Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama, Race and the NY TIMES II

In the four articles printed in today's hard copy of the NY TIMES about Obama's More Perfect Union speech, none quoted or commented upon this quotation:
Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.
one article with out this quotation
article with out this quotation
third article with out this quotation
fourth article with out this quotation

The above quotation from his speech was NOT INCLUDED in the excerpts from his speech printed in the hard copy of the paper today.

This is a significant omission, and a revealing one. It is okay to talk about race and racism as long as we don't link it to the economic structure of this country. Liberals (and the NY TIMES is nothing if not the bastion of liberalism) don't want to reveal or acknowledge the connection between economics and all the other strata (politics, religions, race, gender, etc) within which we move. Obama is wrong to assert that all americans share the same dream and that we can pursue our dreams not at the expense of other's dreams. Not so. Many people dream of a decent home, a safe and nurturing community, health care as a civil right, and a job that pays a living wage (such a dream if pursued collectively not a zero sum game). Others, however, dream of getting rich. And there's the rub. It is this latter dream that comes at the expense of the former dream.

If there is going to be an honest and open debate about race in this country (as Obama has just challenged us to have), it will have to include how our economic system depends on divide and conquer methods (race is one of those). Clearly, Obama thinks it should. It is up to the rank and file to create grassroots movements to put pressure on other power brokers to do the same. Obama is right to be hopeful, our system is extremely responsive to grassroots, popular pressure. Obama can inspire, create a rhetorical placeholder, but it is up to us, the people, to come together. And that takes a lot of tedious work as well as rewarding relationships.


janinsanfran said...

Great catch. I was on the road, so didn't read the coverage.

Duane Campell said...

Thanks for catching this.
I had not read the articles. The speech led to an intense discussion in my classes.