Michelle Obama gave the commencement address to graduates of City College in New York. While she was trying to inspire the students, Obama could not refrain from injecting race into it, as she always seems to do:
“It’s the story that I witness every single day, when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters – two beautiful, black young women – head off to school, waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States…
While I think it’s fair to say that our Founding Fathers never could have imagined this day… you are the fruits of their labor. Their legacy is very much your legacy.”
There’s just one big problem with her statement, which has also been echoed by her husband: it’s not entirely true. But don’t expect the media to tell you why.
First, the White House was not built solely — or even primarily — by slaves.
Most of the labor force consisted of local White laborers and artisans (from Maryland and Virginia) and a number of immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, and other European nations.
As the project neared completion — the lime-based whitewashing that gives the building its iconic appearance…slaves were indeed added to the mix.
But once again, facts get in the way of the Obama’s preachy race-baiting.
That’s because the U.S. government actually paid the slaves who worked on the White House.
One slave — Philip Reid — was paid directly, a sum of $1.25 per day ($31 per day in 2016 dollars). Is it technically “slave labor” — if you are paid?
Virginia Kruta of IJR adds these important points:
This is in addition to the fact that Mrs. Obama is herself a multi-millionaire, along with her Presidential husband, a graduate of Harvard University who is herself a walking symbol of the success that can come to anyone who is willing to work hard and apply one’s talent in America.
In other words, even as Michelle Obama herself rebukes the nation’s history of racism, she is a living example that America has done much to overcome it.