Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: Is There Anything Obama Can Really Do To Stop Youth Violence?


In a recent post for The Root, Danielle Belton posed a question about youth gun violence and if there is really anything President Obama can do to help at-risk youths? Even though black children and teenagers only made up 15% of the population in 2008-2009, according to research by the Children’s Defense Fund, in this same time period black children and teenagers made up 45 percent of all young people killed by guns in America.

From The Root:

That, along with the conclusion of the trial involving the shooting death of another black teen — Trayvon Martin — was on the mind of some House Democrats whenthey recently met with President Obama to talk about at-risk youths.

During the session, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) asked the president what he planned to do to help black youths in light of the George Zimmerman verdict, and President Obama responded that there would be action to help at-risk youths.

Obama told Cummings that it was a “good time” to examine disparities in the criminal justice system, and efforts to help black, Asian, and Hispanic men and boys. The president added that officials need to look at what can be done to aid at-risk youth in general.

“We’re doing that,” Obama said, according to a source in the room. The president said some solutions could come without having to pass legislation, and that he was consulting with Attorney General Eric Holder on what options the White House has on the matter, sources said.


Open Thread:  What do you think Obama can do to stop youth violence? Or should it be his responsibility?

  1. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Obama can start with policy, last time I checked blacks are not manufacturing guns and shipping them to their own communities. And please before anyone uses that old tired adage of “Black on Black” crime, please realize that there is no such thing it’s just crime. The majority of crimes that occur in all communities are committed by person(s) of the same ethnicity at about the same percentage across the board with little deviation. The term “Black on Black” crime is used to racially profile and demonize crimes of African American members of society.

    • August 9, 2013 - Reply

      @The truth

      Government/liberal whites need to save us and “Dey do it too” has become the rallying cry to dismiss dysfunction and trifling behavior within the black community. lol

      Blacks and whites commit about 8k murders each. You, of course, don’t see the problem. Blacks are only 13% of the population and are whites 67% of the population. A black man is 9 times more likely to be murdered than a white man. If you break it down to black males under 24, you probably can double or triple that rate.

      • August 9, 2013 - Reply


        Blacks are only 13% of the population and whites ARE 67% of the population.

  2. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Obama, IMO, doesn’t have the perspective of, or genuine interest in, African descendants of certain socio-economic backgrounds that would be prove favorable in addressing and remedying the issue.

  3. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    No, can any one at this point beside a supernatural entity. If he could it would take a generation of changes (more opportunity, less racism, better jobs, happy times for the poor) to see results

  4. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Until COINTEL-PRO and it’s off-shoot is addressed, nothing will change.

    To start, Obama can be open about the CIA involvement (an initiative) in drug and weapons trafficking in to black communities throughout the nation, going back decades.

    • August 9, 2013 - Reply

      @Beautiful Mic

      He won’t addres it.Black folks need to wake up, the jig is up. We can only save ourselves at this point. We need men to police our community instead of the city police who will only lock these kids up, give them a record, and make them worse criminals, releasing them back into the community. Black women can’t keep having babies unmarried , which leads to welfare ,and guarantees a prison bed.Use birth control or have an abortion, no excuses in 2013. Yes, I put it on woman, because its our bodies. Enough of the BS already. This ain’t rocket science. Slaves who didn’t want their kids in slavery rather kill their babies than breed. Why keep feeding the new slavery, the prison industrial complex.

      • August 9, 2013 - Reply


        Quote: “Use birth control or have an abortion, no excuses in 2013.”

        There’s also STDs, HIV and AIDS. What about self control and celibacy? What’s about some of the recently adopted (last 2 generations) moral principles regarding sex and mating practices that segments of the community have come to adopt?

      • August 11, 2013 - Reply


        wfm: I hear yeah. But you are preaching to the choir on this blog. The problem is that the people who (really) need to hear you aren’t listening, and couldn’t care less. If they did care there would be better parenting, there wouldn’t be so many babies out of wedlock, etc. If only it was as simple as just talking about the problem.

  5. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Blacks are trying to have functional productive communities with the majority of black homes broken and dysfunctional. That is, IMO, absolute absurdity.

    Nothing will change until the black community understands that men in the homes is not optional for productive communities.

    • August 9, 2013 - Reply


      People can understand that, but if they choosing the wrong mates…attracting the wrong mates….

      …definitely the issues of ethics, character and morality are key, as well.

      It’s like, the more integrated and assimilated we become, the more scruples we’ve come to lack as a people. I am thinking that has to do with mental health/psychology as well.

    • August 9, 2013 - Reply


      Agreed. These conversations solve nothing in my opinion. They skirt around the issue because the real issue is the demise of the black family, poor leadership, and no economic development in these neighborhoods. To talk about these problems, one would have to address irresponsible personal behavior and poor leadership and poor planning. People seem to get real upset when you start to point fingers in their direction. It is easier to talk about white people. White people have definitely contributed to many of our problems and planted the seed of self-hatred and self-destruction, but I see so any of our problems that are self-inflicted that could be solved by improving personal behavior (70% illegitimacy rate and sky high crime rates).

