The President addresses the Nation

by designs 257 Replies latest social current

  • Simon

    Yes, you can't expect every speech to contain and address every issue. Its unfair to criticise or dismiss it for anything that it doesn't have but we should support what it does.

    We either make progress or we go backwards. This is an opportunity to go forward and maybe regain some momentum that seems to have been lost in recent decades.

    How can anyone not wan't that?

  • Violia

    I agree, moving forward is the goal. Racism is born of ignorance. I think I can say that is the one thing the jws experience gave me- a chance to grow up in a multi-racial Congo . We called each other brother and sister and went to each other's home. I am grateful for that experience.

  • Simon

    I guess our cong was multicultural too looking back but I'm not sure it was any more or less than the surrounding community (and assumed that was the norm). I remember my sisters best friend was Jamaican and her dad was just the happiest smiliest guy I've ever known who was invincible at dominos (the game, not the pizza). Memories of post-field-service sunday afternoons watching bonanza and the love boat at their house. She was smart too and last I heard she left 'da troof' and became a barrister. We also had a west-indian black family (I shared a house with the son for a while) and also german, irish, polish, scottish and probably more.

    I'm not grateful for the JW experience as such but most were nice genuine people.

    We had black kids at school too but I can't recall much of anyone as we were pretty isolated because of the JW life. I don't recall any segregation of any kind happening but I wasn't very 'with it' socially so may not have noticed. We did call one black kid names: 'speccy spence' because his name was Spence and he wore glasses. Man, we were so lame and crap at name calling. I was 'greeny'. Yep, lame.

  • designs

    The President talking about the elephant in the room, race and what the experieince is like, is healthy, unnerving uncomfortable and a little embarassing but healthy for all to have it out in the open and from the Oval Office on down to everyone of us.

    This was not an abstract talk but born from experience.

    Remember when we couldn't talk about the negatives in our religion for fear of being 'Marked' then worse being shunned, priviledges removed, families broken up. This is healthy for us, this speech by the President, freeing as getting hidden things out in the open is healthy for the mind and the body.

  • sammielee24

    I think he made a big gaffe.

    This was not a speech for the nation - it was not a motivational speech. It was a talk he gave on the day before Al Sharpton and his friends are holding mass rallies/protests all over the USA. The timing is clearly politically motivated.

    The President should in no way be taking the tragedy of this one circumstance of Trayvon Martin and injecting himself into it personally - he wrote a book so people could get to know him - up on stage, the only thing he did was polarize the people - split them into pieces and force them to take a side - he was speaking for black america and to black america and in doing so, he managed to imply that the jury in this case of Martin/Zimmerman was not only imperfect but wrong and the justice system in this case was wrong. Speaking for black america, he put the black community under the microscope but negated the treatment of the indian population and of every other culture and ethnicity in the USA who have suffered while never touching on black racism within the USA today. That was not a mistake - any political speech or move is calculated - it is not impromptu.

    He used gender to try and imply that 'women fear a black man when they get on the elevator - they hold their purse a little closer'...when in fact the majority of women don't care if the man is purple, they are more aware and more nervous when any male stranger gets on them in an elevator alone or they are walking by them on the street.

    Trayvon Martin is not Barack Obama. He was not Barack Obama. I think the chasm just grew far bigger...sammieswife

  • sammielee24

    I agree the school systems can be bad.

    Trayvon Martin went to Miami-Dade School system and in an order to fight the number of black youths going through the justice system, the school police department made a decision to falsify records in order to keep black offenders out of the system but not anyone else. This is now under investigation I believe. You cannot address the crimes of black youth by letting them go free while punishing other kids in that school because of their culture or color. That is racist. It is prejudicial.

    The end result was that the school rate for black youth crime was lower by 66% at the end of the year. It doesn't mean they weren't committing crimes, it means they were told not to report black youth crime.

