Source: Ellis Cose / USA Today
Nobody likes a crybaby — especially if that crybaby is impossibly privileged. So astonishment that a coddled first lady would complain about anythingcould explain some of the hostility that greeted Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University this month.
Rush Limbaugh accused her of not just “playing the race card” but also “doubling down on it.” This, he warned, would help “lead to racial strife unlike any that we who are alive today remember.”
Ann Coulter, speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News, lambasted Obama and then launched a broader critique — taking on protesters in Baltimore, illiterates admitted to Princeton (Michelle Obama’s alma mater), and black “illegitimacy.” (Hannity felt duty-bound to point out that Princeton did not actually admit people who could not read.)
Why are these folks so angry? First, let me observe that graduation speeches are particularly easy to ridicule. They tend toward collections of clichés that stroke student vanity and idealism. They almost universally invariably celebrate the specialness of students and end with a ringing call for them to change the world. Occasionally, speakers reject the script, as did the teacher in 2012 who told graduating seniors of Wellesley High School in Massachusetts that they were “pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted” and “bubble-wrapped” but not at all “special.”
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