If you have worked hard and climbed the ladder of success in your educational game: Congrats. Nothing is the best feeling in the world to have your name called and receiving your Diplomas infront of your peers and family. No question that your time has come. And those of us who graduated in years past, it’s still our time! Not to take anything away from the current graduates, but I think that the speeches coming up for the current class should also coincide with those completed the exercises as Alumni should get the same notion.
Now: I was looking at the speech that President Obama gave at Morehouse College. If you don’t’ know, Morehouse is a HBCU, a Historically Black College and University in the state of Georgia. Plus also, it’s the same college that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr attended, which we should know. But the occasion wasn’t about reminiscing about Dr. King’ s academic years, it was about these graduates, black men in all, who passed all the requirements and getting prepared for the world that awaits them. Yes, Morehouse is all black male college. Just so you know. But in the speech, and I know that those who heard it probably got negative thoughts now of what the President said. Really? Ok, so graduation speeches don’t usually hit the high marks. We know. But after listening to the President telling the graduates, predominantly African-American Men, that there are no excuses! This also reminds me when I was in my first two years in High School, my former band teacher always have displayed these words:
Results Matter. Excuses Do Not!
From an excerpt of the speech:
Well, we’ve got no time for excuses. Not because the bitter legacy of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they have not. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; we know those are still out there. It’s just that in today’s hyperconnected, hyper competitive world, with millions of young people from China and India and Brazil — many of whom started with a whole lot less than all of you did — all of them entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything that you have not earned.
Later on in the speech:
Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. And moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and they overcame them. And if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.
You now hail from a lineage and legacy of immeasurably strong men — men who bore tremendous burdens and still laid the stones for the path on which we now walk. You wear the mantle of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, and Ralph Bunche and Langston Hughes, and George Washington Carver and Ralph Abernathy and Thurgood Marshall, and, yes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These men were many things to many people. And they knew full well the role that racism played in their lives. But when it came to their own accomplishments and sense of purpose, they had no time for excuses.
So I have ask: what was so bad about this speech again?
It kinds of pales in comparison of what Bill Cosby said a couple of years ago in which the black community have to be responsible of have an accountability instead of being permanently ”held back”. This is what I think most are not understanding. And I’ll bet there are some who are African American who heard that probably had an attitude indicating that’s just a load of hogwash. Well let me tell you, that is real talk! And more importantly real truth! At times, I’ve seen and read about black men being held down for many reasons ranging from being held back for job offers due to experience, and race! I went through that. Plus also problems dealing with upbringings and having a notion of going to prison in which more black men get to more than going or graduating from college. Yes, we’ve heard them. But partially, there are those who been through the storm and kept going. President Obama commented Dr. King, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Abernathy and others came before him that dealt with those issues of being held back while trying to maintain their cause. In which they did.
My question is, and this for the class of 2013, and other classes BEFORE 2013, what is our current goal for reversing this notion in which those of my African descent can get a fair shake? They say that “African-Americans have to work twice (TWICE) as hard” just not only get into the game, but stay in the game. Even I have to work twice as hard in getting a good paying career that I can rekindle and revive my use of my Industrial Management Degree that I received in 2006 from UW-Stout. This past Mother’s Day Weekend, marked 7 years since going through the Commencement Exercises. In addition to my Distance Education experience, I had to work three times as hard to maintain the focus and get the degree with going through the B.S. of getting the B.S. Yeah I said it!
Now what happens if I go to get the M.S. if encountering the M.S.? And I’m not talking about Multiple Sclerosis.
So for this, congrats Class of 2013. Plus also, welcome to the Alumni Association. GIVE BACK! Give back to your schools/universities that gave you love for education for four years. You have invested in your education and it’s time to take it to the next level. Where it might be in the workforce for a while and/or to another degree. The reason why I drew up the Alumni Association Angle, we hear about schools being in the red for financial concerns, and also how to strengthen the schools better. Even if the schools name change based on past previous poor enrollment. No matter if its a High School or College. We’ve seen them. And my former High School has got a name change with Gifted and Talented. By the way, what really defines a school? Is it the name, the building , or those who went there and still remain family?
But still, when you (Class of 2013) join up with the Alumni Association, you will have an extensive network of Alumni that can or could give you the drive to get to your future endeavors. And stay informed about your former schools in order to donate or contribute. If you can tithe to the church, tithe to your Alma Mater! And that deserves no sermon subject or an commencement speech.
And just to add: The student loans have to be repaid.
- Obama gets personal about race, manhood in commencement speech (denverpost.com)
- President Obama delivers Morehouse College commencement address – Thecoastalsource (thecoastalsource.com)
- Obama addresses challenges of being a black man in Morehouse speech (tv.msnbc.com)
- Full text of President Barack Obama’s address to Morehouse graduates (thegrio.com)
- Obama stresses personal responsibility to Morehouse graduates (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Obama Prepares to Give Commencement Address at Morehouse College (blackchristiannews.com)
- Jarrett L. Carter: Barack Obama’s Morehouse Moment (huffingtonpost.com)
- The part of Obama’s speech that struck Morehouse students most (video.msnbc.msn.com)
- The Caucus: Obama Urges Morehouse Graduates to ‘Keep Setting an Example’ (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Obama To Address Morehouse College Commencement (npr.org)
- ANALYSIS: Obama to Morehouse Men: Don’t Let the World ‘Keep a Black Man Down’ (blackamericaweb.com)