The Obamas on Father’s Day

Almost forgot to post this. (And how could I? Bad me!) It’s pictures of the Obamas on Sunday where Barack gave his Father’s Day speech. He talked about the importance of fatherhood.

Depending on who you ask it was either a generalized call for responsibility in America or a targeted message to the black community. Papa Snob, ever observant, remarked that if Barack’s message was on the familial crisis in the black community it wasn’t directed to the people in that church or my father or me. This was directed to those harmed most by the problem — poor black people.

He pointed out that many white people don’t see the difference, not realizing we all didn’t roll off the same turnip truck. The majority of black people know there is a crisis. They simply disagree on who should do what. Especially since the people who are most affected by it have least means to address it.

That aside … enjoy the pictures!

Don’t feel bad, Sasha. I’ve been bored in church too. At least you’re not in itchy white tights and the world’s frilliest orange lace dress.

26 thoughts on “The Obamas on Father’s Day

  1. I’m surprised. No lengthy comments about Michelle’s fashion sense here? Of course I think that they are the ideal african-american family. Beautiful inside and out–at least from what I can discern from pictures! But Obama’s speech was accurate and timely. However, the audience he wants to reach will probably never hear it.

  2. I’m lazy. (Per fashion today)I thought they all looked nice, but there was nothing revolutionary to blog about here. Just cute pictures. The people who need the most help are often the people who are the least politically astute or mobilized. That’s the problem. Bringing information to people who often seem miles away from it.

  3. That’s exactly what I’m saying, Snob. It’s disheartening to think about my chosen career of social commentator/journalist/activist. Because somehow I have to marry theory with reality, and that will never be quick, simple, or painless. How do we take all of this soaring rhetoric about change (especially within our community and the family break down) and apply it? Because often, I’m not–we’re not–addressing the middle class and politically astute. We also must be careful not to demean or condescend. Hmm…why does this already make me weary?

  4. intellibrotha: That’s true. I think for the message to work it would have to applied at the lowest and most basic level. Rhetoric will not get the attention of those struggling just to get the rent check paid, but applied knowledge could work.This would mean working with community based, charitable organizations that work with unwed mothers, family planning, education and youth mentoring, either by volunteering or fund raising. And this would mean a local, grass roots effort. (It’s better to work small and help a community that go big and help barely anyone due to the lack of focus.)The information has to be brought down from the mountain top and applied to the masses so they can realize these goals are obtainable. If this isn’t done you just have an on-going cycle of welfare and despair where affluence, marriage and a long happy life is a dreamOnce you tackle basic issues like education and health care it’s a lot easier to get people around to addressing the more complex issues. Like understanding local political power structures and how to use their votes as power.

  5. LOL at Malia reading a book…I used to work it out with some Babysitter’s Club books during church. As for his message, it needs to be addressed in the black community whether it’s unpleasant to hear or not. And the secret service agent behind Michelle looks so out of place.

  6. Most people want to be social commentators and activists who are simply people with compounded frustrations of feeling marginalized but wanting to do something transformational. That however is not for everyone. Still, especially among our 38 million, I find that most of us who have the ability to get educated, we think we are the ones to lead. That is so ironically not the case. Most of us must still learn.Obama did what he does best. He seems ethereal. The sampling this time only but validated Mr. Cosby (Thank God) but just as with Mr. Cosby, they both are not qualified to do more than what they do in pontificate the symptons of the problem. Never do they construct viable public health solutions and policies to enact. Again the people get what they have become accustomed to and that is the sermon to meet to talk about it to meet again to talk about it to meet again to murmur and complain that “if Black People just acted right and if White People were not so racist” then everything would fall in place.The only thing that was positive about Obama’s lament was that he validated Mr. Cosby above just being THE ELITIST TALKING DOWN. Sometimes it takes a surrogate…a docent to articulate the first messenger because the first messenger always gets shot.Once I wrote an email to a woman and in the subject line of the email I wrote, “Don’t shoot me, shoot God! I’m only the messenger!”. I started righting that in the subject of several emails to follow to prepare people that I was about to piss them off. What would have served me better was to have a teammate playing GOOD COP to me being the brutally honest BAD COP as how I was perceived when I did not perform with the kid-gloved reciprocated platitudes of bastardizing the Black Psyche that we were victims of all that has happened to us and that everything about our essence was absolutely positive.So Obama did something gracious for those who are labeled mean-spirited Black Elitists who lean conservative but really do care. It’s unfair castigation. Some…many Black Conservatives do care but are demonized because they don’t hand-hold and cookie-cut. I am a Social Progressive who hates Liberals and liberalism and identify more with Black Conservatives in policy design for our people. But even the descriptives there are bastardized. Blacks have no idea what progressivism is and we tie on the life-preserver of liberalism too afraid to understand that not everyone who is not identified as a Bleeding-Heart is not out to get them.As much as people cannonize Obama’s strength and intelligence and offer attributes to The Obamas, we have yet seem more than moral boosting from the candidate. And I know it takes a lot of campaigning an idea to “make it stick” but we have yet to see what his genius is in remedying with social solutions. That is not the role and responsibility of a President or a Black person elected as President of The United States. I think however it is more of the responsibility of him as a politician representing his most urban constituency that needed those types of ideas in solutions. And that should not all be placed on him but with all of the exaltation, I do expect more than another speech. People don’t understand that the model of self-annoitment is not the cumulative proof for bailing our people out. Several have diagnosed our ills but it is we who are stuck in this addiction or murmuring in inertia about our predicaments — waiting for miracles to put us back together. We are simulating Humpty-Dumpty.The thing is: we can’t be put back together again. We must be reborn and that requires innovative and complex restructural thinkings. That way of thinking to think we can get back to where we were is not possible. That is the harsh truth we are not mature enough as a people to understand. The lack of understanding what anthropological history is and how development or the lack of alters a race/group’s future existence.Most social critics and activists are not there yet. They are basically just trying to wake people up still when most of us need to be knocked up side the heads. The Black Middle-Class (those of us here who think we are so above the disparity of being at fault) are the main ones contributing to our problems. The uneducated are not the problem. The problem is the educated who don’t know they need vastly more intricate emotional intelligence and social academics. That there includes a lot of Black Ivy-League and Black Establishment members who think they are so knowledgeable about everything that involves race.

