ANALYSIS: Obama to Morehouse Men: Don’t Let the World ‘Keep a Black Man Down’

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  • President Barack Obama traveled to Atlanta Sunday and delivered a rare yet impassioned speech at Morehouse College about race and the evolution of black men in America.

    It was arguably one of the most significant speeches of Obama’s presidency.

    “For black men in the 1940s and 1950s, the threat of violence, the constant humiliations, large and small, the gnawing doubts born of a Jim Crow culture that told you every day you were somehow inferior, the temptation to shrink from the world, to accept your place, to avoid risks, to be afraid, was necessarily strong,” Obama told a cheering crowd of about 10,000 during his commencement address at Morehouse, an all-male historically black college.

    “There are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves,” Obama said.  “There are some things, as Morehouse Men, that you are obliged to do for those still left behind,” the president said. “As graduates – as Morehouse Men – you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you are about to collect.  And that’s the power of your example.”

    Obama’s address to 500 black male graduates was his most direct public speech about the experiences of black men during his second term in the White House and one of his most straight-forward lectures about race since he took office.

    “As Morehouse Men,” Obama said, “many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; to be marginalized; to feel the sting of discrimination.”

    But, the president said, “We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. Growing up, I made a few myself.  And I have to confess, sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down.”

    For some of Obama’s black supporters, it was the speech that many have been waiting for. Even some of the president’s most loyal followers – including some black congressional leaders — have been critical of Obama for not speaking out more about race and talking more about being a role model for black men as America’s first black president.

    But on Sunday, it appeared that Obama was clearly in role-model mode for black men.

    “If we’re being honest with ourselves, too few of our brothers and sisters have the opportunities you’ve had here at Morehouse,” Obama said.  “In troubled neighborhoods all across the country – many of them heavily African American – too few of our citizens have role models to guide them.”

    Obama also shared a bit more of his personal side, telling students that he’s made some ill-advised decisions early in life, but didn’t use it as a crutch to prevent him from moving forward.

    “One of the things you’ve learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses,” Obama said.  “I understand that there’s a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: “excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.”

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    23 thoughts on “ANALYSIS: Obama to Morehouse Men: Don’t Let the World ‘Keep a Black Man Down’

    1. What has he done for you lately? He is not black, he “mixed.” He calls himself an American. Wake up black people. Could the white man have done you worse? Are your children working? Are you working? Do you live as well as he does? Do you eat everyday? Do you have a BETTER place to live? Do you have a BETTER job? Do you have MORE money in the bank?

      We are praying on Sunday, “Lord please bless Barack Obama and his family.” Look at his history prior to becoming President. How many blacks were on his Senate staff? How many blacks had key positions in his campaign? How many blacks hold number one positions in his administration?

      What are we thinking well thinkers?

    2. Pingback: The 8 Principles of Black Male Empowerment (DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AUDIO LECTURE) | Your Black World Network | Habari Gani, America!

    3. Pingback: Class of 2013, Stand Up! Plus my take on President Obama’s Speech to Morehouse. | Stephen's Spot

    4. Pingback: Obama to college graduates: “No room for excuses” | sambhalkezabaan

    5. Pingback: IF BILL AIN’T BOOSHIE-NEITHER IS BARACK! | GetRealWithDarylandDeVon@.Wordpress.Com

    6. The President or “POTUS” hadn’t mentioned any of this when you all were trying to get the Oprah Winphery[sic] party elected had he T.J.M.S.!? So as it seems Newt Gingrich was right after all wasn’t he?

    7. The photo of all of these young black men graduating from college is quite a “Kodak” moment!! It was simply beautiful!!!

    8. Pingback: President Obama’s graduation speech at Morehouse College

    9. Blacks struggle all over the world… not only in the U.S. Even the Japanese rebuilt their country bigger and better after America bombed the heck out of them. The Jews bounced back after the holocaust. Blacks lack intellect, plain and simple. I don’t know why, there are a few who stand out, but overall, blacks are less intelligent than the rest.

      • THE SPEECH OUR PRESIDENT HAS MADE TO THE UP AND COMING MEN OF OUR CULTURE WAS A MESSAGE TO US ALL , AND I BELIEVE TO EXPRESS THE CLIMATE HE HAS BEEN IN FROM THE VERY START. I AM NOT SURPRISED BY OUR IGNORANT COMMENT, AFTER ALL IT SHOWS YOUR LACK OF INTELLIGENCE AND MAKES OUR PRESIDENTS SPEECH EVEN MORE IMPORTANT AS MEN OF AFRICAN ANCESTRY.

      • Candy : “less intelligent than the rest” of who??!! What an insult!! Perhaps you are not intelligent if you think there aren’s very many intelligent black people. Are there a bunch of dumb A’s? Of course there are in ALL ethnic groups. But there are also millions of very intelligent black people. You need to get out more, and broaden the scope of black people you come in contact with.

    10. Pingback: Discussion: Obama To Morehouse Men: Don’t Let The World ‘Keep A Black Man Down’ | Praise 103.9

    11. And by the way Paul; have you asked the NAACP, CBC, and other so-called black organizations, and the LOCAL black politicians, and officials in IN EVERY CITY in America to apologize for not doing enough for black men. In fact some of the forementioned haven’t done anything for black men. It starts with the locally elected politicians. Were all of the naysayers speaking out on this issue before Obama became President??!! I think not!!

    12. Paul Butler needs to shut the H up. Until Paul has become President, and had to deal with the zillions of things going on in this country, and the world…..he needs to take a seat. And did Paul really say the President needs to apologize to black men??!! Clearly Paul has no clue. To me it sounds like Paul doesn’t have common sense. In short President Obama is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t try to do/say something.

    13. Wildflower I AGREE!!!!!! This is one of those situations where they say “If you don’t have anything nice to say; don’t say it at all.”

    14. See this is our problem, people like Paul Butler. This was a very special moment for these young men and instead of keeping this push positive Mr. Butler felt the need to criticize instead of encourage. What he needs to do is lose that crab mentality and support his sister’s and brothers in a positive way and when he feels the need to point out someone elses short comings ask himself first what has he done to promote progress in his community.

    15. Pingback: Discussion: Obama To Morehouse Men: Don’t Let The World ‘Keep A Black Man Down’ | Praise 1300

    16. Pingback: President Obama Gives Condescending Lecture To Black College Graduates | Polite On Society

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