Roy Janik (zinereem) wrote,
Roy Janik
zinereem

mustard and relish

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.
Tags: obama, politics, racism
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