Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Barack Obama on Race in the U.S.

I don’t write much about politics here, but I do recommend that — no matter what candidate you support — each of you find half an hour to sit down and listen to this speech.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”

This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me hope is the next generation.

Here’s a mp3 recording.

Yes, I’m a not-quite-old-yet white guy. One who grew up in a very not-white neighborhood. When, in 7th grade, we moved from the neighborhood I was the only white kid on the block. but we moved to a much more progressive, mixed community. Where, on the first day of school, I was confronted by a not-white student who informed me in no uncertain terms that he didn’t like the way I looked. He and I ended up being, if not close friends, at least not-enemies. This was not terribly pleasing to most of the other students. And in college I roomed with one of the few not-white students. By choice. And as an adult I moved to a suburb of “the city too busy to hate,” which every day seems very full of hate. Or at least distrust. And implicit segregation. Yes, I agree with the Senator, there is still a problem in this country, one that’s been hidden in the closet and let fester for way too long.

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