Transcend the divide 43 Comments

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama; “A More Perfect Union” Constitution Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 18, 2005.

43 Responses to “Transcend the divide”

  1. 1 kiki

    That was a brilliant speech. I hope it was good enough to counter-act the damage done by the Rev. Wright non-issue. I clearly saw our next president there. He is making too much sense to ever be president though. I honestly hope I am wrong.

  2. 2 Uncle B

    Obama’s damage control speech is only good for a cause of political views within the voters. He didn’t say anything to save his former pastor on his “hateful” remarks which gave a rise to occasion for these rentless conservative talk shows which were at their lowest in public ratings. It’s dirty politics. At the end of the day I think he will redeem himself. I think people will look beyond what the media portray him to be.

  3. 3 winta

    Uncle B

    I guess that’s why somebody here at bernos said a while back ”Americans are too racist that they will vote for obama”

  4. 4 Uncle B


    I’ve convinced myself for a while now that these elections aren’t fueled with people’s views with race, sex and all that other stuff but rather emotions that stemmed from 8 years of mess that will take more than 2 terms for the next president to clean up. The majority of mid-class white men voted for Obama.. now tell me how that happened.

  5. 5 Sara

    Great speech.
    Since when is it Obama’s problem what other people say (no matter whether he knows them personally or not)…Am i the olny one who thinks that this shouldn’t have been an issue to begin with? But I guess in Politics, anything that can be used against you (no matter how trivial) will be used against you…

  6. 6 Rahwina

    It was an excellent speech. And if the goal was to counter-act the scandal over the Rev.Wright issue, he most probably has accomplished that but in a larger scale, he seems more of an inspirational speaker and I just hope that his convictions and passion that he shows translate into practical solutions should he be elected.Race has been an issue for so long that numerous movie and books have been written to educate the public
    on what we think the source of animosity between Blacks and Whites in America is.But we’re yet to see anything beyond the inspiration, anything that would at least conform the next generation into what the present and past generations couldn’t solve, If Obama could do that, hats off to him !

  7. 7 Hidaya

    Can someone please tell Obama’s vicar now it is not the time for all this rubble rousing speeches?. Now it is the time for politics, it would be nice if the vicar could be trusted to gag himself for a litle while longer, he is not helping.

    Obama is responsible for a minor miracle. Here, he has managed to get the approval of the right wing media and right wing politicians and this really is a miracle because the right wings here media or politicians dont like anyone black/ woman/immigrants and many more, too many to list. Every one across the political divide wants him to be President just like the same everyone wants to hate Mrs Clinton for her barely disguised viciousness, now the vicar is at it as well with his two penny’s worth.

  8. 8 Ye-Inatu-Lej

    Rahwina, I concur.

  9. 9 Anon

    Hidaya, there is a sense here in the States that if Obama and Clinton continue to play politics, it will get dirty and dirtier. Let alone a Democrat president in January, the Party will not remain whole. There is division within the Democrat’s across age, race, and gender. Popular support and pledged delegate support in the nomination race at this late stage is evenly split. It now comes down to what happens to Florida and Michigan. That may also not bring a resolution in which case the nomination will be decided by the Super Delegates. Who and how the undecided Super Delegates choose to endorsement is a political mind field that possibly could split the party in half. Obama and Clinton are making two different arguments as to who the Super Delegates should choose. The speech Obama gave I think convincingly responds to the attacks associated to his pastor and at the same time makes his argument to the Super Delegates without alienating Clinton supports. In line with his vow to redefine politics, he is playing a far bigger role in uniting the party. Any other politics that divides the Clinton and Obama camps further instead of uniting them brings an end to the Democratic Party as we know it.

    And I will be voting for Ralph Nader.

  10. 10 chelema

    OBAMA FOR 2012 (second term). Who is with me on this? Have you gotten the Obama fever yet?????????

  11. 11 stranger

    He got balls. I admired him for saying it like it is. It takes courage and it is risky. However, it is kinda funny how they waited all this time to bring up this vedio that took palace in september of 2001. Hannity and friends just trying to hannitize the atmosphere. What is coming next ?

    For Bernos

  12. 12 Hidaya

    Hi Anon…

    Thanks for the explanation, it seems the Democrats are going through what the Conservatives here the equivalent of the Repblicans in the US went thru.

