Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama notes ‘tragic’ US past

Obama notes ‘tragic’ US past
American history's "sad" aspects require action, the senator tells cheering journalists

A few quotes from the article:

"There's no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for," Obama told hundreds of attendees of UNITY '08, a convention of four minority journalism associations.

We have some horrible aspects to our history. One has to wonder how we can account for them. I thought they were already accounted for in the history of our country. A historical account may not be what Mr. Obama is looking for...

"I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged," the Democratic presidential hopeful said.

"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

That is a mind blower in 2008. Is there some pro-slavery lobby that I missed? What about reparations and the 'words vs. deeds' angle? What deeds can we do to undo slavery (outside of 148 year old constitional ammendments)? As sharp and slick as he is, I was astounded he would say such a thing.

"Tragic elements" of our history have been acknowledged again and again. I often wonder it this is done to the extreme. If you have children you realize that come February it is black history month. I am not against it. I do question the wisdom of government schools teaching Kindergarten and First Grade students about slavery. It has been 148 years since we fought a bloody war to free the slaves. The sons and daughters of the free state of Ohio paid a high price for that freedom. Cincinnati played an integral part in the war.

My young children learned about slavery at school, not at home. I didn't think that it was a subject that was germane to a five year old. I am not really sure what the point is to single out black and white kids in class and tell them that blacks used to be slaves and white people used to own them. Perhaps they don't feel like they are singled out. It is tough to see how a five year old mind makes of such an issue.

It is the age issue that I have a problem with. Every child should be taught American history and that slavery is wrong. Does it have to start with five year olds? I guess you could debate the age of reason, but I don't think five cuts it. It is a great time though if you purpose is indoctrination. Get em young!

Obama's comments in Chicago are consistent with what he said on Meet The Press last Sunday.

"The biggest problem that we have in terms of race relations, I think, is dealing with the legacy of past discrimination which has resulted in extreme disparities in terms of poverty, in terms of wealth and in terms of income. Our inner cities are a legacy of what happened in the past.

And the question is less assigning blame or rooting out active racism, because that's not the reason that those inner cities are in such bad shape, but rather figuring out are we willing to make the investments to deal with that past history so we can move forward to a brighter future? And that involves investing in early childhood education, fixing the schools in those communities, being willing to work in terms of job retraining. And those are serious investments."

Are we willing to make the "investments"? As with the words vs. deeds rhetoric, it all comes down to money.

I guess decades of Great Society programs and Federal Funding have not been enough.

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