Lauren In Tokyo

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama stumbles on Pastor Wright issue

On Anderson Cooper 360 this evening, I saw Obama's response to Pastor Wright's inflammatory remarks and was disappointed in his inability to take control of the issue and turn it to his advantage. He seemed a bit evasive when confronted with the issue, and his denunciation of Wright was unfortunately not strong enough to truly distance himself from the controversial preacher.

What strikes me, though, is that the segments that I have seen of Wright's sermons is run of the mill black empowerment speech. While there is perhaps a slight tinge of reverse-racism that insinuates that white people are somehow less attuned to "real" American life because they are not subject to the humiliations and hurdles that blacks face, I don't see it as technically incorrect nor do I detect true racist overtones in Wright's words.

Obama wants to run a clean campaign, but I wonder if he couldn't have embraced this man as a strong supporter of the Chicago African American community which faces unique challenges in its unique way, and also personally distanced himself from the specific words that do not reflect his beliefs. He seemed to try to do just this, but his hemming and hawing wasn't the same strikingly clear orator that we saw in New Hampshire. Which is a shame, since I think that his answer was very human.

Did anyone else notice that his ears were very red?

Update: David Gergen just mentioned what I just said. Namely that the conversation that has been going on in the Black community for the past few decades has been strikingly different from the conversation that has been going on in the White community. The shock that people now hearing this type of inflammatory speech is due to ignorance of the boiling undercurrent in the black community.



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