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Day Two: Rev. Jackson Out of touch Media-Gate

I'll be right with you.

First I have to finish silently counting how many more hours - or maybe days ? - broadcast media will hype the recorded off-air conversation Rev. Jesse Jackson had Sunday at Fox News Channel's Chicago studios, in which Jackson expressed a desire to chop off Barack Obama's coin purse.

More important to the conversation, Jackson said Obama had been talking down to black people lately in Obama's call for a reshaping and renewal of faith-based social programs, his calls for black men to step up to the plate and be active fathers to their children, and his calls for black parents to wield a firmer hand with their kids.

I'm not exactly sure where Jackson's "talking down" comment is rooted, but let's forget being uncomfortable and being PC for a minute and let's face a few realities:

First, Obama isn't saying anything that thousands - maybe millions - of middle class and working class black folks haven't been saying for a long time. Obama, like Bill Cosby, is famous. So when they say things that can be categorized as tough love toward their own people, their comments are played out for days and weeks on TV and in newspapers and magazines. And that's OK, considering TV and to a lesser degree other forms of media are opiates to the masses.

Second, you can't deny the numbers that are partly the impetus for Obama's comments on personal responsibility in some black communities: Nearly 12 percent of black men between the ages of 25 and 29 are incarcerated. Two-thirds of black children born in the United States today are born to single parent homes. And for all the carefree post-modern logic that says one parent will do, common sense says that kids are better off with two active parents in their lives. And many of our nation's best social scientists, black social scientists among that group, have acknowledged that while children can get solid adult support from parents who are not married to one another and don't live together, it is often the case that very young, single black dads don't appear to be active enough in their kids' lives. Are there white dads who aren't active in their kids lives? No doubt, but we're not talking about them today. And I don't feel a personal obligation to express "tough love" to them.

Third, this story has two halves - the half that has raised some eyebrows over Obama's calls for personal responsibility in some black communities, and the half that is hyping Jackson's recorded conversation. I can assure you that the first half of this story would not be in play if the suits at the major broadcast networks had not decided a long time ago that prominent black folks can't call out their own people and get away with it.

The first half of this story would not be in play if those suits hadn't approached these matters by hinting that a black man who calls out his own has somehow abandoned the Resistance and given in to the temptations of Lord Vader and the Empire.

The second half of this story wouldn't be in play if the broadcast suits hadn't gone along with the philosophy for the past few decades that Rev. Jackson was the equivalent of an elected official in America's black communities. Clearly the suits did not watch  episode one, from season 11 of South Park, in which the character Token Black so eloquently stated "Jesse Jackson is not the emperor of black people!" Not surprisingly, Token's white classmate Stan Marsh replied "He isn't? He told my dad he was."

Now, let's not get it twisted. I'm not taking any political bait. No activist on either side of the political spectrum is gonna take my words and use them to exemplify their distaste or support for Rev. Jackson. I'm not gonna bash his record of leadership in some black communities, 'cause frankly - and I'm not trying to be cute when I say this - I don't know enough about his record. He may have done everything in the world to advance equality for all and the quality of life for African Americans over the past 40 years or so....Or he may have done little. Yeah, I'm a veteran journalist, and the son of educated black folks who came of age in the 1960s. But without first doing some homework I couldn't name a specific mega-thing Jackson has done to advance black folks. And my point is neither can the broadcast suits who have gone along all these years with the notion of Jackson as King.

I can't speak for my folks' generation, but I think I can speak for at least some of mine when I say that Obama calling for individuals to do the right thing for themselves and their children doesn't offend me. That doesn't absolve the government from its role in tipping the first dominoes that started our social messes back in the day. But it does say we recognize that we can't wait for Uncle Sam to come down from his apparent high and fix his side of things.

Seriously, I'm not trying to be funny. But when I say this whole thing is molehill, not a mountain, I'm saying the suits have it wrong. Report what Jackson said, 'cause it would be irresponsible not to. But drag out the jaw-dropping and the feigned chagrin over his words by TV analysts and you become disingenuous by making it out like anything Rev. Jackson says could actually hurt Obama's campaign....with black or white voters. If Obama loses in November, it won't be because of anything Rev. Jackson said about him.

