When Will Obama Speak About Race and His Life?

Posted on Aug 28 2009 - 6:00am by Harrison
Will he speak from the heart about race?

Will he speak from the heart about race?

Obama’s mother was white, his father African.  He grew up not as a disadvantaged, poverty-stricken youth but he surely must have faced some sort of discrimination… maybe it only happened once, maybe it happened 100 times.  During his run for the nomination and the presidency, everyone was waiting for the racial cartoon or racist comments to come out… doesn’t seem like that really happened or it would have been on the cover of Newsweek or Time magazine.  Already we have had a few incidents regarding race… the Henry Louis Gates issue with the white police officer and cries of racism by Gates, the “Joker” poster which was called “racist” by some, and, most recently, the govenor of New York saying people were down on him because he is black.

President Obama held his absurd “beer summit” with Gates and the cop who arrested him and he made a few prefunctory remarks as one would expect regarding the matter (as well as some apologies for besmurching the police).  But did he really say anything substantiative regarding race?

Obviously we have never had a non-white as U.S. president so it would be tough to find a parallel to the issues of today but we can look back at someone who did face questions over his religion.  I am speaking of John Kennedy.  Here are a few things he said on September 12, 1960 regarding the question as to whether a Catholic could be president:

These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues — for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.

But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured — perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in — for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act[…]

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind[…]

He spoke about being Catholic and president.

He spoke about being Catholic and president.

Let’s be clear… being Catholic is not the same as being black, Asian, or anybody else who is not white… nobody can spot the Catholics from the Baptists on the street, after all, but Catholics, like blacks, have been the targets in the U.S. of many organizations including the Klu Klux Klan.  And Kennedy was the first Catholic elected president so his election did break a longstanding barrier.

My point is that Kennedy spoke from personal experience, from deep seated beliefs, and he addressed issues that were probably in the minds of many Americans rightly or wrongly.  I cannot remember hearing Barack Obama speak so personally of race or any discriminations he faced from whites in his life.  Perhaps I am mistaken in this conclusion (and if so please point it out) but I don’t think I am.

Obama does have the gift of gab.  He is a great speaker and his rhetoric is eloquent but this mainly seems to be when he is standing in front of a teleprompter.  He admits to having used drugs and having spent time around people whose lives went into the dumpster but where has our nation’s first non-white president taken us in terms of the racial discussion?

Maybe it is too much to ask of one man to single handedly lead an entire country into the racial debate because it would awaken extremists on the Left and the Right.  But I have this silly view that a president should lead the country from his or her deep seated beliefs.  And if Obama spoke from his heart, from personal experience, how could that be wrong?  Obviously he overcame a few challenges to become president and surely he must have learned a few things along the way.  But yet, with all of this, we have silence.

Another missed opportunity.

Another missed opportunity.

I view his lack of teaching on race kind of like I view his policy goals… he won’t draw a line in the sand and say: “This is what I believe!”  We have seen it with Obamakare and we have seen it with Gates Gate.  Obama will make a statement, catch some heat, then back off and say he just wants the best ideas let’s all be friends.  To me, these are not the qualities that define an American.

Americans, to me, are special people overall because they do say what they believe in, they take a stand, they zig when others zag whether it is throwing tea in Boston Harbor, rebuilding Europe after WWII, or pardoning a former president because it was the best interest of the nation to put things behind us.  America is a place where you can screw up and make mistakes but if you come clean about things and change your behavior people will give you a second, third, or even forth chance if you are “that good.”

I find that Obama is too smooth, too “above the fray” to truly be sincere.  When will we hear from him about a “driving while black” experience and what he learned from it?  I think the country would appreciate it and I know that I would gain a lot of respect for the man were he to speak from the heart.

What is most ironic, too, is that Democrats seem to portray themselves as the friends of minorities, the defender of the down trodden, etc.  And yet, though Obama gets “credit” for the first Hispanice Supreme Court justice, George W. Bush actually nominated the first Hispanic to that post (Estrada) and had the most ethnically diverse cabinet in U.S. history and spent more U.S. money on AIDS in Africa than any other president before him.

I think Democrats’ attempts to play the race card are becoming more and more frenzied because they are afraid of losing minority voters and thus they must try harder and harder to pander to those people in an attempt to keep them in the fold even if their policies (Cap and Trade, minimum wage, high taxes) actually hurt the most disadvantaged of society the hardest.

Once again, an example of reality not being in synch with someone’s narrative so it must be ignored.

To quote a line from the movie Ronin:  “Where there’s doubt there is none.”

13 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Cody D August 29, 2009 at 6:50 AM -

    “When will we hear from him about a “driving while black” experience and what he learned from it?”

    Really,is that it? Is that what we need to hear, more cop bashing? Why is it always the police who are racists? Why not a doctor, a waiter, a gardener, a dog walker or somebody else? I’m sure you made that statement with no ill intentions, but think about the tens of thousands of good, decent, caring, hard working police officers that statement just offended.

    I have no use for Uhbama or his ilk, I don’t give a rats behind that Kennedy died and I have no use for any democrat of any color. I do care that people who hold themselves out to be true Americans would stoop to the level of these pathetic democrats by making idiotic statements about police officers, a majority who believe exactly what you believe.

    As a wise man once said, and still says it, “words have meaning”- Rush Limbaugh.

    • Harrison August 29, 2009 at 6:50 PM -

      I did not mean to imply “cop bashing.” Certainly, like most professionals, police are overall hardworking and do the right thing. I obviously phrased it badly. Thanks for your comments.

