South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu weighed in on the presidential campaign Tuesday in Chicago, praising America’s ability to produce the first viable African-American presidential candidate while describing the nation as haunted by a racial divide that still offers blacks what he called only “the illusion of equality.”
But he chided Americans for getting “very, very upset” with the pastor of Sen. Barack Obama, noting that Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. “may have said more crudely what, actually, almost every African-American would have wanted to say. I mean that is how they feel in your country, that race . . . is a very, very real issue.”
“And I think on the whole you keep trying to pretend it isn’t,” he added, noting the issue will haunt Americans until there is a way to talk honestly about race, such as holding a reconciliation forum.