It is a man-bites-dog story when I support or applaud something that former President Barack Obama says or does.
You may recall President Obama started a mentoring organization called My Brother’s Keeper. This initiative attempts to provide a responsible, positive message for young African-American men, a demographic plagued by poor lifestyle choices like dropping out of school, having multiple kids out of wedlock with different women, drug and alcohol abuse, gang involvement, and criminal and obnoxious behavior. These urban pathologies have been triggered by what I believe is our most urgent social crisis in the black community—absent fathers.
Recent empirical data shows an explosion in the number of black households headed by a single mom since the decades following the ‘60s. The catalyst for this has been the marginalization of the father in the lives of their children. Men became expendable. Two of the culprits were feminism and the creation of the welfare state that was supposed to be the fix but turned out to be a disastrous government program that declared war on the black family. It made things worse. My community, the black community, has never crawled out from under the rock that had been dropped on them by misguided social science experiments using human subjects performed by university elites and practiced by federal bureaucrats.
Fathers matter. They are responsible for the socialization of young boys during their adolescent years. Responsible fathers teach their sons about good decision-making. They show their sons how to treat and respect women properly. My father did. For instance, he strictly forbade me from ever laying a hand on my sisters. If I forgot, he quickly and effectively responded. He got my attention. Trust me. I detailed in my book, Cop Under Fire, how my father was there when I might go off the rails and was there to reel me back in before I made a fatal mistake.
As a law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, I saw first-hand the tragic consequences of fatherless homes. When there is no father around to discipline and consistently be that positive male mentor, there is a good chance a young man can become a misguided, aggressive, out of control, and socially maladjusted.
So I was ecstatic when I read of former President Obama’s appearance at a chapter of My Brother’s Keeper in Oakland, California in February. In part, he spoke of masculinity, what in his view being a real man actually was. It was different than what they have been hearing from Hollywood through the movie industry and rap music industry portrayal of black men as gangsters, outlaws and women-abusing thugs.
Obama essentially said to this group what they desperately needed to hear from a successful black man:
“If you are really confident in your financial situation, you are probably not going to be wearing an eight-pound chain around your neck.” He continued, “oftentimes racism, historically in this society, sends you a message that you are less than and weak. 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 and have to pull out of.”
President Obama went on to criticize absent fathers saying, “If you are confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking.” He continued, “Why are you all like, I mean, you seem stressed acting that way. Because I got one woman who I am very happy with. And she’s a strong woman.”
Not according to Derecka Purnell in an op-ed to the New York Times. Purnell, an African-American lawyer, had a big problem with a black man’s scolding of young men while finger wagging at them as she described it. She said many of these men have no reason to be confident about their financial situation and that Obama is partly to blame for it. Yep, it’s Obama’s fault according to her. She said that the way he spoke to these black men is how conservatives depict black people. She accused him of reinforcing toxic masculinity.
In her view, she said, “I can’t imagine being a boy in that room with Obama, who feels like a girl or who is a girl. Or dreams of eight men twerking around him, or wants to twerk or is curious about boys and girls.” Read that to mean that former President Obama should have referenced gay and transgender issues.
Purnell said she was, “more excited about girls programs like Assata’s Daughters in Chicago which teaches black girls about oppression, abolition and how to organize social justice campaigns. This group is named after Assata Shakur, a convicted cop killer who escaped prison and is currently in exile in Cuba. Now there’s a great role model for young black girls—an escaped cop killer in exile.
This is some sick stuff. It’s sociopathic thinking. A warning label should accompany any of the garbage coming from Purnell either in print or spoken. It should read, contains toxic feminist content, if your mind comes in contact with this black rage, induce vomiting and call the nearest poison control center for directions on how to dilute the effect.