Again, this wouldn't have happened if not for that whole king-making thing. African Americans don't need a king. One more time, those of us who aren't handling our business need to do so now, 'cause Uncle Sam has done a crappy job trying to handle it for us, and 'cause arguing that we're not the only ethnic group in the U.S. with problems is not gonna help us fix our problems, no matter how true it is. Besides, by the time that truth is widely accepted, the dinosaurs will have come back to life.

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wavemancali

To keep on with your South Park theme, as far as I am concerned Jesse Jackson can compete with John Edward for the biggest douche in the universe award.

It mystifies me how this man can time after time work his way into the public eye and get treated seriously.

James B.

WavemanCali, for me this is slightly less about Jackson and more about the folks who crowned him. Some of them might qualify for that award you cited too.

BobG

Though I am not a fan of Obama, I have to agree with him. Fathers (of any color) who don't take some responsibility for their children are a big problem. Kids without a role model tend to turn to other people, some of which are not very good.
Just my opinion.

James B.

BobG, well said.

Alex

I think Jackson just sees himself becoming less relevant by the minute and his mouth got the best of him. That's it. It'll have the unfortunate side effect of giving ammo to Obama haters, but Obama has shrugged off bigger controversies before. Non-story.

WNG

The big question for me (as usual) is why, with everything else that is going on with the world and all the actual important questions there are about both of these candidates, we are wasting our time with this crap. I care much more about what Obama has to say about the game of chicken Israel and Iran are playing right now (or what Jesse has to say about it) than about how Jesse feels about Obama or what he was even doing on Fox in the first place. If you can't talk about something of substance, the least you can do is exit the stage.
This is NOT NEWS. It's horse race bullsh*t.

sorry...was that mic on?

James B.

Alex, this is a first! Since when have you and I ever agreed on anything first time around? I'm kidding. Thanks for the comment.

WNG, ouch! Tell me how you really feel about my post. At any rate, I agree with you that real issues (Iran, economy, etc.) are more important than Jackson's criticism of Obama and his desire to lop off Obama's fellas. But that's why I posted: as a protest to all the coverage of chop-em-off-gate.

Jeff

Rev. Jackson, of all people, should know better than to speak so freely around a place like Fox News Channel. Give Bill O'Reilly and his cronies enough fodder to go on, and they'll make a big deal of it. (Remember when they tagged a Republican senator as a Democrat, esp. when he was saying something the GOP at large disagreed with?) Chalk it up to another case of foot-in-mouth disease.

The

I am of Jackson's generation and quite frankly, I agree with every word in your column. The most important thing I do..what I do with passion and enthusiasm..is be a good father.
I am excited about our new leader's..particulalry Barak Obama. I believe..I have hope..he has kindled a flame long dormant.

victor

great article. the black community won't solve its problem by waiting for government to solve it for us. yes government plays a role however any great upsurge starts with personal responsibility and that in turn creates an upsurge in the community. jesse jackson's statement begs for attention to where it "hurts" the least but where it does the least good, and that's away from the action of the individual themselves.

abc

I didn't see the interview or hear the comments, but the idea of Jesse Jackson allowing himself to be interviewed on Fox to begin with to me shows that he's more interested in being seen as a leader of black people than in the impact his words will have on Mr. Obama's campaign. To me it parallels what happened with Mr. Obama's former pastor. This is not to minimize any points he might have made, but everything that is said by anyone in this campaign is significant, particularly comments made by other black leaders because of inherent racism in our country.

Marcinsobe

Excellent!

jim

When Obama crash who will be there Jesse Jackson not a one day wonder

Corey

Mr. Obama, the next time you see a preacher/clergy run as fast as you can. They somehow think because they have Rev. in front of their names that everything they say is equivalent to Plato philosophy. These same cooks placed Galeo under house arrest because he burst their bubble by pointing out that we do not live in an Earth centered, three tier universe with God's feet planted on Earth as his foot stool as the Bible tells us.

Earnest Cave

Folks: Remember that the government does not produce anything. All it does is tax tax tax, and spend spend spend. These folk (Obama/Jackson/McCain/and in general, Washington politicians are all millionaires. How do you think they became millionaires? By looking out for the common man. I think not.

