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Some Blacks Offended By Obama’s Morehouse Commencement Address

May 21, 2013 by

It’s not uncommon for African Americans to criticize President Barack Obama’s job performance, and the latest example of that comes on the heels of his commencement speech at Morehouse College on Sunday.

During his keynote address at the historically black, all-male college in Georgia, Obama called for better family values among the black community and personal responsibility over complaints about racism.

During his speech, Obama told the grads to “recognize the burdens you carry with you, but resist the temptation to use them as excuses.”

“That’s what being an American is about. Success may not come quickly or easily. But if you strive to do what’s right; if you work harder and dream bigger; if you set an example in your own lives and do your part to help meet the challenges of our time, then I am confident that, together, we will continue the never-ending task of perfecting our union.”

But some African Americans on Monday called that message tired and insulting, saying it was rhetoric meant to pander to white people.

“Trevor Coleman thinks it’s time for President Obama to get a new speech for black audiences,” The Washington Post reports. “The personal responsibility finger-wagging, delivered most recently Sunday at Morehouse College’s commencement, is getting old. … Coleman, a former speechwriter for former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, said … he was disappointed that Obama almost always defaults to the clean-up-your-act message when talking to predominantly black audiences.”

The Post goes on to quote Leola Johnson, an associate professor and chair of the Media and Cultural Studies Department at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.,  who said Obamas’ speeches “are actually not aimed at black people.”

“They’re actually for white people, liberals especially,” she said.

However, Obama’s speech was different that his usual “you didn’t build that” pro-government, pro-socialism rhetoric, as The College Fix reported Monday. If it was meant to pander to anyone, it was probably the conservatives he’s been accused of harassing and targeting via the IRS. But we digress.

The Post goes on to report:

Kevin Powell, an activist based in New York who travels the country encouraging black men to take responsibility for their lives, said he has no problem with Obama challenging the black community, but . . .

“You also have to challenge the system, just as you challenge the people. It’s not an either/or,” said Powell. …

A. Scott Bolden, a Washington lawyer and Morehouse graduate, and Coleman, the former speechwriter and Detroit-based writer, offered finger-wagging lectures of their own.

“It’s interesting that President Obama is always asking black people to take responsibility for themselves,” Bolden said. “It would be really nice if he’d take responsibility for black people in his second term.”

Apparently, Obama’s message fell on deaf ears.

Some Blacks Offended By Obama’s Morehouse Commencement Address.

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