March 20, 2008


Obama blew it: What the candidate should have said about race (Michael Meyers, March 20, 2008, LA Times)

[I]'d say that considering the nation's undivided attention to this all-important speech, which gave him an unrivaled opportunity to lift us out of racial and racist thinking, Obama blew it.

I waited in vain for our hybrid presidential candidate to speak the simple truth that there is no such thing as "race," that we all belong to the same race -- the human race. I waited for him to mesmerize us with a singular and focused appeal to hold all candidates to the same standards no matter their race or their sex or their age. But instead Obama gave us a full measure of racial rhetoric about how some of us with an "untrained ear" -- meaning whites and Asians and Latinos -- don't understand and can't relate to the so-called black experience.

Well, I am black, and I can't relate to a "black experience" that shields and explains old-style black ministers who rant and rave about supposed racial differences and about how America ought to be damned. [...]

I expected Obama, who up to now had been steering a perfect course away from the racial boxes of the past, to challenge racial labels and so-called black experiences. We're all mixed up, and if we haven't yet been by the process of miscegenation, trans-racial adoptions and interracial marriage, we sure ought to get used to how things will be in short order.

That would have been the forward-looking message of a visionary candidate. But Obama erred by looking backward -- as far back as slavery. What does slavery have to do with the price of milk at the grocery store?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2008 12:45 PM

There is an American race that has been evolving for more than two centuries.

Posted by: ic at March 20, 2008 1:58 PM

If a political speech doesn't end racism by destroying race as a concept, it's a failure?

I guess when you're billed as the Messiah, people raise the bar a bit.

Posted by: Ibid at March 20, 2008 2:10 PM

Very nice analogy, Orrin.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at March 20, 2008 2:22 PM