  2. JLancaster August 29, 2009 at 9:01 AM -

    Obama has already proven to be a scofflaw, and thought nothing of all the “historic” parking tickets he never paid, until he was ready to run for president.

    HP! You offer a fitting tribute to Kennedy, thank you for that. Thank you for reminding us that more people have died in Kennedy’s car than have from American nuclear power plants.

    Funny that, sad too.

    You have a great site! I will make sure my friends get over here!
    .-= JLancaster´s last blog ..Obama Wee-Wee and Poopy =-.

    • Harrison August 29, 2009 at 9:41 AM -

      Thanks for the fine words. I would like to list your site as a link from mine if that is okay.

  3. Malcolm August 29, 2009 at 11:51 AM -

    President Obama is in a classic Catch-22 when it comes to discussing race. There are some who thinks he needs to say more about it. On the other hand, he makes comments on the Henry Louis Gates incident which I felt were harmless and it gets blown out of proportion.

    As for Obama discussing his personal experiences regarding race, he did so in his memoir “Dreams from My Father”. Although it’s not a speech and was written before he became President, it should count for something.

    I don’t know if you saw when MSNBC aired it, but Obama addressed the problems that still face the black community when he spoke at the 2009 NAACP Convention in July.


    It probably didn’t get much coverage by certain members of the media because they couldn’t distort anything that Obama said and use it against him.
    .-= Malcolm´s last blog ..Edward (The Lion) Kennedy =-.

    • Harrison August 29, 2009 at 6:48 PM -

      I only know he spoke about responsibilities towards the family. I will check out the You Tube clip thanks!

  4. Hans August 30, 2009 at 5:18 AM -

    Harrison, give the man a break, he’s only 7 months in office and he’s busy with cleaning up the mess of his predecessor.)!
    About True American. I’m just asked this week to participate in a worldwide survey about the differences between Europeans and Americans…will let you know what I will write down.)!
    And stop claiming that the USA rebuilt Europe; Marshall help resulted in a big export market for the USA…
    .-= Hans´s last blog ..Day Opening – August 30 =-.

    • Harrison August 30, 2009 at 8:58 AM -


      The Marshall Plan (from its enactment, officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the primary plan of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger foundation for the countries of Western Europe, and repelling communism after World War II. The initiative was named for Secretary of State George Marshall and was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. George Marshall spoke of the administration’s desire to help European recovery in his address at Harvard University in June 1947.[1]

      The reconstruction plan, developed at a meeting of the participating European states, was established on June 5, 1947. It offered the same aid to the USSR and its allies, but they did not accept it.[2][3] The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948. During that period some USD 13 billion in economic and technical assistance were given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation.[4]

      By the time the plan had come to completion, the economy of every participant state, with the exception of Germany, had grown well past pre-war levels. Over the next two decades, many regions of Western Europe would enjoy unprecedented growth and prosperity. The Marshall Plan has also long been seen as one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased tariff trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level.


  5. Dean August 30, 2009 at 10:59 AM -

    I think the problem resides in the fact that I don’t believe President Obama has any strong convictions.

    Great post. Link forthcoming.
    .-= Dean´s last blog ..Living it =-.

    • Harrison August 30, 2009 at 11:36 AM -

      Maybe but you’d think years of listening to Rev. Wright he would have formed at least one or two…

  6. Smellerbee August 30, 2009 at 11:43 PM -

    When cops are racist people die and are denied their civil rights. When a waiter is racist you don’t get a table. That’s why people don’t devote a great deal fo conversation to racist waiters.

    Police, by their very nature, should be distrusted and watched like hawks. We let them break the law in order to enforce it and if we don’t watch the watchers then horrible things happen. American history is filled to the brim with storie sof police atrocities and police abuse of power.

    “Words have meaning” is also the rationale behind political correctness. If Limbaugh really believes that his words have meaning but continues to spew hate, lies, and aggression then he must be a far worse human being than I thought.

    hating a fellow human being just because he doesn’t agree is a sure sign of an amoral fascist.

    Racism never went away. It’s nowehre near as bad as in the sixties and seventies but that wasn’t very long ago on a cultural timeline. If he addresses the problems of race in this country then the racist elements in the right (not all right-wingers are racist but most racists are right-wingers) will attack him for it.

    The right routinely recruits it’s fringe elements to write it’s propoganda from the birthers to the U.N. black helicopter crowd. Instead of repudiating the racism that has been directed at Obama and Sotomayor they have excused it and coopted the rhetoric for their arsenal. Until the right repudiates racism with the same vehemence with which they attack the democrats and the left (two entirely different groups) then racism will still be a problem.

    @Harrison (in reply to Hans)
    I think what Hans meant there was that the marshal plan wasn’t exacted as american largess. It was a plan between europe and america that favored america and helped fueld demand for american goods and partly got us out of the great depression.

    He’s a moderate and a politician. You cna’t get elected if you believe in things. You have to do what polls and the monied interest tell you to. That’s why our current system doesn’t work. Until we restore poltiics to the realm of the concerned citizen instead of the realm of the rich oligarchs we are humped.

    • Harrison August 31, 2009 at 7:18 AM -

      WWII got us out of the Great Depression, the Marshall Plan was well after that but didn’t hurt.

  7. Cody D August 31, 2009 at 5:48 AM -


    You make me laugh. You are truly are a blathering hypocrite. Hopefully one day, when you grow up, you can speak from experience rather than repeating tiresome drivel. Have a good day.