O’Reilly and Trayvon cry for help, Mr. President

July 25, 2013

Mr. President, it’s your move.

The heat of public reaction from the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin murder trial is starting to cool. 

Now the first black president has a chance to use his unique standing in black America to move beyond the racial static. He can help future Trayvon Martins – poor, young, black American men – avoid falling into more trouble and off America’s ladder of upward mobility.

Bill O’Reilly passionately made the point on his show this week when he said it is time for “straight talk and I hope the president is listening because we need him to lead on this issue.”

And the issue O’Reilly loudly nailed to the presidential wall for priority action is the high number of young black men who are victims of violent crime, who are convicted of violent crime and end up in jail for breaking the law.

“The statistics are overwhelming,” O’Reilly said. “Here is the headline: Young black men commit homicides at a rate ten times greater than whites and Hispanics combined.” And the root cause of the problem, O’Reilly said, is “the disintegration of the African-American family.”

It is hard for O’Reilly to make this point and get young black men or civil rights leaders to listen.

When a white conservative raises the issue of black men and crime, especially after the overwhelming white Republican support for a verdict that gave no justice to the black family of a murdered teen, a lot of people are going to see it as trying to shift the focus to problems in the black community. They also dismiss it as an attempt to distract black people from their outrage over recent events.

That is why it is time for people who care about black America to act.

That is why O’Reilly is exactly right to point to the black man with the highest level of credibility in black America since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – President Obama – and challenge that man to deliver the message to black America that it is time to focus on fixing the black family and helping young black men get on the road to success.

Bill Cosby, the famous comic entertainer, has a lot of credibility in black America. He has tried to deliver the message that there is map for young black men to find success. I wrote a book about Cosby’s epic effort, it’s called ‘ENOUGH: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America – and What We Can Do About It.”

But no one has the chance to deliver that message as powerfully as President Obama can right now. He is in a unique historical position, with a singular pulpit from which to speak and act to do something incredible to help young black men benefit from the opportunities in our great country.

Here is what he should say clearly. The road to success is plain as day.

1.  Stay in school and graduate from the highest level of school – but absolutely, no excuses, graduate from high school.

2. Take a job and hold it, no matter what job, no matter if your friends put you down for ‘flipping burgers.’ Use the job to get experience, make contacts with business people, and build a resume.

3. Marry after you have finished your education and while you have a job.

And the final step is important


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