Obama to Black Youth: Nothing Wrong with “Acting White”

As the heads of African Americans in the audience shook in knowing agreement, Obama criticized a penchant within the black community for castigating those perceived as “acting white.”

From his remarks:

There’s no contradiction between knowing your culture — the traditional cultures out of which your families come, but also being part of the larger culture.

And I think that one of the things — this is true not just for Native Americans, but it’s also true for African Americans. Sometimes African Americans, in communities where I’ve worked, there’s been the notion of “acting white” — which sometimes is overstated, but there’s an element of truth to it, where, okay, if boys are reading too much, then, well, why are you doing that? Or why are you speaking so properly?

And 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. (Applause.) Because there are a whole bunch of different ways for African American men to be authentic.

Obama touches on something it’s hard for people – particularly white conservatives who care about the issue – to say: that the real problems of black Americans today stem not from a lack of government assistance or quotas, but from intractable problems within their own culture and community.

read more: http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2014/07/23/obama-black-youth-wrong-acting-white/

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Comment by Deanna M. Clark on July 27, 2014 at 12:14pm

In this instance, I totally agree with what President Obama said about "acting white." It may be true that he didn't directly answer the American Indian youth from Montana, yet he did address  that student's concern in a larger context, which is what all minorities face in our country: being treated differently because of the color of their skin.  I don't care how you cut it; it is still true, it still exists in America, and it still is a deep problem we must all face and join hands in resolving, for the sake of our country's survival -- even the survival of humanity, period, on this planet! It was my own black principal, over 30 years ago now, who made the same observation about the mindset of some of the black students at the school in which I, a white woman, taught for 21 years. At the time, many black students did not want to "look" like whites, such as taking an avid interest in reading books, being "scholarly', doing homework regularly, etc.  it was simply not "cool" for them to act in these ways; to do so was to be chided and ridiculed by their black peers.  This principal made it an issue of discussion at a staff meeting, and I still vividly remember his passion about it. I do not think we whites entirely understand what this is like for blacks or American Indians or Hispanics or others not white -- how to somehow "fit in "to the society at large while still feeling a part of something -- belonging somewhere in a closer proximity -- family, peers, etc.  I, myself, taught that the brain is powerful and can make its own choices about life, and that we all have such magnificence inside, capable of living fully, authentically and successfully, no matter the color of our skin.  To think less of ourselves is pure programming, and very dangerous,  indeed. But it exists everywhere -- this programming -- and it is up to us individually to counteract it and uproot it. I have studied this issue for years, and have deep compassion for the struggles on all sides regarding this issue, including what I, myself, often faced as a teacher. Frankly, if the Tea Party, or any party,  hopes to see conservatives regain control in the White House, this issue MUST be addressed and understood for what it is -- an identity problem, even a crisis. An identity issue about who we really are. Are we black? White? American? Or are we actually incredible souls learning how to enlarge our own by having this earthly experience? My experience at that richly multicultural school has taught me how to see the beauty of, and love, all these different races and cultures.  That community became my second home. Even though retired now, I still tutor there; I still care deeply what happens to these kids. Until we see what we're really dealing with -- no, until we FEEL it -- we have no right to judge and point fingers. Somehow, we must find the way to obey law ourselves and teach it to the next generation, uphold and honor the Constitution, and still love and honor each and every soul while we're doing it.  With love, not constant judging and pointing fingers as is  now being done on all sides, we will all survive, and thrive. Otherwise.....????

Comment by Diana Burkley on July 26, 2014 at 9:40am

The two have nothing to do with each other...the African-American rebellion against "white" culture, and this young man's request for the government to stop squelching Native American pride.  He simply heaped more of it on.

Comment by AtvRider48 on July 25, 2014 at 1:36pm

Melony DeFord should watch Bill O'Reilly sometime.  O'Reilly has been making the argument presented in the last paragraph above for a long while now.  That is not a new concept by a long shot.  Apparently acting black means not getting an education, fathering numerous children just for the sex, preying on white people and calling it a game, living on welfare, never working, answering all disputes with a 9 mil, shooting up neighborhoods on the weekend, living a drug induced stupor.  Essentially living lower than many animals.  

Comment by bob L on July 25, 2014 at 11:56am

Why not act American? They are not action like their culture.People in Africa don't wear their pants around their knees and Air Jordans.

Comment by George Miller on July 25, 2014 at 12:37am

It's rare, but "Obama" is right here. Alinsky confirmed it too- pout on a suit and tie to get accepted, then work on your agenda.

Showing up in ghetto clothes and jive talking won't get you a top job or acceptance in higher social circles, so why not have the best of both worlds?

Comment by Robert McGuire on July 24, 2014 at 8:50pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would probably agree. Around 5 years ago, he said he was impressed with Obama's candidacy, because he didn't have a "Negro dialect". Reid then added, "Unless he decided to have one".

Comment by Tim Burkett on July 24, 2014 at 8:33pm

WOW - just another instance of do as I say, not as I do.........

As a native American, I am upset that the President would link myself and my ancestors to the likes of the black youth that play the knock-out game. 

Comment by Devin Lenz on July 24, 2014 at 8:10pm

Another hand selected CreamPuff  audience again huh?

Comment by Terry Reyburn on July 24, 2014 at 7:47pm

If they'd pull their damn pants up and turn the music down - I'd be happy.

Comment by Don Cordell on July 24, 2014 at 7:23pm

It's not a racial problem, it's act socially correct, the only way society survives is when citizens respect the rights if others. The Black community brags about being anti social they love the show of poverty and lawlessness as proof their ancestors were slaves so they deserve to strike back. What a loss of life. When Black citizens are afraid to go out after dark in their own community, they deserve what they have given birth to, and raised with this Racial hate, they destroy their own lives. They can't be happy. 

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ALERT ALERT

SICK: New Jersey Awarded $3.8 Million In Financial Aid To Illegal Aliens


 A local news report revealed that the state of New Jersey awarded $3.8 million in financial aid to illegal immigrants during the 2018-2019 school year.

According to a report from NJ.com, the state of New Jersey gave $3.8 million in financial aid to 749 illegal immigrant students in the last academic year. More than a quarter of the funding went to 328 illegal immigrants that attend Rutgers University.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law last year that allowed illegal immigrants to apply for financial aid. Prior to the signing, illegal immigrants were permitted to apply to pay in-state tuition at public universities but they were not eligible for financial aid.

Murphy, who supports the spending, hit back at Republican critics by arguing that giving financial aid to illegal immigrants is compatible with American values.

“I’d even invite any of those folks who have that attitude, beginning with our president, to come on into this room and allow me or any of us to say, ‘This is the United States of America,’” Murphy said at the time.

David J. Socolow, executive director of the state’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, defended the state’s decision to offer financial aid to illegal immigrants.

“This financial assistance offers these New Jersey students a life-changing opportunity,” Socolow said in a brief comment.“The successes of these first 513 students, who are now attending county colleges, state colleges and universities, and independent institutions around the state, will have a positive impact on countless additional lives.”

According to the report, there is currently no limit on the amount of illegal immigrant students that are permitted to receive financial aid from the state of New Jersey. State lawmakers forecast that they will spend approximately $5 million on financial aid for illegal immigrants each year.

Video: Flashback: NJ Governor signs bill allowing free tuition for illegal immigrants

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