Barack is the weakest presidential candidate in modern history. He has changed his mind on virtually everything he stood for in his early campaign. We have a race problem mainly because most black people can't see past race. They are voting for Barack (Barry) simply because he is black. As a black man, I understand. Don't agree with that rationale, but I understand.

No one should be handed the presidency. I want to see a qualified black candidate. You mark my word. If Barack is elected president he will be an embarassment and will set blacks back 100 years in the political arena. Barack is a political opportunist with no moral compass. He will say and do anything to get elected president. Be very careful what you ask for. He is not change. He is more of the same. I have worked with white folk just like him!

Alex

James, only because when I agree with you I don't comment. Which is most of the time, believe it or not (I was 100% with you on the Muslims complaining about Obama's site, for example). I'll do it more often.

SWF42

I wonder how much it irks Rev. Jackson that Obama has shrugged off his comments with an "...of course he accepts his apology" and then just moved on. Shoo, fly. Shoo.


Earnest Cave

No man who wants to be president should stand in a church pulpit and call out any group of people like Obama did. He is trying to be president of all the United States not just black people. Could you imagine if a white candidate had stood in a white church and said the same thing to white men or hispanic men. We would have cried foul. All of his remarks should be directed to all men in America and not just black men. Black men are not the only group that is neglecting parental responsibility.

Bill Cosby can say it just like he did. He is not running for president of the United States. Barack's handlers need to make sure his message is centered on all of America and not just black people. This is a painful lesson for Black America and he better get it quick or he has no chance of being elected president.

I am a conservative black man. I was a high school dropout in Dade County. I got a GED and completed college. I put three children through college and paid for it all. I did not get one dime from the government. I made those babies.

I taught my children to not have children if they could not support them. I also taught them to be independent thinkers. The Democratic party and the Republican party are both beholden to special interest.

For the writer of the main article: If you don't know your parents' generational history, don't be so quick to shoot Jesse Jackson.

What he wanted to say is Barack Obama has a very high opinion of himself. Everyone he talks to, he gives the impression that they are beneath him. He is a very prideful and condenscending man. He is a very conceited individual. Pride goeth before destruction.

SwampRat

The truth comes fom ones heart.

JayW

Every black person that I have ever known has said that if they ever got in any trouble the last 2 people on earth they would want coming to their support are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I too have no clue what if anything these men have done to further the black race. All I see are two racist men who blame everything on racism. If we are to ever overcome racism, then we need to stop using race as an excuse. The punishment should always fit the crime regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, etc.
The issue of black men not being responsible fathers is even a joke within the black community. I can't tell you how many jokes I've heard black comedians say on this subject. My favorite is; "When a black man and woman break up, they leave behind little reminders here and there. The woman will leave a picture on a table, an underwear in a drawer, a blouse in the closet. The man will leave a kid".
Although it is a joke, the fact is that comedy is often based on reality and it is common. Most articles I've read about black celebrities, often state that they were raised by their mom's. It is all to common and often these mom's have to work 2 or 3 jobs and their kids are left alone, out in the streets learning every from all the dead-beats that would rather be street dealers and common thugs and the cycle continues.
You know the saying, "It takes a community to raise a child". Many of these kids are victims of their communities and circumstances and grow up to be what the community (the non-hardworking, caring, supportive and law abiding citizens) the kids hang out with on the streets. I feel for the black community because it is easy to say change needs to happen, but where are the role models, the leaders, the support base to start and stick with the change. I am neither black nor of a poor back ground, but I am a father and it is easy to see how much kids immitate their families and the people they associate with on a regular basis. In Spanish there is a saying, "Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are". These kids need safe outlets to keep them off the streets and associate with other kids keeping off the streets. There needs to be a way that these single parents having to work multiple jobs are able to afford a quility of life without having to work more than one full time job. Stop giving welfare checks to the lazy irresponsible people and give more to the hard working people who deserve the governments assistance.

form factor

Yowza. That's fine writing and good reasoning, somewhat mutually exclusive qualities in newspapers these days. A space in the opinion section is warranted.

mark

You have a hot topic here James. First of all Jesse Jackass Jackson has spent 40 years promoting himself. He is a non-factor. Barack is keeping Jesse far away from his campaign and rightly so. The fact remains that Black "sperm donors" do not accept the responsibilities that they have created. This simple fact of life is never going to change. They are given a free choice and their usual choice is to do nothing and move on to donate some more sperm to another woman. For the record, White men also do this but the percentage is lower. In reality the government is the "father" of many Black families. The government has accepted the responsibility to raise many Black (and White) children. This is never going to change in fact it will probably only get worse. And another thing, Blacks do not vote. If ya dont vote you get what you deserve.

