All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
Last week, President Obama had this to say in a speech to introduce his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which brings together private philanthropic foundations, businesses, state and local leadership, the religious community, and nonprofit organizations for the purpose of helping black and other boys of color, particularly those facing “tough odds,” reach their fullest potential:
“And I believe the continuing struggles of so many boys and young men, the fact that too many of them are falling by the wayside, dropping out, unemployed, involved in negative behavior, going to jail, being profiled, this is a moral issue for our country. It’s also an economic issue for our country. After all, these boys are a growing segment of our population. They are our future workforce.When generation after generation they lag behind, our economy suffers. Our family structure suffers. Our civic life suffers. Cycles of hopelessness breeds violence and mistrust, and our country’s a little less than what we know it can be. So, we need to change the statistics, not just for the sake of the young men and boys but for the sake of America’s future.”
Black feminist and political activist Frances Beal once noted, “Since our arrival on these alien shores, the black woman has been subjected to the worst kinds of exploitation and oppression.” However, you wouldn’t be able to tell that based upon the fact that so much emphasis is placed on black boys and the value we place on their success as a community.
I don’t mean to sound curt but I am quite over the narrative, which places black boys at the central of what ails – as well as what will fix – the community. Black men are no more or less hindered by “tough odds” than black women. Likewise, black men are no more or less dinged and obstructed by racism. And yet, when it’s time to put forth meaningful efforts meant at addressing the downtrodden and disadvantaged in our community, for black women and girls (in particular, funding for black women and girls) are often left out of the equation.
And I say this as somewhat of a fan of the president’s new charitable endeavor. At least he chose black boys. He could have chosen building houses or wheeling and dealing in Haiti like other ex-presidential pet projects. And at least there is some money behind it – at a minimum, $200 million. But I would be wrong if I didn’t point out this report, which shows that while donations to foundations for women and girls have grown at a rate faster than foundation giving as a whole, it still remains below 7.5 percent of all of overall foundation giving – and it has been like that for well over a decade and a half.
As noted by Brittany Cooper in her essay, Black girls’ zero-sum struggle: Why we lose when black boys dominate the discourse:
“I wish that black men — Barack Obama included — had the kind of social analysis that saw our struggles as deeply intertwined.
According to the African American Policy Forum, black girls are suspended at a higher rate than all other girls and white and Latino boys. Sixty-seven percent of black girls reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness for more than two weeks straight compared to 31 percent of white girls and 40 percent of Latinas. Single black women have the lowest net wealth of any group, topping out at $100. Single black men by contrast have an average net wealth of $7,900 and single white women have an average net wealth of $41,500. Fifty-five percent of black women (and black men) have never been married, compared to 34 percent for white women.
This situation is dire at every level. But perhaps the most troubling thing of all: The report indicates that while over 100 million philanthropic dollars have been spent in the last decade creating mentoring and educational initiatives for black and brown boys, less than a million dollars has been given to the study of black and brown girls!”
If you still had doubts about how little we tend to value black women and girls, there it is in dollars and in cents. On the flip side, we spend all this money on “saving our sons” and yet our sons are still in crisis mode. Consider this fairly recent report by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project, which asserts that 68 percent of African Americans reared in the middle of the wealth ladder will not do as well as the previous generation – that compared to 30 percent of whites. I point to that particular study to show that black people still find themselves disenfranchised to whites, even when they are not going to jail or dropping out of school or being absent parents. And obviously there is something else going on her– like systematic racism.
And that’s one of my biggest problems with the “save the black man” ideology, because it puts the burden of change on the back of the victims – or at least half of the victims (the other half is invisible) – while completely ignoring other more worthwhile change-making pursuits, which would help not just black men and boys, but the equally burdened fairer sex as well. Pursuits like policy changes that address the systematic racism and inherent sexism – both of which are imperative to fix “for the sake of America’s future.”
