Protip: when it’s deer season you shoot at deer, not turkeys.
Posted by Euroranger on September 8, 2009
So, today is the day that President Barack Obama wants to take an hour in schools and tell children in those schools to go to school and stay in school…and this has caused an uproar apparently…and not for the silliness of preaching the benefits of school attendance to children who are already in school. Seems kinda like preaching safe sex to eunuchs to me…but hey, that’s just me. You wanna pass that message to kids who might need to hear it? Try doing it in the local mall this morning instead of schools. But, as observed previously in G.H.E.Y IN. H.D., common sense was tragically murdered years ago and is but a fading memory in the collective consciousness of this country.
So, anyway, Obama wants to take an hour and devote it to speaking to children. In general terms, I’m not sure I can get behind the idea of taking an hour of school instruction time for something that is normally a parental duty. I’m pretty sure the last time I checked a newspaper, the president had a few other pressing issues on his plate that would seem to trump his assumed need to speak to our kids and impart parental advice as though he has some authority to do so.
This hour long exercise is aimed at public schools. Now, wait a minute…if this address is universally good advice, why does he not insist that private schools carry his address as well? I mean sure, they’re also welcome to set aside class instruction time to hear Obama drone for AN HOUR about matters germane to school attendance…but the message is intended for public schools. I find this ironic as the President’s own children attend a private school and as such they are not the intended target of his address. So, it’s really only for the rest of us and not for folks like him and his. Way to bring us all together Barry!
And, in case the caps above didn’t make my amazement clear: AN HOUR? Really? You need a freakin’ hour to say “kids, stay in school, study hard, get good grades”? Hell, that took me…oh…perhaps 5 seconds…and that’s if I turn my head back and forth three times to read from the teleprompter. What the hell else is that dude going to say for the remaining 59:55? Talk about goddamn overkill. Perhaps Barack, despite having been identified as the paternal sperm donor on two children’s birth certificates, hasn’t actually spent much time around children. I have 3 kids and I can tell you there isn’t any group of words, strung together in any combination you like, that will hold my children’s rapt attention for more than 60 seconds much less 60 minutes. I’m sure Barack may consider himself to be a superior communicator to my children than their own father but guess what Barry, my kids are IN SCHOOL at this very moment, working hard and making good grades. They already have the advice you think I was simply too incapable of instilling in them and don’t need a total stranger (albeit a famous total stranger) telling them something as though his advice is somehow elevated in importance to that of their teachers…whose hour it is that you propose taking.
I send my children to school to receive an education…not to listen to a politician tell them something they already know. Politics do not belong in my kids’ school (my children’s school won’t be showing his address, in fact). There’s already a surfeit of politics there now in the form of the curriculum the teachers are forced to impart to students. We don’t need so much as one atom more.
Want to know the best part of my rant? I have zero problem with my children choosing to tune in to an hour of the “Uncle Barry Says Things You Should Hear” Show. You do it to the three major networks whenever you want to force politics on the people. Why not simply tell Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and MTV that you’ll be pre-empting an hour of their programming tonight at 7PM EST so you can have your say? Respect the educators’ time, leave the hour of instruction time in schools alone and reach a bigger audience while you’re at it. Once again, the ghost of common sense rises spectrally to rattle the chains of clear thought only to be drowned out and ignored by the cacophony of stupid.
Really, I have no issue whatsoever with the President of the United States having something positive to say about education and the need for children to get one. I suspect, however, that the true audience for this address isn’t being discussed…and it needs to be.
The focus of the President’s address is “stay in school” or put another way “don’t drop out”. Let’s look then at who it is that is likely to be a dropout (from the Child Trends Databank project at this URL: http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/pdf/1_PDF.pdf):
Black and Hispanic youth are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to drop out of high school. In 2005, 6 percent of non-Hispanic whites ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school and had not completed high school, compared with 11 percent of blacks and 23 percent of Hispanics.
Dropout rates of young people ages 16 to 24 in the civilian, non-institutionalized population gradually declined between 1972 and 2005, from 15 percent to a low of 9 in 2005. In this indicator, dropouts are defined as individuals ages 16 to 24 who are not enrolled in and have not completed high school. In 1972, the dropout rate among non-Hispanic blacks was 21 percent, 12 percent among non-Hispanic whites, and 34 percent for Hispanic youth. These rates have since declined substantially for each group. The dropout rate for non-Hispanic black youth reached an historic low of 11 percent in 2005. This drop is at least in part related to increased incarceration rates among black male high school dropouts, which more than doubled between 1980 and 1999, thus removing them from the civilian non-institutionalized population on which these estimates are based.8 Rates among Hispanic youth have declined in last few years from 30 percent in 1998 to 23 percent in 2005.
