barack obama on race

It’s a truly brilliant speech. If you have the time, check it out. And, if you don’t, the folks at MoveOn have the highlights here… He takes the controversy swirling around his friend, Reverend Wright, and doesn’t just do the politically expedient thing. He doesn’t just condemn the words of Wright and move on. He takes the opportunity to initiate a substantive conversation about race in America. And he tackles it head-on, in a way that I haven’t heard anyone talk about it since the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy… I’d already made up my mind to support Obama, but I wasn’t truly excited about the prospect of having him be our President until I heard this speech. We desperately need leaders with this kind of courage and vision today, and I look forward to working on his campaign.

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12 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted March 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Slavery, then and its effects even to today, trumps feminism by a long shot … sorry Hillary.

    Does that mean we owe the presidency to a minority candidate? Not in the least.

    Obama’s speech was well-written and delivered with quiet passion. It was not inspirational, but it was direct and to the point.

    His pastor may have cost him the nomination. His pastor’s remarks have inflamed a lot of voters on both sides of the color divide who totally misunderstand … on either side stand the “victims” … poor us … of both slavery and of globalization and affirmative action. Lots of anger and confusion.

    Barak Obama traced all of it quite clearly and directly.

    I fear, nevertheless, he’s lost ground … only because of the confusion and anger in some states, where his pastor’s personal history is deemed irrelevant at the very least … incindiary at the fringes.

    What a primary season!

    The other side of the coin …

    The FED is inflating big time! The dollar will be in the toilet soon. Dems, if they win, will raise taxes big time and starve any hope of a recession recovery into 2010-12, at best. McCain, if he wins, will bankrupt us as well by warring and giving whatever cash is left at the Fed to the rich and the top execs.

    Meantime, giddy ol’George will be in Crawford, guarded by the Secret Service, cutting brush and living high off our hog.

    BTW … Obama’s pastor might ask us here in Washtenaw County why it took us two years to indict a trio of deputies for beating up on some black folk and killing one of them at a freakin’ traffic stop.

    If you haven’t watched THE WIREE, I urge you to do so … sign up at NetFlix. Or, grad some Franz Fanaon, Eldrige Cleaver or Minister Faracon and take a deep breath. Or, Google Selma and see what you get.

    Gotta keep the devil down in the hole, folks!

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted March 18, 2008 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    The pundits are saying that I’m exactly the demographic that would appreciate this speech, and they’re right. I thought it was great. But, while the cable news pundits are obsessing on the race aspect, what I haven’t heard them talking about, is the religion slice.

    I think the speech goes a long way in positioning Obama as the sole remaining candidate of faith. While virtually everyone in public office claims some religious affiliation, neither Clinton nor McCain speak of it in the personal tone that Obama did (“He baptized my children…”).

    I’m not delusional that Obama will sweep the religious right. But, I do think the passion/loyalty Obama expressed for his faith can sway a good number, esp. when running against McCain. Obama blurs boundaries. His running against McCain would be an interesting campaign. If Clinton wins, it’ll just be two sides of the same coin, with the bulk of voters falling dutifully and dully into their expected camps. Other than her gender, Clinton offers nothing new. McCain vs. Clinton is same old vs. same older. Vote your particular nostalgia.

    I do miss my idealogue John Edwards, but I hope I’m still given the chance to vote for a good, unsettling measure of change.

  3. Rob
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    It was a good speech, well thought out and one of the most meaningful I’ve heard in a long time. Still there is a sick feeling in the pit of my gut, that politically it won’t matter, because of all the You Tube clips of his former Pastor going off the deep end– Too much damage to overcome, insofar as the independent voters mindset anyway.

    I work in construction– Fully in the midst of that fickle working class, beer swigging, gun toting Neo Reagan Democrat demographic. Trust me, come the general election– He may be toast. Sadly, from conversations with my more knuckle dragging sort of coworker, I’ve a strong sense, hell, I know they can’t look past those video clips from Reverend Wright– And as for his speech, If it ain’t on “Inside Edition” they are oblivious to it.
    I love your site Mark, it’s full of intelligent, humorous, insightful types, and I find it quite the refuge sometimes from some of what I need deal with during my day. Your site is a local gem for the area’s progressives, no doubt. BUT Joe six-pack ain’t here– And at least for now, they’re not with Obama, and I’m afraid because of race or the good Reverend, they’ll won’t be— I fear we’re looking at perhaps 4 years plus of the old weather vane….