    Yeah, about ten years ago they had a bloody civil war before they lost the election. Their civil war started when they were in power and then they fractioned into groups of centrist, centre-leftist right wing, and rabid right wing parties financed by rich right wind tycoons, then argued nonstop about different things mainly the EU.

    They were dismal to begin with with their corruption and sleaze but then they began to bicker like the Democrats are doing now publicly and it was too much of a unseemly spectacle for everyone, even their own voters and they got kicked out.

    They have not come back yet and even now they have a simmering civil war always threatening to unfold and this time is young versus old, Conservatives with a small c versus right wing..gender doesnt feature much,they dont like women very much and then the EU again and still they are unvotable….I hope the same doesnt happen to the Democrats…

    Anon what are these super delegates? it like the selection process we have here?..but that is a committee they call it grass root something of the party that basically selects MP to stand for a constituency and yeah that is a similar political minefield as to how they do that , but once selected then the MP in an election should actually be voted in by well the voters int eh constituency, this sounds not like what the super delegates do I think…

    Hidaya, there is a sense here in the States that if Obama and Clinton continue to play politics, it will get dirty and dirtier. Let alone a Democrat president in January, the Party will not remain whole. There is division within the Democrat’s across age, race, and gender. Popular support and pledged delegate support in the nomination race at this late stage is evenly split. It now comes down to what happens to Florida and Michigan. That may also not bring a resolution in which case the nomination will be decided by the Super Delegates. Who and how the undecided Super Delegates choose to endorsement is a political mind field that possibly could split the party in half.

    We had the Obama speech non stop for the past day and an half. This whole country is cheering for him quite openly, dont know why the right wings are doing it , probably because they cant stomach Mrs Clinton under any circumstances but now even the Liberal media had turned on her and calls her Hilary the Polariser and urging Americans to vote right this time, for Obama the man who would restore America’s reputation abroad, their words not mine….the right wing if not Obama would like McCain I think….

    And I will be voting for Ralph Nader.

    This made me laugh, lol,are you really gonna vote for him?..wasnt he the one who cost someone Democrat votes or was it an election last time? least you have an alternative,we have none here, none that is any good anyway….

  13. 13 Anon

    Hidaya… similar to your example may happen here if the Clintons are determined to win at any cost–includes destroying the party. We would have the centrist and populist party. I like the idea. The Super Delegates are party loyalists numbering in the 1K or 2K-i am not sure-who will decide on the nominee at the party convention if the primary/caucus process of allocating pledged delegates is not enough to determine the nominee. There’s a pledged delegate of over 2000 necessary to win the nomination and neither OB nor HRC will reach that number without the Super Delegates (SD). Ralph Nader costing AG is a myth. Heard of Florida hanging chads? And swing state Ohio? The two states are to blame, I think. HRC is taking that to the SD: I won all the big states including Florida, I won the swing state that really matter, I am your nominee.

    Bernos should thank u for working the night shift there in London as a Bureau chief. I appreciate the London flavor you bring. I stopped reading the economist. :)

  14. 14 ayeetata

    That’s my boy! I keep on contirbuting whenever I hear a speech like this.If you are supporting Obama it will help him if you put $5,$10…to him.He is the next generation president. People (U.S,China,Ethiopa) better live this crap of 18th century mentality and concenterate on the main issues.While the media is so f***ed up talking about race and gender people are dying left to right.And I think America is ready for this change because a person who graduate highschool and still raciest must go back to KESE TEMEHERTBET

  15. 15 biskut

    The man’s got integrity and guts .I am tired of limbaugh and friends making a big deal out of his every move .I am also disgusted at the american public who looks for answers and news from conservative talk show hosts .dedeboch

  16. 16 Hidaya

    Hi Anon…

    It is two minutes to my shift ie the graveyard shift,I keep forgetting then when most of you are sleeping I am awake and sleeping when you are awake, thank you for making me Chief Bureau…lol I like it…

    Ok Anon dont put that Economist down really Anon now it is not the time. I took up reading the Financial Times first time ever out of fear…your credit problems are affecting our markets pretty badly.

