NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88593083/88593066" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Binging on Junkie

Binging on Junkie

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88593083/88593066" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Who'd have thought that in this relatively dry period in the national political contest, we'd have so much to talk about we need to take Junkie for the full hour? Not me, that's who! I've been out for a couple days, and media-free, so I had no idea about the degree of fervor Sen. Barack Obama's speech on race has inspired. Now that I've heard it, I get it. After yesterday's focus on the speech as a whole, today we're going to just pull a bit of it, on the feelings of white Americans, to focus on. Specifically...

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience — as far as they're concerned, no one handed them anything. They built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pensions dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and they feel their dreams slipping away. And in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

We're taking his oratory as an opportunity to look at how white democrats are voting this season.... and then there's Sen. Clinton's first-lady-schedules to pore over, plus McCain on Iran...

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.