A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

As nicely crafted and delivered. . .

. . .as it was, Obama's speech came up short. It contained the required acknowledgments, though it made a rather unfair comparison between Geraldine Ferraro and Jeremiah Wright that I think undermined their premise. Still, the actual substance of the speech was very good, and something America could use a lot more of.

Where the speech fell short is the fact that it simply wasn't delivered directly to the audience that needed to hear it most. Since the issue fully erupted from the pulpit of a black nationalist church, that is where it should have been delivered, and where it should be repeated over and over again.

There is no shortage of self-flagellation among whites over the issue. On any given evening, your typical white political junkie can find all manner of opportunities to hear the litany of evils that our society continues to perpetuate on the various minority communities in our nation. A quick trip through the channels on your typical cable provider will bring forth a practically limitless number of opportunities for whites to bathe in the guilt of past generations and the shame that the current one bears for not bathing deeply enough in it.

While it's refreshing to hear the acknowledgment that blacks are partly responsible for the divisions that set the people of America at odds, it's not something that many whites haven't been saying for years. And, while it's nice to hear a prominent, respected black man recognize that some whites have legitimate gripes with regard to the racial polarization in our nation, it simply doesn't go far enough. To walk away from the issue at this point would amount to nothing more than kicking it down the road.

White Americans sit down to a heart-to-heart on race every time they turn on a TV. We chide ourselves for our insensitivity at every turn. We dive into our self-mockery with abandon and participate in the ridicule of our own ignorance with glee. We heap scorn on one another for our failures, and derision for our lack of charity.

This is not a matter of "disowning" a pastor who embodies the good and bad of the community he represents. It's a matter of willingness to correct him and those who say similar things when they say them, and not when you're under the pressure of national campaign. It's about telling the Jeremiah Wrights of the world and his apologists right then and there that what they're doing is wrong, and not waiting until you find yourself sharing the harsh light of public scrutiny in a national campaign to do it. It's about reminding their followers that, though they may not be happy with the rate of progress, America is trying.

The only way that this chasm will ever be bridged is for people like Barack Obama to go where they can make a difference. Go to college campuses, black churches, BET, urban radio stations, block parties, Emancipation Day and Martin Luther King Day and Juneteenth celebrations, and Freaknik to make that speech. Wherever blacks are likely to hear the opposite of what Obama said today is where Obama needs to say it. That's where the anger and bitterness is perpetuated, and that's where it needs to be addressed.

UPDATE: Don't you hate it when you write up a blog post only to find that others (like Victor Davis Hanson) have said much the same thing, only much better?

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