Obama and Race in Oregon

OPB | March 21, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:40 p.m.

Do Obama’s thoughts on race reflect Oregon’s reality?

Senator Barack Obama comes to Oregon this week, with his speech on race in America, ?A More Perfect Union,? still generating passionate discussion around the country.

His speech was a reaction to the controversial preaching of Reverend Jeremiah Wright from Chicago ? the man who married him and the man who preached at the Trinity United Church of Christ that Obama has attended for many years. Wright?s sermon highlighted the divide between the races in America.

Barack Obama condemned Wright?s words, but said the issue of race cannot be ignored. He said that people are still angry. And that race and racism still define an entire generation in America. According to Obama, that anger in the black community often finds its voice in the local barbershops, or in churches on Sunday mornings. But he also talked about anger in the white community, among people who ?don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race.?

He said it is important to move past the old racial wounds not just with words, but with deeds. So on the day when Obama is in Oregon, a predominantly white state, we ask: how do we do this?

What do you think of what Obama had to say? Do you think racism is still alive in Oregon? How does that affect the way we deal with our neighbors of different races? Is this an issue we can?t afford to ignore? What do we need to do in Oregon to move beyond any sort of racist past?

Photo credit: Pete Springer, OPB

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