Well, perhaps this answer is what they were waiting for.
Instead – for the first time in more detail that I’ve ever seen – Obama took the opportunity to get at what he considers the heart of the matter, actually demanding that black journalists themselves are to blame for missing the point. Skin color, his record in public service, the issues – none of this suggests he’s not ‘black enough’ and yet questions over his blackness persist, he put to the crowd of black journalists.
It’s “puzzling,” he said. Why is this?
But the question was rhetorical. Professor Obama then stepped onto the stage, answering his own question, and suggesting that perhaps the real issue is a basic mistrust in black America of a black candidate.
“What it really does is really lay bare, I think, that we’re still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong,” he said, adding it’s the same sort of suspicion many blacks face when they attend a predominately white Ivy League institution.
And that’s when he issued this provocative challenge: Instead of asking Obama if he’s black enough, black journalists should dig deeper, and ask why there exists this mistrust in black America of a black man like Obama running for office?
Well, hallelujah. Hard questions about race in America need to be asked, and honestly, who better to jump-start the conversation than a high-profile African-American politician like Senator Obama?
I’m not a huge fan of the Senator, but I like to give credit where it’s due. And in my opinion, Obama won a big one.