March 21, 2008

Desperately needing dialogue

More thoughts on what columnist Nicholas Kristof calls the best political speech since 1960:

Obama and Race[T]he furor over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s inflammatory sermons shows that Mr. Obama erred in an earlier speech—the 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention that catapulted him to fame.

In that speech, Mr. Obama declared that “there is not a black America and a white America... . There’s the United States of America.” That’s a beautiful aspiration, and we’re making progress toward it. But this last week has underscored that we’re not nearly there yet.

The outrage over sermons by Mr. Wright demonstrates how desperately we as a nation need the dialogue about race that Mr. Obama tried to start with his speech on Tuesday.
The gulf between black and white America:Right after the O.J. Simpson murder trial, a CBS News poll found that 6 out of 10 whites thought that the jury had reached the wrong verdict, while 9 out of 10 blacks believed it had decided correctly. Many African-Americans even believe that the crack cocaine epidemic was a deliberate conspiracy by the United States government to destroy black neighborhoods.

Much of the time, blacks have a pretty good sense of what whites think, but whites are oblivious to common black perspectives.

What’s happening, I think, is that the Obama campaign has led many white Americans to listen in for the first time to some of the black conversation—and they are thunderstruck.
Comment:  As usual, this analysis applies to other minorities as well. In particular, it applies to Indians. As we've seen, most whites have little or no idea Indians still exist, much less what they're thinking.

For more on the subject of America's racism, see Highlights of the US Report to the UN on Racism.

Below:  Other things that aren't on the minds of self-satisfied Americans: melting ice caps, concentration camps, and rampant commercialism. Not to mention broken treaties, underfunded social services, and assaults on tribal sovereignty.

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