You are hereBlogs / Kelly Thomas's blog / Obama Calls Absent Black Fathers to Task

Obama Calls Absent Black Fathers to Task

By Kelly Thomas - Posted on 15 June 2008

Misty referenced part of this speech in one of her posts, but I felt it deserved full "blog" status. I love how Obama wants to address such tough issues, even if they might be controversial. That's what a true leader does. As a teacher, I was so happy about his comment on students trying to earn A's instead of B's. I can't tell you how many of my students (and even their parents) seem totally fine with D's because it's "passing." Obama can help us raise the bar!

Here's the article

And not only that... Barack was saying that we can't continue to say that government inaction is the excuse for our social problems.   That doesn't sound like an old-time liberal to me.


Obama isn't an old-time liberal, IMO.  He is very progressive, yet pragmatic.  He wants to give the people that need it a hand up, not a hand out. 

His message to fathers sounds very much like the message Bill Cosby has been involved in.  A love of family and respect for fatherhood is a great message for anyone.

Here's a good piece about this speech, and it contains links to what other's had to say about it.  Good reading!
Suzi-Excellent link! Obama deserves so much praise for his honesty and his powerful message in speeches like this. It's great to know some conservatives are even jumping in to recognize his efforts. There are many African American fathers who are very involved and many African American families who set very high educational standards for their children. However, it's important for Obama to bluntly address the many who run from fatherhood obligations (no matter what race or background) and to raise the bar for the standards we set for our children (again, no matter what race or background.) Obama is offering the inspiration to move in that direction. How refreshing!

I'm going to be very honest here, and possibly not PC.  But I think Obama is in a unique position to be able to address this issue.   In my area, this is a huge problem, with many underlying causes.  But if a white politician would try to say the same things, rightfully or wrongly he would risk being called racist.  Being bi-racial enables Obama to see and address problems that would be difficult for one of any single race.  He has no one particular agenda, except the good of our nation as a whole.  And he realizes that addressing problems in specific areas are a part of solving them.  Not mere rhetoric, but a call to action, demanding that all of us take responsibility to make the improvements needed. 

Every day, there are more and more reasons to elect this amazing man POTUS!

Yes-you are right, Suzi and I don't think it's too Politically Incorrect to say so. I am picturing McCain at that church with the same speech-just NOT happening!  Obama is in a unique position to raise this issue. Cosby really spoke out in this area, too, but got alot of slack (maybe because he is so wealthy?) but I think African Americans seem very open to Obama's message and feel connected to him based on his own background/experience.

I think you're right about the background/esperience being a reason AA's are open to his message.  I think maybe there are a few other things going on too...The major one being that Obama just has a way of reaching people, ALL people with his message.  He inspires trust, and makes us willing to see and work to correct any ills. 

Also, as far as Bill Cosby goes, it pains me to say this, as I am/have been a huge Cosby fan.  I think it's not only his wealth, but possibly also his generation.  When he addresses the same issues, he comes across as giving one of those "fatherly lectures" that young people often automatically tune out.  No one wants to be lectured about their shortcomings, they need someone to point out the reasons for change, and give them a blueprint to make things better.  Obama does this in a way that calls men to task, but doesn't make them defensive.  It's a rare gift to be able to do this.  Obama Rocks! ;-)

Obama's speech on fathers day is one of many reasons why I chose this man to be my president. We are at a time in our life that every piece of human productivity, in all aspects of life is very important - including men of all color to step up to father their kids. Some of major issues as this one are not mentioned because if whites speak on it, then it would "be racism against blacks" and if blacks speak on it then the media will spin it, politicize it and use it for their own purposes, like their doing Obama by acting as if he's not allowed to say such a thing. If anyone asks me should he have said it, I tell them, "heck yeah". Issues like these that go unrecognized will continue to be a problem unless we indentify the issue then excecute a strategic plan to solve it. It was important for Obama to call out ALL black men and any other father on this issue, and will be even more important for us men to stand up and do something about it. As a community & school organizer myself, it's sad to see the self oppression & struggles that mark the African American communities. Some are truely hard working people, while others are looking for a reason to continue their childish deeds. In some communities, older blacks (ex. aunts, uncles, & 30 year old grandmothers) are holding grudges against black youth because they now have to take care of their "kinfolk's" child. And then there's the black youth who have no respect for authority, no structure, no discipline, no responsiblity. And then when they're sent to school with multiple behavior problems, the education system is blamed for a child not getting an "adequate education".  Eventually the child is diagnosed with bipolar, ADD, or ADHD. I once heard a story of a young man who had this so called disorder. His mother came up to the school, whooped that butt, and then told the educators to let her know of any further ADHD signs. The student was good for the rest of the education process. These dysfunctions are of people of all color, not just blacks. As a 26 year old, black man myself, I feel like I have a moral obligation to denounce the things that are ruining my American people...rather they are red, white, or blue. I've worked in schools and communities for some years now, and it is a disgrace to see our communities, our families, and our youth who lack motivation to a higher education. A long time ago, it was illegal for blacks to be educated. Now that we have the proper sources, it seems complicated for some of us to pick up a pen. If our enslaved ancestors were able to educated theirselves then I'm sure all of us can have be educated.  If our enslaved ancestors knew what we were doing down here they would be humiliated having to take licks and fight for our freedom, then having us to enslave ourselves with the negativity that we indulge in. Its time for a change in more ways than one. Its time to repair the fabric of America, to learn from the conservative values we once knew and to pick up our people to help us pick up this nation. When Obama won the democratic nomination I called my ol' man (dad) half way in tears just to thank him for every thing he has done and all the crap he had to take from racists during his time. I told him that I dedicate my future success to those civil right pioneers who actually know what it is like to be hated against. There are prejudices in my lifetime but nothing compared to what my father and grandparents had to go through. So for everyone who feels like they can't achieve anything because of the "system", think again - its time for all of us to harmonize our own individual skills and become part of this nation that is equal for all. In my life time I've seen more than a couple of African Americans win contest like American Idol which is voted on by millions of people. As I mentioned, there are people out there who don't like other people because of the color of their skin but that is not the overall indicator of anyone's success. I have seen children with rich parents become liabilities to society and also have seen children from poor homes grow up, go to college and are now great assets to this nation. Its time for everyone to put the good foot forward and do what is necessary to make this nation a better place. Its starts with what each individual can do in their family (including fathers), then those values can grow throughout the communities, including churches & schools, and from those fine institutions to the counties, and from counties, to states, from states to the USA.  See Mr. Bush, all we wanted was affordable educations (now we're paying back  mortgages), an affordable health care plan (which we cannot afford), a healthy economy for the US (not for the top 2%), and reassurance that my future will be stable. Because of the policies of the current administration, the fabric of our nation is shredding. It's not going to necessarily a Republican or Democrat to heal our nation, but someone who simply understand and who can harmonize the rich and the poor, the high class and the low class (do us middleclass still count?), the ghetto and the gated communities, and the educated and non-educated. It is going to take the productivity of all human beings to make the US successful - IT starts with me & you. Grassroots baby! Lewis Parker - Texas

After re-reading my message I realized the many mistakes I made in sentence structure, punctuation, etc. On my first attempt to compose it, the time on the page expired and I loss all information; so I had to rush the second time. Oh before I go, there is one more thing - if there are any whites, blacks, baby daddy's, or others who are offended by my previous blog then I don't apologize, I stand firm on my beliefs and don't take back anything - NOW SPIN THAT FOX NEWS!


We need to put OUR COUNTRY first...that is being a TRUE AMERICAN!!

Parker4Obama-You are right on. Thanks for your personal perspectives on the problems. As a special education teacher, I hear the excuses every day from black and white children and parents, alike. I always felt there should be a new disability called "family dysfunction" because some of the ADD/Emotionally Disturbed labels mask the real problem. The low standards, the endless excuses to accept being mediocre. Parents now write excuses if children don't do homework, they come in ready for battle if we discipline a child for poor behavior, the lack of fathers in the household, and-yes-even the lack of a good old-fashioned spanking, etc. The pattern must stop and someone like Obama is the leader we need right now. Please continue to share your thoughts-you sound very passionate in your mission as we all should be! -Izzy (Buffalo, NY)

Follow RFO:

TwitterCafe PressFacebook




RFO Gear

Subscribe to General RFO Newsletter

General news and announcements for We will never share or sell your email address.