Today, President Obama will announce a new task force aimed at helping at-risk men and boys of color called “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative that will bring together the leaders of a dozen nonprofits in a show of support. Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, Magic Johnson and other notable organizations will be in the East Room of the White House to announce the $200 million program. The money will be spent over the next five years, going towards early-childhood development, parenting, school readiness and discipline, the justice system, and educational opportunities. The plan is to move forward with programs that have a proven track record of success. The White House would also like to see companies and organizations step forward to offer mentoring opportunities.
The President and First Lady both became interested in this topic after the Trayvon Martin shooting.
“It’s something that’s deeply personal to the President and First Lady. I’m sure their commitment to this initiative will be a lifelong commitment. This is not something they simply want to do while he’s in office — it will continue,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President, has said.
For now, Broderick Johnson, Cabinet secretary and the President’s assistant, will lead up the initiative.
“Young black men persistently lag behind other groups in high school graduation rates and employment, and, as White House officials point out, they are six times more likely than their white peers to be murdered,” reports Yahoo News.
The New York Times notes that the President has taken some heat for what some say is the “languishing” of the black community during Obama’s two terms.
“The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category. On that regard, the President ought to be held responsible,” Tavis Smiley said on Fox News.
However, the President has been faced with a largely Republican opposition that has gutted, rejected, or simply failed to address a number of policies and proposals that would strengthen and fund programs that would do exactly what “My Brother’s Keeper” will. The President spoke about the need for universal pre-kindergarten during his State of the Union address, has vowed to bring back the losses from the Voting Rights Act and the Justice Department is working to lower the mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
Following in Olivia Pope’s footsteps (sans the Scandal), you can find yourself working in Washington D.C.! The White House is offering internships to undergraduate and graduate Black students who have a passion for advancing education in the African American community, DallasWeekly reports.
This special opportunity is spearheaded by the White House Initiative’s Year-round Internship Program. The organization gives African-Americans the chance — through an unpaid summer internship — to learn about African-American-focused education policies at D.C.’s U.S. Department of Education.
The program was launched by President Barack Obama in July of 2012 “to improve educational opportunities for African American students and increase overall rates for students completing college,” DallasWeekly adds.
Their ideal applicant, according to the U.S. Department of Education, has a good grip on WordPress, HTML coding, Adobe Photoshop (or Illustrator) and Microsoft Office programs, is a team player, punctual, and has excellent communication skills.
You’ll get to join in on strategic planning for meetings, briefings, and/or local events, create fact-sheets, presentations, or talking-points, update the Initiative’s Twitter, blog, and site, respond to constituent inquiries (either verbally or in writing), greet and escort guests to meetings and more.
“In addition, opportunities for developmental growth are encouraged, such as interviewing senior Department officials and officials from external organizations, and attending internal/external presentations and briefings related to African American education,” The US Department of Education adds.
You have until March 15th to apply for this Summer 2014 internship. You must be enrolled — part-time or full-time — in a postsecondary institution.
You’ll be required to submit a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, internship application, Volunteer Service Agreement, an I-9 Form, and OF 306. Don’t miss this opportunity! Get started here.
There are times when you hear a rumor and instantly know that there’s some truth to it. There are other times when you hear a humor and wonder, “Where the heck did that come from?” The latest and most outrageous rumor to hit the Internet in a while is one that places Beyoncé and President Barack Obama in an adulterous affair.
The rumors supposedly began with French paparazzo, Pascal Rostain, who claimed that The Washington Post had big plans of publishing a full spread exposing the passionate affair sometime this week.
“You know, at this time, in the United States, there is something big that is happening,” Pascal revealed according to RumorFix. “It’ll go out tomorrow in The Washington Post — we can say that it is not the gutter press — an alleged affair between President Barack Obama and Beyoncé,”
“First, there are still or television images of the Obama couple becoming a little distant,” he reportedly explained. “It is legitimate to ask questions. We found the same thing, always through images, between [French President] Hollande and [his partner Valerie Trierweiler]. Afterwards, there was the rumor. Same for Obama and Beyonce, for example. Just because it’s a rumor doesn’t mean that one should not go in the field to check. We should not forget Marilyn [Monroe] or Monica Lewinsky.”
