At one point in his speech today, Sen. Obama said:
But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.
Imagine if he had said, "But race is an issue that I believe this nation has been far too focused on, obssesed with even to the point of blinding us all to our common humanity"--or some such truly post-racial notion. Instead, his take on the nation's revulsion over Rev. Wright's racist sermonizing, along with the five-minute flap over Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Obama's race and her sex aiding their respective careers in the Democratic Party, drove Obama to call for still more focus on race. He said:
The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.
If only he had taken the chance this speech presented to call for a truly race-blind America. He could have used his extraordinary life story to demonstrate the opportunity this country offers; and the success he and his wife and a cohort of similarly well-off and advantaged black peers have enjoyed to mark the occasion for ending, or even phasing out affirmation action programs and racial preferences for need-based preferences in college admissions, for example. (In an interview Stuart Taylor noted, Obama admitted his own daughters should not be regarded by college admissions officers as anything but privileged applicants.)
Now, that's post-racial. But that's not Obama.