Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Obama's Speech on Racism - part 2

Earlier this week, I posted a synopsis of Obama's speech on racism. I also drew analogies to Dan Quayle's speech on Murphy Brown. What a strange combination, but go read my post if you question in. (I did take a pot-shot at Al Gore - no apologies).

Today, I want to comment on the first half of Sen. Obama's speech (the second half transitioned to other politics) which was purely about racisim.

Basically, I agree with everything Obama said in this part of his speech. The senator for Illinois is very articulate and obviously educated. He made good reference to our Constitution and the way it was formed. He also realized that government may be able to end slavery, but it can't end prejudice.

Most impressive to me, is the fact that Obama doesn't believe everyone who utters a racial slur is in fact a racist. Obama talks about his own white grandmother who expressed fear of blacks and made comments that today are considered unacceptable. But from his tone, he still loves his grandmother, despite her prejudices.

I also support Obama's directions to help resolve some of the problems. He talks about the responsibilities of parenthood and the need for personal responsibility. He talks about about black & white getting along and realizing that racism is real, but not necessarily the source of every problem. And he talks about racism being a distraction to solving real problems.

I can find nothing wrong with anything Sen. Obama said about racism. He accepts responsibility himself and makes it personal. He challenges you and me. He also admits that government (or "parchment") is not the way to solve every problem.

I'll talk more about the other parts in his speech in another post.


Anonymous said...

You know, enough is enough. I don't think Obama's grandmother is a racist. This woman raised and supported him. The only thing she did was to express fear and that's not racism. Did you know that recently a mob marched to this poor woman's home and burned an effigy of her? I know that nobody cries or feel sympathy for Obama's grandmother. But as a grandmother I do.

Randy Barnett said...

Anon, I agree with you, that she's not a racist. And that's my point. Even if she made comments with racial slurs (who knows how many years ago), that doesn't mean she's a racist. And I think that's Obama's point too.

I didn't know she had a mob come to her home (didn't even know she's still alive). I think that relates directly to Obama's statements, we should not make an issue of race.

My heart goes out to her.

dpotts said...

I've always felt that a lot of the time the real issue was not racism, but ignorance. People are fearful and, sometimes, condescending about what they don't understand. Just think for a second about how many people in the country think that all Muslims are terrorists. I've tried to explain countless times that there are many different types of Islam, but rarely do I ever convince anyone. But if I start talking about the many different types of Christianity they have no problem accepting some and rejecting others, all while refusing to believe the same could be true in Islam.

Randy Barnett said...

I think I agree with that, ignorance not racism. Education can cure a lot of the ignorance. I have seen a person close to me that held some deep racial prejudices actually change their attitude towards some of their "target" minority once they learned more about the individual.

I also agree with Obama's comments (in talks about the speech) that the feelings are "bred". By that, I think he means that they are taught by those around us. I grew up with some prejudices but didn't see others. For example, I never heard a negative word about Jews. When I grew older and heard prejudiced comments, I was confused.

The main point I got out of this was that not all people who are ignorant are racist.