Obama: ‘Our kids can’t all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne’

By Tom Johnson

Jul 17, 2009 10:01am

In his young presidency, Obama has steered somewhat away from the subject of race.  He has seemingly tried to be a "post-race" President.   Last night at the NAACP's 100th Anniversary dinner, the President tackled the subject head on.  He spoke of the legacy of discrimination and of personal responsibility.  Here are a few portions of his speech:  "Make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America." "African-American students are lagging behind white classmates in reading and math – an achievement gap that is growing in states that once led the way on civil rights. Over half of all African-American students are dropping out of school in some places. There are overcrowded classrooms, crumbling schools, and corridors of shame in America filled with poor children – black, brown, and white alike."   "Government programs alone won't get our children to the promised land. We need a new mindset, a new set of attitudes – because one of the most durable and destructive legacies of discrimination is the way that we have internalized a sense of limitation; how so many in our community have come to expect so little of ourselves." Speaking of African American children he said this:  "They might think they've got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can't all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be president of the United States."

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