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https://www.npr.org/2018/07/17/629862434/transcript-obamas-speech-at-the-2018-nelson-mandela-annual-lecture

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“I believe we have no choice but to move forward; that those of us who believe in democracy and civil rights and a common humanity have a better story to tell.” former President Obama said in Johannesburg at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture

Madiba understood that we can’t say we’ve got a just society simply because we replaced the color of the person on top of an unjust system, so the person looks like us even though they’re doing the same stuff, and somehow now we’ve got justice. That doesn’t work. (Cheers and applause.) It’s not justice if now you’re on top, so I’m going to do the same thing that those folks were doing to me and now I’m going to do it to you. That’s not justice. “I detest racialism,” he said, “whether it comes from a black man or a white man.”

Most of us prefer to surround ourselves with opinions that validate what we already believe. You notice the people who you think are smart are the people who agree with you. (Laughter.) Funny how that works. But democracy demands that we’re able also to get inside the reality of people who are different than us so we can understand their point of view. Maybe we can change their minds, but maybe they’ll change ours. And you can’t do this if you just out of hand disregard what your opponents have to say from the start. And you can’t do it if you insist that those who aren’t like you – because they’re white, or because they’re male – that somehow there’s no way they can understand what I’m feeling, that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.
Madiba, he lived this complexity. In prison, he studied Afrikaans so that he could better understand the people who were jailing him. And when he got out of prison, he extended a hand to those who had jailed him, because he knew that they had to be a part of the democratic South Africa that he wanted to build. “To make peace with an enemy,” he wrote, “one must work with that enemy, and that enemy becomes one’s partner.”

Madiba reminds us that: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.” Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let’s remember that truth.

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“I believe we have no choice but to move forward; that those of us who believe in democracy and civil rights and a common humanity have a better story to tell.” former President Obama said in Johannesburg at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture

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2018-11-21T20:44:20+00:00November 21st, 2018|Tags:
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One Comment

  1. Anonymous November 23, 2018 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Outstanding. Empathic. Sensitive. Timely

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