Video After The Jump
On Thursday (February 27), President Obama introduced his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative aimed at helping young men of color.
This wasn't just another speech to push across some other hidden agenda. The President is putting millions of dollars behind this initiative.
$350 million from private funds and corporate leaders will be spent over the next five years to fund programs that are the most successful in helping young men of color. Those programs will then be used in communities all over the U.S.
President Obama also signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government to determine the best methods to improve the odds for young men of color.
[I]n this effort, government cannot play the only -- or even the primary -- role. We can help give every child access to quality preschool and help them start learning from an early age, but we can’t replace the power of a parent who’s reading to that child. We can reform our criminal justice system to ensure that it's not infected with bias, but nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life.
In other words, broadening the horizons for our young men and giving them the tools they need to succeed will require a sustained effort from all of us. Parents will have to parent -- and turn off the television, and help with homework. Teachers will need to do their part to make sure our kids don’t fall behind and that we're setting high expectations for those children and not giving up on them. Business leaders will need to create more mentorships and apprenticeships to show more young people what careers are out there. Tech leaders will need to open young eyes to fields like computer science and engineering. Faith leaders will need to help our young men develop the values and ethical framework that is the foundation for a good and productive life.
So we all have a job to do. And we can do it together -- black and white, urban and rural, Democrat and Republican.
Bill O'Reilly of Fox News was at the White House to hear the plan laid out in person. Afterwards he and Senior Advisor to President Obama, Valerie B. Jarrett, clashed on The O'Reilly Factor when discussing the influence of "gangsta rap" culture on our youth.
"You have to attack the fundamental disease if you want to cure it," O'Reilly said. "Now I submit to you that you're going to have to get people like Jay Z, Kanye West... All of these gangsta rappers to knock it off. Listen to me, you gotta get them where they live. They idolize these guys with their hats on backwards, and the terrible rap lyrics, and the drugs and all of that. You gotta get these guys. And I think President Obama can do it."
Are West and Jay Z are part of what's wrong with America's African American and Latino youths? Listen to the full discussion below and let us know what you think.
Bill O'Reilly And Valerie Jarrett Clash Over Gangster Culture.
President Obama Speaks on the My Brother's Keeper Initiative