16 June 2008

Obama and Black Fathers

Racism Review did a nice critique of Obama's Father's Day speech. While his speech was well written and has some good points, I agree that the framing should have been different. Black families are not the only families that experience the lack of fatherly direction. Moreover, should we not be examining the causes of absent fathers, rather than blaming a racial group for their "self-created" family problems? How about social factors? Economic factors? Job availability? Education?

Obama does not deal with the racism these Black men face in his speech. What is always striking about such one-sided critiques, no matter who makes them, is that this problem is not a “Black fathers” problem. In the first place, this is a white-American and general American problem. He could have raised it in a much more balanced way. Why did he not address his sermon to all young men, including the large numbers of the “irresponsible” young fathers who are white? And, perhaps more importantly, where is the strong critique of a racist society that cannot provide decent educations and decent-paying jobs for young black men, indeed for every person who wants to work. Good fathers need decent jobs.

Go here for the article.

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