Talking About Race, Finally

Talking About Race, Finally

Jeremiah Wright is right about one thing: race has to be talked about. Finally race is being talked about at the highest level. That is a good thing. That is the best way to make progress on race, the most productive way. Race relations are like a marriage: communication is the lifeblood. People got to talk.

If Barack wants to compete with Abraham Lincoln in the greatness department, he has no option but to tackle race head on as he did in his Philly speech. That is a good start.

Hillary has played foul. In one recent interview, when asked if she thought Barack was a Muslim, she said he was not Muslim, and then added, "as far as I know." That would be like Barack saying in New Hampshire, iron my shirt too.

Racism, Sexism Can Be Cured Like Polio Vaccine Was Found, Slavery Was Ended

I am not talking about I have black friends kind of a cure, although it helps to have many many friendships across the racial, cultural barriers and boundaries. I am talking about tackling the concrete data on disparity. It is about ending the chronic poverty in the inner cities, it is about dreaming up a Marshall Plan for all the inner city schools, it is about health for all, it is about taking all of America into the Information Age.

But ending racism is primarily about ending all Third World dictatorships. Lincoln liberated a few million black slaves, Barack is going to have to liberate billions who still live under the thumb of dictators.

Ending sexism today is primarily about ending all Arab dictatorships. All pro-choice white women in America are going to have to realize that. Arab women are in bad shape.

That Lovey Dobey Feeling

There is the hard, concrete part of Third World dictators, and data on racial disparity in education and health. Then there is the soft part, of racial prejudices and stereotypes, and of conversations on race and gender. We have to tackle both.