      “To start, Obama can be open about the CIA involvement (an initiative) in drug and weapons trafficking in to black communities throughout the nation, going back decades.”

      What will be changed by this? This just seems like another one of those conversations where instead of talking about solutions we start talking about history and white people and racism that goes nowhere. It solves nothing.

      wfm mentioned poor public schools. I like your response. Black people seem to think that black kids are doing so poorly because we don’t have any funding or we need good teachers. Nope. The culprit is poor parental involvement. There is so much work out there that shows this to be true. But as a I said, people don’t like to have the finger pointed at them. It is easier to believe that black kids have the lowest standardized test scores because they go to schools with bad funding than it is to believe that it’s the parents who barely read to your kids and let them watch hours of TV. Ebony magazine addresses this issue itself a couple of years ago when it reported that poor white kids were performing at the same level as middle class black kids. I assume this middle class black kids go to nicely funded schools. So what’s there excuse? Oh yea. The teachers are racist.

      This hiding dirty laundry and living is all rather sad and honestly bad parenting and poor leadership when you look at the state of the black community.

      People are already on this article with their passing of blame. It’s white people. It’s the teachers. It’s the funding. It’s never irresponsible sexual behavior. It’s never poor family planning. It’s never poor leadership more interested in image than building infrastructure. It’s never the lack of an economy in our neighborhood. Or if we recognize these personal faults, then it’s only to go on to talk about how white people are the cause of it and how we can’t solve these problems until they apologize or fix things for us. I’m convinced the black community is going nowhere fast.

  6. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Yes, he can do something. We fund prisons and Israel but cant fund schools. Blacks have suffered under his watch. Philadelphia has no money to open schools in September. Yet, Philly built a state of the art detention center with air conditioned classrooms. All the celebrities he knows and dances with at galas can’t raise 50 million for Philly? All the Blacks that waited in voting lines for hours to SEE a black president and he mute. But Black folk love entertainment. Its cute seeing the Obamas dance to the Isley brothers. He is one of the biggest jokes ever played on Black America. This is only the beginning. Detroit and Philly will not be alone in the suffering. My son may not start school on time. His kids are going to best schools, on time. I bet if his kids had to go to public schools there would be a change. Yes, he is the people’s president. That’s fine , but leave Black folk the hell alone during election time. Everyone has a president but us. He will be the immigration president and the LGBT president! Again, there is no guaranteed school for my son in Sept. But there is a detention center ready. As always he is mute.

    • August 9, 2013 - Reply



      The truth is Philadelphia spent about 2.9 BILLION in 2012 on it’s non charted schools. Yet about 40% of black students test below basic in reading and math which is higher than any other racial group including Hispanics.

      The government is spending billions in every ghetto school district in this country with basically the same results or worst. This has been going on for the last 40 years. How long do you expect people to keep spending billions for FAILURE? There are kids in third world countries in schools with dirt floors, no electricity and no running water that are outperforming black kids in America academically. The problem is in the homes.

    • August 11, 2013 - Reply


      wfm: Sounds like you have a lot of personal issues that you want the President to personally handle. That’s not going to happen because that’s not the way the presidency works. If anything you should be looking to your local elected officials. I don’t think that Obama had anything to do with a Philly detention center being built, and I don’t think Obama can make celebrities raise money for Philly, or any other city. As for dancing; all Presidents have that first dance at their inauguration (so I don’t know where you are coming from with that comment). You’re not clear on what you think he should be doing for black people in Philly. Are you suggesting that the government fund Philly schools so they can open on time? If so, that’s what local, and state governments are for. You should be pointing your finger at local government, and elected officials. That’s what your Mayor, and City Council was elected for.

  7. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    There is certainly a lot that can be done. But, the truth is that crime doesn’t start with guns or even policy. Crime starts with culture. In our culture, the black community is marginalized to the point of unspoken re-segregation. Until someone in Washington DC has the balls to say out loud that leaving the black community won’t change the black community, we will get nowhere.

    I think he may do what he is doing now on many issues of inequality, operate outside of the bounds of Congress to make change at the grassroots level. He has been flexing his executive power his entire presidency and I feel that this is another issue very high on his task list right now.

    Honestly though, he can’t do much until he is out of office. His endorsement of the next presidential hopeful is far to valuable politically for him to take on such an unpopular issue in his last years.

  8. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Great conversatiom happening in these comments. The black community must heal from within. We need more leaders (who aren’t solely concerned with profit) willing to stand up and say what’s right. We need a change of perspective on everything from how we parent and educate black children to what we allow to enter our minds and households in the form of music and TV. No one can make major changes in the black community but the black community.

