In 2008 Obama had the opportunity to speak about race with the whole world listening. He had to walk the fine line of a politically correct statement, or getting at the heart of real racial issues in our country.
“Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all” (Obama, 9). This quote highlights the frustration that many people fighting for racial equality in the United States feel. People in our country do not believe that racism is an issue, and by Obama saying that there are greater problems that need to be solved, it reaffirms the mentality that racial inequality is not a pressing issue that needs to be solved. I know that Obama is not saying racism doesn’t exist, but by putting it behind other issues that are out of American’s hands, the greatness of the issue is minimized.
It is understandable that Obama needed to be careful with his words because it was a political speech, but I think that his speech categorized racial issues into an unimportant category. He claims that America was divisive at a time where unity was necessary, but he fails to mention that in the history of our country we have always been divisive and unity has always been necessary. Pushing racial inequality aside in this indirect way still has an impact on our country. Although he is not overtly saying that racism isn’t an issue, he is putting it second to other issues, when in my opinion it is one of the most prevalent issues that is very related to other issues our country faces. This quote is hard to discuss, because on the surface level, coming together as a nation and leaving race out of it does sound good, but ignoring race and claiming racism to be a less important issue isn’t going to stop racism in our country. If a person with such power can dismiss racism as a non-monumental problem in our country, then what is stopping the rest of the country from thinking the same thing?