  4. Posted March 19, 2008 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Mark, OEC, you’re right, it was a brave and important speech. Some of the other comments, please! There’s no WAY that his pastor’s remarks will cost him the nomination! He’s probably 90% going to get it at this point anyway, and what Hillary’s advisor and what Bill Clinton said was just as offensive anyway. Obama is his own man, he can’t control what his pastor says – and I’m sure that there’s more to his pastor than that, and it really wasn’t all that offensive anyway. You really think that independent voters are going to judge ALL there is to Obama based on a few comments taken out of context by his pastor? Don’t lose focus on the positives, or what’s meaningful about Obama. That’s what irks me about politics – nitpicking every last thing. Is it truly reasonable to think that based on those comments from his pastor, that he’s less of a person or less qualified to lead our country?

    About race, it is about time we face it truthfully, honestly, and completely. Period. And no, that’s not the sole reason why I support Barack but if his ability to create discussion on race comes along with it, if our race relations are improved in this country because of it, then that is another blessing.

    Can we all please focus on the positives and unite so we can take on McCain and get this country going the direction WE want? Obama said in his speech that we are all one people. Amen.

  5. Kirk
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    It is highly unlikely Mrs. Clinton can get the nomination but she is going to hang in there and try because that’s who she is. I prefer Obama to Clinton, Clinton to McCain, and McCain to the rest of the Republicans he defeated so I feel like I’m already ahead. If Kerry’s inept campaign came within 200,000 votes of unseating Bush, it’s a little early to be conceding the election to McCain. I think Obama and Clinton are both stronger candidates than Kerry.

    Our country faces many problems but a constant focus on the negative solves nothing. It is easy to focus on all the things outside of my control and to feel victimized – the Iraq war, the banking crisis, race relations in America, Carl Rove, the list goes on and on.

    I prefer to not live like that. I feel happier and more empowered when I focus on just doing the next right thing – eat decent food, get daily exercise, talk to my neighbors, do ethical work I enjoy, only buy things I need, volunteer locally to help causes I support, smile at a tired clerk in the grocery store – small steps I can take EVERY DAY to improve my life and my community.

    That doesn’t mean I am unaware of and don’t care about the national problems, but beyond voting, volunteering and sending money to political candidates I have no control over any of it.

  6. Paw
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Dude’s cold. Threw his own grandma under the bus.

  7. Meta
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    And, even more impressive, he wrote the speech himself:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/18/17135/6770/569/465227

  8. Kiltton
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    They’re spinning this like crazy on talk radio. They say that this speech made Obama “the black candidate” and they’re pointing to polls that already show him dropping relative to Clinton. They’re saying this is the end for him.

  9. Posted March 19, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Yea, I felt the same way about Obama – I was still bitter Edwards got shut out, and we were left with the two people the media seemed to pick for us over a year before.

    But… this speech… was something else.

    I hope that history doesn’t repeat itself with what seems to always happen to amazing people like this… they are taken from us far too soon.

  10. mark
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    See also… The “Onion”

  11. oliva
    Posted March 20, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Excellent speech. What a special broad exciting kind of intelligence and courage.

    I’m gonna meet my sister in middle PA this weekend and hope to convince somebody(ies!) to make my worthless MI vote count. Have a whole lotta Obama signs and buttons to bring along and just pray somehow they’ll be welcome. Will wear my very swank navy blue ladies Obama shirt and be very polite.

    I have succinct policy position information to deliver if I’m asked, but the main thing still and always for me in supporting Obama is the idea that stirred by belief in ourselves and the goal of excellence, and sharing values such as for equal justice and a society not afraid to grow and change and stretch at the core–with leadership to keep that vision in sight: we can have a better and better country, a really good place.

    (“. . . but I’m not the only one.”)

    Too bad Murtha came out for Clinton today. I honestly thought it was going to go a different way.

    So, any thoughts on VP these days? For me I still think Edwards; or Jim Webb. I’ve even let my mind wander to Chuck Hagel but wonder if I’m becoming confused.

  12. Tork
    Posted April 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Looks like he did throw the pastor under the bus after all (kind of). It just took him a few months.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/29/obamas-reverend-wright-pr_n_99215.html

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