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Roy Janik

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mustard and relish [Mar. 18th, 2008|12:13 pm]
Roy Janik
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This Obama speech is pretty fantastic. I haven't seen a better summary of the current state of racial issues in America anywhere.

I expected it to be defensive, and parts of it are, but it's also a history lesson and a full-blown cutural analysis.

I particularly like this paragraph about the white experience:

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 just shows a lot of careful insight.

[User Picture]From: jerseytude
2008-03-19 12:45 pm (UTC)
More than that, there was a while back when I said that one of the reasons I really liked Obama was that he was the only politician I had ever known that I felt "treated me like an adult."

I think this speech is the epitome of that. He could have just denounced his life-long mentor and walked away. But instead (and this may cost him) he said: "I vehemently disagree with what he said, and believe it was one of his darkest moments, but I can't disown the man who was my mentor."

That's what gets me about Obama. He's the first politician who doesn't dumb it down.

You could go into a bit why that is, but for me, I'm just glad to be voting for a guy who is smarter than I am for once. (And me, I'm bloody brilliant myself!)
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