In The News

Clinton takes lead over Obama in Gallup poll Reuters March 14-18 national survey .... a 49 percent to 42 percent edge .... McCain leading Obama 47 percent to 43 percent .... edged Clinton 48 percent to 45 percent
Liberal activists choose Obama over Clinton in new straw poll Washington Times
Superdelegates Await Impact Of Obama Race Speech U.S. News & World Report
Violence in Tibet strains China's relations with India, Nepal
Christian Science Monitor Anti-Chinese protests broke out in Tibet March 10 on the 49th anniversary of an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule . ..... Fallout from the turmoil is clouding diplomacy and Olympic preparations. ..... Top Chinese official Zhang Qingli has described Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, as a "wolf wrapped in monk's robes, a devil with a human face and a beast's heart." ..... Armed police and troops poured into distant towns and villages in Tibetan areas of adjacent provinces, with demonstrations continuing to flare. ... planned meeting between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Dalai Lama.
Obama's Speech on Race Tops YouTube NPR The most popular video on YouTube ..... 1.6 million times ..... "Barrack to the Future!!" .... "He didn't try to skirt the issue and really spoke to us about race from a very honest and transparent place"
The Origin of Obama's Pastor Problem TIME Obama called for blacks and whites to move beyond the "racial stalemate" .... shouting "God damn America!" and calling 9/11 a case of "America's chickens ... coming home to roost." ...... a story that threatened to capsize Obama's front-running campaign with the speed of a Wall Street bankruptcy. ..... the speech he'd been turning over in his mind for much of his adult life. "There wasn't a discussion," says spokesman Robert Gibbs. "He made a decision." Obama went home to Chicago that night, and after his wife and two daughters were asleep, he started composing. ...... an artfully reasoned treatise on race and rancor in America, the most memorable speech delivered by any candidate in this campaign and one that has earned Obama comparisons to Lincoln, Kennedy and King. ....... a 27-year-old ... Obama was searching for an identity and a community, and he found both at Trinity. ...... the era of slavery, when African Americans held services under trees, far from their white masters. "Churches have always been the place where black people could speak freely," she says. "They were the only institutions they could own and run by themselves." ..... "If you're black and you're trying to get ahead in politics, you're not going to join Trinity," says Dwight Hopkins, a Trinity member who is also a professor at U. of C.'s Divinity School. "Not because it's radical — it isn't radical in its context. But it would be safer to join a North Side ecumenical church — the sort of place where people are quiet. They stand up, sit down, listen and leave." ....... his response to controversy isn't to walk out of the room but to try to understand what's fueling the fire ...... Obama is counting on voters to accept nuance in an arena that almost always rewards simplicity over complexity. ..... After he delivered his speech, Obama found his wife Michelle backstage. She was weeping. He shared a quiet, emotional moment with her. Then Obama was all business again. "What's next?"
Reaction to the Obama Speech a serious speech about the incendiary topic of race in America ..... Whether he likes it or not, and whether Americans generally like it or not, race is a big part of this election ..... race isn't just another issue; it is THE issue of American history .... He actually needs to have the racial debate continue until it exhausts the media and the electorate as a whole. If he has to confront racial division in October in a major way, he will lose the election. By October, he needs to have the media and voters say, "We've already finished with this subject. What about Iraq? What about the economy?" ....... honest, frank, measured in tone, inclusive and hopeful ...... he appeared wise beyond his years and genuinely presidential. ..... truly a transcendent speech and a remarkable piece of oratory. ...... connect the concerns of black Americans with the needs of unemployed white men and underemployed white women. ...... a stunning effort: both to expose the seamy elements of racism to public view and to redefine the issue for the future as the challenge of building opportunity. ...... white men who have proven one of the toughest political nuts for the Obama campaign to crack ..... centuries of racial tensions that have been part of Pennsylvania politics ..... there's one town — York — that surrendered to the South before the battle of Gettysburg ....... John Kerry got hammered just for protesting the Vietnam War, a war that George W. Bush ducked. A black candidate named Barack Hussein Obama can't have questions about his patriotism, and commitment to America, not if he is going to beat a genuine war hero. ...... The Internet is a powerful thing ...... I thought the speech was incredibly honest and personal. Very few politicians in this country, black or white, could have given an authentic speech like that and speak to the experiences of every American. I don't think these issues are going away, but Obama changed the terms of the debate. From the start, the promise of his candidacy has been about moving beyond petty politics and confronting the big issues confronting the country. He did that today. There are likely lots of voters giving him a second look today who had previously written him off. ....... He's unlike any other politician ..... the most profound speech about race that I could recall in my lifetime. .... A bunch of consultants did not dream this up. He denounced Wright but stood by him and compared him to his grandmother, that is politically risky. ...... an incredibly honest speech ...... nothing in American politics is more divisive or more volatile than race: not political parties, not ideology, not abortion, not gun rights, not war and peace. ......... today's Quinnipiac Pennsylvania poll showing sharpening African-American support for Obama and sharpening white support for Senator Clinton.
Obama's Bold Gamble on Race Politicians don't give speeches like the one Barack Obama delivered this morning at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Certainly presidential candidates facing the biggest crisis of their campaigns don't. ...... the breathtakingly unconventional speech Obama gave ..... "As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me." ...... Obama declared today that the only way to transcend race is to focus on it rather than downplay it — to acknowledge its sometimes oppressive presence in American life, in the form of both black anger and white alienation. ....... seek to understand those whose emotions seem threatening, wrong-headed ...... the anger behind Rev. Wright's comments, while paralyzing, was also valid, the result of decades and centuries of real discrimination and oppression ...... asked blacks to understand that whites who resent affirmative action and whose fears of crime lead them to stereotype blacks should not be dismissed as racists, because their concerns and fears are real and valid, too. ....... Obama's speech was profound, one of the most remarkable by a major public figure in decades. ...... race still divides us ....... Explicitly asking Americans to grapple with racial divisions, and then transcend them — that's a bold request.
Joe Klein on Obama's Speech comparing apples and freight trains .... unequivocal in his candor about black anger and white resentment—sentiments that few mainstream politicians acknowledge ...... free-trade agreements like NAFTA have only a marginal impact on the loss of manufacturing jobs and that it will be impossible to end the war in Iraq in 16 months. ...... For many Americans, the Wright flap is the third thing they've learned about Obama. The first two were that he is black and has a "funny" name. All too many voters don't get beyond first impressions ...... the media—where cynicism too often passes for insight
Clinton's Hopes for Florida Fade
Will Dean's War on Florida Backfire? So now, just as that state party is regaining full use of its limbs, it defies credulity to watch Dean and the DNC go out of their way to chop them off. ..... Third World countries like Mexico today hold more modern and truly democratic primaries than America's, whose Iowa- and New Hampshire-centric traditions seem as atavistic to a lot of people as using groundhogs to forecast the arrival of spring.
Barack Obama Linked to New Controversial Preacher FOXNews Trinity helps the poor. Trinity feeds the hungry. Trinity does things for the homeless. ...... he has said some pretty horrible things, denounced Hollywood Jews. He has called being gay an evil sickness. His church has held a party where they sent gay people to hell. ...... do you accept the idea that Barack Obama isn't responsible for every single thing that someone who supports him says ...... many people outside the black community have no idea what goes on in the black church. What is being done at Trinity is mainstream black churches. ....... that G.D. America, that the American government caused AIDS, that America is the worst terrorist nation on earth.
McCain gains edge over Dems, Clinton over Obama Baltimore Sun
Obama Accuses Clinton of “Bankrolling” Re-Vote
CBS News
Clinton Presses Obama on Efforts For Revotes in Florida and Michigan Washington Post
Clinton challenges Obama to agree to new Michigan, Florida primaries Kansas City Star
Clinton gets Voters Rights Fever
ABC News 368 Florida and Michigan delegates ..... Two Clinton-backing governors, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jon Corzine of New Jersey, have even lined up donors to help pay for the contest because Michigan's and Florida's governors say the states will not foot the bill. ..... officials from both states now say that revotes seem unlikely. ..... it's a mess for those important battleground states and Republicans are loving every minute of it.
Clinton opens up White House files The Age
Looking ahead: Clinton still up in PA MSNBC Clinton’s lead keeps growing. ..... Clinton leading by 16 points, 51% to 35% ..... one in five of each candidate’s backers said they would vote for McCain if the other person won the Democratic nomination.

