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[National News Briefs]
Obama: Don't Castigate Black Fathers
By Robert N. Taylor
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama received a lot of generally positive media coverage for his sermon last Sunday delivered before more than 3,000 worshippers at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. It was basically a “tough love” speech castigating Black men who father children but fail to stay around to raise and nurture them.
It was a great sermon. I agreed with just about everything he said. Nevertheless, I do not think he should have given it because it targeted the end-result manifestation of a problem and not the cause of the problem.
I have long been convinced that white Americans get a twisted thrill out of hearing Black people criticize one another. Such criticisms tend to let whites off hook. It enables them to feel that the problems and social pathologies confronting Blacks are just a result of individual failures and not a result of 240 years of slavery, 100 years of systematic discrimination, 100 years of state enforced poverty and a culture which has long denigrated and denied social value to Blacks.
What I want Obama – a man I find truly amazing in many respects – to understand are some basic principles of rational thinking which are necessary to grasp if we are going to solve the problem of the missing Black father and not just talk about it. I assure you that these principles are sound and must be followed.
The first two rational thinking principles are these: Everything has a cause but nothing is the cause of itself. The primal example of these two principles is the phenomenon called a baby. Like all phenomena in life and nature, the baby does not cause or bring itself into existence. It is the product of causes external to itself - a mother and a father.
The above is true of everything – be it an infant or a problem. Thus, if a disproportionate number of African American males are abandoning the children they father and failing to nurture and constructively raise them, there is a cause to this social pathology. In other words, everything has a history which brought it into existence.
You can never fully understand a problem nor solve it if you fail to grasp the history which caused it.
Further --and this may be difficult to grasp-- you do not solve a problem by attacking the problem. Instead, you must attack the factors which cause and perpetuate the problem. Yes, there is a critical aspect of lack of individual responsibility perpetuating this problem. But until we also attack the fundamental causes of poverty, Black-self-hatred and distorted thug-like notions of what it takes to be a man, the problem will never be solved.
Forget the tough-love speeches. Boys must be raised to be good fathers. And given our current social conditions disproportionately the responsibility for raising them properly is going to fall on women. That is the only way the cycle can be broken. Certain fatherhood principles must be ingrained in their minds as very young ages. If your son grows up to father and abandon children, then you did not raise him properly. He is just the end-result manifestation of the problem. The failure to raise him properly is actually the cause of the problem and that it what must be addressed.
[Send your comments or reactions to TaylorMediaPrime@yahoo.com]
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