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Albert Einstein is attributed as saying, "The world as we created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking" (The New Quotable Einstein, Alice Calaprice).
Many moons ago, when those dignified men in short pants drafted the Constitution, they said it was to form a more perfect union. History has proven that perfection takes more than a signed document, and according to Obama, the only way to fix it, to really make our union perfect, is to move beyond the dark parts of the past and create a better future.
How do we begin, you ask? Well, ol' Al was a smart dude—even he knew that it starts with changing the way we think.
The New Yorker was right to say that Obama's speech helped cinch the vote, because it represented a new initiative in combatting race relations in the United States.
Barack Obama is able to influence and inspire so many people because he understands the importance of ethos, pathos, and logos in appealing to his audience.
Barack Obama believed we could persevere and overcome hundreds of years of racial tensions and inequalities. And—bonus—remind the youngsters what quality music is really all about.
When Barack Obama came under fire for comments made by his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, he chose to tackle the problem with an address to the nation. He stood across the street from Independence Hall and spoke about the turbulent history of race relations in America, and how those issues are still a very real part of contemporary society.
He acknowledged the inflammatory nature of Reverend Wright's comments, and while he didn't justify them, he did want people to understand that, from the point of view of the Black community, the history is difficult and complicated, and we can't dismiss the comments simply because they're uncomfortable to talk about. In fact, the legacy of racism is only one of many significant problems we need to address, and the best way to do that is to talk about it.
In the United States, we pride ourselves on being super diverse and eager to talk about whatever needs talking about. But, somehow, we manage to not discuss the stuff we really need to. Obama had hope that we can change all that, and he believed it starts with our young people, a generation that has seen more change in all types of areas than any that came before. We need to meet in the middle and make it happen—and we, average Americans, have the power to do it.
The only way to truly put an end to racism and racial inequalities is to believe that you (yes, you, young grasshopper) have the power to make it happen.