The Speech

by matttbastard

Seems like everyone and their dog has something to say about The Speech, including nu-school academic racist Charles Murray, who *gasp* loved it (buh?!):

Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I’m concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols…. But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie.

The end is nigh.

John Derbyshire, responding to a portion of Obama’s speech that references school segregation, provides a more traditional National Review perspective on race (h/t Mini-Marty @ The Plank):

It’s true that there is widespread school segregation today. In my state, 60 percent of black students attend schools that are at least 90-percent black. From what I can see, the main reason for this is the great reluctance of nonblack parents to send their kids to schools with too many black students (emphasis added). Do you think that they — actually we, as my wife and I share this reluctance — are wrong to think like this?

Perhaps sensing that he may have crossed the fine line between dog whistle and rape whistle (oopsie), Derb has since quietly updated his post:

From what I can see, the main reason for this is the great reluctance of nonblack parents to send their kids to schools with too many black students, which they assume are beset by all the problems associated with poorly run public schools.

O…k…thanks for clearing that up. Now step away from the shovel, asshole–slowly. Oh, and put down the well-thumbed copy of Lolita too while you’re at it.

Best comment goes to DDay @ Hullabaloo (h/t Tom Watson):

I have a problem with these expected blog posts on expected speeches that the dynamics of 21st-century campaigns demand. This election has turned into some kind of bizarre series of rituals, like an season of Greek theater where everybody knows the plot and the audience is left to judge the work on the presentation. The parade of comment, counter-comment, conference call about comment, distancing from comment, and major speech incorporating remarks about comment is the real distraction in this campaign, diverting from a looming economic recession (a recession at BEST) and a tragic stalemate in Iraq. Rarely does anything good for the country come out of this exchange.

Furthermore, I’m sick and tired of this “action figure” conservatism where a bunch of stay-at-home bloggers decide for others what they should do in particular situations. “If I were Obama, I would have stood up during the sermon and fired a poison dart at Rev. Wright and talked about the need to cut the capital gains tax!” The imagined fantasies of these clowns resemble a Chuck Norris movie, when the realities involve far more Cheetos and nasal spray.

Can I get an amen?

Elsewhere: More analysis from Pam Spaulding, Melissa, Kyle, dnA (who was pleasantly surprised by the content of The Speech), publius, Steve M., Taylor Owen, Steven Taylor, Jill Hussein C. and the usual shit-load of citizen pundits @ Memeorandum.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

10 thoughts on “The Speech

  1. Barack Obama would be better if he didn’t want to both have his cake and eat it. It’s good he would like to see America rise above race and religion. But he sabotages himself by trying to hide the non-race aspects of his personal THEOLOGY. See:

    [thanks for coming out–plz to be not letting door hit ur ass –mb]


  2. Ya know, I’ll give you an amen. All of this is a distraction. The speech itself was a distraction, and yet somehow a necessary one because as this is a season in Greek drama, the drama must be played out.

    All one can hope for was that Obama played his part well enough that no one else really wants to get on the stage for fear of being upstaged.

    Hopefully I’m staying in the metaphor properly.

    No, I wish he didn’t have to give that speech, and I only read it, didn’t get the chance to watch it, but from what I’ve read around the internets, it seems very much as though he seemed not to want to give it either.


    I’m still wishing this whole damn thing was over already.


  3. Except this speech wasn’t just about race and religion, in fact, he was suggesting that religion was the illusion or distraction. His speech was about the intersection of race, class and gender that works to oppress the many, and thus the commonality most share and thus work together to take those of the few with the most power, resources, money and influence in the social/economic sphere.
    This is no post-modern relativism, but critical analysis at the local and global level.


  4. There is one point, when he claims that in no other country would the particular circumstances of his birth be possible. Uh, newsflash, that’s common in the Caribbean, and not particularly UNcommon in Canada.

    I am African, Scottish, Irish, East Indian, Carib, and Portuguese (that I know). My half-sister throws Ukrainian into that mix as well as more Scot-Irish. Christmas in our extended family (and the non-Christian branches also attend) looks like a UN meeting.

    I’d love to be able to claim that race is not an issue anywhere these mixes are possible/common, but no, not yet.

    I’d also like to imagine that having had this particular barrier broken, the US would move on past this obsession, but I doubt it immensely (I have dated three Americans, all white, and yes, I can tell you there is a HUGE difference between even NYC and Toronto when it comes to other people’s reactions to interracial couples).

    I keep wonder what century will it have to be before we will finally act like grown-ups.


  5. I haven’t read any commentary on Obama’s speech so apologies if this has already been said many times by others.
    Not much of an Obama fan – his foreign policy statements are worrying – but that was the speech of a leader. Haven’t heard its like since MLK, who also used to make the point that race problems must be overcome inclusively and honestly and head on, or we’ll never even get around to dealing with poverty and social injustice.


  6. Hahahahahaha!!! Yeah, Christian Profit, Newt F’ing Gingrich is going to bring real change, not brainwashed Marxist Obama change.



  7. Finally got to “the Speech’ about an hour ago.

    In short…

    “Bottom of the seventh, two outs, bases loaded. Here comes the pitch. It’s over the plate. Obama swings… and it’s long fly ball heading for centre field.

    Back, back, back, back, back, back… Waaaaaay back… and IT’S OVER THE WALL”

    (h/t to the legendary Red Barber via Chris Berman)


  8. Gigi, had the same reaction re: the Caribbean (T & T most particularly) and Canada, but then again Obama’s narrative arc is specifically about the US and their history of race relations and for a US audience. The Caribbean nations and Canada aren’t ‘real’ countries to many.

    I can tell you there is a HUGE difference between even NYC and Toronto when it comes to other people’s reactions to interracial couples

    Yep. Living in Vancoubver I often have to remind myself that the reality here isn’t the norm. (wish I could find the link to backup, but a few years back there was a study printed in the Vancouver Sun that showed Vancouver as having the highest rate of interracial dating/marriage in North America and the highest rate of acceptance.)


  9. I think it was pretty much Race Relations 101 but as long as my people keep defining their experience of ‘race’ as their first contact with The Other and not where it actually begins–at conception–101 is about as advanced as they can handle.
    Shoot, from some of the quotes above, there may be a need for remedial courses. /sigh/


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