In his commencement address to graduates at historically black colleges and universities, former US president Barack Obama said graduate will realise that adults don’t always have answers.
Obama said the coronavirus pandemic has “torn back the curtain” on the idea that those in charge of the country know what they’re doing.
“A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” the former US president said during the first of two virtual commencement speeches for Saturday.
Obama didn’t mention names, but his comments came after his recent blistering attack on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster” during a call with former members of his administration.
” Those that were struggling before — they’re hanging on by a thread.”– Former US President Barack Obama
The comments to graduates of 74 HBCUs focused on social justice and the importance of activism during the COVID-19 era, and the extent to which the pandemic had fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of minority Americans in cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit and Washington DC
“Let’s be honest — a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,” he said.
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Obama also appeared to reference the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February, which recently has resulted in charges against a white father and son: “Just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog, and some folks feel like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning.”
As graduates head out in the world, Obama said they’ll confront the “hard truth” that adults “don’t have all the answers. A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions.”
Obama was the “honoured guest” at “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition,” recognising HBCU graduates. He appeared in prime time with a ceremony celebrating this year’s 3.7 million high school graduates, according to the latest estimate from the US Department of Education.