Thursday, October 02, 2008

Why I Love the Working Class I Come From

I owe a great deal to the United Steelworkers of America. Not only was my father a member his whole working life, but I attended college on a very generous scholarship sponsored by our local chapter. So while I'm not perhaps the most objective observer of their role in the increasingly global economy, I am extremely grateful to them for what they've given my family and almost heart-breakingly proud of the speech below, given by AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka recently.

I'll be honest, I know more people than I care to count who will not vote for Barack Obama in this election because he's not white. Many of them hide their racism behind a vision of America they believe goes hand in hand with patriotism, baseball, Christianity, and the values of hard-working people. They hide their racism even from themselves sometimes, but that doesn't make it any less real. This speech is remarkable and long overdue:


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20 Comments:

Blogger George said...

It's about time someone spoke up on racism.

10/02/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger JafaBrit's Art said...

Man, I have goosebumps, the end of his speech was brilliant.

10/02/2008 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Staff Brandl said...

Thanks for keeping up the reports on Barack and politics and for supporting him. It is always heartening.

10/02/2008 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Bambino said...

Great speech, thank you for sharing.

10/02/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

awww, he got me all teary eyed at the end...

l roth

10/02/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

Love that video.

Ed, I've been canvassing in those "white, working-class" neighborhoods of NE Philly that the media loved to talk about in the primary. I've been talking to a lot of people for whom race is an issue. Many will say, "I'm a Democrat, but I just don't know how I'm going to vote." I know what they aren't saying.

The most surprising--and encouraging--thing we've learned knocking on these doors is that some, maybe many, racists can be convinced to vote for a black man. It's not as cut and dry as we think it is.

When you get into discussions with voters at their front doors, they sometimes come around to the idea that the guy who doesn't look like them is actually the one who is going to try to make their lives better. That he actually has more in common with them than the guy who looks like their father, or uncle (or great-grandfather -- haha).

I have no illusions about America. We're not suddenly going to cease having racial divisions, but I do see things changing. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen and heard it for myself.

We've got a long way to go, but we ARE making progress.

And, in case you missed it, check this out: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/30/11932/8079

10/02/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

I watched this earlier when Sully posted it, and now I just watched it again. It's just as good the second time.

10/02/2008 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

I don't feel moved in any ways. I just find it embarassing. I think the reason this world goes wrong is that stupidity is just so prevalent. And I'm not talking about any form of acquired knowledge, but the basic logics of morality. So many people seem deprived of that.

Just the idea of having to re-assure people "hey, black can be ok for president" would annoy the hell out of me. I think the speaker should have had a macaron saying "I'm not telling you but you're all morons", and that's it.
That's the message.


Cheers,

Cedric Caspesyan

10/02/2008 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

(...said he branding his bottle of Bacardi 151...)

Cedric

10/02/2008 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. Great speech. He's right. Sadly Obama wont be president. Obama is a big media spectacle for white america to delude themselves that they "dont see race" lol. Like, how many white americans have never used the race card. Its as american as apple pie.

10/03/2008 02:50:00 AM  
Anonymous C-Monster said...

thanks for posting this...

10/03/2008 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger bob said...

Wow. It is about time. thanks Ed

10/03/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmmh.... amazing to see that the country who believes is the biggest and best country in the world, which became the "bully" of the entire world, can't go past racism but yet welcomes radical Jewish people with open arms... how is it possible that hate against color skin is still so very much alive in this country??.... what is that makes the US so special as to have the self tagged name of the best country in the world if the hate against black color is still present??... has the people in this country not learned anything in all these years??... are Americans so hypocrites and dumb as to not see past appearances and skin color??... is it better to vote for an old guy who admitted publicly not having a clue about economics just because he's white and has blue eyes??... so in the end the voting resolves in selecting the one that matches a "good" color skin just like Hitler wanted disregarding that the entire country will collapse by selecting the white guy as president… and for some bizarre reason Americans believe they are smarter than anyone in the world, ha!.... so better poor, broken, living in a third world country (because that’s what the US will be if the white guy wins) but with a white president…. Definitely those Americans who still think skin colors decides who is good or bad are dumb and should not be allowed to vote.... it is NOT and i SHOULDN'T be about skin color, it should be about honesty and integrity, and the white guy just like Bush have ZERO.

10/05/2008 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

Cedric what does it take to over such deep cynicism?

He was not telling people they were morons. He was telling to stop being scared and to have hope.

This was a great speech, it's to bad unions are not a driving force in this country anymore, maybe we would have a decent health care system if they were.

10/05/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Jeff, really, it depends on statistics. What are the statistics of people who
consider race when voting?

If it's just 15 per cent, than it's not really worth worrying, and the speech can help.

If it's 70 per cent or more, than at some point following the path of Diogenes is the more convenient solution to me. If things went so bad in my country, I would probably just emigrate. I mean, that's what my father did (and he did not bring all the bad stuff about beliefs, cultural pride and traditions, etc, like most immigrants do. I'm talking "real" emigration, the betrayal of your ancestors and all).


Cedric Caspesyan

10/05/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching a speech that has to remind people to not be afaid of the black man makes me want to curl up and die.

The speech is great, having to share the term "mankind" with stupid bigots who this speech is actually directed at is humiliating.

I understood Cedric's point completely. I can't believe I live somewhere that most likely won't pick Obama for president, because of undiscussed race issues.

-mortified and willing to move to another country if McCain wins.

10/05/2008 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

That's real brave of you. Your man loses and you move.

I don't see this speech as only about race.

I just think that being to cynical is a dead end.

I think Obama will win myself as McCain keeps screwing up.

To overcome the race issue Obama needs at least a 10% lead which he on his way to getting.

All he needs is 3 or 4 more toss up states and it's his.

10/06/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Some great woman just died in Afghanistan because she was brave.

Afghanistan is totally fucked up. Even if the Talibans are out, people still want it to be an islam republic. Of course, nothing as severe as the Taliban sharia,
but still, not a place where you are free to question Allah's position and sense of morality.

This woman died because of stubborn and stupid people. Maybe life is worth seeking political refuge in a foreign country, but God knows which country takes Afghan refugees these days.


Cedric C

(I truly hope for you that Obama wins)

10/06/2008 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

I don't live in Afghanistan and the Republicans are a far cry from the Taliban.

Extreme reasoning is not rational.

10/08/2008 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger david kramer said...

WOW. Great speech. Now that guy is
a fcking pitbull.
DK

10/09/2008 04:30:00 AM  

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