Skip to comments.Obama confronts racial division in US (condemns pastor's remarks but says 'anger is real')
Posted on 03/18/2008 9:33:35 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
PHILADELPHIA - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to stem damage from divisive comments delivered by his pastor, while bluntly addressing anger between blacks and whites in the most racially pointed speech yet of his presidential campaign.
Obama confronted America's legacy of racial division head on, tackling black grievance, white resentment and the uproar over his former pastor's incendiary statements. Drawing on his half-black, half-white roots as no other presidential hopeful could, Obama asserted: "This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected."
Obama expressed understanding of the passions on both sides in what he called "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years."
"But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races," he said in a speech at the National Constitution Center, not far from where the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
Obama rarely talks so openly about his race in such a prominent way, but his speech covered divisions from slavery to the O.J. Simpson trial to the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He also recognized his race has been a major issue in the campaign that has taken a "particularly divisive turn" in the last few weeks as video of his longtime pastor spread on the Internet and on television.
Obama said the sermons delivered by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright "rightly offend white and black alike." Those sermons from years ago suggested the United States brought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on itself and say blacks continue to be mistreated by whites.
While Obama rejected what Wright said, he also embraced the man who inspired his Christian faith, officiated at his wedding, baptized his daughters and has been his spiritual guide for nearly 20 years.
"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community," Obama said, speaking in front of eight American flags. "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."
Obama said he knew Wright to occasionally be a fierce critic of U.S. policy and that the pastor sometimes made controversially remarks in church that he disagreed with, but he said he never heard Wright talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms. The comments that have become a source of debate recently "were not only wrong but divisive" and have raised questions among voters, he said.
"I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way," he said. "But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man."
He said he came to Wright's church because he was inspired by Wright's message of hope and his inspiration to rebuild the black community.
Obama said Wright's comments have sparked a discussion that reflect complexities of race in the United States that its people have never really resolved.
"We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country," Obama said. "But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow."
Obama said anger over those injustices often find voice in black churches on Sunday mornings. "The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning," he said.
Obama argued that the anger often distracts from solving real problems and bringing change. But he said it also exists in some segments of the white community that feels blacks are often given an unfair advantage through affirmative action.
"If we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American," Obama said, drawing a rare burst of applause in a somber address.
Obama said one of the tasks of his campaign to be the first black president is "to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America."
Che’nge Agent for the generations
way to throw your Grandmother under the bus while trying to extract yourself from under the wheels.
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill.,
speaks about race during an address in Philadelphia, Tuesday,
March 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The liberals are going on and on about what a great speech this was, but the clips I saw showed a man playing some serious defense and having to defend a man who is inherently indefensible.
If you read the text of the original speech ( posted on drudge) - he’s saying a lot of things that americans want to hear. He’s bringing the 800lb gorilla out of the closet, and saying okay, we have a gorilla, percieved differently by different americans,let’s not argue that, now what can we agree upon to get it to go away..... pretty seductive argument
They pretended that he was a different kind of black liberal.
They lied, as did he.
It's no surprise he's sticking with Wright, after all he's been molding Barack Obama for virtually all of his adult life.
“But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.”
I, nor anyone in my family history, had anything to do with slavery or Jim Crow laws. They can all bugger off.
A Nation of Victims
“Obama argued that the anger often distracts from solving real problems and bringing change. But he said it also exists in some segments of the white community that feels blacks are often given an unfair advantage through affirmative action.”
I haven’t heard that level of animosity and hatred, ever. Most whites I know try pretty hard to exercise good will and when the level of hatred as evidenced by Wright’s sermon arise, then I look with different eyes at those around us and begin to realize that nothing we do will ever be good enough.
My people were not here during slavery. But, because I have white skin, I am immediately judged.
That is the definition of racism.
I will not vote for Obama.
This guy is a tower of jello. Imagine him sitting across the table from someone like Vlad Putin during a negotiation of some kind!
The dominant media will of course hail Hussein`s speech
as one of the best ever and joe sixpack will eat it up.
Fact is he can`t explain listening to a racist hate-
mongering liberation theologian aka marxist for 20 years!
The rest of his speech attempted to unite everyone in
claiming that everyone`s failings in life is the fault of
corporations and capitalism.
So if you`re not a socialist/marxist who believes in
a “social gospel” aka liberation theology aka marxist,
then you must be a RACIST !
“....to condemn it without understanding its roots...”
Go ahead, ORacist. Give us the SPECIFIC historical context for the “roots” of black anger. The vast majority of angry blacks were born after 1950 and thus have no basis for their anger. None.
This is all about the comforting feeling of having a perpetual chip on your shoulder, and the security blanket of having a built-in excuse for your failings. Fomented of course by a disgusting plethora of self-hating white liberals who masochistically rise to this ongoing race-baiting.
That speech should have been entitled “Throw Grandma from the Train!” I’m sick of hearing the same old,same old whining concerning blacks and slavery ,gross mistreatment wah ,wah.. I do not want a president who feels compelled to defend”his people” for the next four to eight years ,depending on how misguided people would be to vote for him.He has every bit as much resentment to whites as his “misguided wife and or minister. He hides it much better.That cackling sound-Hillary celebrating. God help us.
For a week he has said he never heard such remarks from his pastor but he admitted in his speech that he was there and heard them.
After spending the past week denying to the contrary,.....
He made the statement in his speech today: "Did I ever hear him (Wright) make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church?"
This is among the finest damage control efforts I've seen, nothing more.
I call shenanigans.
Now I'm off to find my broomstick, I think I'm going to need it pretty soon.
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