  7. As a kid, and throughout much of my life, I wondered what (and why)was the fascination with the Kennedy family. This obsession with all things Jackie, JFK, Caroline and JFK, jr. I never understood it.Now that I see the pictures that you continually provide of the Obama family in candid moments, and press snaps; I finally understand why the public was nuts about the Kennedy clan, and why I am so profoundly affected by seeing the Obama family.I finally see myself, as well as all other black people in this country coming the closest to MLK’s vision of our future. My only regret is that my parents aren’t here to witness this. I would love to see this in their eyes, especially my mom.She, along with friends went to the March on Washington. I asked her what that was like; she said it was magical and uplifting to hear MKL speak. I told her I wished I was there. She said to me, ” You were; I was carrying you in my arms, and your sister was in my belly.” We are about to make history. I am just glad that I can, in a way, be a witness to this for my parents.

  8. Andrea, you raise valid points. I completely understand where you’re coming from. However, leadership within the black community is rarely self-appointed. From experience and observation, our people so desperately need leaders that if you attend church, can place a subject and a verb together, and know anything about hygiene, you’re selected and groomed to be a leader. This is probably the case with most young, educated black leaders on the rise. Not to boast, but it’s something that I have to internally fight: people’s expectations and my own wishes. This is the sad reality, and I don’t think it’s going to change. Obama needs a break, though. He’s simply playing the game to win the white house. It’s once he’s there (hopefully) that he will get a chance to really back up his rhetoric. Politics is nuanced and tricky. He is not, nor can he solely be the savior of the black race. I just hope that people will keep everything in perspective if he become our president and realize that this will be an American effort–and not just for blacks, but for our entire nation.

  9. But to consider that if this man has bonafide public policy solutions and could not muster mentioning them and what it would take to enact them until and if he was the highest public official in the republic, then we are not but a gamble in his domain. Too much is put into excusing his delicate spot of being in a precarious situation. He has been a career politician so far that has not institutionized one soaring accomplishment. I am just a small time activist and I have more accomplishments than him. What were his markers? What is his vision? Is it the religion of his ideas or is it a practicum?I know that being a visionary it is almost impossible to execute your ideas but at least he should should merit something tangible. Obama and the campaign of Obama is like a religion. He requires you to have faith in the unseen because he has yet to do anything but create a cosmic campaign of hope. That’s intangible and it is beautiful but the people need schematics…logistics…benchmarks…expectations to meet.

  10. I’m enjoying this discussion with you.I just wanted to get that out there. One thing remains: Obama at least puts the issue on the table. Not Hilary nor McCain has the community experience that he has, and from what I understand, his economic and social plans begin on a smaller, community based scale. Perhaps I’ve given into the religion of hope. But given the options on the table, I’ll take blind faith and a long shot over…well, I assume that you’ve been in America for the past few years.

