There is a saying in the black community that blacks cannot improve as a people because like crabs in a barrel whenever one tries to climb out of the barrel the other ones will pull him back down. The reaction of some of the so-called black leaders to the success of Senator Barack Obama seems to bear out this analogy. It seems like the closer he gets to making history the more the “haters” try to sabotage him. The sad part about this whole episode is that the same leaders who are critical of the Senator today, should he get elected will be at the White House the day after the inauguration looking for handouts.
The latest in the purveyors of the “crab mentality” is Jesse Jackson, his comments being aired on Fox News about Senator Obama are indicative of this phenomenon. Now I have written extensively about the exploits of Mr. Jackson. From his reshaping of his relationship to Dr. King, to his corporate boycotts that seem to benefit his family, to his love child exploits; Mr. Jackson has demonstrated a lack of personal integrity in my opinion. His recent comments caught on a hot mic during an interview concerning health care policy where he appeared to be promoting the castration of Senator Obama is just the latest in a long line of comments that Mr. Jackson has been allowing to “slip” since it became clear that Senator Obama was going to make a serious run at the nomination.
Jesse Jackson reportedly ripped presidential candidate Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white,” according to The State newspaper in South Carolina, but the civil rights leader says he doesn’t recall making any such comment…He later told the newspaper that he did not remember making the remark, but State reporter Roddie Burris told FOX News that Jackson’s “acting like he’s white” comment came during a 45-minute, one-on-one interview Tuesday after an hour-long speech at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Burris said he stands by his report.Fox News
These comments were made back in September of 2007, when the Senator would not bring attention to a rally Mr. Jackson and Al Sharpton were holding for the Jena Six. While the Senator wanted to draw attention to the larger role of race in America, according to Mr. Jackson because Senator Obama didn’t follow his lead then he was acting white. When did Jesse Jackson become the barometer of blackness in America? The comments made by Jackson then and echoed today are representative of more than the generational differences between the two men, but also represent the envy and jealously that is being barely contained on the part of Mr. Jackson.
There are two aspects to the cause of the continued “slips of the tongue” that has plagued Mr. Jackson; the first is the generational gap between the two and how it plays out in their views of America. Mr. Jackson wants Senator Obama to be a black man who is running for President, while Senator Obama views himself as a man who happens to be black running for office. Those seemingly subtle differences in language bridge decades of black life in America. Senator Obama cannot win running as a black candidate, just as Jesse Jackson could not win. Why Mr. Jackson would want to insure the defeat of Senator Obama is beyond me. Mr. Jackson still views the nation in terms of the old struggles with the old answers.
According to the article, Jackson called the incident in Jena “a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,” and said Obama’s failure to seize the opportunity to highlight what he describes as a disparate approach to prosecuting whites and blacks demonstrates his weaknesses as a candidate.
“If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said at the historically black college. Fox News
Is there still racism in America? Of course there is, but it’s forms have changed over the years and so it’s alleviation will require new tactics. Tactics Mr. Jackson is either unwilling or unable to grasp. In standing by the old methods of delivering money to urban organizations to mete out to the uneducated masses of poor inner-city people, Mr. Jackson stands to fill his coffers at the expense of his less fortunate brothers and sisters. It is no wonder he is opposed to any new concepts for attacking the problems of the inner-city.
We should consider which man is really “talking down” to black people. The man who speaks of realizing new possibilities and dreaming new dreams with straight talk about those things we are doing to help perpetuate our lack of success or someone who uses simple slogans and rhymes with no details of how to bring about any real change.
Senator Obama will be our next President not because of people like Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, or the many new “black” Republican commentators who have suddenly been discovered by the MSM, but in spite of them. There is a train leaving the station in America and there will be some folks who won’t get onboard for various reasons, but the train will leave with or without them.
Richard Pryor had a joke he told that encapsulates the current state of black support for Senator Obama from the old guard of civil rights movement. He is not one of them and so he isn’t beholden to any of them. Richard said he use to go home and when his old friends would see him they would say, “Man you ain’t nothing, you wasn’t ever nothing, you was telling them same ole jokes back then, loan me a dollar.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
At times, what is true for us, is not valid for those we cherish. The individuals we love most, who may have guided us through our life travel, do not experience the world as we do. People, even Pastors, are not always [W]right; nor are they necessarily wrong. People have perspectives, perceptions, and pain. Sadly, we humans, breakable beings that we are, are easily hurt. We rant and rage as we fight to survive. Souls are fragile. No one can save us, not G-d, or self. The enemy is within. The Almighty may give us tools. However, he cannot lead us from the temptation to defend ourselves when we believe we are wounded. Nor can the Lord help us to understand how, when we harm one, we injure many. Barack Obama understands this to his core. The hopeful Presidential aspirant addressed this truth.