    The bank of England had to deny rumours that one of the Hight Streets biggest banks the HSBC might have gone bust like Northern Rock. The bank of England never issues any statements about anything even if the entire country is going bankrupt, infact they tell us loong after the fact like months three, maybe six, like Northen Rock, they dont apologise either so that they felt they had to do this today is alarming. I think I’ll start reading the Economist as well which will also be first time from me, and since I admit it dont take my titel of Chief Bureau away…lol…

    (SD). Ralph Nader costing AG is a myth. Heard of Florida hanging chads? And swing state Ohio? The two states are to blame, I think. HRC is taking that to the SD: I won all the big states including Florida, I won the swing state that really matter, I am your nominee.

    I think I remember reading a little about Florida results particularly, not so mch Ohio, ok where is Ohio?…was there alleged fraud involved in the Florida results…Iremember reading about it and a court case but dont know where that was…anyway Ralph Nader is a greenie isnt he?…and he might never win he is a good tool for tactical voting. I want to learn about tactical voting when elections happen here lie in about two years…since the two main parties are equally yuk and one party is dead duck, I just want to upset however nworthy perty wins, we dont have many choices here we dont have an Obama of any race we dont even have a Mrs Clinton, I am not sure we would want a MacCain with all de respect, so got to learn about tactical voting…

  17. 17 Ketsela

    It is unfortunate that BO made this historic speech to the wrong crowd. Americans are not mature enough to understand the message delivered by BO. This kind of speec is delivered by statesmen, not politicians. What is going around here is pure politics, destroying individuals to further once selfish gain. A generation with very short memory span can not digest this serious speech that needs further dialogue.

  18. 18 walid

    Cool down Kestela .Political campaigns and politics in general have always been nasty. And yes the Clintons have always been ruthless and would stop at nothing to get to the white House But I believe Barack will come out of this battle-tested and toughened up to face the much worse onslaught from the republican machinery, should he win the nomination of course. My concern, rather, is that the Democratic Party has increasingly been fractured and lost, much to the delight of republican stalwarts. And this is happening sadly not because of there is any substantial policy difference between the two contenders(Barack and Hillary) but because of the cynical maneuver by the Clinton campaign to exploit the race issue first by trying to corner Barack as a black candidate(Vs a presidential candidate who happens to be black)and now by fanning the furor over the not-so-wise sermon by Rev.Wright .And the silence of the democratic party leadership and the rest of the so called “super delegates” is quite deafening. Where is the leadership when we need it? Well, they seem to cave in under Bill and Co’s pressure. Would this spell the demise of the Democratic Party as we know it?

  19. 19 Aklile

    It is brilliant speech and most historians would put it as one of the best race relations speech. What makes it interesting, the gut Senator Obama had to make the negative part of the argument to confronting racial division in this country.

    Politicians do not want to discuss race or any other controversial issues.
    Senator Obama is different not on the obvious of his blackness. He is exceptional, not only being politician, not supporting Lobbyist, Iraqi war, NAFTA etc. That’s why a lot of us support him, not only to make history. His leadership skill is his best qualification to be president in my opinion. That’s why his campaign raised $55 mill last month, record for any presidential fund-raising and so many accomplishments that would be boring to mention all.

    The way I look at it, most of Fox news and conservative radios play politics. How about former President Bill Clinton play politics in New Hampshire and South Carolina? I do not think most of us here would choose the racial undertone to get advantage by scaring voters and get elected.

    I agree with Walid[quote comment="136820"] … But I believe Barack will come out of this battle-tested and toughened up to face the much worse onslaught from the republican machinery, should he win the nomination of course. [/quote]

    He will also get over this because he is capable to explain most of the sound bites before the nomination and plenty of time until November.

  20. 20 Aklile

    Obama’s Tribute to his Mother [Audiobook CD],

    “…. what is best in me, I owe it to her.” Please click the 2: oo minutes Audio link, to hear one of many qualities he has.

  21. 21 filetew kuretew

    Hello people
    Long time reader, first time writer. It is really great to hear some intelligent comments by some of my fellow brothers and sisters. I love politics, especially American politics, and i think the historical implications of a first black american POTUS and his impressive communication skills is in my humble opinion overtaking the real nuts and bolts of His policy and what he stands for. I think there are 3 major topics that should be the main discussion point for Obama’s success. We should all ask ourselves, If i vote for Obama for president:

    1) I am willing to give up more of my take-home money in the form of taxes (up to 20% increase in taxes). And this is not just the “rich” as they say.
    2) How important it is to me that we win the war in Iraq and the implications it has if we decide to leave in the long run to the people of iraq and the extremists.
    3) What is the most important problem to me right now. Is it Nation-wide medical coverage for all OR having someone do something about these gas prices and the economic fall-out.
    I would love to ellaborate more in future notes.
    Just wanted to give a different perspective

  22. 22 Nolawi
  23. 23 Tsedey

    Thanks Nolawi! I never trusted those corporate news media anyway. They are there not to inform but for propaganda and brainwashing the American Public.