  11. I coulda cared less what he said, it aint nun I haven’t ever heard before. However what I must say has nothing to do about the speech, but rather where he went.First of all, he went to Bishop Brazier’s church, they are the MOST uppity black megachurch in Chicago: Apostolic Church of God. I mean, they are at least as uppity as his old church, Trinity. What makes this even more interesting is that Bishop Brazier is the absolute antithesis of Jeremiah Wright. These two have had a public brawl, of course made more public as a result of Wright calling him out in a sermon or two over the years. Rightly so I believe. Bishop Brazier and the church subsequently was always in Hizzoner Mayor Daley’s back pocket with a perfect quid pro quo going on. I mean yes, Brazier was instrumental in cleaning up the 63rd street corridor, it looks TOTALLY regentrified from when I was a kid and from when they filmed Soul Food under the train tracks back in ’96 and ’97, however, the quesiton that Wright and many of us on the South Side was at who’s cost was it regentrified.Also, Brazier was instrumental in up and getting an expressway’s name changed in honor of the former Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, many people my age an older still call it the Calumet Expressway, but it’s now the Bishop Ford e-way. But, this is NOT Obama’s first time speaking there. I actually had the honor of my choir from New Orleans being on tour, going to do a concert behind Obama back in 2004 or 2005, my years get mixed up.But Obama knows he couldn’t have gone quite as far without Daley’s endorsement which is why he went against the grain of the South Side endorsing Daley for re-election last year in 2007, and it’s absolutely NO shock as to why he very well may end up at Apostolic.Meh, I like the church, nothing bad about them.Go for it, but it’d be interesting if they took him a back room and made him call on “Jesus” still he started speaking in tongues. LMAOoh-bah-mahJLL

  12. Andrea-How can someone that has worked directly with the community like SBO not be qualified to speak to that same community? You are going to have to help me understand that logic.

  13. intellibrotha and Snob,To the points that the Senator was making, poor people are not the only people that think that a B average is great or exceptional. There are plenty of middle class parents that do not stress their children to make all A’s. In addition, to his point about spending active time with your kids, instead of just being at home watching ESPN, that can go for a CEO or a janitor. We tend to brush poor people with a broad brush and we are to light on those of us who are doing well financially, as if we have it all together. Many fathers from many different backgrounds can use a little push.

  14. This is a FYI for you:Barack and Michelle on the Cover of US.<A HREF="“ REL=”nofollow”>He’s a picture of the coverAs far as the Father’s Day Speech, I’m tired of debating it. He was damned if he did, and if he didn’t.1. It’s not a new theme for him. He didn’t just invent it for his appearance at Apostolic.2. I agree with what he said. I’m conservative (small c) on this issue. The thing that I would have changed is the following: I really have been reading the criticisms of Obama on this speech around the Black Blogosphere. One of the main criticisms is that ‘Obama didn’t uplift the Black man enough’. ‘ Don’t we get the Black man run down 364 days of the year? Can’t we have just ONE day?’Michelle Obama, from everything that I’ve read about her – was a Daddy’s Girl. I believe that the Black woman has a role in aiding the relationship between the Black man and his children. I’m specifically speaking to those in our community who aren’t married, but are co-parents. I’m not one who believes that all Black men are bad. In fact, there is a nice chunk of Brothers who truly want to do the ‘right thing’ by their children, and, have impediments put in their way by the mothers of their children. She’s letting HER drama get in the way of her CHILD’s relationship with his/her father. I think Michelle Obama could have addressed that issue, as well as praise the Brothers who do their business, and used her own father as an example – he was a blue-collar Brother who took care of home, all the while being disabled to boot. Could have even added in there that she gave Barack her father’s ‘ basketball test’ – to see if he passed muster…..another way Daddy looked out for his Princess. Michelle could have ended her part, asking for Sisters to stand up and make promises to the children in their lives that they would help uplift the Father/Child relationship in our community. The ‘Praise the Brothers holding down the fort’ part out of the way. And, then, Obama could have come in with his speech.

  15. UN,Since you know about Chicago Negro Geography, where should he have said this speech? Apostolic IS more conservative than Trinity; that’s for sure. Fox News has already attacked Meeks, so he couldn’t have gone there, even though, any other election cycle, they (Fox) would have LOVED Meeks, who is NO liberal. I guess he could have gone to Bougie Safe Haven – St. Edmunds Episcopal.

  16. Great conversation, everybody.I have nothing intelligent to add, just wanted to show some love.The Secret Service agent cracked me up, too, until I remembered that if he’s going to be doing his job, that’s what he’ll look like. Protecting Barack, Michelle, and the girls isn’t really conducive to getting your praise on. :- )

  17. Wow i just read you blog but it’s seem you and are lost twins are something. Everything you say i agree with and that’s rare!

