Senator Barack Obama today gave the most important speech given on race in America in memory, by any American who can command a national audience.
The speech is not perfect. It was prompted by his need to defend himself because of his close association over two decades with Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr., his pastor, the man who married him and baptized his children. It does not fully address or allay concerns raised about that association. It may also have been the perfect political speech given the predicament Obama finds himself in. Some might be troubled by his use of his grandmother in the speech for political or even educational purposes.
Nevertheless the speech is brilliant and could potentially have historic consequences not just in this campaign, but for the nation's future. If a potential political crisis provoked it--so be it--no presidential candidate--no leader-- in memory has said anything like it. And Obama refuses to demonize. His instead is a call for deeper understanding based on the reality of race in America and how race is used politically. Obama focuses us clearly on what kind of conversation about race we as a nation need to have. For that and for the words he delivered, Obama deserves great credit and our thanks. If you missed it, you can see it and/or read it now at: http://my.barackobama.com/hisownwords
For clips of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. that are mainstays in criticism of Obama see: Black in America or Not God Bless America
For a very perceptive column by Maureen Dowd, in which she uses her intelligence and wit to do more than ridicule her target see: Black, White & Gray.