At the Oakland occasion, Mr. Obama doubled-down on his finger-wagging. “Oftentimes racism, historically in this society, sends you a message that you are less than and weak,” Mr. Obama mentioned. “We feel like we got to compensate by exaggerating certain stereotypical ways that men are supposed to act, and that’s a trap that we fall into that we have to pull out of.”
This can be how conservatives depict black folks, because the thinker Cornel West defined in “Race Matters.” Conservatives accuse them of being lazy and demand self-improvement. Liberals pity blacks for not having the ability to assist themselves. But, to each teams, the burden is on black folks to repair themselves. Neither conservatives nor liberals sufficiently problem racist folks or establishments which have lengthy exploited poor folks and folks of coloration.
To put it one other method: Programs like My Brother’s Keeper insist on making higher variations of Trayvon Martin, the black sufferer, as a substitute of asking cease creating folks like George Zimmerman, the racist vigilante. Rather than encouraging them to dismantle the programs that deepen wealth inequality, Mr. Obama tells black boys to tuck their chains.
Teenagers could be powerful audiences and Mr. Obama may have simply tried to be relatable. He’s a masterful, charismatic storyteller. He sings, jokes and provokes. But all through his candidacy and presidency, Mr. Obama repeatedly lectured black folks.
In 2008, he scolded black mother and father for allegedly feeding their kids “cold Popeyes” hen, although meals deserts have gotten extra prevalent in black neighborhoods. He shamed Ferguson and Baltimore protesters for resisting police violence with rocks, not the law enforcement officials whom the protesters had been rightly defending themselves towards. And in his Oakland feedback, he criticized absent fathers, although a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that black fathers had been essentially the most concerned with their kids day by day than every other group of fathers.
What type of males do these boys threat turning into, Mr. Obama requested? “If you are very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking,” Mr. Obama mentioned. “Why are you all like, I mean, you seem stressed acting that way. Because I got one woman who I’m very happy with. And she is a strong woman.”
I admit. The former chief of the free world utilizing “twerk” appropriately made me giggle. But I felt uneasy.