Yellow Bird: Thoughts on Sen. Obama and race

"We know that race will have an effect on the presidential campaign — perhaps a profound effect. Presidential candidate Barack Obama found that out, too. And we know the media is having a field day with the racist sermon clips of Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Does Obama hold deep-seated hatred of white people? Does he harbor secret thoughts similar to those of Wright?

Here are my thoughts about the issues surrounding race, Wright and the presidential campaign.

We have our own history of race relations in North Dakota, but we haven’t had to deal with the racial complexities that bigger cities have faced. In our state, the major races were and are whites and American Indians. That’s changing, of course, as more people move into our communities from other countries and bigger cities. This is especially true of college and university towns such as Fargo and Grand Forks.

One difference in experience with other races was brought home to me recently when I had the chance to interview Kuot Yolo, a Sudanese refugee and UND aerospace student. Yolo moved to the Red River Valley some 10 years ago. Before that, he had spent his boyhood in the middle of a devastating civil war in Sudan, a war that forced him to move from place to place — sometimes starving and always just ahead of his enemies.

His story plumbed new depths of man’s inhumanity and made the prejudices in my own community seem insignificant."

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird : Changing stereotypes comes slowly (The Grand Forks Herald 3/22)

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