You’re exactly right, and notice that Slate did not include those portions of the speech when they put the “You didn’t build that” into “context.” They conveniently left off the key sentences of the entire speech, which shows that “you didn’t build that” meant exactly what conservatives have been saying he meant:
“Im always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”
Obama’s speech in Roanoke reflects his awareness that he is the first beneficiary of affirmative action for presidents. He’s telling us that this was OK because in his view, we’ve all gotten things we didn’t really earn. Except most of us know it’s a crock. We have to pay for our mistakes. No one’s waiting to offer us admission to Harvard Law or knocking out every competitor we face.
I work with several beneficiaries of more mundane AA. Some of them don’t seem to realize that others are not given the continued opportunities - and passes - that they are. (One guy took a job he had no experience in, was paid to move, then quit a few months later to move to CA because his wife wanted to have their baby near her family. He got a job in CA & now he wants to come back East to a job with the same place he quit after they’d moved him. No concept that he appears to be a self-absorbed flake). Others do realize that they are being given opportunities because of AA, but they fear trying to make it in a world of colorblind equality. It’s too hard. 95% of blacks support Obama because he’ll perpetuate AA.