It was billed as a 'major speech' on race in America. You can watch it here; the text is here. It's an impressive speech, though I think comparisons to Dr. King's I have a dream speech are a bit over the top.
John Stewart devoted a segment of his show to the speech, and had this to say at the end of it: "At 11am on Tuesday Obama spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults."
Let me note blog reactions from a couple of Desi students in the US:
Animesh: Won't it be nice if someone talked to Indians about caste, religion, and region-based differences like this :).
Patrix: If you wonder why a desi student like me who has hardly spent time in the U.S. understand about race relations fraught with discrimination and prejudice, then try and contextualize Obama’s speech in an Indian context as well. Just simply replace blacks with Muslims and whites with Hindus and you’ll find plenty of common ground in the way religion (and now caste) is ingrained in Indian politics. I’m sure you will nod your head when Obama talks about opinions within a particular community against another expressed in hushed tones while being politely deferential when with others. You might remember a certain relative or even your parent who agreed that Muslims deserved to be taught a lesson in Gujarat or how Babri Masjid deserved to be torn down.
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If you want a bit of humour aimed at Obama's message of 'change', you should be heading over to Onion.
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