  24. 24 soj

    are we not the reverse racists?…..and please please quit it BO is neither black nor white….let’s not put him in our neat stereotypical boxes….he is just a wise cracking, witty ….politician….is all he is…..and they are all the same….politicians I mean. At some point the do extremely well to disappoint you and I….

  25. 25 lovejones

    Wow wow wow, what an excellent speech. He needed to make that speech, it was necessary to present the state of the case as it is. Understanding where we are in this country in accordance to race and race relations, hate and false accusations, truthful and honest opinion, and above all our true belief in a human beings’ ability to do a job given because of pure talent and gift.

    It’s remarkable that we and the folks in the media try to dissect the speech rather than take the meaning of it; as is. We need to focus on the real issues such as the economy, war, education, poverty, health care, etc rather than what a pastor’s messages are. Mind you, the messages and snip bites that were taken from the sermon are of little substance but when you listen to the whole message, the meaning is more powerful than what’s been portrayed.

    Let’s get real America…time to change our objectives, time to change our views and work for the future.

    Some similarities I noticed about the objectivity of the speech….Remember the Clarence Thomas sexual harassment deposition/hearing back in 1991, he gave a similar directed and objected testimony about race and racist views of what Obama laid out in his speech. See any connection???

    2 cents

  26. 26 walid

    Filetwe Kuretwe, what a name! I can see that you didn’t choose this name for no reason. I mean I respect your opinion and all. But I have no clue why you want to redirect our discussion about Barack’s historic speech to those “three points” before you get your facts straight. You seem to fall for the tired republican slash and burn strategy perfected by Karl Rove.

    At no time did Barack said he would impose that exorbitant tax on anyone, not even the richest few whose tax break he said he would slash. Hope you are not somehow suggesting that all those smart, intellectual people who voted for him or form his support base are either dumb or duped. Did you hear McCain say anything of sense about the economy except admitting he didn’t know much how the economy works?

    I am even more perplexed as to why you thought Iraqis would be grateful for being invaded, their state in shambles and their way of life destroyed. Just ask any Iraqi lucky enough to make it to the U.S in one piece.In any case, Barack has always been for responsible withdrawal, not a reckless and rushed one made out to be by conservative commentators bent on scuttling his nomination. Didn’t you notice recently that the supposedly national security candidate McCain asserting Iran is helping Al-Qaeda?

    As to the issues you indicated in your last point, it is not a case of either or, they are all at the center of this primary campaign and election, if you will. The skyrocketing oil price simply makes those issues even more urgent and pushes them at the forefront of the campaign, to the consternation of McCain the cluless.

  27. 27 winta

    Do I think Obama in Power would change anything?

    No -I think he is just another smart ass politician with the right racial mix at the right time(8 years of messed up Bush Junior). But even if he wanted to, the problem with America can and will not be solved through one man. You guys have the most messed up system I have ever seen. It will never change unless you change the things you value ,and how you try to get them both at the political and individual level.

    Do I want him in the white house?

    Yes- Why ?-Due to the racial statment his presence would make.

    Do I think it was wise of him to throw in the race Card at this point in time ?

    No- He should have tried to avoid getting sucked in to this.I think this would creat fear amongst the white community.As you all may remember, fear is wht got Bush Junior re-elected.

  28. 28 baby

    I was very doubtful of Obama having a good chance of getting the nomination let alone being elected a president. I have been a great fan of the Clintons and made an effort to get people to vote for Clinton writing on different blogs. However, my belief changed right before Iowa. I saw Obama for the type of leader he is after reading his books and what he had done in the streets of Chicago. This man is different. He’s not a type of politician who has made many Americans lose faith in the political process. He’s not perfect, he’s not the most experienced,and he’s not the smartest politician out there, but he’s the most genuine. For once, let’s elect a man who appeals to the best in us.

