I Am an Obama Scholar!

The blogosphere is abuzz that students at some school somewhere are being encouraged to chant that they are Obama Scholars.

Someone named Tom Ficklin is spreading the video:


Jim Hoft
has popularized the video in the blogosphere, providing this handy transcription:

For I, am an Obama scholar.
An Obama scholar.
And I will strive to be.
Outstanding. Brilliant.
I will achieve. I will be motivated with a positive attitude.

Hoft seems to have learned of the video from someone calling himself the PO’d Patriot, who thinks this a clear example of “brain washing.”  He wonders, “Would it still be OK if the Kids were Chanting “I am a Regan [sic], Bush or Clinton Scholar?”   Commenter Bill Hennessy describes the scene as “Unbelievable. Frightening. Chilling.”  He adds, “Quick quiz: name five countries, past or present, where the youths were required to chant praises to their omnipotent ruler? Any five. Then add together the number of innocent people those regimes slaughtered for political expediency.”

Good point!

Or, I suppose, it would be if there were some Federal or State mandate to chant praises to Obama.   But this appears to be the work of one lone man, whom one presumes is a teacher, of what one presumes is a school somewhere, either public or private.

I would also note that, in addition to his love of Obama, the leader appears to have some serious anti-mountain, anti-drug, anti-ignorance biases.

To extrapolate wildly from the few known facts, most of the people in the room appear to be African American or Hispanic.  The leader seems to be attempting to motivate them to work past whatever obstacles they may be facing and strive to keep themselves off drugs, in school, and striving to be in either productive professions, politics, or journalism.   And he seems to think that invoking the name of arguably the most successful Person of Color in American history — who, some would contend, achieved his success by doing the things these students are being encouraged to do — will help achieve this motivation.    Offhand, that doesn’t strike me as wildly implausible.

So far as I can tell, there’s no widespread effort to get people to proclaim themselves Obama Scholars.    The sole exception I can find through Google that’s unrelated to this one video is Arizona State University’s Obama Scholars program, which appears to be means tested. And optional!

Regardless, while there are many ways in which I would not want children to emulate Barack Obama, his perseverance and study habits are decidedly not among them.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Education, US Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    Personally I find this kind of stuff on the creepy side. And I am not sure I see the potential correlation between saying a cheer to Obama and doing well.

    Or, I suppose, it would be if there were some Federal or State mandate to chant praises to Obama. But this appears to be the work of one lone man, whom one presumes is a teacher, of what one presumes is a school somewhere, either public or private.

    I am also not sure the “one lone teacher” argument is a good defense. If it was one lone teacher encouraging students to pray, there would be criticism all around.

    I think a teacher can encourage kids to overcome obstacles without encouraging them to focus on one man’s achievements. And honestly, what has Obama done-I figure George Washington Carver accomplished much and had much greater obstacles to overcome. Why aren’t they creating cheers in his name?

  2. God, what a horrible group of people. Trying to encourage young minority students to succeed despite ignorance, drugs and crime.

    This is apparently how the Right is spending its time when they’re not proclaiming the first Arab American Miss USA to be part of a terrorist conspiracy, shouting racial and homophobic slurs at congressmen, purging teachers with accents from employment in Arizona or bringing the Civil Rights Act up for revision. And then they wonder why people think they’re racist!

  3. James Joyner says:

    And honestly, what has Obama done-I figure George Washington Carver accomplished much and had much greater obstacles to overcome. Why aren’t they creating cheers in his name?

    Well, Obama managed to graduate from Colombia and Harvard Law, stay married to a woman with whom he has two well-adjusted children, publish a couple bestsellers, become very wealthy, and get elected to the US Senate and the most powerful political office on the planet. That’s something. Indeed, it’s likely outside the grasp of anyone in that room or reading (or writing!) this posting.

    Mr. Carver was indeed an extraordinary man. But he’s been out of the news for quite some time and might therefore be a less relevant role model for these kids.

