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Plight of minority youths in U.S. an 'outrage': Obama

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday launched a passionate appeal to improve opportunities for minority youths, saying their plight was an "outrage" that could easily have become his story.

Obama cited statistics showing young Blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. were, on average, disadvantaged throughout their lives.

"These statistics should break our hearts, and they should compel us to act," Obama said, unveiling a partnership with foundations and companies aimed at helping minority youths succeed.

In his speech at the White House, America's first African American president said "I could see myself in these young men," who grew up in communities with failing schools and street violence.

"And the only difference is that I grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgiving," said Obama, who lived in Hawaii for much of his youth.

"So when I made a mistake, the consequences were not as severe," he said, emphasizing also that, although he grew up without his father, his family "never gave up on me. And so I didn't give up on myself."

The issue of minority youths was "of national importance. It is as important as any issue that I work on," he said, adding "we just assume this is an inevitable part of American life instead of the outrage that it is."

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Why do you think these types of pushes haven't have as much success as they should have?

@ SuperLib: I think because it doesn't fit the "narrative" that the media likes us to believe. When you constantly like to say in the media that morality is subjective, and don't want to say one groups activities is wrong because that is not being "fair" and yet the statistics can prove your point wrong doesn't look good for the media. A lot of these tyeps of people, both liberal and conservative, don't like to be wrong. This issue was brought up back in the 60's when Moinyham (sp ??) and others talked about out of wedlock birth and rising poverty rates.

Also, we have seen in cases of the "Tiger Mom" and her comments on the work ethic of different minority groups and how this can be perceived as racist adds to the reason why this stuff is not talked about in the media.

However, as I havd stated, I am a Black man and I have heard of many fraternal organizations who have programs to reach out to youths to help stop this problem. Also, many Black churches have been on the forefront on this issue. But, it seems the media only shows them when they are fighting issues like discrimination, but when the churches come out against gay marriage, and anti-abortion they seem to look the other way (in the case of minority churhes, white religious groups get the news because they are painted as being "intolerant" and un-Christian.

A lot of dynamics to this probem, and I hope this program helps.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lack of discipline?

Asians are a much smaller minority than Latinos and Bkacks so you are not going to see more bad seeds.

Anyonr is capable of becoming one, blacks and latinos are more likely to be pior due to backward ass drug laws (mere possesion of marijuana leads to years of unnecessary orison time) and people having a negative view of minorities.

Racism has not left the states, otherwise, you would not have fox news questioning Obama's birth place and portraying Latinos as job stealers despite taking the jobs which non-Hispanic whites will not do.

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AplhaApe: I have seen and been to many meetings on this issue but sadly they don't get much media attention.

Why do you think these types of pushes haven't have as much success as they should have?

I think the real eye-opener for everyone has been the Asian community, especially the work ethic of the students. When that small group of people has done so well it really does make you understand that starting at home is the most important part of it all. It makes you wonder if it's something that can be emulated to some extent, and that would be for everyone, whites included.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Blame it on everyone else and you get some money, give me some.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“These statistics should break our hearts, and they should compel us to act,” Obama said. First, we don't know where the statistics came from and how the information was gathered. There are many poor Chinese, Japanese, Korean and many other minorities in the United States. But they do just fine because they work very hard to be successful. That is because their parents teach them to be good. I do not wish to stereotype, however, Blacks and Hispanics (although not all) tend to be lack of self-discipline. Have you heard the story about a Hispanic lawyer who has been living illegally in California for all his life and now is asking California to allow him become a lawyer? The California Supreme court plans to help him to become "a lawyer. " This story is insane. But that is what Hispanics ask to the US government. AND the US government TRIES to help them, as usual. Their "wish" list is endless.

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" ...and my view of giving the death penalty to all drug dealers, drug users etc..may seem too radical for the USA but look Singapore,Saudi Arabia etc..can do it, why can't get with the program??"

Totalitarian fantasy much? If that doesn't border on psychopathology, I'm a monkey's uncle.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think I pointed out that I do think that up to a certain point, we all have PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. I do feel very sorry for unborn babies, having mothers who are already hooked on cocaine, heroin etc...and my view of giving the death penalty to all drug dealers, drug users etc..may seem too radical for the USA but look Singapore,Saudi Arabia etc..can do it, why can't get with the program?? Oh, because there is WAY TOO MUCH $$$ to be made!!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Alpha, I had written a post that mostly agreed with your position but which pointed out how many of those at risk youths get lured into the streetgang drug trade by the easy money and the immediate gratification that comes with the bling as opposed to the results of hard work in studying and working.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is what it is from the cradle to the grave life is what you make it to be. It not how one starts its how one finishes! Look at Jayzee Big time drug dealer now Multi millionaire! Game changer Game player from Brooklyn to Wall street! No excuses be the best whatever you got going!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

but at the same time have a frank discussion as to why communities don't police themselves with better habits.

