Speaking at the historically black Bowie State University commencement Friday, first lady Michelle Obama called out African American youth for not challenging themselves to excel in school while instead fantasizing about being a “baller or a rapper.”
“Today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of Separate But Equal, when it comes to getting an education too many of our young people just can’t be bothered,” Obama said. “Today instead of walking miles every day to school they’re sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV instead of dreaming of being a teacher or lawyer or business leader they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper.”
Citing her husband, the first lady urged students to “reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white.”
The first lady’s address also focused heavily on praising the fortitude of leaders in history, such as Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., and The Little Rock Nine, who fought to improve educational opportunities for African Americans, despite many challenges they faced.
“It is that kind of unwavering determination – that relentless focus on getting an education in the face of obstacles –that’s what we need to reclaim, as a community and as a nation. That was the idea at the very heart of the founding of this school,” Obama said.
Now, where has that been?
In addition to baller and rapper, she might have added drug dealer and drive-by shooter. For that lovely young schoolgirl, Hadiya Pendleton, was following Michelle Obama’s advice, only to have her promising life cut short by some goon who wasn’t.
In an interview at the time of the murder, Mrs. Obama referred to a kid with an “automatic weapon”, but that overstated the case. It was a couple of gang-bangers with a handgun, certainly illegal under existing Chicago laws, who blasted Hadiya in the back in a case of mistaken identity. They were arrested several days later on their way to a strip club.
Not very pretty, is it?
Again, I applaud the First Lady for her straight speaking—and wish her husband would join her. The graduates she was speaking to had already got the message, however. Hadiya Pendleton had already got the message. The kids Mrs. Obama needs to speak to are still on the streets of Chicago, still armed with illegal weapons, still shooting each other.
How I wish they would sit for hours on their couches watching TV or playing video games! (Depending on the video game, that is.) Type-2 diabetes is treatable; murder is not.