Uncategorized Obama: unrest helped refocus US attention on inequality

Obama: unrest helped refocus US attention on inequality

 

President Barack Obama points to the audience as he departs after speaking at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, May 12, 2015.
President Barack Obama points to the audience as he departs after speaking at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

(AA) — Unrest in several U.S. cities, most recently in Baltimore, has helpedrefocus attention on wealth disparities, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.

“We are at a moment, in part because of what’s happened in Baltimore and Ferguson and other places, but in part because a growing awareness of inequality in our society,” Obama said, “where it may be possible not only to refocus attention on the issue of poverty, but also maybe to bridge some of the gaps that have existed and the ideological divides that have prevented us from making progress.”

Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore have been flashpoints of civil unrest following police-involved deaths of black men in the economically impoverished cities. 

The Census Bureau estimated that the poverty rate in Baltimore is well above 23 percent, and nearly 25 percent in Ferguson – both far surpassing the national average. 

The poverty rate across the nation fell from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013, according to the bureau.  

During a panel conversation about poverty at Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University, Obama distinguished the current state of economic inequality from past experiences, saying that today segregation in America is largely based on class rather than race.

“That creates its own politics,” he said. “There’s some communities where not only do I not know poor people, I don’t even know people who have trouble paying the bills at the end of the month.”

The American president pointed to his own initiatives, including the My Brother’s Keeper program, which emphasizes mentorships for minority boys, as steps he has taken to address the problem.

He strongly defended his critiques of fatherless households contributing to problems facing the black community. “I make no apologies for that, and the reason is because I am a black man who grew up without a father and I know the cost that I paid for that.”

“For me to have that conversation does not negate my conversation about the need for early childhood education, or the need for job training, or the need for greater investment in infrastructure, or jobs in low-income communities,” he added. 

Previous articleUS denies claims Turkish train-equip program delayed
Next articleThousands spend night outdoors as death toll rises in Nepal