Seems that if black folks can't take a little heart-felt and good-spirited criticism from legendary black comedians, then they should definitely look forward to it coming from the White House. That is if Barack gets in. For Father's Day, the presidential hopeful made a speech at Chicago's largest black church blasting black America on a number of its social ills. Among those: black fathers who won't except responsibility and raise their children.
"They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it."
And the pathology of underachievement and mediocrity:
“Don’t get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation... You’re supposed to graduate from eighth grade.”
In a New York Times, piece on the speech reporter Julie Bosman made an observant note that on the campaign trail last February Obama took a mostly-black audience to task on the issue of nutrition:
“I know how hard it is to get kids to eat properly,” Mr. Obama said. “But I also know that folks are letting our children drink eight sodas a day, which some parents do, or, you know, eat a bag of potato chips for lunch. Buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework.”
Now, don't get me wrong. I, too, think the panacea for what ails black folks, in part, is a healthy dose of do-for-self and take-responsibility-for-self. But I find it very interesting that there is no—and will be no— uproar from black public intellectuals over Barack's very public chastisement of those in the black lower class. Especially from Michael Eric Dyson, who's based part of his hype around publicly browbeating Bill Cosby for the infamous pound cake speech. After all, there's no difference from what the Cos' said and what Barack is saying...Or is it? Is it that since he's running for president and Dyson is one of his celebrity supporters. (And, oh, there's no book money to be made or street cred in trashing a black man who might win the highest office in the country.)
Either way, it's been every interesting to see the growth of the get-off-your-asses-black-people-movement that seems to be catching on in the 21st Century (thanks, Million Man March). It's gonna be even more interesting to see the public reaction to a black man living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue saying, "Niggas, please get it together."