Obama: 'No Excuses' for Black Kids in US

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2009 7:26 PM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks during the 100th anniversary convention of the NAACP   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – President Obama made his most direct appeal yet to black America with a rousing speech that sounded more like a sermon, the New York Times reports. Addressing the NAACP on its 100th anniversary, Obama said the "pain of discrimination" still exists in America, but he told black parents they must rise above it to take responsibility for themselves and their children. African-American kids can't use the excuse of growing up disadvantaged for bad grades, he said.

“No one has written your destiny for you,” he said to “all the other Barack Obamas out there. ... Your destiny is in your hands, and don’t you forget that. That’s what we have to teach all of our children! No excuses! No excuses!” Obama credited civil rights leaders for making his success possible, but added that his mother's strong parenting did the trick. "When I drive through Harlem and I drive through the South Side of Chicago and I see young men on the corners, I say there but for the grace of God go I.”