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PHOTO ESSAY

Blacks in Politics, Part 1

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Barack Obama, 2008

Courtesy of AP

As the first black and biracial man with a high chance of being the next President of the United States, Barak Obama is in a position to address the issues of race in the United States in a fresh, honest, and straightforward manner. On 18 March 2008 in response to inflammatory remarks made by his former minister, Obama directly addressed the issues of race and politics in America in his historic speech "A More Perfect Union": "For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle—as we did in the OJ trial—or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina—or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies. We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change. That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, 'Not this time.'"

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