    The problem is that nobody will speak of all the problems on all sides. People are not allowed to speak. People are scared to speak and not just in the black community but all over the USA. Everyone pops their head in and out for a look see and then walk away because it is easier and safer to do so. sw

  • MissMyHarley

    President Obama should stay as nuetral as possible, probably should say nothing, but has already inserted his thoughts. Al Sharpton should just shut his mouth he is a true black racist and everyone knows it. The judicial system worked and gave a verdict so the crybabies should just stop crying. If they want to help a cause for blacks all of them should go to Chicago and help stop black men from killing black men. Oh wait, that doesn't get enough press now does it.

  • sammielee24

    This 1996 article bears reading -

    Harvard's 'Talented Tenth'

    By David Gergen Posted 3/10/96

    Early in this century, after becoming the first black to receive a Ph.D. at Harvard, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote a famous essay arguing that the fate of the Negro race was closely tied to its most exceptional men and women. History, he said, shows that the "Talented Tenth" of every race plays a vital part in lifting up others. He urged gifted blacks to serve as "leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people."

    Now, at century's end, Harvard has embarked on a fascinating venture that may allow some of the most gifted African-Americans of this generation to realize a piece of Du Bois's vision. It began five years ago when Harvard lured Henry Louis Gates Jr. from Duke to head its Afro-American studies department and the Du Bois Institute. Since then, Gates has energetically recruited other black intellectuals to join him. Cornel West, an irrepressible, best-selling philosopher, has left Princeton for Harvard, and, just recently, the distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson surprised the University of Chicago with word that he, too, was heading for Cambridge. Along with other black scholars already there--Alvin Poussaint, Orlando Patterson and Martin Kilson, among others--Harvard is assembling the academy's answer to the 1927 Yankees.

    Of course, many fine black thinkers work elsewhere, but the Harvard "dream team" has reached a critical mass that is not only exciting but offers rich potential for the nation. Never before has so much intellectual firepower been gathered in one place to focus on our most intractable problem: racial inequality.

    Gates himself suggested a worthy place for them to start in a New Yorker article in 1994. "We need something we do not yet have: a way of speaking about black poverty that does not falsify the reality of black advancement; a way of speaking about black advancement that does not distort the enduring realities of black poverty. Much depends on whether we get it."

    Gates is right. With media that focus relentlessly on the negative, the public largely ignores the emergence of a black middle class. For too many of us, black has become synonymous with family breakdown, poverty, drugs, crime and, worst of all, hopelessness. Even Jesse Jackson said a few years ago, "There is nothing more painful to me ... than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved."

    It's time we reached a more balanced view, recognizing how many blacks have worked their way into the mainstream. Consider:

    The proportion of blacks age 25 and over with a high-school diploma increased from 31 percent in 1970 to 73 percent in 1994. A Rand Corp. study found that during the 1970-1990 period, black students also showed the most significant improvement in reading and math performance of any racial or ethnic group. As records improve, blacks also have been flowing into higher education, so that today about a third have some college training--a level roughly equal to whites.

    In 1959, 55 percent of blacks were officially living in poverty; today, 33 percent are. Seeking a better life, the black suburban population grew by 70 percent in the 1970s and another 35 percent in the 1980s. Peter Drucker recently wrote that, "In the 50 years since the Second World War, the economic position of African-Americans in America has improved faster than that of any other group in American social history--or in the social history of any country. Three fifths of America's blacks rose into middle-class incomes; before the Second World War the figure was one twentieth."

    This progress in no way denies the ugly reality of those blacks living in an urban hell. Nor does it deny continuing prejudice against African-Americans and rising anger among some successful blacks. But, as sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset argues in his illuminating new book, American Exceptionalism, the repeated emphasis on black failures only serves to perpetuate the myth that purposeful social actions designed to benefit blacks simply do not work and to reinforce racist stereotypes. Such beliefs also undermine black morale and ambition.

    W.E.B. Du Bois would have been thrilled that a new generation of black scholars may now bring us a deeper understanding of race in America. And he would have agreed that much depends on whether we get it.

  • skeeter1

    Obama is not like the typical black child. Obama was raised by his white mother and white grandmother. Their family had some financial means behind them, and they valued education.

  • designs

    SW- I think if you review the President's speech he spoke directly to the advances and improvements across the country regarding race, observations from his own travels.

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