UKnoe

One day soon, black folks will realize that they can not hijack Barack Obama. His base is a genuine cross-section of races, colors and ethnic backgrounds. He's been to South Florida plenty of times. Each time, he went to Sunrise or Call Ocho. He packed BOTH venues. Black leaders are kidnappers in this town. And because he refuses to be bottled or kidnapped, he cant get genuine cooperation from black Clinton supporters in Florida!...Even to this day.

Jackson's comments are desperate and shameless. But they echo the sentiments of countless numbers of so-called black leaders who have held the consciousness of black america hostage for at least 40+ years and would have died first before they saw a new-comer Barack be more significant than them.

Didn't the Iowa Primary teach us that our leaders have been LYING to us?!!!!

Sir Frederick R. Freep

Jesse Jackson is a racist. So is Al Shaprpton. In fact, MOST black people are racists. Black people generally don't like white people, latin people, or asian people. Come on now, you know it's true. You just don't want to talk about it. Like most things, the ones that scream the loudest are the worst offenders. Own it.

Mr. Woodcock

Damn straight. Any one can make a child raising them is another thing. Black, white, brown, red, blue, or green, when you don't step up to the plate as a father you are not a man.

JUST SAYIN'

"Damn straight. Any one can make a child raising them is another thing. Black, white, brown, red, blue, or green, when you don't step up to the plate as a father you are not a man."

posted by:MR.WOODCOCK
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I agree with you 100% sir. My question is this:

When are we as a society gonna STOP giving women a FREE PASS FOR THEIR IRRESPONSIBLE BREEDING? "Two To Tango" Is bulls%@t.It is WOMEN who decide when a baby will be born.Most times they decide FOOLISHLY.There is no excuse for that in an age when there are AT LEAST 7 options for birth control available to them BEFORE you get to abortion or sterilization.SEX AS RECREATION has been a reality now for about 60 years.Many female minds have'nt caught up to this reality yet.

As for senile ramblings of Jesse Jackson: THE KING OF ALL VICTICRATS...WTF CARES?!

Great opinion piece by the way Mr. Burnett.

word to the wise

LISTEN, WHITE AMERICAN DOES NOT OWN BLACK AMERICA. AT ON TIME IN THE PERIOD OF MAN KIND, THE WHITE MAN DID. STOP PUTTING HIM IN HIGH REGARD. DO NOT PUT DOWN BLACK AMERICA. THERE ARE ONLY 25 MILLION TO 30 MILLION OF BLACKS IN AMERICA. WE HAVE HAD TO FIGHT FOR EVERYTHING WE GOT. PEOPLE CAME TO THIS COUNTRY AND PICKED ON BLACK. THAT IS COUNTING THE THE EVIL WHITE PEOPLE ALREADY HERE. FOR EXAMPLE, FOREIGNORS CAME HERE AND GANGED UP ON THE BLACK PEOPLE. THESE GROUPS CAME FROM EUROPE AND PARTS ALL AROUND THE WORLD. SO, YOU SEE HOW COULD WE FIGHT ALL THE EVIL AROUND WAS. WE WHERE PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 0NE. BLACK PEOPLE ALWAYS WANTED TO ASSIMILATE. BUT PEOPLE AROUND WAS MADE THAT DIFFICULT. MANY INJUSTICES WERE COMMITTED TO BLACK PEOPLE BY INDIVIDUALS AND THE GOVERNMENT. SEE, WHITE AMERICA ALL YOUR HATE FILTERED IN THE THE BLACK COMMUNITY. THAT HATE IS ON THE STREET NOW. WHITE AMERICA, BLACKS ARE A RESILIENT BUNCH. SO LETS NOT FEED IN TO THIS JACKSON OR OBAMA CRAP. THAT IS WHAT THEY WANT FROM BLACKS TO SELF DESTRUCT. HA HA HA HA HA! THEY THREW THE KITCHEN SINK AT BLACKS. WE SURVIVED THE MOST HORRIBLE HATE IN THE WORLD.

