They say even a broken clock’s correct twice a day. Well now, here comes Barack Obama, making a strong and surprising showing for second place, with some remarks that may very well go down in history as “That Time Obama Was Right.”
Props to the ex-prez?
The former president told a group of black male youths at an event sponsored the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance that they shouldn’t feel like they need a bevy of twerking females to boost their confidence levels. Nor should they believe they have to drape massive chains about their necks to prove their wealth, he said.
In his own words, as Breitbart reported: “If you are really confident about your financial situation, you’re probably not going to be wearing an 8-pound chain around your next. If you’re very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking.”
How very true.
And what a necessary message to send around America right now — to send far and wide to a secular, materialistic America that’s rapidly gone from a nation with a culture of biblically-based morality to one that gives more regard to money and unearned fame than, say, honesty or humility.
It’s not just the black community that ought to hear Obama’s words.
But then again: the world of rap, the world of black culture — they’re simply filled with images of half-dressed, twerking females surrounding gold-chain-laden male vocal artists.
Obama’s targeting of the black youth culture reminds of the once-upon-a-time Bill Cosby, pre-fall-from-grace, publicly scolding his own community for adopting slang English, for widely accepting single-parent families, for failing to take personal responsibility for certain behaviors. Cosby delivered those remarks in 2004 at an NAACP awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. — and as imagined, they were popularly discussed, and both cheered and condemned.
Obama, for conservatives, is no golden egg.
But on this rare, very rare, occasion, he brought up a good point — and it’s one all Americans, of all political walks, should embrace. It goes like this: Let’s stop with the materialistic, me-me-me, uber-sexually charged culture.
Let’s show a bit more decorum, a bit more grace and class.
After all, confidence springs from within — or it should.
“I think I started to grow up when I stopped thinking about myself, and I started thinking about how I can be useful to other people,” he said. “The amazing thing is, when you help somebody and you see that positive impact on somebody, that gives you confidence.”
Grudging as it may be, Obama deserves some props for speaking so bluntly to black youth of America. He actually offered a message that should resonate with us all — and that we should carry back to our own families, our own communities, and remember to teach to our own children. How to best sum?
The worth of a person is not in the external.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.