"We've never really had a proper discussion about race and racism in this society so when comments come about as they have throughout this campaign we really don't know how to act," Boyd said. "We really don't know what to do with them. Whatever Obama has to say about race at some level he might as well be speaking to the wall because it's not going to make any difference in a society where people don't know the ins and outs and outs and ins about talking about a very volatile issue."
The more pressing questions for Obama, of course, may be the political ones.
Why wasn't this issue dealt with until now? What else do voters not know about Obama? And how does his pledge to unite the country square with his attendance at a church where those of his mother's hue might not feel comfortable?
ABC News' Susan Rucci contributed to this report.