The alleged story, never ran. The allegations were so wild that we didn’t really expect anyone from Bey’s camp to even acknowledge them. But when RumorFix reached out to her reps, they surprisingly got a response—a slightly comical response, but a response nonetheless.
“Must be a very difficult thing to constantly ask absurd questions,” said the rep.
So yeah, Bey isn’t Olivia Pope-ing it up with President Obama.
The newly appointed head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Maria Contreras-Sweet would bring years of real-world banking and SBA experience to the position. The Senate has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to confirm her appointment.
Contreras-Sweet would take the reins of the SBA nearly a year after the agency’s former administrator, Karen Mills, announced her resignation. She also would become the second Hispanic in Obama’s second-term Cabinet.
Contreras-Sweet knows firsthand what it means to start a small business. In 2006, she helped organize what is now called ProAmérica Bank in Los Angeles, and she remains its chairwoman. ProAmérica is a small bank with just $123 million in deposits and a loan portfolio of $108 million, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he announced that he will raise the minimum wage for federally contracted workers through an executive order that will bring the hourly pay up to $10.10 from $7.25. According to the AP, the raise will only affect 10 percent of the total 2.2 million contracted workers and might not be renewed with those contracts come up for renewal. Nonetheless, security guards, housekeepers, and other low-wage workers can, and probably would, fight to hang on to and increase that amount.
This effort to raise wages is part of what President Obama called the “year of action.” Socioeconomic inequality will be a big focus.
“Those at the top have never done better,” the President said during his speech. “But average wages have barely budged. Inequality had deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”
The President joins 10 states, including Arizona, Ohio, and Rhode Island, that have raised the minimum wage while Congress debates back and forth on the issue.
“That said, raising the minimum wage in and of itself can drastically raise the number of people affected. If the federal minimum wage grew to $10.10, suddenly not only the current minimum wage-earners (at $7.25 per hour) would be affected, but all of the $8 and $9 per hour workers likewise would slip below that bar and would need a raise,” according to US News. “According to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive economic think tank, 30 million Americans would get raises in this circumstances.”
The Economic Policy Institute has a petition on its website that has been signed, according to the site, by 600 economists, advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage.
“The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet. At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers,” the petition says.
Still, there’s debate over the impact of this increase.
“It’s important to understand who’s earning the minimum wage. Very few people are raising families on the minimum wage alone—for instance, just nine percent of employees affected by the $10.10 number that Congress is discussing are single parents. By contrast, 60 percent of affected employees are either living at home with family and relatives or they’re a second- or third- earner,” Michael Saltsman, research director at The Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches issues surrounding entry-level employment, told us via email.
Support for minimum wage hikes is growing, but the debate over who will benefit — and who will benefit most — continues. This Washington Post story has a series of charts that break down the impact that a $10.10 increase would have on various demographics.
“But there’s no question that a large share of the American workforce earns wages well below $10.10 and would be directly affected as long as their jobs aren’t lost,” the article says.
Whenever Stacey Dash opens her mouth about her political views she faces a hailstorm of criticism, and tonight was no different.
The openly-conservative actress took to social media to share her thoughts on President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, and like clockwork, the Twitterverse reacted with jokes and Stacey-Dash-knows-nothing-about-politics comments.
Read more on Stacey Dash’s criticism at HelloBeautiful.com
From The Grio
Legendary Hollywood icon Robert De Niro has some advice for President Barack Obama: “Pick your battles.”
The Grudge Match star has been a longtime supporter of the president and campaigned at his side in 2008 and 2012.
