Yesterday Senator Barack Obama gave what has been characterized as one the most important speeches of his candidacy to date. The speech was a sweeping assessment of race in America. It also served to quell the firestorm that has surrounded inflammatory statements made by his former pastor. His language at times echoed the inspiration and idealism of the civil rights movement, but mostly served to address the politics of race.
“It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy — particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.”
The last few weeks have been rocky for the Obama campaign. The airwaves have been filled with video of his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. making racist, anti-American comments at sermons Obama attended. Obama has had a hard time separating himself from these comments which has the potential to unravel his tight coalition of white and black voters. He could not shake the doubts that these comments had caused and told advisors that he wanted to address the public. The Obama campaign has keep race out of much of the debate and hopes to continue to do that. He has two more important speeches planned for the coming weeks on other topics.