Obama To Talk Tough-Love at NAACP, Despite Jackson Frustrations

By Natalie Gewargis

Jul 14, 2008 6:55pm

Tonight, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. will address the 99th Annual Convention of the NAACP in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Despite the feeling among some (especially older) African-Americans that Obama has been lecturing black America too often — a sentiment captured most vividly last week by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s hot mic comments expressing a desire to castrate the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for talking down to black people — Obama will continue to discuss these issues before the NAACP, as he said he would.

"Now, I know some say I’ve been too tough on folks about this responsibility stuff," Obama will say, according to his prepared remarks. "But I’m not going to stop talking about it. Because I believe that in the end, it doesn’t matter how much money we invest in our communities, or how many 10-point plans we propose, or how many government programs we launch – none of it will make any difference if we don’t seize more responsibility in our own lives.

"That’s how we’ll truly honor those who came before us. Because I know that Thurgood Marshall did not argue Brown versus Board of Education so that some of us could stop doing our jobs as parents. And I know that nine little children did not walk through a schoolhouse door in Little Rock so that we could stand by and let our children drop out of school and turn to gangs for the support they are not getting elsewhere. That’s not the freedom they fought so hard to achieve. That’s not the America they gave so much to build. That’s not the dream they had for our children.

"That’s why if we’re serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives, our own families, and our own communities. That starts with providing the guidance our children need, turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; attending those parent-teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example. It starts with teaching our daughters to never allow images on television to tell them what they are worth; and teaching our sons to treat women with respect, and to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; that what makes them men is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one."

In addition to reinforcing his theme of personal responsibility, the presumptive nominee will touch upon his offer of a middle class tax cut, highlight his healthcare plan, and stress the need for education reform. The candidate also plans to briefly discuss his efforts to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.

- jt

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