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home : editorial : editorial November 25, 2015

8/13/2014 6:00:00 AM
EDITORIAL/President Obama on 'acting white'

The Wall Street Journal said in an editoiral on July 25:

President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative doesn't get much media attention, perhaps because it isn't controversial. But his effort to highlight the challenges faced by young minority men deserves more support and applause.

And on that score Mr. Obama had some pointed but honest remarks at a town hall in Washington, D.C. on Monday: "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. Because there are a whole bunch of different ways for African American men to be authentic."

Mr. Obama added that young men should know their specific cultural heritage while also appreciating our common culture in which everyone must be equipped to participate and strive to succeed. This is a message that Mr. Obama can deliver with particular authority, and good for him for doing so.

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