Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Obama tackles race anger in major speech" (with video)

AP with video, (02:45):
Senator confronts issue triggered by his pastor's inflamatory comments--PHILADELPHIA - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to stem damage from divisive comments delivered by his pastor, while bluntly addressing anger between blacks and whites in the most racially pointed speech yet of his presidential campaign.
Obama confronted America's legacy of racial division head on, tackling black grievance, white resentment and the uproar over his former pastor's incendiary statements. Drawing on his half-black, half-white roots as no other presidential hopeful could, Obama asserted: "This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected."

Obama expressed understanding of the passions on both sides in what he called "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years."

"But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races," he said in a speech at the National Constitution Center, not far from where the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

Obama rarely talks so openly about his race in such a prominent way, but his speech covered divisions from slavery to the O.J. Simpson trial to the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He also recognized his race has been a major issue in the campaign that has taken a "particularly divisive turn" in the last few weeks as video of his longtime pastor spread on the Internet and on television.

Obama said the sermons delivered by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright "rightly offend white and black alike." Those sermons from years ago suggested the United States brought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on itself and say blacks continue to be mistreated by whites.

Spiritual guide
While Obama rejected what Wright said, he also embraced the man who inspired his Christian faith, officiated at his wedding, baptized his daughters and has been his spiritual guide for nearly 20 years.

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community," Obama said, speaking in front of eight American flags. "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."

Obama said he knew Wright to occasionally be a fierce critic of U.S. policy and that the pastor sometimes made controversially remarks in church that he disagreed with, but he said he never heard Wright talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms. The comments that have become a source of debate recently "were not only wrong but divisive" and have raised questions among voters, he said.

"I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend 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. "But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man."

He said he came to Wright's church because he was inspired by Wright's message of hope and his inspiration to rebuild the black community.

Obama said Wright's comments have sparked a discussion that reflect complexities of race in the United States that its people have never really resolved.

"We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country," Obama said. "But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow."

Obama said anger over those injustices often find voice in black churches on Sunday mornings. "The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning," he said.

Obama argued that the anger often distracts from solving real problems and bringing change. But he said it also exists in some segments of the white community that feels blacks are often given an unfair advantage through affirmative action.

"If we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American," Obama said, drawing a rare burst of applause in a somber address.

Obama said one of the tasks of his campaign to be the first black president is "to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America."

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Blogger bjboyd2 said...

As a black American I am totally disgusted. I fine not only OBAMA disgusting but his surrogates and patsy talking heads appearing on TV to defend him. I grew up attending a black church and I never heard my pastor say such offensive things when speaking about America (my country) If I had I would not have been there another second least of all 20 years. To have him stand there and say that this is just black church rhetoric makes me ill. Obama! berate and make the black church look like a bunch of irate ignorant racist, why don’t cha? This is as much my country as any other citizen and to berate America is to belittle the contributions of my ancestors as well as any other citizen who had parents that went off to war or did whatever was asked of them to make this country what it is today. No, America is not what it can be but it is not a country that deserves to have had 911 happen to it either. Its okay to state your opinion but it is dead wrong to say that all of America is evil. Most citizens of this country are loving people who just like the rest of the world wan to make the planet a better place for the children and future generations.

Maybe being half African and half white, Obama doesn't get that many of us who have ancestors that were slaves see this country as our own and love the country despite the fact that sometime those who we have chosen to be our *leaders* are not always ones we feel proud to call our own. Obama disrespected the Black church, the black community and our country. I will not vote for him no matter what. The fact that 90% of blacks are so willing to drink the Obama Koolaid shows how desperate blacks are to have a black living in the white house. I would ask is it more important to have any *black* or to have a qualified, straight up, black? This is not the last chance to have a black we need to make sure that the black we choose is truly a person for all the people and not just someone that camouflages himself like a chameleon changing his speech, persona, whatever it takes to fit in with the audience that he is addressing at the time. "Come on People". OBAMA can not even defend his own wife’s outburst. We need not allow ourselves to be quilted into voting for a man who has only now had a bit of his true self exposed to those he would represent if by some chance he were to be elected. A clean plate always looks good but it starts to be less appealing when it is piled upon it the gross liver and gravy. If we think this is bad just wait until the Republicans turn loose on his *words* matter speech and the triads of his wife and minister (spiritual leader) and friend.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Why Obama can't be trusted!

Initially, he stated that he has never sat in the pews and heard Rev. Wright express racist and/or anti American sentiments. An obvious lie. Yet in the first two minutes of his speech he acknowledged he had sat in the pews and has heard Rev. Wright Jr. express his anger of America an Americans.

I have attended many black churches in my 52 years and is yet to hear a Minister use racist or anti American sentiment to make a point. I am offended by the notion that Reverend Wright style of rhetoric is a fundmental doctrine in black churches.

In his statement about his white grandmother's comments on fearing blacks, in his book he juxapose that statement with his fear of black men when he went to the Southside of Chicago.

What is up with Obama's chemically processed hair. Very few black men wear that hair-do in the 21st Century. The only person I have seen with short cut processed hair is Farrakhan. Is this a covert sign to the Muslims that he has their back? You know, don't believe what you hear in my speeches, those statements are political statements and do not reflect my true intentions.

If racial unity is what Obama advocates than why should the oppressive white man get over their racism but accept the racial anger of black folk?

10:51 AM  
Blogger okieroper said...

Racism in America? Let's think about that a moment. Is there a National Association for the Advancement of White People? No. How about a United White Kid College Fund? No. Then there are the Black Entertainment Channel, Ebony Magazine, Miss Black America. The list could go on and on. If any white preacher in America made the same comments as Obama's Pastor, the black would be outraged and rightfully so. If we as a country are not going to tolerate prejudice, we should not tolerate ANY predudice.

4:07 PM  
Blogger okieroper said...


4:09 PM  
Blogger Howard Martin said...

Fortunately, in America we have people like Mike Huckabee who are more enlightened than some of these commenters. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/19/huckabee-defends-rev-jer_n_92346.html

8:20 PM  

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