К : AP | Washington |
Published : 17. May 2020 7:41:57
Let’s Be Honest : The disease, because it highlights the underlying inequalities and additional burden that black communities in this country have faced in the past, Obama said (file)
On Saturday, former president Barack Obama criticized U.S. leaders who controlled the country’s response to the coronavirus, and told university graduates in an online speech that the pandemic showed that many officials didn’t even claim to be in charge.
Obama spoke at a two-hour event for graduates of historic black colleges and universities, Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition, broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. His lecture was surprisingly political given the location and addressed current developments beyond the virus and its social and economic implications.
More than anything, this pandemic has finally brought the curtain down on the idea that so many responsible people know what they are doing, Obama said. Many of them don’t even pretend to be in charge.
Later on Saturday, in his second televised address to high school students, Obama announced a panorama of what we call adults, including those with beautiful titles and important jobs who do what is beautiful, practical and easy.
That’s why it’s so bad, he said.
Obama has not mentioned President Donald Trump or any other federal or state officials in any of his speeches. But earlier this month, in a phone call to 3,000 members of his government that Yahoo News received, he criticized Trump’s treatment of the pandemic as an absolutely chaotic disaster.
The first statements were the final sign that Obama wants to play an increasingly active role in the upcoming elections. In the years following his departure, he generally maintained himself at a low level, despite the fact that Trump slandered him. Obama told his supporters on the phone that he would spend as much time as necessary and as much as possible on his vice president, Joe Biden.
The former president congratulated the university graduates on Saturday and commented on the enormous difficulties they are experiencing in the devastation and economic turmoil caused by the virus. He noted the death of Amaud Arberi, 25 years old, who died while jogging in a residential street in Georgia.
Let’s be honest: This disease only underscores the deep inequalities and additional burdens with which black communities have historically struggled in this country, Obama said. We see it in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities, just as we see it when a black man is jogging and some people think they can stop to interrogate him and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their interrogation.
Such an injustice is not new, Obama said. What is new is that so many people of your generation have woken up and understood that the status quo needs to be corrected, that the old ways don’t work. Faced with a lack of leadership, he said, it will depend on how graduates shape the future.
When the world gets better, it will depend on you, he said.
This is a dangerous time for historically black colleges and universities across the country, which have long struggled with fewer resources and fewer donations than their predominantly white counterparts and are now solving the financial problems of the coronavirus. Even in the HBCU with the highest incomes, civil servants have been strengthening their position for several years.
Obama’s message to high school students came at the end of an hour-long special with celebrities such as Lebron James, Yara Shahidi and Ben Platt and was less powerful than his speech to graduates. He called on young graduates not to be afraid despite the current challenges facing the nation and to strive for a diverse community.
We have to leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us – sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed – and steer the world in a different direction, Obama said.
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