Ed-words

Last time, Bush bribed just enough

black(and white) preachers with

faith-based money, to get just

enough black(and white) votes.


Keeep religion out of politics!

James B.

Jeff, it's definitely a case of hoof-in-mouth. More important though, there'd be no apologies forthcoming and there'd be more snake oil smiles on the way if that microphone hadn't been hot.

The, a changing of the guard can do a body (of people) good from time to time.

Victor, well said.

ABC, very thoughtful take. Thanks.

MarcinSobe, thanks!

Jim, you left out some of your verbs.

Corey, good advice.

"Earnest," solid argument. We shall see! But speaking strictly to prior political experience, I think Obama has plenty of company atop the so-called "weak" presidential candidate list. One of his fellows occupies the White House right now.

Alex, I was just teasing, but thanks for the vote of confidence.

SWF42, I'll bet a vein in the side of his neck is bulging over it.

Earnest, please go back and read the post again. I didn't say I didn't know my parents' generational history. I'll go toe to toe with you any day on citations of incidents of historical significance from my parents' generation. I can cite chapter and verse and date and time and context. What I said was I couldn't, off the top of my head, offer insight on any "specific" thing Rev. Jackson did during my parents' generation. That's not a knock on him, by any definition I know of. It is what it is. Name another civil rights leader from that era. I can probably rattle off a few things - just not on Rev. Jackson. Sorry! And Obama has a high opinion of himself? What are you basing that on, his calling on fathers to handle their business? If you are a "conservative," I'd think you wouldn't have a problem with that sort of exhortation. You wrote in your comment about your achievements as a hard-working father. I applaud you, but if I used your logic I could also accuse you of thinking too highly of yourself.

Swamprat, that's true. It also comes from booze consumption, I hear.

JayW, I'm not sure what to say, really. Thanks for weighing in, but to give a black comedian "real" credibility when it comes to gauging the mindsets of "average" black people seems to me to be just as bad as giving Rev. Jackson too much credibility when it comes to his criticism of Obama's speeches on personal responsibility. I'm glad you said what you said, but it's the assumptions that "all" black folks are this way are that that annoy many black folks into silence. Again, I appreciate your comments, but notice in my post that I made reference to black "communities." There isn't just one.

Form Factor, I appreciate the compliment, but I have to defend my trade. I think in spite of rantings to the contrary by TV and radio talking heads I think we do a pretty good job of getting the news right. If not for newspapers most of those TV and radio heads would have to find some other asset from which to get their news and base their daily shows on.

Mark, you know I like that you always say what you believe, even when I disagree. But you and I are gonna regularly butt heads on those occasions when your comments are broad generalizations about black people or any group for that matter. Notice this isn't about me being in denial. I cited the numbers in my post. I've never hidden from the facts. But I love it when we can add context and history to these discussions too!

Uknoe, I can't argue with you.

Sir Frederick R. Freep, you are a moron who is too cowardly to use a real name in making such stupid generalizations and too dumb to realize that your very statement opens the door for anyone to make the same broad accusation of racism against your whole race, whatever that is.

Mr. Woodcock, here here!

Just Sayin', thanks, and well said. The moms who participate in baby-making enterprises with men who make it clear they're not gonna be around much should be held to the same standards as the dudes.

Word to the Wise, I'm not putting down black folks. Re-read my post. If anything I'm just saying that we can't take seriously one black man who wants to slice off the goodie bag of another black man, just 'cause the latter exhorted dads, specifically black dads, to handle their business. The only unfortunate thing in all of this is that everything Obama said on this topic was broadcast like dirty laundry. But that's the age we live in. Everything's recorded. Nothing's secret. So if you have to hear me scold someone, as long as my scolding was righteous then I'll just have to suck it up and deal with the fact that I had an audience.

James B.

