- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

First lady Michelle Obama said during senior recognition remarks at a high school in Topeka, Kansas, last weekend that students ought to monitor their friends and family members for racist and discriminatory statements and attitudes, and issue corrections to those who are found guilty.

After all, the federal government can only do so much, she said, The Blaze reported.

“[O]ur laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but nothing in the Constitution says we have to eat together in the lunchroom, or live together in the same neighborhoods,” she said in prepared remarks that were just released. “There’s no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny.”

To fill this void, students ought to push to “drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you” to counter racism, she said, The Blaze reported.

She went on: “Maybe that starts simply in your own family, when grandpa tells that off-colored joke at Thanksgiving, or you’ve got an aunt [who] talks about ‘those people.’ Well, you can politely inform them that they’re talking about your friends.”

Mrs. Obama suggested the same for the students who head off to college — that they should push for more racial tolerance and diversity in their intended sororities or fraternities, The Blaze reported.


“Or maybe it’s years from now, when you’re on the job, and you’re the one who asks, do we really have all the voices and viewpoints we need at this table? But no matter what you do,” she said, “the point is to never be afraid to talk about these issues, particularly the issue of race.”

Mrs. Obama also said that while schools nowadays are more integrated than they were a few decades ago, segregation is again rearing its head as a problem due to family relocations and moves.

“So today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech,” she said, The Blaze reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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