Barack Obama and the Cost of (Black) Words
Biko Mandela Gray

As a new Medium member, I’m still reading through all your posts. As a fellow teacher, and one-time student of religion, I appreciate the thoroughness of your examination.

I teach some of Obama’s speeches in my intro English class, and I’ve had to stop reading parts of them myself and for the same reason I have to be careful when reading Baldwin: the words, even on the page, can still shake me to pieces.

I remember watching him address the nation. I could always tell that most folks had checked out before the end, but for me the last phrase was always the best:

“And may god bless America.” He was talking to all of us. He never divided us. And he meant it. Every time.

I couldn’t care less how much he gets paid to speak. If someone will pay it, let him have it. He earned it.

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