Stuff White People Say

July 23, 2009

Misrepresenting President Obama

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 12:18 am

“Obama tells black America: ‘Your destiny is in your hands’…No Excuses”

This sentence above was the emphasis of main-stream media of Obama’s recent speech for the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.

You can read the entire speech here: Link

The media presents to its white audience what the white audience wants to hear. That Black people use racism as an excuse.

It is in this alleged ‘post-racial’ America where white people display for everybody who can see what Obama was talking about in January 2008: Americas empathy deficit

Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.
[…]
So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

and here are some parts of the NAACP speech which the main-stream media left out or treated it more like a side-note:

“What we celebrate tonight is not simply the journey the NAACP has traveled, but the journey that we, as Americans, have traveled over the past 100 years.

It’s a journey that takes us back to a time before most of us were born, long before the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights Act, Brown v. Board of Education; back to an America just a generation past slavery. It was a time when Jim Crow was a way of life; when lynchings were all too common; when race riots were shaking cities across a segregated land.
[…]
They also knew that here, in America, change would have to come from the people. It would come from people protesting lynchings, rallying against violence, all those women who decided to walk instead of taking the bus, even though they were tired after a long day of doing somebody else’s laundry, looking after somebody else’s children. It would come from men and women of every age and faith, and every race and region — taking Greyhounds on Freedom Rides; sitting down at Greensboro lunch counters; registering voters in rural Mississippi, knowing they would be harassed, knowing they would be beaten, knowing that some of them might never return.
[…]
And so the question is, where do we direct our efforts? What steps do we take to overcome these barriers? How do we move forward in the next 100 years?
[…]
The first thing we need to do is make real the words of the NAACP charter and eradicate prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination among citizens of the United States. I understand there may be a temptation among some to think that discrimination is no longer a problem in 2009. And I believe that overall, there probably has never been less discrimination in America than there is today. I think we can say that.

But make no mistake: The pain of discrimination is still felt in America.
[…]
But we also know that prejudice and discrimination — at least the most blatant types of prejudice and discrimination — are not even the steepest barriers to opportunity today. The most difficult barriers include structural inequalities that our nation’s legacy of discrimination has left behind; inequalities still plaguing too many communities and too often the object of national neglect.
[…]
There are overcrowded classrooms, and crumbling schools, and corridors of shame in America filled with poor children — not just black children, brown and white children as well.

The state of our schools is not an African American problem; it is an American problem. Because if black and brown children cannot compete, then America cannot compete.
[…]
And that’s what the NAACP is all about. The NAACP was not founded in search of a handout. The NAACP was not founded in search of favors. The NAACP was founded on a firm notion of justice; to cash the promissory note of America that says all of our children, all God’s children, deserve a fair chance in the race of life.
[…]
It’s a simple dream, and yet one that all too often has been denied — and is still being denied to so many Americans. It’s a painful thing, seeing that dream denied. I remember visiting a Chicago school in a rough neighborhood when I was a community organizer, and some of the children gathered ’round me. And I remember thinking how remarkable it was that all of these children seemed so full of hope, despite being born into poverty, despite being delivered, in some cases, into addiction, despite all the obstacles they were already facing — you could see that spark in their eyes. They were the equal of children anywhere.

And I remember the principal of the school telling me that soon that sparkle would begin to dim, that things would begin to change; that soon, the laughter in their eyes would begin to fade; that soon, something would shut off inside, as it sunk in — because kids are smarter than we give them credit for — as it sunk in that their hopes would not come to pass — not because they weren’t smart enough, not because they weren’t talented enough, not because of anything about them inherently, but because, by accident of birth, they had not received a fair chance in life.”

.

But all what white America has to tell Black America via media is: ‘Your destiny is in your hands’…No Excuses”
Empathy deficit indeed…

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2 Comments »

  1. Yes, after I heard the press after Obama’s NAACP speech, I was thinking Father’s Day speech 2008. Actually, Obama’s 2009 NAACP speech (which is not to be confused with his 2008 NAACP speech) is more in line with his 2007 Father’s Day speech which, while using some of the same tired rhetoric which later appeared in his 2008 Father’s Day speech, was a pretty solid speech (looking at the transcript) which placed Obama firmly as a politician focused on doing a politician’s job — dealing with government policies and the impact of those policies on people’s lives. Of course, that was before the media unleashed the Rev. Wright tapes.

    Now, Obama is no stranger to running with negative, anti-black stereotypes and using them in his speeches. But neither is a whole class of Black people who just happen to consume the same media White Americans do…

    Comment by Nquest — July 23, 2009 @ 3:04 am | Reply

  2. I noticed that too: the white press only heard what it wanted to hear from his NAACP speech.

    Comment by abagond — August 2, 2009 @ 7:15 pm | Reply


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