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March 21, 2008


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Thanks for posting this Jodi. I completely agree with you that the Reverend's remarks make alot mroe sense within the context of the prophetic tradition. I have watched a much longer segment of one of the "offending" sermons - the one where he says "the chickens have come home to roost" - and he is talking about how injustice breeds more injustice, that violence begets more violence. Within context (and a willingness to watch 10 minutes instead of 10 seconds) his remarks are not only sensible, but spiritual in the highest sense.

I listened to the entire Obama speech, and he really wasn't calling to get "beyond" race, as much as pointing out the obvious - that racial politics distracts from the larger international and economic challenges that need to be dealt with immediately. He ends the speech with a call to arms - that both blacks and whites face the same threats - affordable and decent health care, secure, good paying jobs, and an end to the war. He does not advocate forgetting about race - he actually does a good job of describing the sources of both black and white anger - and puts it within the larger context of economic insecurity.

So while he does avoid the language of class, he directly addresses the financial threats that underly much of the distrust and hatred in the United States. At the core of the speech is the recognition that it is lack of economic opportunity, for both whites and blacks, that breeds the frustration and anger many people feel.

Overall it is one of the best political speeches I have ever heard. But I have no illustions - his eloquence is probably not enough to get him elected President.


"They are most comfortable talking about racism, not race. To notice race, in their way of thinking, is to be racist."

I think this is why so many people are inclined to try and turn the tables by inventing white-racism. A Fox News segment, which I saw on Alter Net, has two Whitey McWhitersons going back and forth as if it were a Tom Tomorrow cartoon about how its *so double-standard* that a white person like Hillary Clinton can't "get away" with saying "typical black person" but but a black-person like Obama can say "typical white person" and "get away with it."

I think it's interesting that you see this phrase, "get away with it," a lot with comparisons between the supposed legitimacy of what different groups do or say. I also think it's funny, because the whole shape of the conversation but none of its importance changes when you replace "get away" in my characterization of the Fox News segment with "makes sense." It makes sense that Obama talks about "typical white people," because how can we not but typify our over-whelmingly white-experience as Americans? When a white person, like Hillary Clinton, says something to the effect of "typical black person" it just sounds stupid. It sounds stupid not because it's racist, but because it implies a knowledge of black people that most white people just don't have. One is unavoidable and even useful generalization the other is demagogic prejudicing.

The fact is that this does have to do with race, about which most public figures will have nothing to say, because it might mean actually looking at what's happening, which some have never done or simply don't know how to do.

Kristine Danielson

Not to be a nit-picker but I’m confused. How does that poll show “Hillary rose in the polls”? Clearly, she did not unless I’m missing something here. The media, and the Gallup poll you linked to, which the media have been discussing all this week, point to the curious and perhaps hopeful fact that after the Wright controversy and Obama’s speech, Obama has come out of this relatively unscathed--at least for the moment. As far as polls are concerned, I don't trust them much to begin with, but there you have it. Clinton’s drop, on the other hand, may be due to the Bosnia lie.


The poll was from a previous week--prior to the Bosnia lie business.

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