Mhambi has been redeployed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama makes nuanced, complicated, risky race speech

Barack Obama delivered on Tuesday the kind of speech rarely seen in Western politics. It sounded heartfelt, and certainly treaded on dangerous ground for his candidacy. Because it was nuanced, sophisticated and eschewed shallow sound bytes.

Said Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post.

Most people, of course, aren't sitting around watching speeches on morning cable. They will form impressions of the speech from the TV coverage and the newspaper headlines. In short, a long, discursive rumination about race will be sliced and diced by our sound-bite culture.

I don't know whether this defuses the Wright problem or not. Obama seemed absolutely determined not to disavow him, and that won't help him politically, no matter what the chattering classes say.

And the New York Times said:

"The speech violated several conventions of campaign discourse -- for one, the injunction that all politicians must speak about racial and ethnic groups in upbeat stereotypes.

Presidential politics usually requires candidates to either wholly adopt or reject positions and people. Mr. Obama did neither with his pastor, rejecting his most divisive statements but also filling in the picture of Mr. Wright and his church... He admitted that his pastor is both a divisive figure and an inspiring one."

Obama claimed that he could not disown his ex black pastor Mr. Wright, who caused the furore by lambasting a racist and corrupt America, like he could not disown his white grandmother. She once confessed a fear of black men to him and made derogatory remarks on more than one occasion he said.

The reason he could not reject them is Obama said, because they are all part of him and of America. Because these racial views is the reality for many black and white Americans outside of polite company. It can't be wished away.

Sjoe, Mhambi wonders if any South African politician will have this ability to see the anger and fears of all sides any time soon? A bit like mister Mandela.

Let's hope this complicated honesty has not sunk Obama, who increasingly seems like a rare political animal. Principled, brave and intelligent. One I increasingly like.

If the USA still elects Obama, South Africa will seem light years behind with its crippling racial politics.

Obama's ex pastor and church say they campaign for black self determination. Obama still defends the reverend Mr. Wright saying he has always treated whites with respect. Sounds a bit like Afrikaners defending Karel Boshof.

As a minority is the US I have allot of sympathy for black Americans. It's interesting that how in the US, if you have some black blood, your considered black by the majority of the population. And in South Africa, if you have some non black blood, you are considered not African.

Obama would have been considered coloured (mixed race) in South Africa and not black enough to become president.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: