Today President Obama launched a new initiative aimed at building opportunities for young black males. The president’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative is designed to bring businesses and foundations together with the federal government to help disadvantaged men and boys have, “the chance to reach their full potential.”
The president implored parents to, “turn off the television and help with homework,” and had tough words for young men as well.
“No excuses,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to help provide you the tools you need. We’ve got to help you knock down some of the barriers that you experience. That’s what we’re here for. But you’ve got responsibilities too. And I know you can meet the challenge, and many of you already are, if you make the effort.”
But why, after six years in office, hasn’t President Obama adopted a more comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck approach to restoring America’s traditional family unit? After all, he is the son of a single mother. And, of course, the president is a very devoted father and husband.
He could do much more than give some speeches and hold a few meetings with business heads.
It’s no secret that when it comes to selling his domestic agenda to the American people, the president pulls no punches.
The possibilities are limitless.
For instance, President Obama could bombard the airwaves with fatherhood-based PSAs and enlist Hollywood superstars like Steven Spielberg, Ty Burrel, and Brad Pitt—all of whom, ironically, have adopted beautiful black children into their families.
The president could tap music moguls like Ludacris, Jay-Z, and Eminem (all of whom are loving fathers who grew up fatherless) to spearhead a National Hip Hop Fatherhood Initiative.
Mr. Obama could ask his friend Spike Lee to write and direct pro-fatherhood YouTube videos starring “America’s dad” Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby, of course, has been a loud proponent of the importance of fatherhood after his famous “Pound Cake” speech given at the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.
Telling kids not to eat junk food is fine. But President Obama and the First Lady should sit down for an hour-long interview with TV One host Roland Martin. Martin, an avid supporter of the president, has helped raise six of his nieces. Surely he has a unique story to tell about the importance of fatherhood.
In the end, while it is good to see the president encouraging black parents to get involved in their children’s lives, that some 70 percent of black women are having children unwed remains the root cause of most of the social maladies preventing progress for black Americans.
President Obama once said, “In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father.” He’s right.
And there’s no limit to the positive impact that America’s father-in-chief and First Lady can have to help restore the American family.
So, let’s move!
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