Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Obama needs to tell black young men that cops are not the problem

Let me salute all of the police officers from coast to coast who protect us and put their lives on the line every single day.

Over the weekend, we learned that another police officer was shot.  We learned yesterday that he is dead.
Sadly, there won't be any marches on behalf of this officer.

Since Ferguson, we've seen this mad assault on the police.  It comes as part of a false narrative that white police officers are out to kill black young men.

President Obama has a duty and responsibility to address this madness.  He can start by addressing the nation and speaking a few truths about the police and black young men.

First, he can quote Politifact, referencing Juan Williams:
According to the CDC, homicide was indeed the No. 1 killer of black men between the ages of 15 and 34 in 2011. Accidents ranked second in causes of death, and suicide claimed the third amount of black male lives between 15 and 24 years old, while heart disease ranked third for men 24-34. [snip]
Compared to other ethnicities, the numbers really stand out. Forty percent of African-American males 15-34 who died were murdered, according to the CDC, compared to just 3.8 percent of white males who died. Overall, 14 percent of all men 15-34 who died in 2011 were murdered. 
In 2011, black males 15-34 were 10 times more likely to die of murder than whites of the same age group.
Second, he can tell black young men that they have a behavior problem.  You can't get a good job if you don't graduate from school. 

Third, he can call on black men to raise their children.  Over the weekend, John Blake posted a great commentary about a big missing piece in Baltimore:
We hear about the absence of black men from families, but what happens when they disappear from an entire community? West Baltimore delivered the answer to that question this week.
It's no accident that one of the most enduring images from the riot was a young mother spanking her son as she dragged him away from the protests. Where were the men in his life?
As I walked through my old streets, it was filled with nothing but black young women, children and teenage boys. It was as if an alien spaceship had come in the night and spirited all the older black men away.
President Obama is uniquely qualified to make this point.  He is a successful black man, a husband, and the father of two young women. 

It's up to him to make the case that the war on cops will not address the problems in the black community.  On the contrary, the war on cops will mean less investment (jobs) and more unsafe streets for the people living in these communities.

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.    We discussed Baltimore with Frank Burke on Monday's show:

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