The fear among critics is that the real audience that day was not the Black people in the pews at all, but the white people in middle America looking for a strong signal that Obama was rejecting the politics of racial division and animosity. By choosing that moment to castigate Black fathers, some worry that Obama gave public voice to what white people whisper about Blacks in their living rooms and cemented his image as a post-racial savior at the expense of Black men. Whether that was Obama’ s intention or whether he just figured it was Father’s Day so why not do the absent Father stump speech again is impossible to know, but the event smacked of calculated political expediency that troubled more than a few people.
...the Father’s Day speech is only indicative of a broader issue. Rightly or wrongly, some Black progressives are deeply suspicious of the change in white America that has led to Obama’s position. Specifically that white people don’t just want political change, they want a change in the racial dynamic. And hearing about black problems does not fit into their idea of this new America that will be created when Obama becomes president. There are equal parts of truth, paranoia and resistance to change in that suspicion. That’s one of the reasons Jackson said what he did.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.