When a person, such as Doctor Pastor Reverend Wright is lambasted, he can and will either lay down and die or he will attack those who he believes attempted to mortally mutilate him. Few will simply remain silent when they feel as though they have been repeatedly stabbed. As serene as a man of the church may think himself to be, he too is human. Jeremiah Wright, in recent days, has offended many. He damaged the reputation of friend and foe. The learned scholar, wise as he may be, is as flawed as we all are.
It is difficult to watch a man fall from grace and perchance it is more of a challenge to criticize one intent on self-preservation. This has been the dynamic for Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. How do we denounce the words of a man we have long respected without demeaning the character of a tragic hero. Today, the potential Commander-In-Chief did so in a speech.
I invite your review, reflection, and responses. If we as a nation are ever to heal all that divides us, we must speak of what our shared concerns. Barack Obama has done this.
The full transcript is offered. Please peruse the speech.
The following is a transcript of a press conference held by Senator Barack Obama in response to recent statements by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as provided by Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign.
Senator Barack Obama: Before I start taking questions I want to open it up with a couple of comments about what we saw and heard yesterday. I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe. That’s what this campaign has been about.
Yesterday we saw a very different vision of America. I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday. You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought either.
Now, I’ve already denounced the comments that had appeared in these previous sermons. As I said, I had not heard them before. And I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church, he’s built a wonderful congregation, the people of Trinity are wonderful people, and what attracted me has always been their ministry’s reach beyond the church walls. But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the United States’ wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me, they rightly offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.
Let me just close by saying this, I — we started this campaign with the idea that the problems that we face as a country are too great to continue to be divided; that, in fact, all across America people are hungry to get out of the old, divisive politics of the past. I have spoken and written about the need for us to all recognize each other as Americans, regardless of race or religion or region of the country; that the only way we can deal with critical issues like energy and health care and education and the war on terrorism is if we are joined together. And the reason our campaign has been so successful is because we had moved beyond these old arguments. What we saw yesterday out of Reverend Wright was a resurfacing and, I believe, an exploitation of those old divisions.
Whatever his intentions, that was the result. It is antithetical to our campaign, it is antithetical to what I am about, it is not what I think America stands for, and I want to be very clear that moving forward Reverend Wright does not speak for me, he does not speak for our campaign. I cannot prevent him from continuing to make these outrageous remarks, but what I do want him to be very clear about, as well as all of you and the American people, is that when I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it. It contradicts everything that I’m about and who I am. And anybody who has worked with me, who knows my life, who has read my books, who has seen what this campaign’s about, I think will understand that it is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country.
Last point, I’m particularly distressed that this has caused such a distraction from what this campaign should be about, which is the American people. Their situation is getting worse. And this campaign has never been about me. It’s never been about Senator Clinton or John McCain. It’s not about Reverend Wright. People want some help in stabilizing their lives and securing a better future for themselves and their children, and that’s what we should be talking about. And the fact that Reverend Wright would think that somehow it was appropriate to command the stage for three or four consecutive days in the midst of this major debate is something that not only makes me angry, but also saddens me.
May we each hold those who we most revere in our hearts and remember, it is hard to be human. While we may be made in G-d’s image, we are certainly not as close to perfection as we envision the Lord to be, no matter our calling.
Barack Obama, Reverend Wright, and References . . .
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright spoke at the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP’s annual fundraising event over the weekend. The speech was carried by CNN live and allowed Reverend Wright to speak to his critics while at the same time speaking to the larger theme of the event which was, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Like so much of what occurs in American society the speech will be evaluated based on the listener’s frame of reference. For many in the black community the speech will be hailed as brilliant and will demonstrate Reverend’s Wright superior intellect and skilled articulation talents. For some in the white community it will be misconstrued and reinforce their views of him as being divisive. How is it possible that so many people can hear the same speech and yet reach so many different conclusions?
Are we so divided and so different that we can’t even acknowledge our differences. And having once acknowledged those differences can we not celebrate them or are we so tribal that anyone who is not exactly like us we view as deficient? In rhetoric and language befitting a leader in the black Church, Dr. Wright attempted to characterize the differences we share and their history to depict why there are those who are either unable or unwilling to understand his past characterizations of the country that he served. Let’s be clear, many of those who are questioning the patriotism of Reverend Wright have themselves chosen for whatever reasons not to serve their country, except as Mitt Romney so aptly described by campaigning for their fathers. Reverend Wright served this country as not only a Marine, but also as a member of the US Navy.
