I remember my High School Graduation. It took place in our school gym, which had two-story bleachers on each side and held 2,500. Our class was 360 strong, so, it was a lengthy ceremony, to say the least.
Right after the ceremony began, our Principal, (who in reality, was a wonderful man and a great Principal) decided that the air conditioner was too loud. So, on that hot Memphis in May night in 1976, in a jam-packed gymnasium of over 2,5000, he turned the air conditioner off.
But, hey, I would suffer through that again…because it would be better than having to sit there and listen to Michelle Obama deliver the keynote address.
The New York Daily News reports that
…A furor over what the Topeka school district considers an honor has erupted after plans were announced for Obama to address a combined graduation ceremony for five area high schools next month at an 8,000-seat arena. For some, it was the prospect of a tight limit on the number of seats allotted to each graduate. For others, it was the notion that Obama’s speech, tied to the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawing segregation in schools, would overshadow the student’s big day.
“I’m a single mother who has raised him for 18 years by myself,” said Tina Hernandez, parent of Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight. “I’ve told him education is the only way out. This is one of the biggest days of their lives. They’ve taken the glory and shine from the children and put on Mrs. Obama. She doesn’t know our kids.”
Hernandez was among the parents and students who spoke Thursday at a school board meeting and urged district officials to reconsider their decision to invite Obama. Ron Harbaugh, spokesman for the Topeka school district, said Friday discussions were under way to work out the logistics and planning for the event, including how many tickets each family would be allotted.
“We will have a clearer picture of what’s going on,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said officials asked the president or first lady to speak at graduation as a tie-in with the anniversary of the Brown decision, which outlawed school segregation. The district plans to place a priority on seating students and their families, and could broadcast the event to an overflow room at a hotel adjacent to the graduation arena for those unable to find a seat inside.
That’s not good enough for Taylor Gifford, 18, who started an online petition Thursday evening to urge the district to reconsider its plans. She and the more than 1,200 people who had signed it expressed concern that Obama’s visit would limit the seating options for family and friends.
“I really would like it to have a peaceful solution, but there is so much misinformation going on,” Gifford said.
Gifford said her initial reaction to the news was excitement, saying she was “freaking out” about the prospect of the first lady speaking at graduation. When rumors of limited tickets surfaced, Gifford felt like the focus was being shifted from the students to Obama.
“People think it’s a great opportunity, but it’s the graduates’ time. They are getting that diploma that they worked so hard for,” Gifford said. “Families are feeling that they are being cheated out of the loved ones special day.”
Abbey Rubottom, 18, a Topeka High senior, described herself as a “die-hard Democrat” but doesn’t like the idea of Obama sharing the stage with graduates.
“No disrespect for the first lady, and it’s amazing that she wants to come speak, I just think it doesn’t belong at graduation,” Rubottom said.
Rubottom suggested separate ceremonies with Obama speaking at one and the address being replayed at the other.
Some people have said bringing in the first lady politicizes the graduation. Others have suggested that if she wants to mark the Brown anniversary, she could just visit the historic site that commemorates the decision, which is just few blocks from the graduation venue.
The Brown site is housed in a former all-black school where the lead plaintiff’s daughter and another plaintiff’s child in the desegregation case were students. It tells the story of the 1954 Supreme Court decision.
Messages seeking comment from the first lady’s office in Washington were not immediately returned Friday.
Mooch? Attention-seeking? Race-dividing? Why, where did they every get those ideas?
I’m glad you asked.
In 1985, the future First Lady of the United States of America, who is presently represented our nation is one of the most powerful Communist Countries in the world, wrote her master’s thesis at Princeton University. The title was “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Communities” by Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.
In a 66 page thesis which comes off more like a personal diary, the Future First Lady spoke about her personal experiences at Princeton University and her race-based reflections of her experience there. She wrote,
Earlier in my college career there was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the Black community I was somehow obligated to this community and would utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit this community first and foremost. My experiences at Princeton have made me for more aware of my “Blackness” than ever before. I have found that at Princeton no matter how little Liberal and open minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be towards me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with White at Princeton it often seems as if to them always be Black first and a student second.
These experiences have made it apparent to me that the path I have chosen to follow by attending Princeton will likely lead to my full integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant. This realization has presently,made my goals to actively utilize my resources to benefit the Black community more desirable.
At the same time, however. it is conceivable that my four years of exposure to a predominantly white Ivy League university has instilled within me certain conservative values.
What Mooch referred to as “conservative values” was a love of status, power, and money.
And, as fare as her ethnocentric, “put-upon” point-of-view, it remains with her, to this very day.
In the March 10th, 2008 edition of The New Yorker, a 10 page article titled The Other Obama, covering the future First Lady was published. Here’s an excerpt:
Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we’re a divided country, we’re a country that is “just downright mean,” we are “guided by fear,” we’re a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. “We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day,” she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. “Folks are just jammed up, and it’s gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I’m young. Forty-four!”
Now, for the life of me, I just can’t figure out how we peons in the Heartland ever came up with the notion that the First Lady of the United States of America is an “angry black woman”. Can you?
I don’t blame the parents and kids who have signed that petition. I would not want that racist, self-serving, Anti-American heifer speaking at my High School Graduation, either. A graduation ceremony is supposed to be about the accomplishments of the graduates.
And, whenever Michelle Obama speaks, it’s all about her.
Until He Comes,