Today, Barack Obama did what he had avoided doing this entire campaign–take on the issue of race and racism in America. And if you ask me, I think he won.
I thought this was one of the best speeches of his career, and one of the most nuanced speeches on racism of any Presidential candidate with perhaps the exception of Shirley Chisolm. I think one people will be critiquing and debating for years to come.
One of the major things about this speech is that he doesn’t sell his pastor (Jeremiah Wright) out. He explains where he emphatically denounces some of his statements but he puts Wright squarely in the context of racism in America, and he doesn’t let white America off the hook.
He addresses the deep-seated white anger and resentment not only towards him, but Black people who harbor any anger towards Black people for still being angry about racism and white supremacy. I need to watch it again to give a more full analysis, but watch it for yourselves (or read the full text here). I totally welcome your thoughts (Huffington Post is keeping a running tab on the thoughts of the major blogs). NPR’s News and Notes also ran pretty interesting commentary, here.
What was Senator Clinton doing during Obama’s speech? Pop Gumbo explains it!