A conservative white guy from the South canvasses for Obama and breaks my heart. From the Christian Science Monitor (via Andrew Sullivan):
At the Obama headquarters, we stood in a group to receive our instructions. I wasn’t the oldest, but close, and the youngest was maybe in high school. I watched a campaign organizer match up a young black man who looked to be college age with a white guy about my age to canvas together. It should not have been a big thing, but the beauty of the image did not escape me.
Read the whole thing. It’s beautiful.
In the same vein, WaPo’s Wil Haygood went to Montana, where blacks are nearly non-existent, to see how these whitest of white folks are reacting to the thought of a black man as President.
Wil is an excellent, excellent writer (and a good friend) but I have to wonder how Montanans would have responded to a white reporter. Their comments sound a tad…careful to me. Not that they should be assumed to be Kluxers, but I just wonder. There are a few lovely images though:
[One 72 year old widow and her husband] Frank took their three boys to Denver in the early 1960s to attend a big stock show. There was an ice-skating rink outside the downtown hotel where they stayed, and Frank and Gay let the boys go skate. Now and then they’d peek through the window, checking up on them. “It was where we first met black people,” she says. “I remember looking out the window and two of my boys had this little black boy by his hands and they were taking him around the skating rink. If it weren’t for Denver, I don’t think my boys—even as they reached the age of 50—would have had meaningful contact with black people.”
Meaningful? I’m not belittling this lady and believe that their ‘careful’ answers bespeak their heartfelt attempts to adapt to a world turned on its axis. Whatever else Obama accomplishes, it simply cannot be gainsaid that his candidacy is both the beginning of racial progress and proof of just how much work there remains to be done to heal the schism.