Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barack Obama on Race in the U.S.

The speech on racial issues in the United States that Barack Obama gave yesterday in Philadelphia is definitely one for the history books. You can watch the video feed accompanied by the animated transcript on the New York Times website.

As an external viewer unable to grasp the entire complexity of the racial issue in the United States I don't really see exactly to how much extent - if any at all - Mr. Obama played the racial card just to make believe he was not doing it at all. Maybe not that much. Also the repeated anti profit-driven-corporate-America message underlying the union of the races raises some serious doubts about Mr. Obama's actions in the case he wins the presidential race.

This being said - and again, as an external viewer - I am left with the feeling that Mr. Obama's view of race related difficulties people encounter in their everyday life is a complete and honest one. He doesn't leave anybody behind - be they blacks, whites or browns - and emphasizes better education as a means to overcoming racial bias. He is also a breathtaking speaker, your critical spirit as a listener is being constantly challenged by his capacity of embarking you on the Obama flow at any time (not a small temptation at all). I think this speech is a decisively winning one for him in the perspective of the Democrat primaries in Philadelphia next month, but on a national level it remains to be seen. It's not yet clear for me whether the racial issue in the U.S. still has the anvergure that Mr. Obama gave to it in his speech, but he definitely scored some major points with yesterday's speech.

Barack Obama's approach on race and ethnic diversity is not an exclusively American one, it can easily be applied - if correctly adjusted - to the French society. We just need politicians with more guts and and a less socialist mind frame. Is MiB one of them? Sadly not, at least not for now.