TOPEKA, Kan. — It wasn’t the day she wanted. Nor did her appearance fully commemorate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education — the momentous Supreme Court decision that supposedly put an end to segregation in schools.
But, thanks to a tendentious protest from Topeka, Kan., residents, first lady Michelle Obama disseminated the equivalent of a consolation speech on Friday (May 16) to graduating seniors roughly 24 hours early to appease a disgruntled populace.
For many Obama supporters, just the nonsensical fact our president’s better half was coaxed by school administrators to converse a day early gives solid corroboration America is still divided by that obtuse thing called ‘racism.’
Hell, some proponents are venting their exasperation via social media, posting cynical comments to the effect of: ‘Had Barbara Bush been invited, Topeka residents would’ve welcomed her with open arms.’
Nevertheless, while donning a black robe attached with a crimson hood, the first lady expressed a similar sentiment — telling graduates we’re still a separate-but-equal country.
“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,” said Mrs. Obama to a capacity crowd inside the 8,000-seat Kansas Expocentre.
“There’s no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny.”
The first lady continued:
"Too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin, or they’re made to feel unwelcome because of where they’re from, or they’re bullied because of who they love.
"Graduates, it’s up to all of you to lead the way and drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you… When you meet folks who think they know all the answers because they’ve never heard any other viewpoints, it’s up to you to help them see things differently."
Before wrapping up the speech, Mrs. Obama implored graduates to remain steadfast while making it clear difficult challenges still lie ahead.
“I’m not going to lie to you. This won’t be easy,” she said.
“You might have to ruffle a few feathers, and folks might not always like what you have to say. So, graduates, that is your mission: to make sure all those voices are heard, to make sure everyone in this country has a chance to contribute.”
As previously reported on MassAppealNews.com, Mrs. Obama was invited by the Topeka School District to speak at a combined graduation ceremony (comprised of a handful of schools) on the Brown v. The Board of Education anniversary date of May 17.
But her appearance was met by stiff demurral from a clan of resentful residents who claimed there wouldn’t be enough tickets available for family and friends to attend.
Others argued that commencement ceremonies shouldn’t be used as political platforms.
Therefore, at the request of school administrators, Mrs. Obama compromised by agreeing to speak a day earlier (on May 16) during a senior-recognition ceremony.
The rest is history… sort of.