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The Speech

Obama's Speech on Race, Politics, and Religion

This is the whole speech. Watch and then let's discuss. I'll have a round-up of what the pols say tomorrow.



This is perhaps the most succinct, yet inclusive surveys of issues of race in America today. I've heard bits of this narrative discussed over the years by commentators of one stripe or another, but this is the first time I've heard all of these points covered in one single place and time.

I particularly thought it was interesting how he addressed some of the frustrations of white America regarding affirmativie action-type programs. I'm not sure if I've ever heard such thing acknowledged by a black (why-do-we-call-him-black-if-he's-half-white) political figure. He's also right that the powers that be love to play on white America's fears and frustrations vis-a-vis minority communities because it sets up the perfect bait-and-switch: While white America is riled up about affirmative action, lay off white Americans and depress white America's wages by forcing them to compete one-on-one with virtual slave labor in communist China.

I've already read a lot of commentary on this speech. Salon has the text: http://www.salon.com/news/primary_sources/2008/03/18/obama_speech/ It is worth reading a few pages of the Salon piece's commments. Commentary ranges from charges that Obama is but an empty suit to sheer adoration, from suggestions that Obama himself is racist to political opponents openly admiring what a truly great speech it was.

It is about goddamn time somebody in the political arena had the balls to simply deliver unvarnished straight talk. However, a very legitimate question that a lot of pundits (professional and armchair) are pondering is whether enough Americans are intellectually and emotionally mature enough to appreciate, much less engage in, real discussions about real issues versus simply preferring to be told things that they like to hear about themselves.


It seems to be a rorscarch test: you either understood what he was saying, or you didn't.

Either you thought he was refreshingly candid and clear, or he didn't "go far enough." Nevermind that he could never go far enough for the ones who didn't think he went far enough...

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