Does Political Slander of President Obama Impact Black Youth?
(ThyBlackMan.com) Social media is saturated into the life of every American. Everyone with an opinion has the chance to voice it, and occasionally those opinions are venomous or downright destructive. While American society is often lauded as the ideal in an oppressive and harsh world, the majority of youthful African Americans growing up today are still suffering significant disadvantages compared to their same age groups in other demographics. This disadvantage needs to be remedied. Solid progress is being made at every level of life and government but the global village that social media has become will continue to have an amazing influence on what inspires these youth to go beyond where they have started. That influence can be positive, in the form of educational opportunities and equalization of skills and literacy regardless of local resources; but it can also be negative, especially in the form of cynical imagery pertaining to individuals who could be positive role models.
America is becoming more enlightened each generation but it isn’t perfect yet. While everyone would prefer the statistics didn’t have a racial correlation or undertone, there are unfortunate facts that prove African American youth are not getting the opportunities of their otherwise equal counterparts of other races. The truth is that inspiring African American role models are an important and adamantly necessary step in a child’s development. Many of these youth may have no successful masculine person in their immediate lives, and those who do, still need to see other positive options. President Barak Obama is one such role model for underprivileged youth. From his earliest childhood, he has shown a persistent dedication to education that should be imitated by anyone looking to improve themselves and their place in in society.
Even into college, his teaching career, and eventually his political career, he has been a proactive supporter of beneficial change in the community. And by imitating this attitude, resisting the trend to be passive victims or outright anti-establishment, African American youth can grow up to take control of their own futures and have a valuable stake in the future of America.
The 21st century, and the young people developing in this era, is all about media. Even the most underfunded community has some form of internet access, and every aspect of American life has become inundated with this technology. Whether this is a positive or negative trend is not within the scope of this article but it is a fact that needs to be acknowledged. While many would attempt to blame the counter-cultural art forms as a negative influence, too many sociological studies have proven that the freshness of even an anger and resentment induced form of expression can have enduring positive results. The recent riots of Baltimore Maryland, after the death of young Freddie Gray, at the hands of decadent police officers will prove this undeniable fact. What is a confirmed negative is the mudslinging and slandering that is a standard in political media coverage. While the politicians and law enforcement community involved know the truth or fabrications of these accusations, they have the benefit of a background in critical thinking and a lifetime of experiences with which to know the difference.
Thanks to the absolute saturation of social media, our more easily influenced youth are openly exposed to such slander. And without the abilities to think critically that education and life-experience provides, these youth are taking everything the media says about a potentially valuable role model in their own development, at face value. This happens all too often with decadent lyrics in rap music, however, let’s concentrate on President Barack Obama’s “haters” specifically. Unnecessary and harsh name calling like “psychopath” and “liar” or passing phrases around such as “worst president” of the 20th century; culminating with unmerited cries for impeachment have nothing but self-aggrandizing rhetorical value to those making the statements but to the impressionable African American youth looking to find someone successful to emulate, these words are far too destructive.
Barack Obama’s political agenda is not being discussed here. Agreement or disagreement with his policies is irrelevant to the bigger picture. That bigger picture is the fact that President Obama represents a successful ascension by a member of a marginalized class of the American populace. No matter what one’s opinion of his politics, his inherent value as a role model must be acknowledged, and nurtured. His Presidency has been an achievement all by itself, but the things he has done and continues to do for the underprivileged should also be applauded. Health care, education, employment; appointment of the first African American female to the position of Attorney General, all things historically out of reach of people like the very youth he is inspiring.
His political adversaries can argue against the value of this, but do they really need to publically slander him by suggesting the lifestyle of African Americans has in fact gotten worse because of his presidency? Of course not; any decent journalist should know that statistics can be correlated. Perhaps African American unemployment has not improved during The President’s term, but to explicitly say that his leadership is the cause of these statistics is plain libel. And again, such manipulative words really aren’t hurting the President directly. He’s a grown man, an intelligent man, and a skilled lawyer himself. He can recognize sophistry and can decide for himself whether there is accuracy in the mud-slinging or not. The African American youth, on the other hand, should not be expected to filter through the mountains of trash oratory directed against him. They hear bad, they believe bad, no matter what. And what they need is good. They need to see a Black man; like themselves, in the image of God; who has become a man they should want to look up to and emulate.
Role models for the 21st century African American youth with the exception of rappers and entertainers; are scarce enough that they cannot afford to have one taken away from them through malicious ignorance. If these children are to have a better opportunity than their elders were given, they need to be able to look up to someone they can relate to and who has proven himself a success. If political slander is having a minimal effect in the field it is actually supposed to be influencing, and a far greater influence in a field where it is harming an entire generation of a future body of voters, why must it continue?
Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford