Obama and “reviving historical stereotypes”

Read Richard John Neuhaus’s commentary on Obama’s Philadelphia “race speech.” A snippet:

Conceding to him the best of intentions, Senator Obama has inadvertently launched an exercise in the demeaning of black America that is, in consequence, very ugly. Whites are invited to make their peace with the fact that these are the children of Stepin Fetchit and Amos and Andy who have replaced humor with the shuffle of political extremism but are still entertaining the country by doing their black thing. Cut them some slack. Lighten up.
[. . .]
By reviving historic stereotypes, Senator Obama’s speech and the uses to which it is being put has dealt a severe blow to race relations in America. It is giving a big boost to what someone has rightly called the soft bigotry of low expectations.

I myself read the whole speech, and watched about 10 minutes of it. I was impressed. But I think Neuhaus has some good points. Still, it might be good to have Obama in the White House, if for no other reason than (as Neuhaus says), “a black president would put a stake through the heart of liberal guilt-mongering about our putatively racist society.” Amen to that.

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