  29. 29 lovejones


    Is it really an issue of fear or playing the race card, NO.

    All he said is let’s come together for a better cause. Most individuals who use the race card, white or black are crying foul or accusing the other; Obama did none of that. He was shedding a light into the divide we constantly have in this country for years based on race and color. He even expanded that into how divided we are among poverty lines. He said we will constantly label individuals racist for making comments pro or against race and circle around it without a possible avenue towards a solution.

    Where do you live and why are you so critical of the system in the USA? I believe you live in Canada and don’t get me started with your ‘we surrender’ approach; we can discuss further on that if you like.

    Is he a politician? Yes and politicians have ways of marking their territory using tough speeches and real mixed causes. Mind you, all this change he’s proposing or would like to see would require most people to be on the same page, changing the way things used to be done and it will be a tough task to accomplish, but it’s a start.


    About experience, Obama has the same amount/years of experience as Abraham Lincoln and comparable years to that of Kennedy; both have transcended the country in a big way.

  30. 30 Aklile

    Thank you Nolawi, for the link at #22. I’ve not watched TV for almost 5 years. However thanks God and all the programmer nerds, I get to watch,,, and read the blog as well as the internet. I also make sure, to get diverse point of view.

    Here is a former Republican presidential candidate for 2008, Mr. Huckabee said it best on the Right wing TV.

    “…… One other thing I think we’ve got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, “That’s a terrible statement,” I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I’m going to be probably the only conservative in America who’s going to say something like this, but I’m just telling you: We’ve got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, “You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus.” And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would, too. I probably would, too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me. “

  31. 31 baby

    I’m not saying his is inexperianced, but my wording is that he’s not the most experianced politician in the race. I also don’t buy Clinton’s claim that she has more experiance than Obama. He was elected into the State Senate in Illinoi few years before Clinton got elected in New York. So, he has more years of elected office than her. Her being a wife of the president does not automatically give her the experiance needed to be president.

  32. 32 Winta

    okey Guys I have a question

    In one of my classes the issue of obama vs Hilary came up.The topic was human rights activism and minorities. the discussion went on and got to the question who is more minority -a black or a woman? I ,being both ,prefer to have the race issue dealt with first.In making my argument I tried to look in to the racial and sex hierarchy in the US know White men,white women,Black men,black women(of course ,other things being equal)

    All the white women in my class said the issue of women rights should be dealt with first cause the white female comes after the black male in the hierarchy.they argued that america is more sexiest than racist gaving the example of the recent ”Bitch ”comment about Hilary and questioning about the out roar it would have caused if it were the ‘N’ word. Of course,they have a point.

    I want to hear from those of you who have the acadamic point of view on this.Wht do you think? Think about how easier it is for ppl who are previledged not to notice a minority for instance men’s towards women or white women(who are minorities them selves) towards the issue of race.

  33. 33 wondata

    Race trumps gender anyday. Because 52% of the population is female. but only small percentage is a minority. by defenition

  34. 34 Winta


    Try and read between the lines …your definition makes aparthied a democracy

  35. 35 Aklile

    [quote comment="138536"]okey Guys I have a question

    Winta, my comment to what you stated below:

    In one of my classes the issue of Obama vs Hillary came up.The topic was human rights activism and minorities. The discussion went on and got to the question who is more minority -a black or a woman? I ,being both ,prefer to have the race issue dealt with first.[/quote]

    This discussion also came with my Co-workers that are African-American women that were supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton. However, we had to convince them not on their color of skin/gender but the candidates policy differences.

    In office argument, one of Senator Obama supporter said, “My mother and father knew, I was going to be black first before they knew boy or girl.” So your point should be in that aspect compare to your classmates dispute. However, after re reading your post on #27, I advice you not to make it a race issue but to believe in the big picture that would unite us all.

    In conclusion, to get a good grade on the topic “Human Rights Activism and minorities” especially between Black male (Obama) vs. White female (Clinton): search it more in Wealth gap, CEO’s in fortune 500, Social issues, Education opportunty, and others. You should not argue what the subject does not call for ……,we are called this or that.

  36. 36 Winta

    Just for the recored ,I think you can not really ignore the role of race in this election.

    Other wise, please the views requested in my question are…Acadamic ,Acadamic , acadamic

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