I remember quite the fuss among dem-liberals during the last election about racist whistles, or was it the dogs? I forget. Anyway, Romney would mention welfare or how hard it was to find good day laborers to work his estates and MSNBC would work itself into a tizzy telling us how this was signaling to poor whites that Obama was from Zaire or something. It never really added up. I mean, how much racist signaling is really needed if the guy you’re running against already happens to be black? We may struggle with standardized tests in the south, but most of us have no trouble with the Ishihara.
Well, look who’s whistling to Dixie now?
But 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. 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 a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. –Ms. Obama
Baller or rapper? Jesus. Don’t worry, she goes on;
But for those of you who aren’t going into education, you’re not off the hook…if you have friends or cousins or siblings who are not taking their education seriously, shake them up. Go talk some sense into them. Get them back on track. (Applause.)
If the school in your neighborhood isn’t any good, don’t just accept it. Get in there, fix it. Talk to the parents. Talk to the teachers…
And when it comes to your own kids, if you don’t like what they’re watching on TV, turn it off. (Applause.) If you don’t like the video games they’re playing, take them away. (Applause.)
These types of speeches play well because they implicate no one and nothing (except maybe parents who have to work long hours and can’t constantly monitor what their kids are watching). It’s the same liberal boilerplate, start a dialogue with someone about something.
I’ll admit that this probably isn’t the proper forum for her to channel her inner Malcolm, but neither is it the place to condescendingly take pot shots at family members of the recent graduates who struggle with forces far beyond their own apathy. Twenty-eight percent of black males don’t end up in prison at some point because they sat around playing X-Box.
Besides the deflection of blame, I think she’s on to something else as well. Like many nouveau riche boomers found out, it’s easier to look back indifferently toward the social class of your youth if you think yourself largely responsible for most of your success. And there’s nothing America loves more than the story of a young man or woman bootstrapping their way out poverty (or into even greater wealth). Ms. Obama is passing on that message to the next generation. Why are you here graduating from college and your cousin is back home on parole? Because he’s a deadweight who spent his youth dreaming of Bentleys and record contracts while you went out and made something of your life. Send a little money and occasional time back to the community, but make sure to enjoy the spoils and not search too much for answers.