So I just read the transcript of Obama’s speech today. I can see why people dig this guy. Assuming that he wrote the speech himself he has some excellent observations in there as to the mindset of people who feel affected by racial issues in the US.
It is honestly hard for me to relate. I spent my young life in Minnesota. Going through school the highest number of “minority” students in my class, EVER, was 2 or 3 out of 30. It simply wasn’t an issue of tolerance, or intolerance. There WAS no issue. Not until later in life when I joined the military did I start to see some of the things that the senator mentions.
“Outside of ‘polite conversation'”…I can wholeheartedly relate to that. I have been in conversations where people used racial epithets that make my German/Polish/Irish skin crawl…but I usually said nothing. I have also been in conversations where particular ethnic groups are self-deprecating to get a laugh…arguably just as bad.
Obama mentions this, and makes good points about how it isn’t enough for people to make their own change, but that societal change is required for us to “perfect our Union.” The only problem that I have with Obama’s approach on societal change is that I don’t think that it can successfully come about due to Government influence. Regardless of the nature of that influence…that change is going to have to be self-motivated…just like the internal change that must occur first.
The bottom line for me is that, I agree, that there is no question that race is an issue in America. There are LOTS of issues in America. Contrary to the mood of this speech, not every issue facing the American people of ANY race, color, creed, is a product of race. There is not one answer that is going to solve this (Obama said that). I would argue that outside of the concept of Utopia, there is not a society of Human beings either now, in history, or the perceivable future that has a snowball’s chance in hell of finding a solution to the inequity people feel in their hearts and minds. I think it’s best if everyone finds a role for themselves that is as comfortable as possible for the moment…and keeps hope alive that tomorrow could be better if we work at it.
Here’s the transcript of the Obama Speech
And two excerpts that I thought were interesting. (Although I have to mention that I approached this transcript expecting something different, and I have to say that I was impressed by his non-combative stance on the subject of his pastor.)
“Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity.” – And all this time I thought his campaign had the message of Change…something not really related to unity in any way.
“And I confess that if all that I knew of Rev. Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.” – He said Youtube…amazing how far we have come that at least a snippet of the impetus for Obama’s speech today was the fact that a website was making available the controversial comments in question.