In President Obama’s speech, “A More Perfect Union,” the speaker looks at assesses the problem of racism as it occurs throughout the history of the United States and how it has shaped the lives of individuals in the society today. The speech was delivered when Obama was a Senator in 2008, but it carefully outlined his vision of a country that needed to deviate from the racial slurs that have impacted the country in the past and move towards a future where blacks and whites could unite and tackle the common social problems in the society. Obama’s willingly addresses the social problem of race even though many individuals would prefer not to openly address the issue. Obama’s speech is effective as it maintains the presence of rhetorical strategies that alludes to patriotism, draws on parallel ideas, includes the experiences and past of the speaker, and a sense of “two-ness” to the presentation. In essence, Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” attempts to relieve the white Americans of their fears of race and unite in order to bring about a more productive country.
Obama speaks to the patriotism of the Americans and their need to work together to build a country that supports the United States Constitution and the freedom of individuals to live in a free world. He makes close reference to belief that there are still those who suffer at the hands of discrimination and failed to achieve the American Dream, (Obama, 2008). The general idea in this speech is that Obama can relate to the experiences of the black and the white Americans his parentage. According to Obama, his early childhood experiences of growing up with his white grandmother proves that the stereotypical image of the blacks as inferior to whites is in the minds of individuals. Additionally, the speech reflects the vision of a future where there is “two-ness” in that blacks and whites can move forward as a single entity despite the racial slurs of Reverend Wright and his generation who have suffered and still hold the memories of doubt, fear and humiliation of the whites, (Obama, 2008). The issue of racism and race has continued to shape the views of individuals on both sides despite the fact that the anger of the blacks in the United States surfaces even in churches. But, this anger, according to Obama, does not begin to change the historical events that have inspired these thoughts. The common belief in the speech is that the anger and fear of his grandmother and the mistrust and fear of the Reverend are real and powerful and can only be changed through an alliance between the African Americans and the white Americans in the society today. Arguably, neither blacks nor whites have truly accepted each other or have learnt to accept that both races share the common goals of developing a stronger United States.
Despite the time frame when Obama’s speech was written, there is a clear indication that the issue of racial barriers continue to exist within the society. Arguably, the resentment on both side of the racial divide have helped to shape the political vision for many decades and politicians use the opportunity to exploit the fears of the people even as they dismiss the real issues surrounding racism and injustice in the country, (Obama, 2008). President Obama continues to face the racial slurs of a divided nation. He articulates his experiences of being labeled as being too black or not black enough, (Obama, 2008) as he leads the country. This ideology comes from both sides of the people in America as black and white anger has proven to be counter-productive, (Obama, 2008).
In conclusion, the issue of racism and racial prejudice continues to plague the American society as blacks and white continue to hold on to the fears of the past. Nevertheless, Obama believes that both groups can move beyond the history of negativity and mistrust and build a better society where there is equality for all races in the society with the help of their Christian beliefs. The general framework of the speech is to reiterate the belief that individuals must take responsibility for their lives despite the discrimination and the challenges that may arise as each individual is responsible for his destiny. Conversely, there is a need for all Americans, despite their race and color, to come together and accept that by investing in equality in education, health, and welfare will eventually lead to a prosperous country.
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama, "A More Perfect Union," Obama Race Speech: Read The
Full Text, The Huffington Post, Posted: November 11, 2008, Viewed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/18/obama-race-speech-read-th_n_92077.html