Prior to this weeks speech, Obama was poised at a make or break moment. He had to either put to bed any connections between himself and the Reverend Wright or he would be forever linked to the racist comments the reverend was making. You can read the speech in it's entirety HERE.
Over all I think he accomplished what he sought to do and said what he had to say but the key question here is did it buy him anything? I don't think it did.
Those listening to him and heard what they wanted to hear were already supporting him. Those who didn't were more then likely against him already. I'd be very shocked if his speech today actually changed anyone's minds. Some pundits even have gone so far as to argue that Obama's speech may become a turning point in our nations political history. I have to disagree. People who are simply swept up in Obama mania and look more to the Obama girl then things like voting records and factual history I'm sure would support the idea that his speech is a turning point. But they base their views off feelings rather then facts. People who looked at Obama's history already have enough data to determine if he truly supported the views of Reverend Wright or if he saw the man as a relative he can't disown.
When you look close you see gaping contrast between what Obama had said this week and his views from the past. He did identify true problems but his record shows his actions are doing exactly what he just finished saying causes those problems. This is why I don't think his speech will amount to much more then a feel good moment for those who want to bridge the relationship between blacks and whites.
Here's one such example:
"In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time."
Pay close attention to the part in bold. He admits that "affirmative action" as it stands today, giving a person of color acceptance into a college over a white student or giving them a job over a white leads to create resentment and helps feed the racial problems he admits exist today.
* Indicate the principles you support concerning affirmative action. Should state government agencies take race and sex into account in the following sectors? Q: College and university admissions? A: Yes
* Q: Public employment A: Yes
* Q: State contracting? A: Yes.
Source: 1998 IL State Legislative National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998
He further contradicts himself by having even gone so far as to express that class should be a factor on top of race.
Obama declared his daughters "should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged. I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."
Continuing to look at race and class only help to spread the problem, not fix it. He admitted it this week yet his record shows he supports it. Look back to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King...
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
As long as we continue supporting policies that treat one group different then another group based on class, race, sex, religion etc we continue to feed the problem. Obama said it but when will he and others actually start acting on what they already know?