  4. GS says:

    To be fair, Obama wasn’t raised in the Wild 100’s in Chicago, and his study habits? We don’t know about them. The elephant in this particular room that people seem loathe to mention is that Obama surely benefited from his skin color in the Ivy League just as GWB benefited from his legacy enrollment at Yale. We also don’t have access to his transcripts or thesis work, so it’s hard to get a real grasp on his academic career. Do I think he’s stupid? No. Do I see any empirical evidence of his supposed brilliance? Not really. 57 states? Acted stupidly? Let’s just admit the obvious; George W. Bush was indicted as a moron for statements similar in their vapidity.

    Also, Joyner, I agree that there is nothing North Korean going on here, but to say that it’s not a little weird.. I mean, come on man. This kind of story has popped up more than a few times since the beginning of his candidacy. No, they don’t all use the exact same wording. But they all glorify the man into more than he is. This is a disservice to the supposed hero as much as it is his would-be worshipers.

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I can just hear the chanting at Joyners house. Praise Obama, praise Obama!

  6. steve says:

    You think that is bad, they now make us mark our patients with an O instead of an X since health care reform passed. But, for those stressed out over this, they can go to school here.

    http://bush.tamu.edu/

    Steve

  7. anjin-san says:

    Personally I find this kind of stuff on the creepy side.

    I found the United States practicing torture and wiretapping its own citizens creepy, but thats just me…

  8. anjin-san says:

    57 states? Acted stupidly? Let’s just admit the obvious; George W. Bush was indicted as a moron for statements similar in their vapidity.

    The difference being Obama made one, and GW made one pretty much every time he spoke…

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s Naziism!

    Joyner, you are such a dupe. Here’s how it starts:

    1) Obama gets one teacher in one school to encourage minority students to emulate the first minority president.

    2) The secret police round up the tea party, throw them into concentration camps and then gas them.

    How do you not see it, man? Are you blind! It’s happening! It’s Hitleeeeeeeer! Or maybe Staliiiiiiin!

    There’s only one way to react: true patriots must collect their Glen Beck gold, gather their guns and dig holes in their back yards to await the end. Negros and liberals will be coming for you any minute now.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Wait, I’ve given it some more thought: it’s Voldemooooort!

  11. tom p says:

    “Also, Joyner, I agree that there is nothing North Korean going on here, but to say that it’s not a little weird.. I mean, come on man.”

    For a second there GS I thought you had lost the “s” key on your computer…

    “The elephant in this particular room that people seem loathe to mention is that Obama surely benefited from his skin color in the Ivy League just as GWB benefited from his legacy enrollment at Yale. ”

    Get off it GS, if being black was all it took to get into Harvard, SIGN ME UP! I mean. GWB with all his daddies money, or a black man from a broken family….

    Simple yes or no question GS: All else being equal, which would you choose? Not sure what world you live in, but knowing with certainty what world I live in, my answer is a most emphatic “no”.

  12. tom p says:

    PS: All these years, we white anglo saxon protestant folks been complaining about how the “black man” will never measure up…

    And one comes along who DOES…. and we turn the tables and try to say “that which always held them back, suddenly, A MIRACLE……. gets them ahead.”

    And all those years of telling the little black children, “Don’t be like the pimps and whores, be like us.” are nothing because now we have a black man who IS like us….

    and we are scared.

  13. anjin-san says:

    and we are scared.

    Scared hardly covers what is coming off of the far right. Existential terror is more like it…

    It’s a small man that will not give credit where credit is due. All that Obama has accomplished and all the Palinites can say is “he got a free ride because he is black”. Guess I never knew just how good the brothers have it.

    I mean, I may think Cheney is an evil SOB, but I will not deny for a moment that he is very smart/capable/tough, any more than I will deny that Newt is a very smart guy or Palin looks good in a tight skirt.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    I found the United States practicing torture and murdering a million + of it’s defenceless citizens and tossing them into the trash creepy, but that’s just me…

    Anti liberal retardation propaganda 101:black is a color pigment not a race.

    Obama is half white devil.

    non ghetto pass having white pasty donkey smelling colored rich communist commentators should know if keep posing so hard someone might take a picture of your silly ***

    blah why do I kid myself, most of you guys have no hope and will never change…..

  15. Juneau: says:

    Obama is stupid. Mind-numbingly, teleprompter-dependent, , keep-your-mouth-shut-about-specifics-so-that-no one-can-catch-you stupid. Nobody even remembers him at Columbia or Harvard, and those that do, remember him as being lazy and unoriginal.