  9. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    Honestly, I wish I had a better idea about what I personally could do to help the black community. I feel like discussions about how to better our community often end up being too broad (a focus on how racism has gotten us where we are) or too narrow (a focus on what individuals need to do in their own lives to not be a part of the problem). Both of those are real and serious concerns, but they aren’t something that I feel I can personally impact.

    I’m curious what actions folks have taken that have made them feel like a real part of the solution. I buy black where possible and I work at a nonprofit, but I feel like I should be doing more and I’m not sure what that should be.

    • August 9, 2013 - Reply


      The problem is so huge and the solutions are multifaceted. I strongly suggest linking up with like minded people. For example, the Nation of Islam has good safe, schools and focuses on economic development, has low crime rates among its members, in fact they have patrolled areas in the past and lowered crime rates. I always say for the amount of Christian churchres we have in Black communities I don’t know why there aren’t more church schools and economic development within the churches.

      • August 10, 2013 - Reply


        Churches are centers for brainwash and restrictive thinking. Why not outside churches? I think churches have dumbed down black America. Some preachers don’t even believe in evolution. Meanwhile other cultures are beating us in science.

      • August 10, 2013 - Reply


        If churches are not for you then fine. Form a different group. I just used it as an example to compare with the NOI.

      • August 11, 2013 - Reply


        Kam because a lot of church leaders are too busy pocketing money instead of putting it back into the community.

  10. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    The violence won’t stop until the black community learns to value each other again. I don’t recall any of these problems in the black community during the early 1900s and even in 1950s. The community needs to come together once again, help each other raise our children. Actually open businesses in our OWN neighborhood, and hire our OWN!! Non of the violence will end until all of these things happen. There’s no silver bullet that is going to end the violence.

  11. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    In my opinion the black community is always looking for some ‘Moses’, some mythical figure who will solve all of our problems. The only reason why people like MLK were successful was because of their ‘base’. Boycotts, busrides, all of those things were happening before he took the helm, as a result, it was easier for him to make an impact.

    Now look at us, someone says we are ‘out of order’ for ‘gasp’ not making better choices and we want to beat them down. Someone says respect yourself and your neighborhood, we call them uppity. We celebrate coming from jail like others celebrate passing the bar, and call our women bitches and hoes like it’s their given name.

    Stop looking for any ‘one’ person to fix anything, it is unrealistic, lazy and quite frankly, unfair to place such a burden on any one human; instead, collectively lift each other, that is how you solve the violence and thereby chip away at the problems.

  12. August 9, 2013 - Reply

    If the president can figure out how to produce better parents – of all colors, and for that matter the breadth of the socio-economic stratum – that would put a huge dent in the problem. This is not a problem just of at risk kids. The at risk youth end up in prison and the middle class screw ups end up on wall street and commit violence against our financial well being.

    • August 11, 2013 - Reply


      Annoy: And that’s the bottom line….it’s all about parenting. In (some) camps “parenting” has gone astray, and in (some) camps the NO Parenting has been passed from generation to generation. And for those in the “no parenting” camps it’s going to take a long time to turn that around (if ever). I’m just glad that all black people aren’t being raised in those type of camps.

  13. August 10, 2013 - Reply

    There is nothing that President Obama can do to stop youth violence. It all boils down to the lack of community among black folks. The number one problem is black culture; black folks do not support one another period. We don’t help one another acquire jobs, we don’t build businesses, we don’t date each other, and we don’t raise our children. As long as there is so much self-hate, it will continue to reflect through black youth; the youth have no respect because most adults don’t have respect for themselves or for others.

    • August 10, 2013 - Reply


      Amen! Preeeeeach!

  14. August 10, 2013 - Reply

    there are things that obama CAN do. there is little that he WILL do.

    • August 11, 2013 - Reply


      Could you provide an example?

    • August 11, 2013 - Reply


      James you always come with the rhetoric

  15. August 11, 2013 - Reply

    I know he is the President and all, but he can only do so much. He can’t stop irresponsible young men from impregnating young girls and then running off. He can’t make fathers raise their own sons. He can’t make young men take up a trade and learn to run their own businesses instead of begging for jobs that are not there. He can’t infuse them with self-esteem. He can’t read to every child and educate them BEFORE they get to kindergarten. You see where I am going with this?

    It all starts in the home, make a better home for children and we can eliminate gangs and drugs. Let us all get back to FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You can’t always look to someone else to solve your problems, you have to solve them yourself!!!!!!!!

  16. August 11, 2013 - Reply

    Realistically speaking NO there is nothing President Obama can do to stop youth violence. What is he supposed to be a personal parent to all black youth? I don’t think so, and the notion, or even the suggestion that he can stop youth violence is so ridiculous. It’s not that simple. For one thing you can’t legislate morals, family values, or respect for one another; it has to be ingrained in you

  17. August 12, 2013 - Reply

    it ain’t just the young men. Let’s include these 30,40, and 50 year old men too. 😀

  18. August 12, 2013 - Reply

    that statment is in response to Common Sense’s statement about young boys impregnating young girls

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