Addressing graduates at a historically black college in Maryland Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama urged students to “be an example of excellence to the next generation” in a time when popular culture dominates the ambitions of young African-Americans.
In an address at Bowie State University, Mrs. Obama told graduates to bear the goals of the university’s founders in mind by highlighting the role of education in the black community.
Citing the high dropout rates of African-American students, Mrs. Obama lamented that-- despite their ancestors’ fights to ensure that African Americans have access to education -- too many young people still “can’t be bothered.”
“Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper,” she said.
Obama said that graduates can serve as an example by rebutting voices within the black community who stigmatize education.
“Please reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white,” she said.
This story was originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 2:18 PM EDT