When he was elected, Mr. Obama was celebrated by many Americans for two historic and important qualities. First, he was perceived as an important symbol that represented America’s triumph over the era in our history when Blacks were treated as second-class citizens. There’s no doubt that America has nurtured and given opportunity to exceptional Black minds, including the two outstanding Black Secretaries of State who served under President Bush. But never before had a predominantly white country elected a Black man as its leader, and especially a country that had been so painfully tested by racial strife. Second, he set a shining example of the modern, stable Black family. He and his wife and their two beautiful children were – and continue to be – a model for all to aspire.
Paul Tough interviewed President Obama for an article that was recently published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. The column, titled “What Does Obama Really Believe In?” was a precursor to his newly-released book, How Children Succeed. Mr. Tough observed that Obama has abandoned speaking about the poor, pointing out that “Obama hasn’t made a single speech about poverty as President, and if you visit barackobama.com these days, you would be hard-pressed to find any reference to the subject whatsoever.” If he doesn’t talk about poverty, then he doesn’t address its root causes, which in the Black community are closely tied to the lack of family structure and the absence of fathers. Obama would be the perfect person to lead a cultural revolution on this issue; but, like the fathers themselves, he has been conspicuously absent.