  18. I walked 2.3 miles yesterday from my apartment to work. Well…I didn’t give myself much time, so I caught the train by the White House to work. Anyway…thought I would walk with ankle weights home and by 7:30 I was yawning.So to answer your question, Kenya…Just because you are a father and a good father, blanket sermons about moral boosting is not a practicum. It’s like with Mr. Cosby. He is not qualified either. Both have started the verbal campaign but most people get it twisted that all that is a requirement is to stand on a pulpit and preach. Preaching is not teaching. Teaching is showing. These detailed practicums must be down by those who know how to teach and teaching does not always fall in line with regimental, old styles of taking someone through the process of series of events until it is rote memory. Most of our people, including me, including you — all of us — we need very hard structured workouts to revolutionize our core thinking processes on what is needed for sustainability in the roles we were born into, the roles that are needed, the roles that are necessitated for a sustainable future (and that, in our black skins). A politician unless trained in the behavioral economics is not one to take the people through the processes of training. What the politician can do and should do (in which he did) is try to make the idea of the campaign (not argument) stick. That is why I said it is good that he gives Dr. Cosby validation because even Dr. Cosby did not have the experience and qualifications to lead the complex structural movement. First though is getting someone with cred to throw it up against the wall to “make it stick”. Dr. Cosby did not have that credibility because of his showmanship elitism however his passion was right and exact. Dr. Cosby hit a threshold limit value of doing only as much as he is capable of. He has limitations and that is that he has no street cred with the working class Blacks and he is not a behavioral economist who has come up with public policies or public health campaigns to enact with our people. Those things are what Bruce Gordon, the former NAACP, wanted the NAACP do start doing. They were too slow and under-educated to understand that.What we have is an over-saturated market of activists who appoint themselves because there is a void in innovative leadership and on the other end, the marginalized value sentiment most people feel about themselves in relation to our human credit rating produces an idealogical desperation played out in everybody wanting to “do something positive” and hence strive to be heard. Marginalization creates this. Also the culture we live in in which school teachers deliver blanket platitudes about everyone needing to lead, it creates a false illusion that everyone is capable of leading because they connect the desperate passion with divine calling. So you get more people who want to lead because that fills them with an energy of hope but they really should not all be in those roles because there is no absolute real fundamental workers to do the work. We have a chattering class of “leaders” who can’t hear shit. They have stifled thought processes. But they are elevated, excused, exonerated, and exempted because they advertise their intentions of execution to lead. (Too many chiefs and no structural engineers to build the bridges, tunnels, roads…infrastructure. So we continue with new leaders popping out without not one — not one accomplishment — in the feat of creating a solution with results past recorded that show they are the ones who will deliver. Instead what we get is: more talking to get together to talk…to talk to meet to meet to talk. I have seen this model for my entire life since the trend really started in my teens in the 80’s but if you read history and look back at NATIONAL BLACK POLITICAL CONVENTION COLLECTION, 1972-1973, this meeting to not get anything done because then and still today we are fighting over who has the right idea while not implimenting anything even as a test run. Back then it was all sexist in not wanting to listen to a woman: Shirley Chisolm.Anyway…so no policy initiatives are ever enacted. We just talk…to talk…to meet and get excited that someone who is Black and famous will fill the Messiah’s shoes to get us sweaty and excited about redemption. We have been doing this since I can recollect the trends since my cognitive memory was formed. That is what Barack does. It is firm evidence that he has not actuated any results. And eventhough he has the access to find the ingenius individuals can devise a blueprint for construction, he has not delivered on this in his past in any way to be a social scientist that has produced any evidence of his prowess to catalyze solutions. We tend to get it twisted when we hear him speak of his dreams not to realize those dreams have never been implimented in hard core tangible exercises to create results. He is a religion. Only a few people have implimented processes that has tried to shift paradigms and create systems to remedy with solutions but the Black Community rebukes the iniatives because they are uncomfortable, not approving, not accomodating, and they don’t celebrate us as the ethereal victims. Ironically, all of them have been created by women as women who are Gen X — not Barack Obama.And even with Roland Fryer, our age peer, he is not even appreciated and respected in the Black Community being THE INNOVATIVE BLACK MALE social science maverick, he can’t even the cred he deserves for some of his proofs that can created infrastructural changes in the Black Community. (His pay-kids-to-learn idea sucks but it is a absolute great barometer of reading anthropological trends in behavioral acceptances and cultivation in society).But there are a few innovative minds who understand you have to do more than speeches and profess to be an activist. You have to enact solutions. Those solutions must formulate Best Practices for results.