Analysis: Obama goes beyond generalities on race Boston Globe added gravitas to a candidacy that some have found superficial ..... few have tried to capture Lincoln's almost mournful tone of parsing painful issues, piece by piece, in reference to timeless principles ...... the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed .... the moment that Obama got a little more down and dirty ..... a nation confronting its sins and overcoming its deeply held fears and prejudices.
Speech Aimed at Diverse Audiences Draws Some Comparisons to JFK Washington Post "He was between the devil and deep blue sea, and he did a good job ..... As skilled an orator as Obama is, he has faced few moments as fraught as yesterday's. .... clips of his longtime spiritual mentor declaring "God damn America" for its mistreatment of blacks and saying that the country had provoked the Sept. 11, 2001 ..... The speech drew praise across the political spectrum ....... "If he wins the presidency, this will be seen as a very important speech." ...... a friend of Wright's, clapped in his living room as Obama lauded Wright for "housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day-care services and scholarships and prison ministries." ...... "All of us from that generation had to go around through the back door, had to ride in the segregated portion of the train. That anger can keep us marred down in the mud, or it can be creatively used.
Nepal Maoists face the ballot box Reuters Canada
Giuliani, After Campaign, Returns to Private Sector Wall Street Journal
Dalai Lama Threatens to Resign New York Times threatened to resign as leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile in the event of spiraling bloodshed in his homeland. ..... remained committed to only nonviolent agitation and greater autonomy for Tibetans, not independence
Invited to Wrestle in a Racial Mud Pit, Obama Soars Above It Washington Post those whites who want Obama to "transcend race" while they get to hold on to their racist ways. ..... Right-wing TV commentators then detonated it with ignorant vitriol, including an insinuation by Pat Buchanan that Wright was a black David Duke, the former leader of the white terrorist organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, and that Obama was the disciple of a hateful man. ...... I no longer wanted to risk getting stuck in a racial tar pit with Buchanan ..... the racial divide, the gap in black and white perceptions of reality ...... connect slavery to black suffering today. .... inferior, racially segregated schools that still haven't been fixed "50 years after Brown versus Board of Education."
Obama's history, and America's Boston Globe Obama took the opportunity to engage the question of race in America, starting a bold, uncomfortably honest conversation. He asked Americans to talk openly about the deep wells of anger and resentment over racism, discrimination, and affirmative action. It's a call to break out of the country's racial stalemate and finally reach a new national understanding....... European immigrants have shortened multisyllabic names to fit in. ..... building a better America, one with stronger schools, better health care, reliable voting machines, fairer taxes, strong roads and bridges, and a healthy economy.
Clinton Tries to Keep Plan for Two Revotes Alive New York Times Florida officially scuttled plans for a new vote and Michigan lawmakers appeared far from a deal. ...... Michigan Democrats are divided, that a revote would not make much difference in the overall delegate count ..... “I also question the legality of someone raising private money to conduct a public election.”