Barack Obama at NAACP Convention: Stop Making Excuses, Black Kids Need Aspirations Beyond ‘Ballers and Rappers’

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Barack Obama spoke at the annual NAACP convention and we have the highlights and the entire video under the hood

Some highlights:

“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 someone in a wealthy suburb does not have to face. That’s not a reason to get bad grades, that’s not a reason to cut class, that’s not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school,” he said. “No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands – and don’t you forget that.”

“No excuses. No excuses,” Obama added, verging off his prepared remarks. “You get that education. All those hardships will just make you stronger, better able to compete. Yes, we can.”

“What is required to overcome today’s barriers is the same as was needed then. The same commitment. The same sense of urgency. The same sense of sacrifice. The same willingness to do our part for ourselves and one another that has always defined America at its best.” The “steepest” barriers are not prejudice and discrimination, he said, but the “structural inequalities that our nation’s legacy of discrimination has left behind.”

These are barriers we are beginning to tear down by rewarding work with an expanded tax credit; making housing more affordable; and giving ex-offenders a second chance. These are barriers that we are targeting through our White House Office on Urban Affairs, and through Promise Neighborhoods that build on Geoffrey Canada’s success with the Harlem Children’s Zone,” he said.

“When it comes to higher education, we are making college and advanced training more affordable, and strengthening community colleges that are a gateway to so many with an initiative that will prepare students not only to earn a degree but find a job when they graduate; an initiative that will help us meet the goal I have set of leading the world in college degrees by 2020,” he said.

Obama said the economy has made progress difficult, but assured the audience that his administration was working to “lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity” for future generations.

“One pillar of this new foundation is health insurance reform that cuts costs, makes quality health coverage affordable for all, and closes health care disparities in the process. Another pillar is energy reform that makes clean energy profitable, freeing America from the grip of foreign oil, putting people to work upgrading low-income homes, and creating jobs that cannot be outsourced,” he said.

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