Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama's speech on race

WOW! That is the first word that comes to mind. I hope that everyone takes the time to listen to or read the speech given today in Philadelphia by Barack Obama. Not for political reasons, but because of the incredible explanation and insight that he offers on race relations in America. It is an amazing speech and I believe historic.

I know that many will choose not to listen to it and continue to push the issue of race into the closet. I am going to paste a few segments of the speech here to offer food for thought.

"...But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality. The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American".

It is time for America to talk about and deal with race and not walk away once again.

"The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races".

This is what I was talking about in my previous post. Not trying to understand why this anger exists.

I believe that Obama's speech today is a speech for the ages. But I wonder if America will respond. Will it be ignored? Will it be argued away? Or will it help to facilitate real dialogue?


david rudd said...

i hope it makes a splash. he really did say some powerfully insightful things.

i fear, though, that it may just be lost if the clintons steal the primary...

KG said...

I too have concerns that much of America will not grasp the depth of his understanding of America's racial issues.
This amazing speech may also be the beginning of the end of his chances at the nomination. Many can't handle "real talk" about race and will be glad to move away from it.
Time will tell.

Westy said...

Good stuff, KG.

Really a remarkable speech, which I basically entirely agreed with.

I thought this article did a good job of documenting some of the changes that are happening in the black community that parallel what Obama was speaking about.

I wonder if the response from both blacks and whites in regard to this speech was positive? If so, that's pretty amazing.