So, dropout rates are high amongst non-white ethnicities. Barack Obama is a non-white ethnicity. His approval ratings amongst non-white ethnicities is higher than for whites. He is indeed THE guy who can and should deliver a message to the non-white ethnicity student age population about the benefits of an education. Some time back, during the campaigning for the 2008 presidency I said on a public forum somewhere that while I didn’t support and wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama, if he DID somehow succeed in being elected president, he’ll at least be in a position to do one good thing if nothing else and that’s “be a role model of achievement to American black youth“. In this, he couldn’t hardly have more support from me. In that, I’m behind him 100% percent…and I didn’t vote for the guy. I support him in that because I’m an American and that role model (common sense, yet again) is good for the audience and, in turn, good for the country.
In fact, one excerpt from the President’s address makes it clear who his remarks are aimed at:
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
Rapping and basketball. Not too many white or hispanic rappers or basketball players. So, his address, it could be argued, is aimed at black youth…and I’m fine with that. That earlier thinktank quote attributed the reduced dropout rates amongst black youth to their correspondingly increased incarceration rate. How sad is that? Damned sad if you ask me and something needs to be done about it. The someone who has the clout and respect amongst black youths is indeed Barack Hussein Obama…and he has a bully pulpit to use to deliver that message.
But goddamn it, why doesn’t ANYONE (anyone other than me, that is) say what this address is truly about and who it’s truly aimed at? IT’S NOT A CRIME OR RACISM OR ANY OTHER SUCH BULLSHIT TO ADMIT THAT AMERICAN BLACK YOUTH ARE IN DEEP SHIT TROUBLE AND THAT THE TROUBLE NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED HEAD ON WITHOUT LABELING THE ONES ADDRESSING IT AS RACISTS. Unfortunately, had George W. Bush delivered this speech and used the exact same turn of phrase to deride delusions of rap or basketball fame…he’d have been branded as a racist by the very folk who so obviously and desperately need the help.
Finally, ask yourself why is this address needed at all? Let’s use something I like to call “deductive logic” (which is really common sense in a fancy suit). The advice Obama is giving, I mentioned earlier, is advice normally dispensed by parents. The group he is dispensing it to is primarily black youth (as illustrated by the examples he uses in his speech). Ergo, it is not unreasonable to infer that Obama feels he needs to deliver parental quality advice to black youth. This further infers that Obama feels such advice is needed from him because it is not currently present in the quantities needed. What it boils down to is: black parents aren’t imparting good parental advice to their black children such that those children are guided onto potentially successful life paths.
And herein lies the true crux of the problem. The disintegration of the nuclear family has been underway in the United States for decades but nowhere moreso than amongst black families. The lack of a nurturing black family environment has left black children without guidance and so they turn to other sources of guidance…like TV. On TV you see successful rappers (singing about guns, killing, money and bitches) and basketball stars…and the success of those two groups become the role models for black youth. Obama NEEDS to be the counterpoint to that bullshit…and he is. I just wish he’d come out and say it, indict and identify the current “black culture” as corrupt gangsterism and slap black mothers and fathers who abandon the raising of their children to the whims of society as the gutless sellouts of their race and culture that they are. Not all black parents and not all black children are this way. But the ones that are are the ones that need to be told…and told by someone who has the authority to do it and the respect amongst those people to command their attention.
That someone is Barack Obama and he needs to say it openly and loudly and make an issue of it.
Put higher expectations on black America and make it clear that their failure is mostly of their own doing anymore. Are there still informal barriers to black advancement in this country? Certainly, but I contend that this isn’t the primary reason anymore for failure of blacks as a group to advance. Skin color isn’t and shouldn’t be a litmus test for success in this country. Whites got that message a long time ago. Blacks, however, it seems didn’t…and that’s the irony of the day for you. You CAN succeed if you’re black…but, just like whites, you have to work at it to even have that chance. There are plenty of failures amongst white America but they didn’t fail because someone mistook them for blacks. They failed because they didn’t try to succeed. Or as others like to say “correlation (being black) isn’t causation (you failed)”. Lack of effort and a surrounding culture that labels ambition through education and self discipline as being a “sellout” or an “Uncle Tom” is the main problem…not “the Man” keeping them down.
In the interest of fairness (and because it’s really not a bad speech) the text of the speech from President Obama can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/
My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.