Ed-words, I accidentally missed your comment. Sorry. But the whole religion/politics debate is for another day. I will say that while I don't want any politician governing by the doctrines of their chosen religion, I don't have a problem with politicians being actively involved in a religion or publicly acknowledging that their religion helped shape them and make them who they are. Otherwise, we have to ask them to leave all the other outside influences on their character and personality at home too. Then we have a bunch of robots running the government. Then comes the Matrix. Come to think of it that might be an improvement.

mark

Ummmmmmmmmmm James. It is not the White man who is impregnating Black women. I dont have the raw stats on this but I will wager dinner at Joe's Stonecrab that more than 60% of Black households are living without a live-in father.

James B.

Mark, once again you've lost me. I'm certain I didn't say or even suggest that it's white men impregnating single black mothers and then leaving them on their own. Frankly, I don't know what color the fathers are in these cases, but based on the research I've done it seems that the majority are black. As for your wager, it isn't a fair bet 'cause you've already beaten yourself. I didn't say that just 60% of black households with children don't have a live-in father. I said "two-thirds" of black children today are born into single-parent households. Two-thirds is roughly 66%, more than the "60" you wagered on. I'll take my dinner any time after July 28th, when I return home from my road trip ;>)

BTW, I don't have the numbers on how many of those single-parent households eventually "add" a second, complimentary parent. It may be a higher number than you think. Then again, maybe not. I'll look into it and post on it another day.

Olivia

Good article. Obama spoke the truth about father's that are MIA (missing in action.) Also, he gave the message on father's day. I think Jackson was pissed off about the message because he has a child out of wedlock,while married. Jackson is a jack ass and I do not know his purpose of life. Jackson's mouth is like a trash can. Garbage in. Garbage out. The ignorant comments he made on FOX NEWS was garbage. I do not like FOX NEWS. I only count one black reporter on FOX NEWS. 99% of FOXS NEWS reporters and talk show hosts are white and republicans. FOXS has Geraldo Rivera. He's the other one percent. CNN has hispanic reporter Rick Sanchez. Asian reporter, and some black reporters.

Robert Lee Hotchkiss, Jr.

Another South Park reference I bet a lot of you don't get is the fact that Kenny has a an orange coat on all the time. In the pass orange coats really where given out to poor children. The thinking was that they didn't want poor children freezing to death, before the world wide market a rise in childhood mortality rates could tighten the labor market and raise wages (heaven forfend!!!!), but they didn't want the children to get socialist ideas. So they gave out orange coats to humiliate the kids.

A lot of this "compassionate conservatism" stuff is just another orange coat. It is easy for a middle class person to float in and say the reason your world is so bad is because you are a bad person.

Imagine a poor black man coming to a church and hearing Obama lay into black men saying they need to spend time with your kids.

I may not be black but I am poor and let me tell you the life of a poor man is not G rated. What are you going to do. Take your kid to your car where you live. Have him spend the night in the room you rent where you hide under the bed because of the random gunfire that has left holes in your walls.


Maybe you could go over and visit them at their grandmother's house where they and there mother lives. Oh, yeah that is going to go well. We hear endless stories about how hard it is for rich white dads to see their kids when they are sending child support payments that would be a kings ransom to most poor blacks.

How do you think a poor black man is going to be greeted. What can he say. "Here is half of my half of a sandwich they let me by for half price where I work?"

The poor aren't just sitting around saying "oh my I'll just sit here on my butt until someone comes from the gomnt what with the fancy check and all."

If we are going make progress dealing with poverty we are going to have to engage poor men not demonize them.

James B.

Olivia, thanks for weighing in. I've also written before about the lack of diversity at the networks. And I forgot about Rev. Jackson's child. I'm not being flippant when I say I hope, if the child doesn't have step-father or male significant other (like if her mom has a boyfriend, for example) in her life, that Jackson is actively involved.

