Obama's Race Speech
Barack Obama gave his “race in America” speech today. I think it is analogous to Mitt Romney’s Mormon speech—those who don’t have a problem with Wright anyway will like it, while those who were shocked and horrified at Wright’s comments won’t be impressed.
One section that jumped out at me:
Right. According to Barack Obama, the black community is racist, conspiracy theorist, and hateful. I’m really not sure if that is the message Obama wants to send, but comparing the black community to Jeremiah Wright has to lead one to that conclusion. Blacks might have “fierce intelligence”, but their “shocking ignorance” leads them to pretty bizarre conclusions, huh?
The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America. And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community...
Anyway, I’m really not sure that one man can represent the whole black community. I’m pretty sure that blacks aren’t a homogenous mass, but rather hold a diverse array of opinions.
In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.
Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company…
I’m not sure what Barack is saying here, but it sounds like he is saying that whites “resenting” blacks might not be right, but it’s, y’know, understandable. Many whites do have issues with some of things he mentions here, but I'm pretty sure their resentment is directed at the (mostly white) politicians who implement such things, not at the blacks who benefit from them.