Excerpts From President Obama’s Commencement Address at Morehouse College

My whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn’t for my mother and me. I want to break that cycle — where a father’s not at home, where a father’s not helping to raise that son and daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man. . . .

Growing up, I made quite a few [bad choices] myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency to make excuses for me not doing the right thing.

We’ve got no time for excuses.

In today’s hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world, with millions of young people from China and India and Brazil, many of whom started with a whole lot less than all of you did, all of them entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned. Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination.

Moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.

Morehouse College is a historically black, all-male college in Atlanta.

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