Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama has called upon black youth to act responsibly.
"They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it," he said Sunday at a largely black church in his hometown of Chicago.
Speaking on the Father's Day, Obama said he was lucky to have loving grandparents who helped his mother. He got support, second chances and scholarships that helped him get an education. Obama's father left when he was 2.
"A lot of children don't get those chances. There is no margin for error in their lives," said Obama, an Illinois senator.
"I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle -- that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls," added Obama, whose daughters, Sasha and Malia, and his wife, Michelle, watched from the audience.
Obama's appearance at the Apostolic Church of God was his first address to a church since he ended his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ, where he had worshipped for 20 years, following inflammatory remarks there by his former longtime pastor and others.
Obama frequently emphasized the importance of God in his life and ended the speech by asking the congregation to "Pray for me. Pray for Michelle."
Obama often speaks about the importance of parental involvement. In Washington, he sponsored legislation to get more child support money to children by offering a tax credit for fathers who pay support, more efficient collection and penalties for fathers who don't meet their obligations.
The issue adds to his family values credentials and lets voters see him delivering a stern message to black voters.
"We can't simply write these problems off to past injustices," Obama said Sunday.
"Those injustices are real. There's a reason our families are in disrepair ... but we can't keep using that as an excuse."
Obama urged black parents to demand the best from themselves and their children, news agency AP reports.
The behaviour of the black youth has been a matter of serious concern in the US. The decaying value of life in inner cities clearly can be traced to the exodus of fathers from the lives of so many young men. Excuses often are tossed about as to why black men leave their children (and their children's moms) to fend for themselves. But a lot of them are just sorry and refuse to accept the responsibility that comes with raising a child, leading black journalist Roland S. Martin said sometime ago.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, of all the black men in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 29 in 2002, 10.4 percent were incarcerated. Hispanic and white men? Just 2.4 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.
The rampant poverty that exists has led many young blacks to a life of crime, choosing to sell drugs and involve themselves in gangs as opposed to focusing on education as a way out of the cellar of life.
Nearly 70 percent of black kids are born to unmarried parents, likely to a too-young mom, that puts tremendous pressure on grandmothers (and some grandfathers), sisters and brothers to take up the slack. But if the person who impregnated that woman were on the scene, not only helping to pay for the raising of the child but also serving as a strong influence, Martin pointed out.
Teenage black girls and black boys should be focused on picking colleges, not the names of babies. When a young girl wants a baby christened, her pastor should be asking to meet with the father as well, even if the two don't get along. We also should be telling black women not to lie down with any fool. A moment of pleasure could lead you to a lifetime of raising that child. Alone, Martin said.
Unless black America owns up to this problem -- and fast -- we are going to see another generation of young black men who are angry with their lot in life. And the result will be more discipline problems in school, which will lead to folks dropping out, and that is nothing but a one-way ticket to jail.
Black men, it's time to man up. Enough with the sperm donors. We need real men to stand up and accept their responsibility. The state of our boys is on us. And no one else, Martin had stressed in an article on the CNN website.