It’s not every day I stand up and applaud former President Obama.

A while back, the former president started a mentoring foundation called My Brother’s Keeper. It focuses on young African-American men growing up around crime, failing schools, gangs, drugs, and so forth. Driving its sense of mission is one of the most significant demographic events in American history: the explosion of absent-father kids. When we talked about MBK on the show last year, I was deluged with emails from people who were surprised they hadn’t heard of it before.

Fathers matter, and Barack Obama, whatever his politics, gets this. Fathers don’t just teach; they model decision-making, faith, a work ethic and how to respect women.

Fatherhood has taken a beating, especially in the black community. Wrong-headed brands of feminism, a welfare state that decimated family units and communities, and even the popular culture, with its incessant portrayal of dads as dolts, share blame.

Last month,  President Obama spoke at the MBK location in Oakland-Alameda County. He spoke plainly about masculinity and manhood, and, in my book, he spoke powerfully.

Obama told his audience that it’s a sign of weakness if you have to go around wearing an eight-pound gold chain. “We feel like we gotta compensate by exaggerating stereotypical ways that men are supposed to act…and that’s a trap that we fall into and have to pull out of.

“If you are confident about your sexuality, you don’t have eight women twerking around you…you seem stressed acting that way. Because I got one woman who I am very happy with. And she’s a strong woman.”

Remember, whether you share his political views or not, Barack Obama is one of the most prominent men in the world. What better message and messenger, right?


A New York Times op-ed writer quickly took the 44th president to task for “scolding” and “finger-wagging” these young guys. He “reinforced toxic masculinity”. He talked about African-American youth “like a conservative”. She was also offended that he had nothing specific to say to gay and transgender black youth.

I guarantee you’ve never heard me say this before: Obama is right, and the New York Times should leave him alone.


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