I am sitting here at work in my classroom observing my 8th grade students and making sure that they are doing the work I assigned to them. Yet my mind is on the speech I heard about two hours ago that Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama gave on race. As the title of this post indicates, I believe he hit a home run.
Obama was facing unbelievable pressure due to the recent airing of the so called controversial remarks from his former pastor Dr. Jeremiah Wright which were critical of America and its past racial practices. He could have abandoned the Reverend who resigned from the spiritual wing of his campaign and who recently retired from the pulpit. However, he did not. While condemning Wright's comments he stood by the man who he repeated helped lead him to his Christian faith, mentored him, officiated at his wedding and baptized his children. He said he could no more distance himself from the Reverend than he could the Black Community or his White Grandmother who he revealed was known to utter racist epithets in his presence.
I could mention other things in depth but in summary he linked the Reverend's comments to this nation's birth in the midst of slavery, the civil war, the civil rights struggle all the way to what he called the racial stalemate in America. He explained the anger that is contained in not only the African American community but segments of the working class White community as well.
In terms of his performance, the Senator was poised, calm, cool but also forceful on expressing his beliefs and principles. I believe that it was a make or break performance and he passed with flying colors. A home run in other words. Immediately on my local progressive talk station on the Stephanie Miller Show, I heard countless people who were moved by the speech. One African American woman called in from her job crying because Obama's speech moved her so.
Now I am not saying this because I am an Obama supporter. I listened to the speech with an analytical approach. However, I believe that he played this particular aspect of the game well and it will pay off.
Great Performance Senator, keep it up.