Robert, thanks for your passionate comment. But sorry, I never said that poor people are bad people. I never suggested or hinted that poor people are bad people. I said fathers - men who join with women physically and create babies - should actively help raise those babies. That's not an indictment of the poor, unless you assume that all absentee dads are poor. And I don't make that assumption. But even if that assumption is true, I'd argue the dads' poverty is a secondary factor. Condoms aren't that expensive. Hell, they're free in a lot of places. I find it interesting that the folks who've criticized this post along these lines haven't addressed the fact that the absentee dads could've chosen to have more responsible sex (or none at all, until they could afford the baby they risked making from unprotected sex). For me this issue is just about responsibility. It's only about race to the extent that sometimes we have to show "tough" love to the folks we love the most. Either way, your comment was deep. And I appreciate your stopping by to make it.

bycasey

Most people have missed the boat, including Mr. Burnett, concerning the role of black males in families. Black males are incarcerated at alarming rates, not because of the crimes they commit, but because of institutional racism that starts in police departments and climbs through the ranks to our highest courts. Blacks are sent to jail more often and for much longer than any other racial/ethnic group in America for the exact same crimes that every other group commits.

Barack Obama saying that Black males in our community need to step up misses the point and so does Mr. Burnett defending him via "the numbers." You say "Nearly 12 percent of black men between the ages of 25 and 29 are incarcerated. Two-thirds of black children born in the United States today are born to single parent homes" but the only way this is going to change is by having Barack Obama call for reform in the courts, education system, and housing system in America. They all, by the numbers, show that injustice, especially along racial lines, still clearly exists in America.

Maybe more black children wouldnt have to be raised by their mothers if their fathers werent sent to jail for years upon years for the same crimes that other racial groups only get probation for. And maybe if the education system was fairer (funds distributed more equally, not based on property taxes for instance) then more extended families would be able to support young parents and young parents would be able to support themselves better because their jobs would be better paying.

These are the things Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson and Mr. Burnett should be talking about, not who is to blame or who is or isnt doing enough within the black community.

James B.

ByCasey, I understand the problems with institutional racism, and I often write about them. I understand the problems with a "rigged" justice system. But by the same token that you say I can't blame absentee fathers for not being there, I could argue that you can't blame the legal system. How 'bout we compromise and acknowledge that while the legal system may be a stacked deck "it" institutionally does not force any man - Black, White, Asian, Latino, or other - to have unprotected sex in the first place.

bycasey

Mr. Burnett,

That's very true that no one forces someone to have reckless sex with anyone else. The original decision is placed firmly on the shoulders of the parents. I guess I would put some of the blame on the (now finally confirmed failed - now that more and more states are opting out of the funding for it because they realize it doesnt work) plan of abstinence only education.
By the by- good article on the role on Jackson within the community, i.e. non-existent except in the minds of the "suits."

James B.

Ah, ByCasey, abstinence-only ed is a sticky one. It's funny. My instinct says that's the simplest thing to teach. But having been a teenager, my common sense and reality says kids need more detail about sex to the extent that detail helps them understand how they can torpedo their lives if they have unprotected sex before they're grown and emotionally, mentally, and financially stable.

word to the wise

Black man always seems to be a case study. A subject worth investigating. How interesting! I dont understand why certain groups have this notion that black people get free rides(advances in society). I dont see it. Never did. All the bad things in american society is associated with being black. That is called great marketing by ad executives, media and the government. White america u have been hood winked. We are not your enemies. Never were. THE BLACK BRAND HAS BEEN TARNISHED. Thanks.

Now, we have to defend our blackness at every turn. Everyone knows how a black person will react. You now my thoughts. My limitations. You choose my leaders. A system setup so I have a great chance to go to jail. I will catch a deadly virus. Thanks.

I cant have any of my leaders, because they are not qualified. Thanks

You know what? I dont know u white america. Can u share your misgivings with me. What odds are stacked againist u?

And affirmative Action is for white women. Not Black people. It has benefited white women a hundred times over. Thanks.

Obama is where he is beacuse he is good at what he does. Very smart man. Let him lead. Cant be any worse than the other presidents.

BACK TO THE BLACK BRAND, IT IS AN AMERICAN MADE.

James B.

Word to the wise, you get the last word tonight 'cause I need sleep. But first, let's say for the sake of argument that I agree with everything you've written here. You/I/we can't sit back and wait for the same crooked government to fix itself and make things up to us. We don't have that much time. We need to fix us, and take care of the government later.

word to the wise

James B

Good Insight!

The CEO

I agree with you and WnG, who I think said the same thing differently. I'm just going to use fewer words.

WNG

WNG, ouch! Tell me how you really feel about my post.

