Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama Says Things I Can't

Barack Obama's recent (and repeated) admonishment of African American culture in America hit hard and true, albeit with his trademark smoothness that makes it a bit more palatable than when Bill Cosby said much the same thing. The beauty is, he's getting some traction from it.

At the NAACP convention in Cincinnati on Monday, Barack Obama spoke that black families need to do those things that many successful families do - watch less TV, spend more time together as a family, help the kids with their homework, get involved at school and in the community - and he received applause.

Please note this is not to say that many families of color don't already do these things and find the pleasure and success in them. In truth, I sure know many white folks that don't do these things nearly enough. There is, however, a certain malaise that falls over the poverty stricken areas that are in large part home to black Americans. Hope is given up except for the purchase of a lottery ticket. And Obama says get up and help yourself, along with a promise of programs that might actually work.

I've probably already said too much. As a white-bread boy from the Midwest, with a bigoted father and only one person of color in my whole high school, it sure isn't my place to say anything about black culture and what needs to be done to solve the problems related to race and poverty in this country. But Barack can, and does, successfully.

My sense of any government program that gives money to people is that something should be expected in return. It sounds extreme here, but going back to the WPA and the CCC, those were programs that got public works done, put food in people's tummies, and allowed for a sense of pride in having earned that day's wage.

For another voice that says thing I can't, you may want to take a look at DerosaWorld. The writer is a friend, a very theologically studied man who embodies many of Christ's principals while eschewing organized religion, and on occasion downright funny, downright angry, and downright right (while leaning left).


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