Would Barack Obama Give His “No Excuses” Speech to Women or Gay People?

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(ThyBlackMan.com) I expected to receive some pushback after writing my recent commentary about the speech that President Barack Obama gave at Morehouse College this week.  The truth is that no matter how politely one expresses a disagreement with the president, you’re more likely to be attacked by those who seek to defend him than to be met with logical counter points to your argument. I mean, why back your arguments with facts and substantive information when you can simply call someone a “jealous hater?”

But for those who want to think more deeply about the president’s speech and its inherent double standard (we’re not here to bash Barack, we voted for him too), I offer some food for thought.  Consider how people would feel if George W. Bush made this statement to the students at Morehouse College:

“Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. And moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and they overcame them. And if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.”

On one hand, the statement (which came from President Obama’s speech) could be seen as an inspirational remark. But on the other,  we have to ask, should a standing president remind young black people that nobody cares about them? Sure, we know it’s true, the White House says almost nothingbarackobama about the black unemployment crisis (as white unemployment has improved as a result of their efforts).  But I am not sure if a 100% white male could get away the statements that are overlooked from a man who is just 50% white.   I find it interesting how a slight change in the color of the  messenger can significantly modify the way we respond to the message and the kinds of messages we’re willing to tolerate.

Also, the statement above seems to say, “Look, stop complaining about racism, it’s not going to get any better.” But does the president say these same things to gay men who speak up about homophobia or women who speak about s****l assault? Please inform me if this is the case.

Imagine President Obama making this statement to a group of women:

“Nobody cares if you were molested by your dad. Nobody cares if you were raped by your boyfriend. Women have been getting raped and beaten for centuries and they endured. If they can overcome their assaults, then you can overcome yours too.” 

How would that work for a presidential commencement address at a women’s college?  I doubt it would go over very well.   Even if these remarks are being made by a woman, this person would have to spend a great deal of time fighting on behalf of women’s rights to earn the moral authority to make such a bold remark. It’s difficult to say that Obama has earned such authority among black men, for he rarely mentions racial inequality among the list of the nation’s leading priorities.

I’m done talking about President Obama for the day, but I encourage those who aren’t afraid of facts and truth to consider what I’m saying.  Barack is a politician, I accept that.  But to somehow consider him to be an extraordinary asset for the advancement of black people might be a bit misguided, since the evidence of his sacrifice for the African American community just doesn’t exist.   He’s really just a darker, cooler version of Bill Clinton who graced us by speaking at Morehouse College.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.