The lead article in Wednesday’s Kansas City Star email blast spoke of President Barack Obama’s visit to the city on Tuesday.
At an inner-city barbecue joint, the reader learned, Obama “met with four White House-chosen Kansas Citians over a half slab of ribs and a Bud Light and discussed how what he does in Washington registers in people’s lives.”
On that same day, about a mile or so away, an event sparked the second lead Star article. As the headline suggests, even the Star editors could not miss the irony, “Nonviolence rally marred by multiple fights.”
According to the Star, the “multiple fights” caused the suspension of an event, called “Your Life Counts,” that was staged “to celebrate survival in a city plagued by crime.”
As to the reasons for that plague, no one is publicly allowed to discuss them. New Jersey News 12 reporter Sean Bergin learned this the hard way two weeks ago.
After Lawrence Campbell executed rookie Jersey City cop Melvin Santiago, Campbell was killed in the ensuing shootout. This inspired Campbell’s friends to build a neighborhood shrine in his honor and inspired Bergin to speak out.
“The underlying cause of all of this, of course: young black men growing up without fathers,” said Bergin. “Unfortunately, no one in the news media has the courage to touch that subject.”
News 12 certainly did not. Its executives immediately suspended Bergin, slashed his pay to $300 a week and limited him to light features, forcing him to quit.
If there was any one person in America who had the potential to address this issue, it was Barack Obama. Many Americans voted for him for no other reason.
Early in his campaign, Obama even took a stab at it. On Father’s Day, June 15, 2008, Obama spoke at the 20,000-member Apostolic Church of God in Jesse Jackson’s home turf, the South Side of Chicago.
Obama’s message was unequivocal. The New York Times took a day off from worrying about the separation of church and state and headlined its article on the talk, “Obama Sharply Assails Absent Black Fathers.”
To murmurs of approval from the almost entirely black congregation, Obama preached, “If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that too many fathers are also missing.”
Lest the listeners think Obama was speaking in general, he added, “You and I know this is true everywhere, but nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community.”
He then spelled out the consequences, including the fact that boys who grow up in fatherless homes are “20 times more likely to end up in prison.”
“They have abandoned their responsibilities,” said Obama of the fathers who had left their homes, “acting like boys instead of men.”
In most quarters, Obama’s talk was well received. BrownSugar spoke for many black women when she wrote in the YouTube comment section, punctuation be damned, “He kept it real all of those other so called black leaders never touched this subject about fatherless homes reason why one jesse jackson was one of those fathers.”
Jesse Jackson was indeed one of those fathers. As late as 2012, Karin Stanford was still hectoring him for child support for Ashley, their celebrated love child.
Jackson took Obama’s comments as a personal and professional insult. A few weeks later, awaiting a remote interview with Fox News, Jackson made his feelings known on a hot mic. “I want to cut his nuts out,” Jackson whispered. “Barack, he is talking down to black people.”
This was all most people were allowed to hear, but there was more. Almost universally, the media edited out the participle phrase that followed “black people,” specifically, “telling niggers how to behave.”
Suzanne Goldenberg, reporting for Britain’s left-leaning Guardian, did a better job than most in the American media of assessing the political ramifications of Jackson’s remarks.
Goldenberg cited Jackson’s various apologies, but her headline caught the dynamic behind the dust-up: “Jackson gaffe turns focus on Obama’s move to the right.”
Goldenberg raised the question many on the left had been asking, “What has happened to Obama since he won the Democratic nomination?”
As she noted correctly, Obama’s focus on individual responsibility upset those on the left who “hold government policies to account for the impoverishment of African-American families,” Jackson chief among them.
Stung by the criticism and Jackson’s threat, Obama never addressed the issue of black crime in a meaningful way again.
Neither have the media. So intense is the taboo that Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot editors dithered two weeks before acknowledging that a mob of young black men gratuitously beat up two of its own reporters, one an Iranian-American female.
Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are largely silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Race Riots to America”
Politically, it is understandable that Obama has remained mum about the epidemic of black mob violence turned mobile in the age of social media.
He runs the risk of losing more support than he might gain. Liberals, by and large, refuse to admit that there even is such a problem.
Less understandable is his silence on black-on-black violence that has claimed roughly 40,000 lives since he was inaugurated.
Among those killed was the father of 10-year-old Ka’Vyea Tyson-Curry, the guest of honor at Kansas City’s “Your Life Counts” rally.
In the course of the armed robbery at a gas station, Ka’Vyea also took a bullet and was paralyzed for life from the waist down.
After the shooting, detectives asked Ka’Vyea if he wanted a visit from a Kansas City Chiefs player. His answer represented one of those moments that put a face on inner-city violence.
What he wanted, he told the detectives, was “a book about American presidents.” Alas, if it was an honest book, the chapter on Barack Obama had to disappoint him.
Nothing Obama has done as president has “registered” in Ka’Vyea’s life.
Media wishing to interview Jack Cashill, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.