Fox News host Martha MacCallum used the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to accuse President Obama of squandering a unique opportunity to tell African-Americans “to stand up and take responsibility” and “profess that there are no excuses for anybody in this country.”
On the August 23 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, MacCallum moderated a discussion of the 50th anniversary of the March with Fox contributor Juan Williams and Republican strategist Brad Blakeman. After Blakeman accused “half-black” Obama of injecting himself in racial issues instead of bringing people together, MacCallum asked whether the president “squandered a unique opportunity... to profess that there are no excuses for anybody in this country.” She added that Obama may have squandered an opportunity to say, “no, you are not a victim, you need to stand up and take responsibility”:
After the segment, MacCallum sent out a tweet asking whether the president missed an “opportunity to stand for responsible Fatherhood”:
MacCallum's segment was striking in its ignorance of what Obama has done on issues of race she claimed to be so concerned about. In a May 19 speech to the all-male, historically black Morehouse College, Obama explained that “along with collective responsibilities, we have individual responsibilities.” The president continued [emphasis added]:
But along with collective responsibilities, we have individual responsibilities. There are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves. There are some things, as Morehouse Men, that you are obliged to do for those still left behind. As graduates -- as Morehouse Men -- you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you are about to collect. And that's the power of your example.
So what I ask of you today is the same thing I ask of every graduating class I address: use that power for something larger than yourself.
Live up to President Mays' challenge. Be “sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society.” And be “willing to accept responsibility for correcting [those] ills.”
We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. Growing up, I made a few myself. And I have to confess, sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. But one of the things you've learned over the last four years is that there's no longer any room for excuses. I understand that there's a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: “excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.” We've got no time for excuses - not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven't. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that's still out there. It's just that in today's hyperconnected, hyper[-]competitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven't earned. And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured - and overcame.
At a rally on August 24 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, participants will gather “to stand together against the recent attack on voter rights, against Stand Your Ground and racial profiling, and to continue to raise awareness on unemployment, poverty, gun violence, immigration, gay rights and other critical issues affecting our nation.” During the “March for Jobs and Justice” on August 28, Obama will deliver a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same place where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.