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Obama Speech on Race
Old 03-18-2008, 04:52 PM   #1
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Obama Speech on Race

I just watched the speech Barack Obama gave in Philadelphia this morning. It is the best think I have ever heard on race in America. It ought to be mandatory in our schools. I recommend that all of you watch it in its entirety -- don't rely on the pundits to interpret it for you. You can see it online at MSNBC.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:35 PM   #2
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I agree, it was an excellent speech. Unfortunately for him, Hillary and McCain gain anytime the race focuses on, well, race.

This speech helped Obama with his base, but not sure if it helped him with the undecided white voters. In the end, it was a tactical error on his part if he knew about his preacher's statements and failed to get ahead of the story.

Whatever the outcome, this speech really placed the race issue in historical context. Being a child of the 50s and 60s myself, I could relate to much of what he referred to.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:35 PM   #3
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I did not catch it. I spoke to a friend that watched part of it and got a different take on the speech. He thought that it was just another political blah-blah blah speech. Like anything that has to do with politics these days, it's all in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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Here is the text of the speech:
Obama Race Speech: Read The Full Text - Politics on The Huffington Post
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:09 PM   #5
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I didn't see the speech, but I did read it. I thought it was excellent.

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Old 03-18-2008, 06:10 PM   #6
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I couldn't get the video clip to run, but did read the speech. He can write a good speech, and I'm sure he delivered it well. I think he comes out of this thing pretty well--the speech was about as good as it could be, and may do a good job of putting some fence-sitters more at ease. He's unlikely to lose much support from (the minority of) blacks who want to see themselves as victims and dwell on that, as he had some words on past indignities against blacks in the US.


And, at the very least, he's had the spotlight for a critical few days leading up to the PA primary and got the opportunity to give a very widely watched address in this critical home-stretch of the campaign (as the back-room deals are being cut). You can't buy exposure like that. Clinton and McCain could have gone jogging together in the nude and it wouldn't have made the papers today.

So, all depends on two things:
-- If the videos of Wright continue to have "pull" with the public (Obama did a good job of inoculating against this in his speech)
-- Whether another embarrassing eruption of this or a fresh issue comes to light. Say what you like about Hilary and McCain--it's unlikely that anyone will be turning up any new dirt about them. As this present Rev Wright flare-up proves, Obama has not been vetted to the same degree. (Though if Hillary's tax records or notes from her days as First Lady contain any landmines, Obama's woes will be forgotten)
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:54 PM   #7
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:58 PM   #8
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It wasn't quite "I Have a Dream," but I think he was pretty forceful and persuasive. Now I just have to hope that he really meant it.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:02 PM   #9
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The fact he wasn't outrage about what Wright said means a lot to me. The rest of his speech was good.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:20 PM   #10
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The fact he wasn't outrage about what Wright said means a lot to me. The rest of his speech was good.
I don't think "outrage" would have been plausible--everyone listening to Obama knows that he's surely sat through sermons like these (and worse) in 20 years of going to that church. He knows that Wright says things that are inflammatory, factually inaccurate, and which are harmful to advancing the causes of justice and social harmony in America. If Obama is a uniter, then Wright is the anti-Obama-- a purveyor of racial animosity that furthers his own goals. Whites have these people, too, but they are less tolerated, so they stay underground. They may be preaching in some church in the backwaters and handling snakes at revival meetings, but they aren't preaching in large urban churches.

Obama's speech makes it fairly clear that he rejects Wright's position and recognizes the danger of it.

There will be those who will say Obama saw the benefits of membership in Trinity in his bid to gain elective office in Illinois, and availed himself of that opportunity when it suited him. Now that the church and its crazy former pastor have become a liability, he's doing everything he can to distance himself from it. Shrewd and effective, if you like that kind of calculating behavior.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:25 PM   #11
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I don't think his speech put the issue to rest - but what could he say?

Sadly, Obama's campaign from here on out will be all about race (if it hasn't been up to now) - there' no way he'll be able get this monkey off his back in the minds of over 50% of the voters
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notmuchlonger View Post
The fact he wasn't outrage about what Wright said means a lot to me. The rest of his speech was good.
I thought he was heartfelt and not at all cynical or calculating in rejecting what Wright said while refusing to throw a dear friend under the bus. The analogy to his white Grandmother was spot on.

Edit: the main paragraph needs a sentence from the lead-in paragraph where he explains the good and the bad about his pastor:

As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me

Then:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.


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Originally Posted by Texarkandy View Post
I don't think his speech put the issue to rest - but what could he say?

