The Obama Speech

March 19th, 2008at 07:35am Posted by Eli

It took me a while, on account of distractions, but I finally got a chance to read all of Obama’s instantly-famous speech on race. It’s good stuff, and he makes some very important points that I was really glad to see. Specifically:

o He makes the point that while working-class whites and minorities are in competition for jobs, neither is primarily responsible for the other’s lack of opportunities. The real problem is the corrupt economic system which has been gamed by the wealthy to their own advantage at the expense of everyone else.

o His fundamental message on racism is, essentially, “I know Americans are better than this.” That won’t move the hardcore racists who flat-out hate minorities, but I think it will resonate with the milder racists who think in racial stereotypes and maybe feel a little guilty about it.

o Even more importantly, he explicitly calls out conservatives and Republicans for using racism as an electoral strategy. Combine this with the previous point, and and he’s basically saying, “Republicans think Americans are all bigots, but I know we can rise above that.” Hopefully this will stay in the back of everyone’s mind if he wins the nomination and the inevitable Republican race-baiting attacks begin in earnest.

o He emphasizes the importance of education and healthcare and opportunities; not just for minorities, but for everyone. He doesn’t explicitly address it, but the local funding of schools is one of this country’s greatest injustices, and an excellent strategy for keeping the poor poor, and the rich rich.

That’s by no means a comprehensive inventory, just the stuff that jumped out at me. And given my early-morning grogginess, probably not even a comprehensive inventory of that.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Obama,Politics,Racism


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