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Why the Senator's speech will rank with Mlk's
Published on March 24, 2008 By Bahu Virupaksha In Current Events
Race as a political issue exploded in a big way due to the indiscreet sermons of the pastor of the United Trinity Church, Rev Jermaiah Wright. The US media is aghast at the observation of the pastor that racism is alive and truly well in the USA. The liberal media that has thrived on the general atmosphere of political correctness is unable or unwilling to face up to the reality of racism in the social and political life of the USA. Senator Barack Obama gave a speech in Philadelphia in which he answered the critics and in so doing gave one of the most impressive speeches of US political history and will rank along with Lincoln's Gettysberg address and Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech. What unites both these great rhetorical acts is that they deal with the eternal issues of liberty, freedom and human dignity and Senator Obama reiterated these values in a highly effective manner. Why is race and racism so difficult for the USA to face. AS the Senator put it: The "original sin" of slavery. With emancipation came nearly a century of segregation along with the infamous "jim Crow" laws. Did the USA move beyond thesemajor maoral and political issues. Yes, undoubtedly. The civil rights's movement was a great step forward in the right direction. What the rev Wright is saying is that opportunities for the African American have been restricted due to a pattern of what some sociologists call Institutionalised Racism" in which opportunities for quality education and well paying jobs are denied to the under class. It is this fact that breeds resentment that finds its utterance in the violelt and vehement rhetoric of Rev Wright and his fellow spiritual leaders of the Afro American flock. A few years back, when I was in Graduate school I read Herbert Guttmann's The Black Familiy from Slavery to Freedom and Edward Fox Genovese's Roll Jordan Roll: The world the Slaves made. In both these excellent treatises the horrendous reality of slavery is documented and it is this history that stands in the way of the economic and political advancement of the Black population. The very triumph of Barack Obama in these primaries has sent a positive message to the black population and the good the his campaign is doing to the cultural fabric of American society is beiong undermined by the repeated broadcast of the soundbites taken out of context. Senator Barack Obama has very effectively drawn attention to this fact and thereby turned a huge public relations disaster into an opportunity for self reflection and attonement. The over representation of black youth in the US prison system has called for a lot of soulf searching in the society. The lack of economic opportunities are turning the youth to crime and drugs and Rev Wright and others like him are quite right to draw attention to the abiding links between social empowerment, education and economic advancement. Senator Barack Obama in his Audacity of Hope has shown that there are great opportunities in USA and the African American population must reach out and grab those opportunities. The message of Senator Barack Obama has begun to resonate very positively in the Balck population and so the debate must move on beyond the 5 second soundbite taken out of context.
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