  19. to RIKYRAH:I mean, I think Apostolic was the best place for him to go, especially since he’s already spoken there previously. I guess, I was more pointing out the irony between Trinity and Apostolic.But, I will say this, Trinity has a longer tradition of grassroots politics that speaks to his South Side politicking out in Altgeld Gardens and what not. So, clearly, that’s why Trinity attracted him–hell, Trinity had the “Free South Africa” sign out for YEARS, and Brazier was preaching Jesus and him crucified, that’s it and that’s all.Nun wrong with Brazier, per se, but, I guess in light of Obama’s church troubles, Apostolic would welcome him with open arms, and I think it’s about his best bet. And I’d hope old Bishop Brazier would live to see the day that he was a part of the congregation from which the first Black president came from.

  20. I think The Uppity Negro might be right about that church. I have no hard proof but I know someone who attends that church and he is a Safe Negro that is rather bourgie but wants to be checked off for doing good.Here’s the tale: back in 2005 at the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott I was there and set up with my socio-political concept: Uppity Negro. I met this guy who was out of Chicago and worked for Cook’s Public Defenders office. He was/is a lawyer. He loved what I was doing for as much as he was getting it and he said I needed to come to Chicago and set up at his church.Well, later I made it to Chicago for the Today’s Black Woman’s Expo at McCormick Place and was talking to him about meeting some Chicagoans. Well while talking he was telling me about the toy drive the public defenders office was facilitating and I offered my disdain. So the man asked, “Why? What did I say that was wrong?” I told him that our children did not need toys like give-away turkeys. They needed education in academics and hard-core education about what the new world is expecting of him. He got really quiet and asked why not just one toy and I told him that our kids were disillusioned and sold on the American Dream and those kids especially needed to break from the paradigm. He grew silent. I could tell it was too heady for him…the lawyer.Anyway…after a few times talking to him long distance I came to realize he was one of those bourgie nice people that followed the formula in getting the proper job and then it made you look like you were a genuis. He had no visionary span or intellectual play-pin to bounce balls back to me. He was like most Boomers I know: simplistic and obsessed with looking the part of being positive with minor strokes instead of detailed strokes of complex colors, graduation, and dimension. He thought linear and the formula for getting a compulsory check on being a GOOD BLACK PERSON the formulated ways: charity to lesser fortunate Negroes by way of turkeys, sneakers, or toys during the holiday season.That is when I knew what type of church he attended because he told me it was one of the biggest and that it was powerful. I summed up they would only get what Uppity Negro was as a banner to promote they were one but not in agreement of what and who Frederick Douglass and myself was in being rebel spirits. I learned that through the names he threw out at me, I wanted more Uppity Negroes that were capable of getting out of the pageantry of thinking because they were positive that was the formula for sustainability of Black People in this ever-changing world.I never knew of the drama between the pastors. I could only measure the grasp of this man of stature not being able to catch the balls I was throwing at him. I find that is where most of our educated are. They can be genuinely nice and bourgie all at the same time not meaning to be. It’s just the formula that we continued from the 50’s when members of our race first started to gain access of entry to compete. We recreated the resolve for expansion into the middle-class to look the part and not necessary keep up with the testament to be 100 times as smart as the smartest. Looking the part of being smart in designated roles of the right this or the right that is all we strived for for redemption and salvation.I like what Franz Fanon said about the middle-class strive: “What I call middle-class society is any society that becomes rigidified in predetermined forms, forbidding all evolution, all gains, all progress, all discovery. I call middle-class a closed society in which life has no taste, in which the air is tainted, in which ideas and men are corrupt. And I think that a man who takes a stand against this death is in a sense a revolutionary.”Those members of that church and so many other SAFE conclaves are not understanding that they strive to be revered and accepted but refuse to get that those less fortunate that need the help the most, need models to follow they can trust and believe in that are tangible that they can touch. These bourgie, NICE, people don’t get what being nice is and that they are bourgie is the most triangulating way that still does not deliver community where we need it. That gentleman thought his church was the deliverance like Greeks I met who thought, if I just gave them until tomorrow (and tomorrow has past time and time again), then I would see that I was being too hard in my summation of their inefficiency and obsolete formulation for being in this new world constantly changing.

  21. To Andrea:Well, I couldn’t agree with you more. I mean, part of Trinity’s Black Value System was a “disavowal of middleclassness.” Not to the effect necessarily of don’t do well, for yourself, but, yeah, we’ve GOT to reject this idea of “BEING A GOOD LIL’ NEGRO.”But, I’d be willing to give Obama a pass ONLY because we saw the exact opposite “BEING A GOOD NEGRO WITH AN ANGRY BLACK MILITANT PASTOR” got him.

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