Race Speech

So, let’s give this one more go. This isn’t about Iraq. This isn’t about Bush. 'Nary a mention of McCain should grace these pages. Clinton may only be mentioned in passing. Heck, it’s not even about voting.

It’s about what some folks are calling the greatest speech ever about race relations in America. Chris Matthews basically called it Lincolnesque. Folks are throwing praises upon it like it’s the best political speech for this age.

It’s not the second “I Have A Dream” by any stretch of the imaginaton.

Don’t be fooled; Obama didn’t court the subject for kicks and giggles. This was a defensive tactic due to Obama’s Reverend in Chicago incendiary remarks. The last minute highlights the most troublesome of the comments. The chicken remark is trademark Malcolm X.

It is a difficult proposition to be black in America, and Obama made an effort to deconstruct the social woes that encompass it. Some are dismissing it as an appeal to white guilt; if it was, from what I’ve heard of it, I would gladly say it is; he’s not my candidate, after all, but in a world whereJena 6 happens but no one remembers except blacks and where black churches are misunderstood (not that I’m excusing Wright’s comments) in such a manner, I think it’s clear that such a speech can really begin a dialogue.

The race issue was bound to come up sooner or later. Obama had to make this speech to ensure his viability.

Regardless of whether or not he had to make it or the reasons for making it, it was impassioned, eloquent, and brutally honest. The National Post asked if anyone could imagine any Canadian politician ever saying anything like that, and realized they wouldn’t. I think a lot more people would now be proud to have Obama as their president after realizing he could deliver a speech like this.

What kills me is that he actually wrote the thing himself. That’s awesome. It shouldn’t be, but it still is.

I still love Jon Stewart’s comment on the whole thing.

“That’s right ladies and gentlemen. You heard it. On a Tuesday, at 11am, a politician talked to us about race… as if we were ADULTS.”

What kills me is that he actually wrote the thing himself. That’s awesome. It shouldn’t be, but it still is.

Yeah. That’s pretty amazing. Not even Clinton wrote his own speeches. It’ll be good to have a president who can actually finish a speech without mangling it, let alone write his own.

Obama took the only resonable approach. If he said anything about his reverand or paster(w/e you want to call him) he wouldn’t have got the support of the black community. If he didn’t say anything, there would have been alot of bad press. Obama took the middle ground. Either way, this gives Hillary a chance to catch up some, but not much.

I don’t think you’re right. His pastor said some pretty ridiculous things, and disowning him could very well have been a smart move even among the black voters. It would have ensured that this wouldn’t come up again.

Could someone list exactly what was said that was so contraversial?

According to what I’ve read, he said that:

  1. America brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself.

  2. Hillary Clinton has an advantage over Barack Obama in the presidential race because she is white.

Obama has said, and I quote: “These are a series of incendiary statements that I can’t object to strongly enough.”
and denounced some of the ministers sermons, calling them “inflammatory and appalling.”

The problem isn’t so much what he said as how he said it. One of his speeches repeatedly went “God Damn America”.

I linked his statements; well, more of a news report which contained them really.

Here’s the most oft-quoted statements in the press:

An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda’s attacks because of its own terrorism.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.

The thing is…as someone who goes to a church where that kind of speech would be heard, his comments only faze me mildly. I’ve heard enough fire and brimstone to last a good while, countries being damned and suffering for their transgresses, heck, how many times have I heard that sermon. Granted, not about America.

It’s how he connected it to being a result of our policies in other nations - it’s the use of the chickens coming home to roost line (folks in that church knew who he was quoting I bet you) that make it seem like offensive rhetoric than anything else.

It’s also the ongoing use of white America being in control and how blacks have to be wary of being crushed again by the majority. He’s manipulating a very powerful and profound fear in the black community that flies in the face of Obama’s pronouncement of their being a United States of America, not a white or black America.

Honestly, I just don’t see what business a pastor, reverend, rabbi, bishop, whatever, has of speaking about politics on the pulpit. I’ve heard variations of that sermon before, and it works
just as well without acting so high-minded about your political viewpoint.

