Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Obama Scolds Black Fathers, Gets Bounce in Polls
By ISHMAEL REED
It’s obvious by now that Barack Obama is treating black Americans like one treats a demented uncle, brought out from his room to be ridiculed and scolded before company from time to time, the old Clinton Sistah Souljah strategy borrowed from Clinton’s first presidential campaign when he traveled the country criticizing the personal morality of blacks and wooing white voters by objecting to what he considered anti -white lyrics sung by rapper Sistah Souljah.
As in Clinton’s case, Obama’s June 14th finger wagging at black men was a case of pandering to white conservative voters. This follows a pattern of using public perceptions of black men fanned by the media and Hollywood to win political favor. Bush One and his sleazy cohorts won votes by depicting black men as dangerous. After the Willie Horton ad, featuring a black rapist, was aired, support for Bush soared to 20% among southern white males, according to Willie Brown, former San Francisco mayor. Obama, by depicting them as irresponsible, saw his poll numbers climb to a 15% lead over McCain, according to a Newsweek poll. With his speech, he received a bounce in the polls that was denied to him after he gained the democrat nomination. He also enjoyed the bounce in the polls from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
According to pundits, the reason he lost these states during the primary was because he couldn’t bowl His Father’s Day speech was meant to show white conservative males that he wouldn’t cater to “special interests” groups, blacks in this case. This was the consensus of those who appeared on MSNBC and other opinion venues of the segregated media on 6/16/2008 even the progressive ones. (Segregated? Not quite. The two percent of African Americans who support Bush all seem to have jobs as pundits, columnists and Op-eders). Michael A. Cohen, writing in The New York Times, June 15, 2008, acknowledging Mr. Obama’s Sister Souljah moment wrote “Indeed, just yesterday, Barack Obama had his own mini- “Souljah moment” as he decried the epidemic of fatherlessness and illegitimacy among black Americans. While it is a message that Mr. Obama has voiced before to other black audiences, speaking unpleasant truths about issues afflicting the black community may provide political benefit for a candidate whom some working-class white voters are suspicious of — just as it did for Clinton 16 years ago. ” ( When is Cohen going to air “unpleasant truths about issues afflicting” his community?).
The talking heads also concluded that Obama’s speech before a black congregation in which he scolded black men for being lousy fathers and missing in action from single parent households and being boys, etc. , was cleary aimed at those white male Reagan democrats, who, apparently, in Obama and the media’s eyes, provide the gold standard for fatherhood, which fails to explain why there are millions of destitute white women, “ displaced housewives”and their children whose poverty results from divorce, or why, according to one study, 90% of middle class white women have been battered , or have witnessed their mothers sisters, or daughters being battered. A smug John Harwood of The New York Times said that Obama was telling black men to “shape up. ” As long as men of Mr. Harwood’s class dominate the avenues of expression, who’s going to tell white men to “shape up?”Judging from my reading American men of all races, ethnic groups and classes need to shape up when it comes to the treatment of women.
Blaming black men exclusively for the abuses against women is a more profitable infotainment product. Hypocrisy is also involved. MSNBC host, Joe Scarborough, who welcomed Juan William’s latest demagogic attack on blacks, printed in The Wall Street Journal , still hasn’t addressed the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his staffer, Lori Klaustis (http://www. whoseflorida. com/lori_klausutis. htm) who was found dead on the floor of his office or why he had to resign abruptly from Congress. And is Juan Williams, whose career has been marred by repeated sexual harassment complaints against him really one to criticize the personal morality of others? Is Bill Cosby?
According to the Census, a woman’s income on the average is reduced by 73% after divorce in a country in which 50% of marriages end in divorce. Moreover the Times revelation, shocking to some, that elderly whites are taking to cocaine and heroin, a genuine epidemic, hasn’t drawn a response from the legions of columnists and commentators and book publishers who profit from any signs of social”dysfunction” among blacks. Nor has Harwood, George Will, David Brooks, Pat Buchanan, who are always scolding blacks for whatever , commented on the rising incarceration rates of white women. Apparently, Lindsay and Paris are not alone, nor are the Barbie bandits.
Don’t expect Obama to bring up this rampant substance abuse before a white congregation. He had to just about whisper about the values of blue-collar whites, those whom he said clung to guns and religion;he was exposed by a woman who recorded his comments, furtively. Even though the media, which rank ratings above facts, continue to criticize him for these remarks and have made them a campaign issue, sixty percent of Pennsylvanians, according to an April 17, Zogby poll, agreed with him. (The media were also wrong to suggest that Hillary got the worst of it from the press during the primary. A Pew study from Harvard contradicts this. )
Predictably, Obama’s verbal flagellation of black men, who don’t have the media power with which to fight back, was cheered on the front page of The New York Times, which places a black face on every story about welfare, domestic violence and unmarried mothers, and uses Orlando Patterson to parrot these attitudes on the Op-ed page, yet a study published by the Times showed a steep decline in the rate of births to unmarried black women over the decade while the rate among Hispanic women has increased, contradicting what Cohen described as an “epidemic of illegitimacy” among blacks. An indication that the Op ed editors at the Times are so willing to believe the folklore perpetrated by such writers as Cohen that they don’t fact check a writer whose assumptions are at odds with the reports from The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that they published on Dec. 6, 2007, and at odds with their token black columnist, Bob Herbert, who said on 6/20/08 that illegitimate births have “skyrocketed” over the decades.