President Barack Obama’s recent commencement speech at Howard University got some things right, many things wrong.
The speech was directed toward the members of the historically black university — and he pushed his favorite topic: injustice. Oppression. How the Black Man has been — and continues to be — kept down by institutionalized racism in the U.S. How he could have gotten more done if only more young people would have just voted out those Republicans. How college grads, despite their hard work, only got where they are today because someone gave them a leg up.
And he said America was better off today than ever before, ignoring its still-stagnant economy, deteriorating race relations, ongoing terrorism, astronomical debt and out-of-control illegal immigration influxes as he cherry-picked a few stats and left the rest on the cutting room floor.
Here’s some snippets from the speech that highlight a few hits and misses:
Given the current state of our political rhetoric and debate, let me say something that may be controversial, and that is this: America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college. It also happens to be better off than when I took office.
race relations are better since I graduated. That’s the truth …
Yes, our economy has recovered from crisis stronger than almost any other in the world.
And that means we have to not only question the world as it is, and stand up for those African Americans who haven’t been so lucky — because, yes, you’ve worked hard, but you’ve also been lucky. That’s a pet peeve of mine: People who have been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky. That God may have blessed them; it wasn’t nothing you did. So don’t have an attitude.
So don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally. Don’t do that — no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths. Because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance. Let them talk. Let them talk. If you don’t, you just make them a victim, and then they can avoid accountability.
You don’t have to risk your life to cast a ballot. Other people already did that for you …
Politico has the full speech. Read it here.