Barack Obama Addresses Racial Wounds

Barack Obama addresses pastor’s remarks hoping to silence the storm that has engulfed his presidential campaign.

During a televised speech, Senator Obama said Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments expressed “a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.”

Barack Obama Addresses Racial Wounds

Barack Obama called for America to “move beyond some of our old racial wounds” to unite around issues.

Obama spoke to supporters at the National Constitution Center, a museum in Philadelphia honoring the nation’s founding, in front of eight US flags the presidential candidate sought to distance himself from Wright’s racially-tinged remarks without denigrating the man who has been his pastor for nearly 20 years.

“The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another, to care for the sick and lift up the poor,” Obama said.

Obama also spoke about his own racial heritage, son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, and former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro’s recent comments that she believed he would not have achieved his front-runner status if he were not African American.

“We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro … as harboring some deep-seated racial bias,” he said.

Arguing that the nation cannot afford to ignore the significant issue of race, Obama said that “if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together.”

Speaking of the Declaration of Independence signed just across the hall from the podium, Obama said the document the founders produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished and stained by the nation’s original sin of slavery.

Obama said whites need to acknowledge that the legacy of racial discrimination does not just exist in the imagination of African Americans but that it is real, and to acknowledge this by investing in schools and providing “ladders of opportunity.” And blacks, he said, need to be respectful of their history, without becoming victims of it.

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