President Barack Obama has – yet again – referenced playing video games as a metaphor for underachievement.
[GP: click here for other recent examples, although Obama has made similar comments going back to at least 2006.]
In a speech in New York last night marking the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, Obama said:
We have 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. But 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. No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands – and don’t you forget that.
To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and fail to support them when they get home. For our kids to excel, we must accept our own responsibilities. That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences, reading to our kids, and helping them with their homework…
It also means pushing our kids to set their sights higher. They might think they’ve got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can’t all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court Justice. I want them aspiring to be President of the United States.
BlackPoliticsontheWeb has the full text of Obama’s speech. The Washington Post has coverage of the event, which it termed a "tough love message for [Obama’s] fellow African-Americans." The New York Times called Obama’s speech "a fiery sermon."
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal took notice of our coverage – and of some comments by GP readers…