@ SuperLib: I agree and these issues are brought up in the communities, but sadly they don't get much publicity if they go against the media orthodoxy. Case in point, a coalition of Black ministers have called for the impeachment of AG Erick Holder for his support on gay marriage. This was really reported on conservative media outlets, but in the main stream media it is sort of overlooke, or downplayed. Same thing goes with the out of wedlock births. I have seen and been to many meetings on this issue but sadly they don't get much media attention. Believe it or not, NYC has a higher Black abortion rate than any other city, and this has been a major issue in Black communities, and many Black ministers and leaders are anti-abortion, but you never see them in the news. All you get in the media for anti-abortion people are white Christians.

Not trying to blame it all on the media, but it does selectively pick what it wants to promote.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I agree, it is an outrage. And things like racism are real and can hurt good people.

But trying to solve the problem from the outside-in won't do much. People need to have a real and serious discussion about what the black and Latino communities are doing within themselves to make them so ill-prepared for adult life. Racism might exist but it doesn't stop a 13-year old kid from doing his homework. It doesn't stop a teenage couple from having a baby. It doesn't stop a black man from abandoning his child.

But this never seems to be a part of the discussion. Give the good people more opportunities and access to upward mobility, but at the same time have a frank discussion as to why communities don't police themselves with better habits.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

That is what has fomented the cycle of poverty and criminality that has put US urban centers in a stranglehold, that coupled with the militarization of "peace officers".

I don't think so. If you legalize drugs, then how will people with no job skills or high school diploma who don't work be able to afford legalized drugs? I can give you a hint, they will continue to do petty crimes like robbing and stealing and looting to get mone to buy legal drugs. Also, when you put taxes on it, as soon as the tax rates go up, so does the lure of illegal "tax free" items go up. What is one of the most trafficked item along the I-95 along the US eastern seaboard, cigarettes from North Carolina going to NY. Or the illegal selling of single cigarettes, people buying them one at a time, while the shop owner shows the sell of one pack, they are making a profit off the books by selling them individually ilegally.

Pot sellers will find ways to not pay the "tax man" and those who are hooked on drugs will find ways to get money to buy them. They reported a story from Denver about ATM's in pot shops that people were using their government welfare card to buy pot. Not supposed to use those cards or welfare money to buy alcohol, cigarettes, and other items, yet they want to use tax payer subsidzed money to support their habits.

Petty crimes for money to buy drugs is what fuels this "cycle of poverty" as you describe. There is plenty of help out there for those who don't have anything to not resort to stealing to survive.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sure, personal responsibility is a factor, but it is much more difficult to be personally responsible and avoid crime and other handicaps if you are growing up poor and deprived and surrounded by "negative" role models.

It's difficult to wrap it up or to close your legs?? Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Life is NOT easy and I know this, I lived in Long Beach, California at a time, when it was a serious danger zone. I made it out just fine without a knocking up the neighborhood. I think the Latino and Black community need to seriously address this issue more. Regardless of how and where you grow up, these kids make the choice whether they want to have kids or not, of they don't take precaution, then who's fault is that? If they can take care of themselves, be my guest, but when they ask the government to foot the bill, it just annoys me greatly!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The Great Unifier has spoken! Why is it that the incarceration rate(and recidivism) is so high and minority employment so low? Thank the highly successful "War on Drugs". That is what has fomented the cycle of poverty and criminality that has put US urban centers in a stranglehold, that coupled with the militarization of "peace officers".

