This morning (Thursday 3/20/08) on WIP AM 610 Sports Radio in Philadelphia, host Angelo Cataldi interviewed Senator Obama. During the beginning of the segment (about 07:40 AM) Mr. Cataldi asked the Senator about his comments made during his speech on Tuesday regarding his “white” grandmother.
From the tape of today's interview, here is Obama's answer:
"The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, she doesn't, but she is a typical white person who, uh, you know if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, there's a reaction there that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way. And that's just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. And what makes me optimistic is we see each generation feeling a little bit less like that."
I turned the radio on this morning just in time to hear the short excerpt which included the above quotation. I hadn't heard anything about this morning's interview before; it was all brand new to me. I'd heard Obama's speech on Tuesday, thought it was good, rousing, quite inspirational though I was sort of off-put by the "white grandmother" remarks. I remembered hearing Jesse Jackson confess one time that when he could hear someone following him on the street he'd be relieved when, looking over his shoulder, he'd discover they were white. He was unhappy feeling that way, but said his own real-life experiences had taught him thus. On Tuesday I thought during Senator's Obama's speech that the reactions he attributes to his grandmother are not 'white only.' They are human. And so are the problems.
I'd put the Tuesday speech aside in my mind until I heard today's remarks by the Senator. "Typical white person"? Huh? "Bred into our experiences"? Bred?
I felt insulted when I heard the remarks in the first speech and the remarks today only intensify those feelings. It seems to me that remarks like this incite racism rather than illuminate it for the wrong-thinking that it is. Just as Senator Obama cringed at his grandmother's remarks, I'm cringing at his.
I find it difficult to think of voting for a man who obviously broadly sterotypes me. I'm beginning to sense that Senator Obama may be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
My choices are becoming clearer.