In Shelby Steele’s superbly wrought and thoughtprovoking new e-book, A Sure Man, the award-winning and bestselling writer of The Content material of Our Character attests that Senator Barack Obama’s groundbreaking quest for the very best workplace within the land is quick changing into a galvanizing event past mere presidential politics, one that’s forcing a nationwide dialogue on the present state of race relations in America. Says Steele, poverty and inequality often are the main target of such dialogues, however Obama’s bid for thus excessive an workplace pushes the dialog to a extra summary degree the place race is a politics of guilt and innocence generated by our painful racial historical past — a form of morality play between (and inside) the races during which innocence is energy and guilt is impotence.
Steele writes of how Obama is caught between the 2 traditional postures that blacks have all the time used to make their method within the white American mainstream: bargaining and difficult. Bargainers strike a “discount” with white America during which they are saying, I cannot rub America’s ugly historical past of racism in your face if you’ll not maintain my race in opposition to me. Challengers do the alternative of bargainers. They cost whites with inherent racism after which demand that they show themselves harmless by supporting black-friendly insurance policies like affirmative motion and variety.
Steele maintains that Senator Obama is simply too constrained by these elaborate politics to seek out his personal true political voice. Obama has the temperament, intelligence, and background — an interracial household, a sterling training — to information America past the exhausted racial politics that now prevail. And but he’s a Promethean determine, a certain man.
Says Steele, People are constrained by a racial correctness so totalitarian that we’re afraid even to privately ask ourselves what we take into consideration racial issues. Like Obama, most of us discover it simpler to program ourselves for correctness moderately than threat realizing and expressing what we actually really feel. Obama emerges as a form of Everyman in whom we will see our personal battle to simply accept and honor what we actually really feel about race. In A Sure Man, Steele makes clear the exact constellation of forces that bind Senator Obama, and proposes a method for him to interrupt these bonds and discover his personal voice.The braveness to belief in a single’s personal cautious judgment is the brand new racial progress, the “method out” from the forces that now bind us all.