I wonder how man non-black (heck … black people, especially if they’re young) got that he was quoting the National Negro Anthem, “Lift E’ery Voice And Sing” at the end? And was that an interesting juxtaposition or what of the wings on the NAACP emblem coming out of the president’s head? And how did I end up at church all of a sudden? Oh, black people. I lurve you.
President Obama gave a great speech about getting here “on the shoulders of giants,” and gave the NAACP of old a big thank you, while giving another personal responsibility speech of which everyone from Bill Cosby to John McWhorter would approve.
Politically astute old head Papa Snob made the observation that if Obama’s speech to the NAACP could only be given by a black man (re: If “President” John McCain had told them “we can fix our schools,” he might have offended someone) there was a problem. That the speech was still a “race” speech if anyone couldn’t give it. This didn’t mean Papa Snob didn’t like the speech. To the contrary, he thought it was great, but he also felt it was indicative of how much progress we still have to make if certain talk is accepted out of Barack Obama because he is black, but is derided if said by a white person. It proves that it is not about the message, but the messenger. By Papa Snob’s measure, this was Obama preaching to the choir, to middle-to-upper-class blacks about what poor blacks need to do, and to accept his criticism, but blast the same criticism from others like Cosby smells of a greater problem.
Why is it that Obama can say what so many others have said and faced ridicule? Is it the message or the messenger?