To right-wing media, commencement speeches observing the anniversary of the desegregation of U.S. schools is no time to talk about race in America.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder each gave commencement addresses this month marking the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, when the Supreme Court ruled that state-mandated racial segregation of schools violated the U.S. Constitution.
Speaking to graduating high school seniors in Topeka, Kansas, the first lady referenced racial segregation that still exists today, according to The Kansas City Star:
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregated schools, Obama reminded the city where the case originated that the country is still racially divided -- although much more subtly than in the 1950s.
“Our laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but there's nothing in our constitution that says we have to eat together in the lunchroom or live together in the same neighborhoods,” Obama told a full house at the 8,000-seat Kansas Expocentre.
At Morgan State University's commencement, Holder called on graduates to “take account of racial inequality, especially in its less obvious forms, and actively discuss ways to combat it.”
Fox contributor and radio host Laura Ingraham attacked Obama's remarks as a “negative, cynical speech” that told kids their family members “were probably racists.” Ingraham concluded that Obama was really just “projecting” her own racist beliefs.
Washington Times' Joseph Curl castigated the First Lady for “injecting race and racism” into her speeches, because to her the world is “all about skin color” :
For Michelle Obama, the world is also black and white. But her black and white is all about skin color.
She talks about it often, incessantly, even, injecting race and racism into speeches and events in which they have no business. And she did so again on Friday, when she traveled to Topeka, Kansas, to deliver a speech to graduating high school seniors.
For the first lady, her glass is always half empty. Rather than use the anniversary of Brown v. Board to, say, marvel at the progress over the last 60 years and, say, point out that America has twice elected a black president, Shelly O instead chose to wallow in discontent and bitterness.
Over on Fox News, Anna Kooiman denounced Eric Holder's speech for mentioning school resegregation and zero tolerance discipline policies that disproportionately affect minority children, arguing that the Attorney General should have used his speech to tell “African-American fathers to actually be fathers and not be baby daddys” :
ANNA KOOIMAN: So Condoleezza Rice speaking in a very uplifting fashion there. If Eric Holder didn't want to do that, why didn't he have some sort of call to action or something instead? Rather than hammering down on zero tolerance policies and calling those racist. Why didn't he have a call of action for African-American fathers to actually be fathers and not be baby daddys and -- and -- take care of their kids and teach them to be good stewards in the community? Why didn't he talk about something like that instead?