Obama’s Pastor’s Timely Teachable Moment
For the moment, I don’t care about that speech. I’m listening to another.
Let’s back up. I’ll assume that you haven’t already heard about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s speech on race as the poignant treatise it is.
Good speech; you should listen to it. I just don’t expect to use it in my classroom anytime soon, despite suggestions that some guy’s grandchildren will study it.
We’ll have decades to parse Obama’s campaign, character and speech on race. Let’s step back and look, if just for a moment, at what made that speech necessary.
Obama’s pastor gave a sermon within a week or so of 9/11. A six-second soundbite from it was first covered by Fox News, and it was that soundbite which prompted intraparty criticism and, ultimately, Obama’s speech.
That’s not the only sermon of his missrepresented by the news media; here’s another, if you dare.
There’s a lesson here, somewhere, and not just about the importance of putting statements in context. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whatever you have to say about his idiom of anger and frustration, covers black and minority and foreign policy history pretty well.
13th Amendment. Dred Scott. Segregation of the military.
Even at least one accusation speaks to whole blocs of vocabulary necessary to understanding the history of civil rights and slavery. Specifically, think his equating George W. Bush to a Dixiecrat.
Unfortunately, because these sermons aren’t boiled down to a reasonable six-second soundbite, they’ll never get the press coverage they really deserve. I figure that every little bit helps.
As excellent as Obama’s speech really is, these are the excerpts I’ll use in my classrooms. They are the excerpts that show the lingering anger and frustration within the black community.
Obama, whatever his merits, just talks about it.