home Education, North America, Politics Next year, Mr. President, give a commencement speech at an HBCU

Next year, Mr. President, give a commencement speech at an HBCU

If I could give any piece of advice to President Obama besides the obvious ones for any transperson lucky enough to get some face time with him would, it would be this:

Next year, give a commencement speech at an HBCU, which stands for Historically Black College and University.

Arizona State University invited Obama to speak at their May 14 commencement ceremony. It was the first commencement speech he has delivered since becoming president on January 20. How did ASU thank him for that historical footnote and the increased media attention their commencement ceremony garnered from the media? By declining to give him an honorary degree.

Honorary degrees are routinely given to commencement speakers to show respect for the speaker, but not in this case.

ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler stated, “His body of work is yet to come. That’s why we’re not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency.”

Um, you gave former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell one for speaking at ASU and she only served 143 days before she was ousted from office by Canadian voters.

Don’t you think the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, the fourth elected African-American US senator, author of two best selling books and the first African-American president of the US rates one?

I, along with many other people, see this as disrespect. Much of the Arizona State alumni base agrees with me as well, and they ain’t happy about the presidential dissing either.

To President Obama’s credit, he joked about the controversy, then flipped the script and used it as a talking point in his commencement speech

Conservatives and conservative Catholics have their panties in knots because of the commencement speech President Obama is delivering at Notre Dame University. The invitation and the upcoming May 17 speech has stirred controversy with right wing Catholics and some Notre Dame students who protested the invitation because his stances on abortion rights and stem-cell research don’t jibe with the Roman Catholic Church’s stance.

There have been protests all week on and around the Notre Dame campus by the anti-abortion forces, some students and conservative Catholics.

At least they’re giving him an honorary degree for his trouble.

So next year, Mr. President, save yourself the drama and give a commencement speech, or two or three at an HBCU. At least they’ll appreciate the increased media attention, you’ll get an honorary degree and receive some love from your people at the same time.

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