Speaking to the 100th anniversary celebration of the nation's oldest civil rights group, President Obama took the opportunity to thank the NAACP for its work in breaking down the barriers that allowed him to become the nations' first African American president, "because of them I stand here tonight, on the shoulders of giants and I'm here to say thank you to those pioneers and thank you to the NAACP."
Throughout the course of his approximately 3000 word speech, President Obama never once uttered the word "racism" but did acknowledge that pain of discrimination, be it on the basis of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation can "still be felt in America."
Later in his remarks, the President also sent a message of "no excuses" to the next generation of African Americans, saying," Yes, if you're African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that someone in a wealthy suburb does not. But that's not a reason to get bad grades, that's not a reason to cut class, that's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands - and don't you forget that."