Is President Obama the scold of black America or its empathetic prophet?
With his remarks at the funeral for the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney a week ago, Mr. Obama looked out onto a sea of mostly black faces — under the gaze of the nation — and addressed the topic of racism head-on.
“For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now,” he said without flinching.
It was a bittersweet moment. Sweet because, for the first time in years, the president exercised some of his trademark audacity on behalf of black Americans instead of chiding us. Bitter because of the ghastly events in Charleston, S.C., that led to the shift in rhetoric.