Posted by Teh Nutroots | Michael Meyers opines at The L.A. Times that "Obama blew it." Meyers is executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition and a former assistant national director of the NAACP:
"Tim Rutten's column, "Obama's Lincoln moment" and The Times editorial, "Obama on race" both miss the mark.... I'd say that considering the nation's undivided attention to this all-important speech, which gave him an unrivaled opportunity to lift us out of racial and racist thinking, Obama blew it.
"I waited in vain for our hybrid presidential candidate to speak the simple truth that there is no such thing as "race," that we all belong to the same race -- the human race. I waited for him to mesmerize us with a singular and focused appeal to hold all candidates to the same standards no matter their race or their sex or their age. But instead Obama gave us a full measure of racial rhetoric about how some of us with an "untrained ear" -- meaning whites and Asians and Latinos -- don't understand and can't relate to the so-called black experience.
"Well, I am black, and I can't relate to a "black experience" that shields and explains old-style black ministers who rant and rave about supposed racial differences and about how America ought to be damned. I long ago broke away from all associations and churches that preached the gospel of hate and ethnic divisiveness....
"[S]omeone's race or religion is not mine or anybody else's concern. I couldn't care less that Wright is a Christian or that Louis Farrakhan professes to be a Muslim. I couldn't care less whether the hateful minister who endorsed John McCain is, deep inside, a decent man or a fundamentalist. But I do care about these pastors' divisive and crazed words; I do care that their "sermons" exploit and pander to the worst fears and passions of people based on perceptions and misperceptions about race. I hate that these preachers' sermons prejudge people's motives or behavior based on their race or ethnicity. I hate the haters, and I expected Obama to make a straightforward speech about what has become the Hate Hour -- and the most segregated hour -- in America on Sunday mornings....
"We can't be united as a nation if we continue to think racially and give credence to racial experiences and differences based on ethnicity, past victim status and stereotypical categories.... The man or woman who talks plainly about our commonality as a race of human beings, about our future as one nation indivisible, rather than about our discredited and disunited past, is, I predict, likely to finish ahead of the pack and do us a great public service." (L.A. Times; emphasis added)
Hillary? The ball's in your court.