Politics

Obama Tackles Race, Fatherhood And Class At Georgetown

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
article imagearticle image

President Barack Obama attended Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Thought, where he shared his views on racial and class segregation and how it related to the civil unrest in Baltimore, Maryland. He criticized systematic lack of opportunity for African Americans.

"What used to be racial segregation now mirrors itself in class segregation," Obama said. "This great sorting (has) taken place. It creates its own politics. There are some communities where not only do I not know poor people, I don't even know people who have trouble paying the bills at the end of the month. I just don't know those people. And so there's less sense of investment in those children.”

He also advocated for higher taxes on the very wealthy. "The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country," he said. "If we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to just make that modest investment, then, really, this conversation is for show.”

Obama also tackled the issue of race and the issue of black fatherhood. Popular myth holds that African American men are uninvolved in their children’s lives, but a study from the Center for Disease Control proved black men are just as involved as parents as their white and Latino counterparts, if not more so. 

"I am a black man who grew up without a father and I know the cost that I paid for that. And I also know that I have the capacity to break that cycle, and as a consequence, I think my daughters are better off," Obama said. 

Obama’s echoed his wife’s commencement address at Tuskeegee University, which touched on the first couple's experiences. "We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives: the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the 'help,'" Michelle Obama said.

Sources: The Los Angeles Times, Reuters, CNN Image via Beth Rankin/Flickr