“Turn off the television set and put away the Game Boy and make sure that you’re talking to your teacher and that we get over the anti-intellectualism that exists in some of our communities where if you conjugate your verbs and if you read a book that somehow means you are acting white,” he said during a speech in Selma, Ala., to commemorate the civil rights march there.
The comments were reminiscent of controversial statements made by comedian Bill Cosby, who said lower-economic people are not parenting and are failing the civil rights movement by “not holding up their end in this deal.”
Cosby was criticized by many blacks and accused of elitism and reinforcing stereotypes. Obama sees a difference in their approaches.
“I think language matters,” he said. “I think that the African-American community recognizes there are problems in terms of black men not being home and an element of anti-intellectualism that’s in the community…”