Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A More Perfect Union

I didn't really follow much of American presidential campaign and didn't know much of Barack Obama. Today I took a 2 seconds interests in him and looked up Barack Obama in wikipedia and came across his famous speech of A More Perfect Union.

Obama was responding to a spike in the attention paid to controversial remarks made by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and, until shortly before the speech, a participant in his campaign. Obama situated his response in terms of the broader issue of race in the United States. The speech's title was taken from the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

Obama addressed the subjects of racial tensions, white privilege, and race and inequality in the United States, discussing black "anger," white "resentment," and other issues as he sought to explain and contextualize Wright's controversial comments. His speech closed with a plea to move beyond America's "racial stalemate" and address shared social problems.

The address was given on March 18, ten days after Malaysians non-racial coalition gained a great leap in political support against the racial coalition in the general election. The whole Malaysia, including myself in Perth, was in surprise, shock and excitement about a new dawn in the political landscape.

I find the speech a great lecture on racial relation in the Malaysian context also. Although the situation between the white and the black in US is different from the Malays and non-Malays in Malaysia, there are much similarity that Malaysians can learn from the speech to forge a better union too.

Read the transcript here.

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