The First Lady went there.
Reactions are coming in from Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University over the weekend. She said the graduating classes of 2015 – and the next generation of African Americans – will still face racism.
“Because here’s the thing — the road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away … And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry. It can feel isolating. It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter … And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real. They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible. And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.”
A commentator on CNN said she was right to bring up race:
“Thank you, Michelle, for speaking the truth. And for being honest enough to admit that even you have been ‘knocked back’ by some of the racial perceptions of yourself and President Obama. It is past time for Americans to publicly confront our nation’s nagging race problem. Our old wounds left by racism will not heal themselves. Our silence will not make them go away. No, those wounds will just continue to fester and flare up over and over again in cities like Ferguson, New York and Baltimore and too many other places to mention.”
A USA Today op-ed said many people will take the wrong message:
“Obama’s message was about overcoming obstacles — it was about the ‘double duty’ blacks have to our country and our race. She talked of the obstacles overcome by members of the Tuskegee Airmen, black combat pilots who served with great distinction during World War II. They trained at Tuskegee and suffered the indignities of Jim Crow racism while fighting for America.”
The conservative National Review, took issue with Obama conflating her personal feelings with black society in general:
“Private experience is an important governing force in a healthy body politic; the anger occasioned by injustice, for example, can be an important spur toward change. But because we are individuals embedded in communities, private feelings must be balanced by public reason. An individual’s claims — that his anger indicates true injustice — must be thoughtfully and dispassionately evaluated by the community, acting together. ”
And Fox News, well, their anchors turned their “uppity meters” up to 11: Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan on Tuesday suggested the speech was yet another example of the White House dividing the country on issues of race, asking, “Why didn’t the first lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of Affirmative Action?”
The Daily Show had a great take down of the haters. Watch it here.