So on Rev. Wright again, here’s the whole Obama race speech. Kevin Drum did a good job picking excerpts that in which Obama shows how he intends to reach across America’s racial divides. James Fallows says that this, not the Mitt Romney’s speech, is equivalent to the JFK speech on Catholicism.
The really short version is that there’s resentment in the African American community as a result of terrible treatment by the government, with older members like Rev. Wright having lived through segregation. Moreover, the legacy of that discrimination does still live on, even though the situation has improved.
At the same time, many white and other Americans had the immigrant experience, feel they earned what they got, didn’t directly discriminate against anyone, and have been having a hard time economically. With the stagnating median wage and many people losing jobs, things look like a zero-sum game and any advantage given to someone else breeds resentment as well.
People tend not to talk about these resentments in mixed company and any discussion tends to be controversial, which further widens the gap. That said, he specified that Rev. Wright’s mistake was seeing America as static and missing both some changes that had happened and the hope for the future. Obama proposes both an ethic of individual responsibility and economic and education policies to benefit all American workers and break the cycle of poverty.
Anyways, that’s obviously a vast oversimplification, but if you want more detail click above. Suffice to say I’m proud to be backing him. As he said, no election or candidate is really going to magical heal America’s race divides, but I think he may be in a position to make real progress both against drivers of resentment and some of the factors that lead to some elements of the African American community being in a poverty trap.