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"This is where we are right now."


Published March 18, 2008 at 11:23 a.m.

Barack Obama is making a major speech on race this morning:

"Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the ReaganCoalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their ownelectoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators builtentire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissinglegitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as merepolitical correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have thesewhite resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of themiddle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing,questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washingtondominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies thatfavor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments ofwhite Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, withoutrecognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widensthe racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now."