3 Things

What do you make of these statements?...

Three things this week are actually three quotes.  In Oakland, a bunch of young men of color were lectured as follows:

  1. “A lot of hip and rap music is built around me showing how I got more money than you, I can disrespect you and you can’t do nothing about it.”

  2. “If you are really confident about your financial situation, you probably are not going to be wearing an eight-pound chain around your neck.  If you are very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking…”

  3. “Some communities need more police, not fewer…”

Some will say this is entirely true.  Some will say it’s insulting.  Others will judge it at least borderline racist.  Many will conclude it’s some combination of all three.

Would you personal opinion change if you found out these were all uttered by…Barack Obama?

Although the words quoted above are entirely accurate, I confess to taking them slightly out of context, because Obama’s overall message, during his fifth annual My Brother’s Keeper initiative, was one proclaiming empowerment for young men.
  
This is more reflective of his overarching opinion:
 

Often times…racism in this society sends a message that you are ’less than’, and weak…so we feel like we’ve got to compensate by exaggerating certain stereotypical ways that men are supposed to act.  That’s a trap that we fall into—that we have to pull out of.  If you’re confident about your strength, you don’t need to show me by putting someone else down.  Show me how strong you are in that you can lift someone else up, and treat someone well, and be respectful.”
 

To me, the beauty of this is that while he was talking to a specific demographic, the message is universal.  It applies to all ages, genders and races.   

Man, I miss that guy…