Barack Obama: The Prejudice of Predefinition


I listened to Barack Obama's historic speech in awe of the raw truth of his words and recognition of the dignity with which he faces the obvious attempts by others to predefine him as something singular -- a black candidate -- rather than as a multi-cultural and gifted American who presents a unique opportunity for both his country and the world.

I understand what his opponents are trying to do. The prejudice of predefinition. If one can be defined, then they are somehow 'less than'. I've seen it before. While researching World War II for a script, I came across a definition of race as classified by looks -- how close were the eyes to the nose to the chin, the color of hair -- that defined opportunity, the prejudice of predefinition that superceded both the potential of the individual and the needs of entire nations.

"The issues that have surfaced over the past few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never worked through. A part of our union that we've not yet made perfect. And if we walk away now. If we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care or education or the need to find good jobs for every American." (Senator Barack Obama).

The effort underway to define Barack Obama as 'the other,' whether it is as (too) black, not black enough, not ready, too eager, too young, too embroiled in his (Christian) church, (the false accusation of his being) a Muslim (a claim now confused by the fact that the pastor who brought him to Christ makes for a better target); all the cynical ways that opportunity has been grabbed by those who will use anything to hold onto power -- regardless of the consequences.

The emails that have been sent proclaiming Senator Obama as Muslim are clear examples of the cynical ploys that seek to divide and conquer and leave all but the few with less and those few with everything else. But that's not the worst crime of those emails. Senator Obama defined it well on CBS's 60 Minutes as an insult to him as a Christian and to all Muslims for the implication that there was something wrong in being Muslim.

There is nothing wrong with faith. It's what one does with that faith that becomes the test of their faith...