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Mr. President, I Don't Appreciate Your Tone

Rep. Maxine Waters wasn't the only person who found the president's parting language in his address to the Congressional Black Caucus "curious." When I heard his summation, I looked at my husband with a "Oh, no he didn't" look on my face.


For those of you who missed it, I'm going to include a link to the text of the president's speech at the end of the post. The speech in its entirety was a very positive speech. Suffice it to say, the language that caught my attention was this:

I expect all of you to march with me. Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We've got work to do, CBC.

With all due respect, Mr. President, you're the one with the work to do.

The end of your speech implies that: 1) CBC members and black folks have been complaining, grumbling and crying; and 2) We're sitting around in our "bedroom slippers" instead of working on the challenges that face us. My family and I have faced the same recession-related challenges as the rest of America and black folks in particular -- unemployment, underemployment, wage cuts, foreclosures, lack of health insurance, you name it. But we haven't all been sitting around complaining, grumbling, and crying. We've picked ourselves up, and we've picked up those in our family who wanted to complain, grumble and cry and reminded them of who we are and what we're made of.

If any group of Americans would have the right to complain, grumble and cry, it would be African Americans. As you are well aware, we've suffered the highest unemployment rates and the greatest loss of personal wealth due to this recession. We've stood by and watched while you let Wall Street get away with its shenanigans. And all along, despite your detractors, we've defended you, telling naysayers that it took more than four years to get into this mess and it would take any president, black, white or otherwise, more than four years to get us out of it.

More curious, however, is your choice of this language for this particular audience. My husband, Black Man Not Blogging, said after hearing the end of your speech, "Yeah, it's okay to talk to us like that as long as he's telling the white folks the same thing."

Mr. President, are you telling white folks the same thing? Somehow I doubt it.

Finally, I would think that a Black president would be more sensitive to black stereotypes than to invoke language that suggests indolence and inertia on the part of Black people, especially Black leaders. I can't help but think that if you had been raised by an African American parent -- not African, but African American -- you would have chosen your words more wisely or not have allowed someone else to choose those words for you.

Mr. President, although your speech in its entirety was positive, I don't appreciate the tone of the last lines of your speech.

Here's the link to text of the speech.


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