Plus, “I could no more disown him than I could disown the black community?” What? A pastor does not represent the black community. Disowning Louis Farrakhan is not like disowning the black community, nor is disowning any black person. I don’t want him to disown the guy, I just feel like that blanket comment makes me wary.

This may be cynical of me, but I think, and have read, that the main reason Obama chose Pastor Wright was because of the man’s connections in Chicago politics. As an up-and-coming black politician running for Attorney-General(I think that was what it was) in the Chicago area, Obama would need a man like Wright to introduce him to the right people and to solidify support amongst Chicago blacks.

While the church has always been a powerful fixture in the black community I think that is overly cynical.

Besides, Obama has known him for twenty years. He’s sticking by him because this is the guy who brought him to his faith, the guy who married him. If this was a case of quick political stature, he would have dropped Wright in the speech.

Obama ran for the senate, not attorney general. Either way, I don’t agree with the assumption.

One day, I’m going to learn to use the quote button and edit my previous post rather than double post something. Goshdarn it. -__-

The black community isn’t a monolith of like-minded individuals. I don’t think he would have lost us either way; blacks would have understood why he would have disowned him - what his Reverend said was foolish and offensive. Most folks are so enraptured that this is “our chance” that having “disowned” Wright would have seemed like a reasonable move due to the trouble of his comments.

What this speech was really designed to do was to appeal to white independents and Republicans. Blacks are likely to understand, although not agree, with where Reverend Wright was coming from. Whites, not so much. Those independents who saw Obama as a safe candidate were shaken probably by a black preacher damning white atrocities and disheartened Republicans caught in the Obama rhetoric were offended greatly by the comments. The main question has been why Obama didn’t confront his reverend - you’ll hear Rush, Hannity and folks who aren’t so politically steeped in their side mention it.

I think that’s a bit of a loaded question; Obama wasn’t there the day that “Damn America” speech was made - it’s a fact. Also, maybe it’s just me, but, uh, “confronting” my spiritual leader? Er, I’m not that sure of myself.

The ironic thing about race speeches is that no one would take them seriously if they came from a white guy.

Obama ran for the senate, not attorney general.

I’m not talking about his Senate campaign, unless you mean the Illinois senate, which according to wikipedia is what he ran for in 1996(and not attorney general). Before that he was involved in Illinois politics as a civil rights lawyer, which was probably meant as a springboard for his election to the state senate. If you want to become a major politician, you have to plan for it from day one, which I’m sure Obama did. It was when he first came to Chicago as a lawyer that he connected with Wright.

I do think Obama used Wright for his political connections. I disagree that if that were the case, Obama would have thrown him under the bus. He can’t do that, but not because he would lose his black support. The real reason is that doing so would make him look like a douche. Think about it: Obama attends Wright’s church for 20 years, the media criticizes Wright, Obama suddenly decides to leave Wright’s church. This makes Obama look either: 1) weak under public pressure; or 2) extremely ruthless and cynical.

It’s great how comments made by a pastor of a political candidate five or more years ago are dragged out and used to try and slander him. Really, isn’t our media system amazing?

I don’t care what anyone says, this entire situation is a load of bullshit. No one cares about what the pastor does or doesn’t think, they were just trying to get a rise out of Obama. It’s like they can’t find enough dirt to dredge up from his own past so they have to start pulling in people he associated with. It’s such an underhanded tactic.

I so want to make a ‘Why didn’t Obama’s political rivals think of it first?’ joke, but unfortunately, I don’t know if it really was the media that pull this stunt or not. ;_;

But if they were responsible then “There’s one thing both Hilary and McCain can both agree on, and that’s Why didn’t they think of using excepts by Obama’s Pastor to try taking him down first? Even if they are over five years old by now.”

Neither would want to be directly associated with having something like this come out because it’s such an underhanded tactic and would look very negative on them.