I DIDN'T MEAN YOU!!! Rereading my comment I realize I should have been more specific! I'm sorry, JB:)
You said they were making a mountain out of a molehill, I think they're making a smokescreen out of a molehill.

PS I found some stats showing that the birthrate across the board for Black women is going down, but that the birthrate for single Black women is going down sharply and has been for some time. I'll find them and email them to you, I think it was on Coates blog...

Personally - my standards are pretty high: If you aren't working in your community in some way to fix the problems then I'm not too interested in what you have to say about them. Before I get into a debate over who is to blame for what issue I want to know what you personally are doing about it. Then we can talk. My feeling is if you really cared you'd be helping someone and not just talking about it.

*by you I mean any person, not specifically you, JB :-)

Pamela Lawrimore

I totally agree with this article. There are so many blacks who are backing away from boting for Barack because they think his lack of "experience" disqualifies him. Note - none of the former presidents nor those to come - unless they are elected to a 2nd term - had the "experience" to be Commander in Chief. This is an on-the-job training kind of position if you will.

One of the best things Barack brings to the table is a lack of "good 'ole boy" you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours connections. He is untainted by the long history the white hairs have with each other that require them to always consider the white hairs that put them in office.

I mean really, if he doesn't get elected America and not just it's people of color will be set back 100 years in the eyes of the world. This is one of the most focused upon elections in history. Can America overcome it's deep-seated racist based society and elect a Black man President? He is as qualified for the position as many have been - more so than several.

Aren't you tired of old grey hairs working for the good of their buddies and not our nation?

Pamela Lawrimore

Oh yeah, Jesse Jackson is a puppet. He knows enough in this day and time not to run his mouth in public like that. Just like Baracks former pastor - looking for his 15 minutes of fame. Is this display of ignorance really worth the 15 minutes. Why does he think he was called for an interview? He - just like anyone else not used to reporters tactics - is a wild card they played and got a juicy return.

Your day is long over Jesse! It's time you retired. At least have the sense to KEEP QUIET!

bigjay

Jesse Jackson is a disgrace in plain and simple terms. The idea that he lacks the awareness of the microphone on his lapel before whispering something that was beyond stupid, to a colleage who looked confused and embarrassed at the same time, after 40yrs in politics and around the media says more about him than any remarks about Obama that he could muster!

P.S> Earnest Cave??? James, give your cousin in VA a quick call when you have a spare moment. I'd love to talk to you about that name. Seriously!!

rev.larry JOHN cazer

everybody talking that talk about what mr. Jackson said about Obama
BUT NO ONE WANT TO SEE ARE HERE WHAT HEAVEN HAVE TO SAY ABOUT MR. OBAMA AND THE STEM CELL.
I AM WAITING ON CNN TO LOOK AT THE PHOTOS THAT I TOOK OVER THE GATE WAY ARCH IN ST.LOUIS,MO. OF THE DEVIL WITH A BLACK WIDOW ON HIS HEAD AND A SNAKE BELOW HIS LIPS. I PUT ALL 3 PEOPLE RUNNING FOR THE PREZ. OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT THE WOMAN WAS DROP FROM THE TEST,BECAUSE THE DEVIL HAD A MANs FACE,SO I PUT EACH MAN MR. MCCAINE AND MR. OBAMA NEXT TO THE PHOTO,THEN I HAD TO DROP THE WHITE MAN BECAUSE THE PHOTO IS OF A BLACK MAN,THAT FIT THE PHOTO
AND AFTER CHECKING OUT HIS PAST UP UNTIL 2007, THEN USING THE BIBLE TO COME UP WITH A ANSWER FOR THIS IMAGE BEING SENT FROM HEAVEN,THE ANSWER WAS,
LUKE CH.6 VER.43---46
THIS MAN LOVE HIS PASTOR AND HE WROTE HIS BOOK BASE ON THAT LOVE,NOW THERE ARE OTHERS PHOTOS TAKEN THAT THERE ARE WATCHERS WATCHING THIS RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. THIS MAN OBAMA MIND AND HEART MUST BE CHANGE ABOUT STEM CELL AND SAME SEX LOVERS IN RIGHTS,I LOVE THEM BUT DON,T LIKE THERE SICK WAYS OF WICKNESS.

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