On Race In America [UPDATED], posted March 19, 2008 at 12:48 AM
You've probably already seen snippets of this on the news, but it's worth watching Obama's whole speech on race.
There are too many highpoints to call out, so I'll just take one. About 20 minutes or so into the speech Obama talks about white resentment, an area of our nation's racial divide that gets precious little discussion. He describes it better than anyone I have ever heard, and brings it to light in a way that makes it not uncomfortable to talk about:
In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.
It's high time to elect a serious intellectual to the presidency. Especially after the cynical and decidedly anti-intellectual administration we still have to survive for 300+ more days. It's high time to elect someone who cannot only deliver a great speech, but write it himself. Today Obama made me proud to be an American.
UPDATED 3/19/08 10:24am to add: