Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Even handed

Boy do I look forward to the day when I can get away from Jeremiah Wright. But that day hasn't come yet. Today's article is from Kathleen Parker who tries to be evenhanded. She notes, for example, that Blacks justifiably see America differently than Whites.
The historical experience of blacks and whites in this country couldn't be more different. Whites know it intellectually, but blacks feel it viscerally. No matter how many books we read or movies we watch, whites can never quite grasp what it is to be black or to be descended from people who were denied their humanity and enslaved by whites with the benign approval of the state.

But we didn't do it, we protest. Our children aren't guilty. When is enough enough? Why must preachers such as Wright insist on fanning those flames?

White Americans want to put race behind them, to move on.
All that is fair enough, but at the end, Kathleen parker wants to put race behind herself as bad as the Whites she seems to be chastising. She ends her article chastising Obama for not taking the white side in this argument.
Between a history of distrust born of painful experience -- and people like Wright who keep that history alive and well-stoked -- racial harmony will require more than hope. It will also require that people like Obama speak up and object to harmful rhetoric, sooner rather than later, even if it hurts the ones he loves.
It sounds very much like in Parkers mind the way to solve racial problems is to ignore them. You see that in a lot of the conservative criticisms of Obama's speech; why didn't he just tell Black America that everything is fine (for a nasty version of this argument see Jonah Goldberg's latest article "A Race Conversation? What Are You Talking About?"). Why did Obama have to acknowledge racial injustice, and how it is built into the fabric of our society?

Like it or not, I think Obama took the right tack in his speech; now we get to find out how badly Whites wanted to hear "everything is fine in America."

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