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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama and Race

Blah Blah more rate cuts, more evidence that the economy is going to be in the crapper for a while....not news.... I'm over it.

So taking a break from economics to talk about a more universal question - one of race and specifically Obama's recent speech. I don't know how this will all play out any more than the next person, but I hear a lot of negative talk about Obama, saying that Obama only now tries to dissavow his former pastor's remarks because it has been brought to light. Comments like this, I'm finding prevelant on the internet:

"Obama has chosen to belong to this racist church for 20 years, and now because of exposure by the press, he tries to fool the American public once again. "

The perhaps mistaken assumption made by people that make such comments is that Rev. Wright spent every minute of his sermons with Obama in attendence over 20 years preaching anti-American and racist rhetoric. I doubt this to be the case. I've attended some rather spirited church functions and I can see how a pastor can get caught up in the moment, and given his crowd, say something that when taken out of context is especially racist and derogatory - and just plain wrong.

Given that that can occur, why should Obama have denounced his preacher? I can understand if it were a regular occurence, but it sounds like it wasn't. It sounds like Rev. Wright has been there for the Obama family - and it sounds like Obama's relationship to him is really none of the American people's business, unless you actually believe Obama is anti-American, or racist, or somehow biased toward blacks - which I think you'd have to be an idiot to think. Americans of course love their drama and their ring-side television - frankly it's getting a little tired and disgusting. I can't decide if I should blame reality tv, Brittney Spears, or just the way the American culture seems to be progressing. But whatever the reason, it is ridiculous and it is not helping anything.

The speech Obama gave was pivotal - politically risky - but he did it anyway. Obama is willing to talk about taboo subjects like few politicians (certainly not Clinton or McCain) are. Race is still a major problem that goes unsaid. Voluntary segregation is visually rampant in this country. As I was growing up in school there were the white's that sat with each other, and the blacks that sat on the other end of the cafeteria. Very little mixing happend. It wasn't organizational segregation, but there existed this unspoken social norm of separation - like "we can't be seen together." It is an epidemic in our society that creates huge social costs - not the least of which is a sense of"Mine will take care of me, yours takes care of you." The United States is not fully united. As Obama expressed, it is a great country that will never be perfect, but it can be further perfected - and for my money, he is the best hope to achieve this for the next 4 years.

6 comments:

Mike Fladlien said...

Amen, brother.

Mike Fladlien said...

obama makes me believe that he can institute change that society wants. hillary makes me believe that she will change what only she wants. i can see hillary getting rattled in a heated debate but i can't see obama. i want the cool candidate...

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