Sadly, Obama's campaign from here on out will be all about race (if it hasn't been up to now) - there' no way he'll be able get this monkey off his back in the minds of over 50% of the voters
You may be correct, but his speech is getting good reviews from conservative pundits and Christian leaders. He is planning major speeches in the next few days on Iraq and the economy. Lets see how things stand by the time of the Pennsylvania primary. If he hasn't gotten beyond this by then he probably won't later.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:57 PM   #13
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I don't know much about churches, especially Protestant churches. But I was in my car today listening to talk radio. Most of the calls were running in favor of Obama and what an excellent speech he made. Then a man called who identified himself as a white pastor. He said that if someone doesn't like what a pastor has to say, or what he stands for, or what he embodies, then that person takes his/her family and goes on down the road. It isn't like there is a shortage of churches to choose from.

Sounds like a reasonable assumption, since I know how hard it is for me just to read some of the things that get posted here even though I don't have to interact with the person who is writing it, or have to maintain any kind of social or religious interaction with anyone I that don't want to.

I used to sometimes go to church with my ex. A nice uber-klasse ultra-liberal protestant church. It always tested my endurance just to get through one painful service of (to my mind) bizarrely naive pronouncements. Then I might go back for Christmas only, trying to keep the peace in the family.

So I am wondering if Barack didn't maybe find the message not too terribly out of sync with his attitudes?

Either that, or he can keep his true character hidden from his church and his "spiritual advisor" for 20 years. :confused:

But hey, what do I know, it could happen.

Ha
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:01 PM   #14
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II used to sometimes go to church with my ex. A nice uber-klasse ultra-liberal protestant church. It always tested my endurance just to get through one painful service of (to my mind) bizarrely naive pronouncements. Then I might go back for Christmas only, trying to keep the peace in the family.

So I am wondering if Barack didn't maybe find the message not to terribly out of sync with his attitudes?

Either that, or he can keep his true character hidden from his church and his "spiritual advisor" for 20 years. :confused:
Perhaps. What I do know is that any church this overt about its politics and about political issues should lose its tax exemption.

Our pastor occasionally brings up current events and political issues. But I'm glad to report that he's only tried to make us think about them and has been fastidiously careful not to argue for one side or for a particular politician. I do appreciate that, because it is very relevant for a congregation to be made to think about issues that affect people far less fortunate than us -- though it is left to us to decide what, if anything, we should think we need to do about it -- whether it's Iraq, issues concerning rich and poor, health care, whatever else.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:25 PM   #15
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This article sums up most of it for me:

"Rather than break ties with his demagogic, anti-American pastor, Barack Obama used a speech on race to excuse his behavior and sweep the controversy under the rug."

Obama Merely Changes The Subject
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:33 PM   #16
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It was a good response.

But, white folks don't like being demonized any more than any other group of people.

I resent Wrights remarks and think they are over the top. It reminded me of Al Sharpton.

Obama is not responsible for Wrights remarks. I do not hold him accountable for it.


But the whole thing puts a bit of a cloud on things. This development hurt Obama.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:36 PM   #17
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I found Obama's speech very compelling. It assuaged my questions & doubts that had surfaced upon hearing the sound bites of the Rev. Wright.

I heard a discussion on npr today about "Liberation Theology" that was also very enlightening. A Closer Look at Black Liberation Theology : NPR
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:02 PM   #18
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He's going for the white man's vote...........sorry, I can see through the rhetoric..............
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:13 PM   #19
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:57 PM   #20
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I watched the whole speech with an open mind in the hope that he would be able to explain his 20 year association with the pastor. The first tip off that there was something wrong was all the USA Flags. The speech was an attempt to change the focus from his association with the pastor and the pastor's offensive sermons.

He didn't do much for me when he insulted the public; not once but twice in the same paragraph.
"That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger.
Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. "
People understand the dancing etc - it is the verbal content that offends.

The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
It is members of the congregation that might contain the negative qualities he discusses; usually a church as represented in its pastor does not and that is the issue.
Senator Obama had/has a close personal relationship with his pastor and hired him for his presidential campaign. His attempt to change the subject from his decision making ability and leadership to race in the USA did not work.

The next primaries will tell the tale if the voters saw it the same way. I think they will.
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When I heard this story I really felt sorry for the senator - true or not it is formulaic speech writing and a poor attempt to say that the senator unites the poor whites and old blacks - no examples given on how he did it in the past or how he will do it in the future.
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