Thursday, March 27, 2008

More on Obama and race

I've been listening to an episode of NPR's On Point that was recorded the day after Obama's speech on race in American. I'm really loving this episode. You can find it here. Also interesting is the episode recorded the day of Obama's speech. You can find that one here.

This is what I'm getting from these shows: white American, if there is such a monolithic thing, doesn't have a clue what it's like to be black in America. Never mind the history of racism, just the day-to-day existence of a black person in this country is difficult. Black churches are places where people talk honestly about these experiences, and Obama's minister is no different. He may be a bit over-the-top for some, but he is saying what people want and need to hear: the reality of their lives.

I don't think we can hold Obama accountable for some things his minister said that made some people uncomfortable. There are certainly some rabbis that say things that I'm uncomfortable with. How can we hold him to a higher standard?

The larger issue is: Obama is starting (or continuing) a conversation about race in this country that's IMPORTANT. We need to have this conversation. White America needs to hear it. All the different ethnic and cultural minorities in this country need to hear it. Things need to change.

When I hear Obama speak, I get chills. This is the real deal. He may actually be smart enough and inspirational enough to get change going.

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