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

From afar it looks to me like racial stereotypes are becoming more andf more enternched in US culture and racial differentaition is being accepted as normal. We see so many examples of it in music and movies and other aspects of daily cultural life. That feeds into a hardening of these stereotypes and them being accepted as the norm. Sure, personal responsibility is a factor, but it is much more difficult to be personally responsible and avoid crime and other handicaps if you are growing up poor and deprived and surrounded by "negative" role models.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@El

This is the fundamental problem with liberals in the bigger picture. You guys want to blame the system, but no one wants to take personal responsibility the out of birth wedlock, Latino and African American men have a higher rate of being incarcerated. No one os telling these people to have children out of wedlock. There are ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy and to avoid diseases like STDs. No one is telling them to go out and make babies. If these people were better educated, this problem wouldn't be so catastrophic. There is a problem with the system as well, I understand, sometimes the burden of proof or unfairly prosecuting minorities sometimes is a problem, it's more of a exception rather than the rule, but to deny that in the minority community that these social problems don't exist is borderline insanity.

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As a Black man, I can say that this is a good thing that Obama (yes I am giving him credit) is doing. But, he doesn't just need to make it for poor Black and Latino but all Americans. Some here have posted things that are indeed some of the root causes of the issues facing poor in America, and the two party system is failing these people. Unions who represent teachers and not allow them to be fired if they are incompetent and fail the children they teach is part of the problem. Keep giving benefits to people who may not be citizens or keep giving them so that people think that they are a way of life is not helping.

Want real reform, what I would do is:

only give welfare benfits to married (straight or gay) families. No wedding certificate, no benefits. This will stop the rampant out of wedlock births in the minority communities that lead to dysfunctional families and keeps the cycle going. Also, it may help young people (and those not so young) to use precaution when they have sex and plan on it. If I am not allowed to participate in the creation of some else's child, then why am I on the hook as a tax payer to support it?

reduce the power of public emplyee unions to allow bad teachers to be fired and reforms to be made in education.

get a control on our immigration problem. Sad to say, if you are not legal you get no services. Not saying to go and round up all 11 million illegals, but if they can't prove citizenship, they get no servies. Businesses that hire them should face tougher penalties.

These are just some of the things I think would go a long way in helping those who need the help the most.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How about prisons that are no playground and IF you are in prison once you KNOW you don't want to return. I am not advocating torture however 10 hour a day work, no video games, no cable tv. Only a library for other entertainment and education.

Road work gangs, yes chain gangs for the lesser offenses.

Kill-em all Elbuda is extreme. And besides, who would be left in Washington?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The whole minority thing, I am black, latino, poor white etc..thing is NOT ONLY ABOUT BAD SCHOOLS! If your daddy is a CRIP?? Your mommy is a BLOOD, your grandpappy is a Hell's Angle etc...or a Suñreño, Norteño, MS 13, etc....and when even BEFORE YOU ARE BORN, your whole family is high on drugs, saying, $hit, I ain't gonna work in no MINIMUM wage at McDonlad's, Taco Bell etc...I am gonna keep on slinging (selling DRUGS) to anybody and everybody who wants to bring their $$$ to me) so sure we have crappy schools, but we also have crappy families, crappy excuses for families, crappy teachers, crappy police (very corrupt from Los Angeles all the way to Detroit, to NYC, to Miami, not ONLY MEXICO) and we say, look hey kids you were born in the LAND OF THE FREE, free to get hooked on drugs before you were you even born because your momma was already hooked on crack cocaine, free to get yourself an AK 47 by age 8 and show them homies that you are tough, like your old man in prison etc...)so Mr.Obama, we need to give the DEATH PENALTY to all of these drug dealers, corrupt police, corrupt judges, corrupt lawyers and sorry but if the the USA does not give the DEATH PENALTY to all of the druggies, then this will NEVER CHANGE!!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I agree with the two party system failure. But when you read the posts here from other Yankees they are strongly supportive of the democratic party. Which by the way further impoverish and reduce personal power.

As for the minority youths its been perpetual for decades. Black intact families are a minority also. Single mothers with a few children and no job teaches what? Attention to develop your children takes lots of time and effort. When or kids are neglected they tend to do what they want.

Uncontrolled welfare certainly need a review. Public schools need review. Prisons with cable TV and workout yards need review. I prefer they produce something for two reasons. Inmate character and skill development and benefit the community.

The US is no pretty picture when viewed into the depths of all income levels.

I will salute Obama for focusing on this finally. After all a black man can become the President of the USA! The race card is no longer valid.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Unfortunately its true, but not only in the US have the youth have been pushed further and further behind. Politicians worldwide are all caught up in their own agendas. But I think that speech should have been given in front of congress. Time for the US to take a good look at itself, it has so many internal problems that need fixing. Time has come for a change in american politics, the two party system is failing its population.The overseas interference by the US has failed in more ways than one, the respect that it used to have as a nation has gone.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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