“Government programs alone won’t get our children to the Promised Land,”President Obama said at the NAACP convention. Parents and community leaders must expect more and do more. (Here’s the video.)
We’ve got to say to our children, yes, if you’re African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that somebody in a wealthy suburb does not have to face. But that’s not a reason to get bad grades — (applause) — that’s not a reason to cut class — (applause) — that’s not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. (Applause.) No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands — you cannot forget that. That’s what we have to teach all of our children. No excuses. (Applause.) No excuses.
You get that education, all those hardships will just make you stronger, better able to compete. Yes we can. (Applause.)
To parents — to parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and then fail to support them when they get home. (Applause.) You can’t just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn. That means putting away the Xbox — (applause) — putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. (Applause.) It means attending those parent-teacher conferences and reading to our children and helping them with their homework. (Applause.)
. . . our kids can’t all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne. (Applause.) I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers — (applause) — doctors and teachers — (applause) — not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court Justice. (Applause.) I want them aspiring to be the President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
. . . Yes, government must be a force for opportunity. Yes, government must be a force for equality. But ultimately, if we are to be true to our past, then we also have to seize our own future, each and every day.
Great speech. But will it make a difference?