At a town hall meeting in Washington, D. C. President Obama rejected the what multiculturalism was doing to the African-American community.
Sometimes African Americans, in communities where I've worked, there's been the notion of 'acting white'—which sometimes is overstated, but there's an element of truth to it, where, okay, if boys are reading too much, then, well, why are you doing that? Or why are you speaking so properly? And the notion that there's some authentic way of being black, that if you're going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go. Because there are a whole bunch of different ways for African American men to be authentic.
Hopefully, his words will resonate.
If African-Americans are taught that they must reject any behaviors that signify whiteness, in order to be more authentically black, they are marginalizing themselves. If they choose to read less and to study less, in order to be more authentically black, they are hurting their own prospects. If they choose not to speak proper English, they are undermining their own futures.
If African-Americans underachieve, it isn’t all the fault of white racism. Obama did not call out multiculturalism in particular for the scourge that it is, but he was correct to tell his black constituents that they are hurting themselves by seeking out an authenticity that separates them from the larger American culture.