“He’s a guy who means to do the right thing, he has to pick his battles, but his heart is in the right place,” De Niro told Fox News on Monday.
Read more about Robert De Niro’s comment on TheGrio.com
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.”
But he also acknowledged the fact that his blackness has been beneficial to his political career as well.
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President,”
One the first glance, reading that quote, it’s like “Duh! You ain’t said nothing we haven’t known to be true for years now.” It’s just a big deal because it’s probably something that never occurred to a whole lot of white folks.
In fact, some are mocking the claims, citing the president’s other shortcomings as reason for their distaste.
But that’s the job of president, nearly everything that goes wrong in the lives of the people will be attributed to the head honcho. Some of it legitimately. During the interview though, Obama did admit that sometimes the Democratic party has been labeled as shrugging off “the concerns of middle and working class folks, black or white.”
Truth is, whether blatantly or latently, some white folks don’t like that the man the President of these United State, is black. Can’t stand it in fact.
It’s the same thing Jimmy Carter said in 2009, right after South Carolina representative Joe Wilson screamed “You lie!” as the president was speaking to Congress.
“When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds. I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American.
It’s a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States. I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American. I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shares the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.”
The key is, it’s not so much that folks fundamentally disagree with the president but the fact that several people, those who hold office and others, outright disrespect the man who holds the highest office in the land as if he were… I can’t even think of what type of person would deserve such treatment.
Anyway, my friend brought another layer of interesting to this discussion. She noted that The Obama administration tried to distance themselves from the issue of race during his first term. When Carter made those comments, President Obama’s former press secretary Robert Gibbs tried to downplay it or gloss over the whole racial component as one of the primary reasons behind the attacks and disrespect. But now that the president is speaking for himself on the issue, it’s no need to lie (Craig).
We all know first term President Obama was really not trying to let race shroud the actual work he and his staff were attempting to do in office. But second term Obama has nothing to lose and is better off just keeping it real and acknowledging that this country is still dealing with the disease of racism.
At the end of the day President Obama and the White House’s handling of the race issue, in some ways, mirror the lives of millions of African Americans attempting to be judged on merit alone in this country. We would love to live and work in environments where something as socially constructed and ultimately trivial as race would not influence the way people treat us and rate our job performance. And we acknowledge that there are certain privileges and loyalties we’re afforded because of our blackness. Even though many of us wouldn’t trade it, being black is a trip. And in this country, race and racism is always there and sometimes just too “in your face” to ignore. And in those instances there’s certainly nothing wrong with speaking out.
What do you think about President Obama’s assertion? Are you surprised he finally acknowledged the racial disrespect?
The number is unimaginable — each day the National Security Agency collects nearly 200 million text messages worldwide. Yes, 200 million a day! It is part of an operation called Dishfire, according to a new report based on data leaked by Edward Snowden, reports The Los Angeles Times.
It contains all types of information collected from random people from where you are traveling to your financial transactions, according to The Guardian and Britain’s Channel 4 News. The Guardian and Channel 4 News examined documents given by Snowden.
Another program, Prefer, analyzes collected data.
Here’s what the NSA culled: 5 million missed-call alerts, info about 1.6 million daily border crossings, more than 110,000 names from business cards sent via text messages and more than 800,000 financial transactions.
The NSA denied it collects such data, telling The Guardian that only foreign intelligence targeted were monitored.
‘‘The reforms I’m proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe,’’ Obama said in his recent speech at the Justice Department.
Obama did not, however, offer recommendations as to where the data should be moved. He gave the intelligence community and the attorney general 60 days to examine options.
“The moves are more sweeping than many U.S. officials had been anticipating,” reports Boston.com.
“The United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security” Obama said, adding that “unless there is a compelling national security purpose, we will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies.”
According to the administration, there was no government abuse of the intelligence programs during its review process.
“No evidence of abuse has been found involving surveillance programs, but changes are needed in response to legitimate privacy concerns that have been raised, Obama said.