Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume accused President Obama and civil rights leaders of not speaking out on “black-on-black” violence and crime in Chicago. But Obama has repeatedly spoken out on these issues and acted to address them, as have civil rights groups.
Fox's Hume Suggests Obama, Civil Rights Leaders Haven't Spoken Out On “Black-On-Black Killings”
Hume: “I Don't Recall The President Weighing In” On "Black-On-Black Killings." On the December 1 edition of America's Newsroom, Hume discussed Obama's plans to hold meetings at the White House with civil rights leaders and law enforcement officers on improving the relationship between police and the communities they serve in the wake of the Ferguson protests. Hume cited “waves of black-on-black killings” across the country to attack Obama for supposedly not speaking out on violence in black communities:
MARTHA MacCALLUM (co-host): You think about the comparisons that have been made, not specifically by the president, but by others to Emmett Till or to Selma, and, you know, to understand the specifics of this situation is to know that it is something very different. And I think about the president, when he made that huge speech in Boston at the Democratic National Convention, “We're not a black America, we're not a white America, we're the United States of America,” and it seems an opportunity, a presidential opportunity that could have been embraced here for both sides, for police officers, for black people in this country has been passed by, I think many would say, Brit.
HUME: Well, you know, Martha, that's an interesting point because according to the Centers for Disease Control that tracks these things, the leading cause of death among African-Americans age 15 -- I believe it's 15 to 24 is homicide. And you see these continuing waves of black-on-black killings in places like Chicago, which is the most conspicuous because the numbers are so high out there, but in places across the country.
I don't recall the president ever seeking to address that problem at all, or even acknowledging its existence. I may be wrong about that, he may have said something about it, but if you're convening a White House conference on relations between the police and the people they're trying to protect in such areas, you'd think that this issue might be a part of the discussion. What do you do about this, these killings in significant numbers, such that it is the leading cause of death among a certain age group in this country?
I don't recall the president weighing in on that or even acknowledging it, and I certainly don't recall any of these so-called civil rights leaders of the Al Sharpton stripe ever showing up at a funeral in Chicago where there's a black-on-black killing. You just don't see that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/1/14]
Obama Has Repeatedly Addressed Violence In Black Communities
Obama Emphasized Importance Of Black Role Models To Combat Pervasive Violence In 2013 Morehouse College Speech. In his May 2013 commencement speech at the historically black, all-male Morehouse College, Obama explained the importance of having black male role models and addressed poverty and violence in black communities (emphasis added):
OBAMA: But that doesn't mean we don't have work -- because if we're honest with ourselves, we know that too few of our brothers have the opportunities that you've had here at Morehouse. In troubled neighborhoods all across this country -- many of them heavily African American -- too few of our citizens have role models to guide them. Communities just a couple miles from my house in Chicago, communities just a couple miles from here -- they're places where jobs are still too scarce and wages are still too low; where schools are underfunded and violence is pervasive; where too many of our men spend their youth not behind a desk in a classroom, but hanging out on the streets or brooding behind a jail cell.
OBAMA: So be a good role model, set a good example for that young brother coming up. If you know somebody who's not on point, go back and bring that brother along -- those who've been left behind, who haven't had the same opportunities we have -- they need to hear from you. [White House, 5/19/13]
Speaking At Chicago School, Obama Addressed Gun Violence. In a February 2013 speech at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, Obama addressed the problem of gun violence in the city and reflected on his own experience growing up:
President Barack Obama offered a personal reflection on gun violence here Friday, tackling the issue not as a policymaker or parent, but as a black man himself who knew how close he'd come to a very different fate.
Speaking of the economic struggles and broken homes that he identified as the root causes, Obama talked about his own experiences as a young African-American man, causing trouble and, later, trying to affect change on the streets here.
“Don't get me wrong, as the son of a single mom ... I turned out OK ... but at the same time I wish I had a father who was involved, around,” Obama said. [Politico, 2/15/13]
Obama Referenced Chicago Violence In Speech On Gun Policy. In a January 2013 address, Obama referenced violence in Chicago while introducing “the most sweeping gun policy reform in a generation,” alluding to the "'too frequent' shooting deaths of 'kids on street corners of Chicago.'" [Huffington Post, 1/16/13]
Obama Created “My Brother's Keeper” Initiative “To Help Young Men Of Color.” In July, Obama announced an expansion of his “My Brother's Keeper” initiative, aimed at “bolstering the lives of young minority men and boys” :
The goals of My Brother's Keeper are broadly to help young men of color at critical moments of their lives, including early literacy, high school and in the teens and early 20s when so many are sucked into the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.
“We want fewer young men in jail, we want more of them in college,” Obama said on Monday. “We want fewer young men on the streets, we want more of them in the boardrooms. We want everybody to have a chance to succeed in America.” [MSNBC.com, 7/21/14]
Michelle Obama Addressed Violence In Chicago At Funeral Of Teenager Hadiya Pendleton. First lady Michelle Obama spoke out against violence in Chicago at the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, killed days after performing at President Obama's 2013 inauguration. From the speech:
“But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya? Oh we know that story. Just a week after she performed at my husband's inauguration, she went to a park with some friends, and got shot in the back. Because some kid thought she was in a gang. Hadiya's family did everything right, but she still didn't have a chance. And that story, the story of Hadiya's life and death, we read that story day after day, month after month, year after year In this city and around this country. I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world. I'm talking about what's happening in the city we call home. The city where we're raising our kids.” [Slate, 4/10/13]
Civil Rights Groups Have Also Addressed Violence In Black Communities
NAACP Met With Chicago Mayor To Address Gun Violence. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in November 2013 “to discuss ways to fight gun violence in the city.” [NAACP, 11/20/14]
National Action Network Called For Action On Chicago Violence. In July, the National Action Network called for action on violence in Chicago and planned “to convene an anti-violence summit of national civil rights leaders” in the city. [ABC 7 Chicago, 7/10/14]