March 19, 2008 9:27 AM
What did you think of Obama's speech on race?
Sen. Barack Obama's stirring speech on race, politics and America continues to be the country's political talking point.
Rocky columnist Bill Johnson says the speech is worth reading - and then reading again.
Whether you like him or not, whether you will vote for him or against him, I believe this speech will one day become required reading in my grandchildren's classroom.
It was a treatise on where the American people are on race, written and spoken by a mainstream American politician in a way I had never heard before, a speech I fully believed not one of them would in a million years have the personal or political guts to deliver.
"Even for those blacks who did make it," the Illinois senator said deep into his speech, "questions of race and racism continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways."
It is the one line that just sticks with me.
It has challenged me, forced me to look inward to assess the roots of the views I give here, those I share with my wife and friends and often force onto my children.
"For the men and women of Rev. (Jeremiah) Wright's generation," the senator said of his controversial pastor, "the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and bitterness of those years."
That lone passage reminded me of my father and mother, and their generation, of their intercessions that I could not just be me, but only a super-version of myself, lest the "white man" intercede and resign me to a lifetime of scrubbing his toilets.
For them, it was all that their life experiences had taught them.
The Rocky's editorial said the speech was .cool, collected and eloquent
Columnist Vincent Carroll says Obama gave what amounted to two speeches Tuesday, the one on race that sizzled and another on policy, mostly in the final minutes, that fizzled. On race, he appreciates America's dynamism and the fact that attitudes aren't "static." But the dynamism of the American economy seems to alarm him.
Does he really believe that the "shuttered mills" he evokes were universally such great places to work, or that even if they were, that equally attractive jobs haven't sprung up to replace them? Is outsourcing entirely evil?
Aren't many middle class people better off today than 10 or 20 years ago, even if some aren't? Is his vision so bleak that he really believes "most working and middle-class white Americans . . . feel their dreams slipping away"? Most?
Even if the entire middle class were being squeezed, as he believes, isn't it just a tad simplistic (not to mention demagogic) to finger "the real culprits" as a corrupt corporate culture, lobbyists, special interests and "short-term greed"?
You can read the full text of Obama's speech here.