Thursday, 7 August 2008
I saw this first on the Guardian's website. It's Obama getting heckled about not representing the needs of the black community. About a month ago i was talking to a mate about the same thing and said that black people (I'm mixed race in case you're wondering why i'm casually addressing 'black people'. I'm allowed to do that it's in the race rulebook) should just be happy that Obama is black for now and that if he goes out on an exclusively black agenda he'd be doomed.
But watching this i couldn't help be a bit annoyed at how he handled the situation. When he's heckled he doesn't try to deal with what they are saying or appease their concerns, which are to some extent valid, instead he blurts out a sound bite, like a Tony Blair replica doll.
If he's going to retain his credibility with ethnic groups he needs to have the courage not only to point out their failings (as he did when he attacked absenteeism in black fathers) but also identify their needs - without worrying about what middle america will think.