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."