It was one of the most important and thoughtful speeches by a presidential candidate in recent memory. Obama offered sympathy and legitimacy to a variety of group-specific complaints without fostering the politics of competitive victimization. This is no small accomplishment in a political campaign where journalists and campaign operatives have encouraged us to decide whether racism or sexism is worse in our society, and whether electing a woman or a black scores the greatest triumph over historic injustices. Obama called attention to the painful history of anti-black racism, but he did not denounce white people as a group. This may sound too simple a point to matter, but it has great political potential. One reason so many white people are put off by Wright’s remarks is that they know full well that insofar as his attack is directed at them, it is outrageously unjustified. Obama shows he understands racism and its historical legacies, but he is willing to give credit where credit is due in overcoming racism.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I thought Obama's speech yesterday was great. So great, indeed, that I can't help but wonder whether someone so sensitive to historical and racial nuance can possibly become President of this country. Here's my old advisor, David Hollinger, on the speech:
Posted by Nils at 3/19/2008 08:49:00 AM