Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

My friend, Suzie, said that I should read Barack Obama’s speech from the 2004 Democratic National Convention, called The Audacity of Hope. Suzie teaches inner city kids in Boston—fifth and sixth graders who come from poor and lower-middle–class backgrounds. She’s using this speech to teach about rhetoric and the power of words. Now I saw his speech live, but she’s encouraged me to read it because, as we all know, words can bring about change.

Since we’re on the eve of a historic election, I found it only fitting to read this speech, a speech by a politician no one had ever heard of before the speech. And now he could be the first Black president of the United States.

And in case you're so inclined, here's the first half of his speech:

3 comments:

Catherine said...

I have to say that I'm more interested in the outcome of the US election than in our own, which is four days later. Ours is offering more of the same, or alternatively more of the same disguised as a move to the right.
It will be huge if Obama gets in, but I always feel as if people are denying half his heritage by declaring him to be "black". Is "coloured" an offensive term these days? (I can never keep up with what is considered OK and what is not). If people have to be labelled by skin colour, which I hope one day we will get past, then I would have thought coloured was more accurate.

January said...

It is exciting to be a part of this election, Catherine.

Obama self-identifies as Black, even though he is of mixed race. I think he honors all parts of his heritage, but yes, his choice is based on skin color. That's not unusual in the U.S. Don't know if that's a good or bad thing since that's the only way I know.

My children will face the same issue because they are mixed race. But the choice will be theirs one day.

Yes, colored is considered offensive today because it is tied to this country's history of slavery. Most Blacks either identify as African Americans or Black. (I identify as Black.)

I talk about this a bit in today's Confession Tuesday post, which I'll release after I vote this morning.

Good questions, Catherine.

Catherine said...

Thanks for answering January, I did wonder about your children because of course they are Tim's children too.
in New Zealand more and more we see someone described as "of Maori, Scottish and Chinese descent" or some such similar mix. We don't use either term coloured or black, but would describe someone as Maori - in a crime report it might say "Maori or Pacific Islander" if they are looking for a suspect and arent sure of race.
I'm not saying there's no racism here, there is, but I don't think it's as deeply entrenched as in the US because it doesn't come from the same situation. The Maori of course are the indigenous people (well, as indigenous as it gets, they arrived about a thousand years ago).
In fact I was wondering if America will ever get a Native American president.
As for women, we have women leaders all over the place. No big deal here :)

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