Lots of white people keep telling themselves that electing Sen. Barack Obama President will convince black people that the only thing that is holding them back is their own lack of self-discipline. Surely, somebody as smart as Obama, they assume, must understand that the ostensible purpose of most of his career -- getting more government money for blacks -- is exactly what has most damaged blacks morally.
That, however, is not exactly what Sen. Obama is telling blacks. For example, on the 15th anniversary of the most shameful event in recent African-American history, Obama played the black self-pity card in demanding more handouts for the inner city. From the LA Times:
Obama appeals to blacks in L.A. remarks
By Scott Martelle, Times Staff Writer
Invoking images of Los Angeles in flames, Sen. Barack Obama argued Sunday — the 15th anniversary of the nation's most violent modern civil uprising — that little had been done to fix the chronic social and economic conditions that gave rise to a three-day rampage that killed at least 53 people.
And although the riots occurred in
"There wasn't anything going on in
Obama drew a sustained ovation when he rebuked the Bush administration for, as Obama put it, funding the war in
Obama did not offer specific proposals to solve the problems he described. His approach has more often relied on lofty rhetoric than real-world prescriptions. ...
There's a widespread assumption that the vagueness of Obama's platform stems from his lack of experience, but it seems equally plausible that he's just hoping to keep secret what he really favors.
Speaking in a church that has a stained-glass window depicting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy and his brother Robert, Obama recalled a news article he read at the time of the riots about a young pregnant woman shot in the abdomen, the bullet lodging in the soft tissue of her fetus' arm. After surgery, the mother and baby were fine, although the infant was left with a scar.
Obama made the infant — and the bullet — symbols for
"Even in the midst of violence and despair, there's always something to be hopeful for. That baby represents the rising up of hope out of darkness and despair," he said.
"It made me think about us in this country 15 years later, how not only do we still have scars from that riot, but in many American cities we haven't even taken the bullet out," he said. "We still haven't stitched up the patient."
The problems were exposed again with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he said, when countless poor people had no way to leave their neighborhoods ahead of the floodwaters. Many perished, or were left stranded on rooftops for days.
"The tragedy struck
The parallels to
"We go from shock to trance," Obama said. "We wake up and we're surprised that there's poverty in our midst, and that people are frustrated and angry."
He mocked the creation of investigative panels to divine the causes of problems.
"There's a little bit of money that folks piece together to send it into the community to make sure that folks are quiet and go back to the status quo, but we never take the bullet out of the arm," Obama said. "We don't need panels and reports and commissions. We need some surgery on the indifference to poverty in this country."
By the way, here is my UPI article on the 10th anniversary of the South Central Riot.