Race to Judgment

I'm a little late to the party on this, but I think the Philadelphia Inquirer gets this just about right. "Seeing the Light" was their editorial from earlier this week about how what Senator Reid had said about then-candidate Obama could have been said better, but still contained some meaningful truth in it. Not to say Senator Reid shouldn't know better, but why are we getting more worked up over his choice of words than over the injustices he is referencing: that many whites are still threatened by dark-skinned blacks, and that when white candidates talk colloquially it is a mark of authenticity versus when black candidates do so it is a mark of unelectability.

Could it be that we care less about doing the hard work of fixing very real and very entrenched problems, and more about looking like we're enlightened and progressive? I'm certainly not excusing Senator Reid; but in everyone's race to judgment, we've conveniently excused ourselves from having to deal with the real problems here. Net result: Senator Reid feels bad about what he said, we all get to feel good that we got our self-righteous swings in, and the underlying issues remain under-addressed and under-resolved. America, we've still got some work to do here.

PS By the way, I found this after I was done writing my musings. Leonard Pitts says it much better than I do.

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