[guest post by Dana]
President Obama met with young young black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian men yesterday. His message to them, in part, was one of being authentic:
President Barack Obama told a group of young black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian men on Monday that they need be proud of their backgrounds and draw strength from their cultures, but ignore people who accuse them of “acting white.”
Obama shared the advice to the young men as part of his “My Brother’s Keeper” program that is marshalling private and public resources to help more boys from minority groups succeed, a program that he views as an important part of his legacy.
Obama said students are sometimes discouraged from “reading too much” or “speaking so properly” because of “the notion of ‘acting white.’”
“The notion that there’s some authentic way of being black, that if you’re going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go,” Obama said.
“You don’t have to act a certain way to be authentic. You just have to be who you are – and to go back to the values that you care about.”
Ironically, I read this article on the heels of Ron Christie’s open letter to Eric Holder.
Christie informs readers that Holder was the commencement speaker at his graduation from George Washington University National Center.
He recalls Holder’s words to the graduates:
May 23, 1998, was one of the happiest days of my life. After four years of hard work, I joined 485 of my fellow law school students as we were set to receive our Juris Doctor degrees. You may not remember, but you were our commencement keynote speaker that day at the George Washington University National Center.
You rolled through the usual platitudes: “To those whom much is given, much is expected,” etc. But what struck me most were your personal stories. You told us about how, when you were a young prosecutor, you were running to a movie only to be stopped by police in Georgetown because of your skin color. You told us that you have carried around a clipping in your wallet from 1971—words spoken by Reverend Samuel Proctor that resonate with me to this very day.
“Blackness is another issue entirely apart from class in America,” Proctor said. “No matter how affluent, educated and mobile [a black person] becomes, his race defines him more than anything else.”
You went on to challenge us that we all need to strive to change that reality and bring about a day when Americans would be judged as individuals, not as members of a race. Yours was an inspirational challenge, and I’ve done my best since then to meet it.
Christie then goes on to express his dismay at the attorney general playing the race card:
I reflect back on your remarks that day, I am appalled that you have replaced that old clipping with a race card, and seek to exploit our country’s historic tensions for political ends.
“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” you said on ABC earlier this week. “You know, people talking about taking their country back…There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
What you don’t understand, Mr. Holder, is that there are many of us who are trying to take our country back—back from a group of politicians who seem intent on our destruction as a pillar of strength and liberty in the world. Many of your fellow citizens are dismayed by your conduct, and our anger has nothing to do with the color of your skin.
You are the first attorney general in the history of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress. This had nothing to do with your skin color, and everything to do with your failure to explain how the United States government provided guns to Mexican drug cartels that were eventually used to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010.
His open letter further addresses the lack of responsibility taken by both Holder and the president regarding the IRS scandal. And in conclusion, he protests the accusations that racism is at the heart of any criticism toward the administration.
[C]ontrary to Holder’s claim that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing race, it is in fact Holder and the president who are the cowards.
America’s first black president was expected to usher in a new era of racial equality. Instead, we have watched the bonds that hold Americans together become more frayed.
We are now more polarized and more divided along racial lines than the day you took office. By recklessly accusing your opponents of racism, you have turned back the clock on race relations in this country. We are all worse off as a result, and weaker as a country.
In light of the president’s meeting with minority young men yesterday and the admonishment to be “authentic” while ignoring those who would accuse them of “acting white”, he conveniently declines to state that it is his own party and his own supporters who play that vile game. And Democrats consider it a perfectly acceptable political weapon to be used at every turn possible.
Not ironically, a very quick perusal of comments at Ron Christie’s open letter reinforce the mentality:
As for Ronnie C: What can you say about a man who sells out his own people for a few pieces of silver?
African Americans who vote Republican are like chickens voting for Col. Sanders.
There’s a name for sell-outs like Ronny.
And so it goes.