The inanity of post-racialism
People can go back through the archives and see I've been pretty back and forth about Obama and his whole "morals first" approach to black people. I've been thinking some about some of my commenters who've objected to Obama's rhetoric--specifically to his father's day speech. One critique that's come up frequently is that Obama is more than willing to harangue African-Americans about their moral failings, but less willing to say the same to the broader country.
I thought about that yesterday while watching this Andrew Bacevich interview. Watch it all the way through because it's shocking on a number levels. But what rang home for me was that Bacevich's critique of America mirrors the Cosby/Obama critique of black America--that the biggest problem facing these two overlapping communities isn't a threat from without, but the threat from within. And yet Bacevich was very clear that neither candidate in the race had been willing to give Americans the sort of straight talk that's needed. Bacevich doesn't fault the candidates though, he faults the people.
I've mostly been in favor of Obama's moralizing because his message is basically the same one that was pushed to me as a kid, as well as the one pushed in most black households. As I've said before about his fatherhood speech, there may be no creature on earth that I find more reprehensible than the deadbeat dad. But that said, there is something weak in the fact that Obama can't bring the same moralism to bear on the wider he country which he applies to the black community, that he can't point out to Americans that oil prices going up is a good thing. Polluting the world your children will inherit is a moral issue. A system that allows people to buy homes with no money down is a moral issue. Telling people that the best thing they can do after the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, is go out an shop is a moral issue.
I hear all of this talk about Obama as a post-racial candidate--but that only applies when its time for white people to pat themselves on the back. A truly post-racial candidate would be free to preach morals not just to African-Americans, but to all Americans.