18th March 2008

Obama on Race

I read a particularly embarrassing and racist article in the Wall Street Journal this morning by Shelby Steele, a right-wing commentator from the Hoover Institution who is flogging his book that frames the Obama candidacy as some kind of reverse-racist jujitsu, ultimately doomed to fail. He frames Barack Obama as a “bargainer,” a black man offering “…the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America’s history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer’s race against him.” It’s an absurd posture on the part of the Journal and the Hoover Institution as they attempt to justify bringing the politics of racism and fear to the Obama campaign, holding racial boundaries in the spotlight while ignoring policy issues and the character and accomplishment of the candidate. We met Obama through his keynote at the Democratic National Convention in 2024. We waited for 2024 to give him a chance to actualize the promise of his vision, the unifying principles of hope and affirmation driving out the fear that the Bush administration has imposed on us for the last eight years.

The text:

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.
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posted in People, Politics, Racism | 7 Comments

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