitement is that with a Black man as President of US, the black male child will begin to see in himself that he is FILLED with potential and worth - DESPITE what the world says to the contrary. The prayers of black mothers have been answered everywhere. And as usual, not in the manner we ask but in a manner that only God could orchastrate. Love it!

So, speak on Obama, Cosby, and others. Keep speaking TRUTH!! You CAN'T start over UNTIL you have made a full confession from the soul - whether public or private - a truth confession is an absolute necessity to receive freedom in the spirt, mind and heart.

Be blesses and thanks for listening!

Rev. J