I am no expert in democracy or in Constitutional law, but I believe that if someone chooses to place his life on the line in defense of this nation, a nation that for a long time refused to apply equal protection for all of its citizens, has a right to criticize that same nation. I am so sick and tired of this false wing-nut narrative that anyone who criticizes America is anti-America or anyone who does not wear a flag lapel pin is giving aid and comfort to terrorists. As if to say that anything and everything that has been done in America and by America has been right. Forgive me, but my take on the Freedom of Speech clause is that as members of a democracy we have the right to criticize or to praise our nation as we see fit. Whether you agree with his views or not, Reverend Wright has every right to express them. Why is it that we have to display our war stance when it comes to surrendering our civil rights, but we do not have to display it when it comes to making actual sacrifices for the effort?
While I agree with the basic premise of Reverend Wright’s speech which is, why must everything and everyone be placed under “the white man’s burden?” For those who are not aware the white man’s burden is to elevate the blacks, reds, browns, and yellows of this world to the grand standard of Western European culture, as if to say no other culture has brought anything to the world but them. Just because you are a bully that doesn’t make you right, it just makes you a bully. If it were not for the Native American culture, those great European settlers would have never survived in this hemisphere. There are those who expect those of us who have received the brunt of American discrimination and racism to quietly accept our fate and anyone who “describes” those atrocities are being divisive. Are we to believe that those perpetrating these atrocities are doing so with the purpose of unifying us as a Nation?
Where I take exception with Reverend Wright and any other spokesman of God, is that while it is important to speak out against injustice and all the other deficiencies in human character, one must do so in a different forum than the Church. I understand that for many years in the black community the Church was the only release for the frustration and anger many felt with their conditions; however one must separate the worldly from the spiritual.
In other words, it is a sin to steal yet there maybe extenuating circumstances to mitigate the stealing. Those mitigating circumstances cannot be a part of the message of the Church against stealing, that message must be delivered outside of the Holy proclamation. Social causes while important must not be allowed to interfere with the true message of the Church. The Apostle Paul only preached one sermon repeatedly; “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”*
Representatives of God should not use the altar to assail their brothers no matter how large their shortcomings. One can acknowledge evil and injustice in a way that does not cast aspersions on any one group. Evil and inhumanity knows no color or race. The recent blood-letting in Africa can attest to that fact. In my opinion pointing out the ills of a government should not be done from the pulpit, but from the soap box in the public square. Ministers should separate the Church from social commentary, just as we have separation of Church and state for the protection of the Church, we also need it for the protection of the Republic. While it is becoming increasingly difficult in our society to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s, it is a distinction we must maintain at all costs.
* 1 Corinthians 2:2
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic ~ John F. Kennedy
Why is it that in America we always look for the easy and the convenient. We always want everything to fit into a nice neat box. That’s right, no contemplative thought, no analyzing, just give it to me in a form that will not require a lot of work or thought on my part. It is a simple task to chalk up the Reverend Jeremiah Wright as some angry black lunatic who is going to single handedly destroy the Obamania tour. It is amazing to me how so many people blogging will write all these prose and essays extolling the virtues of the American electorate and how badly they want policy white papers and how hungry they are for detailed plans. When the truth of the matter, as the fall-out from Reverend Wright has once again displayed, is that the majority of voters could care less about timetables and figures. Not when there is some juicy story floating around about some crazy black man and his relationship to the leading Democratic Presidential contender.
For those who prefer to accept the Cliffs notes version of events I would suggest you not read any further, because that is not what I will provide. What I will provide is a provocative analysis of the real underlying problem as to why we are having this dust up about a relatively small-time pastor. You see the real problem has nothing to do with Jeremiah Wright. The real problem was exposed 40 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King in an interview he gave at Western Michigan University. In the interview, Dr. King stated that the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning. You see the problem is that because we do not interact not only Monday through Friday, but also on Sunday we have no concept as to what each other are thinking. We, as blacks are given a better glimpse into white society because we are bombarded with its images on a constant basis. Whites on the other hand have little or no conception of what is going on in the black community aside from the caricatures from television and movies.
The Church in America as a whole has done little to reconcile and heal the wounds of the past. The modern Church instead of preaching the Gospel has instead chose to preach the world. Just the fact that we have a black Church and a white Church should be alarming to anyone who professes to be a Christian. Many whites have asked how could Barack Obama have remained a member of his church when the minister was making the statements he was making. Those of you who are not prejudice how could you have remained in families where racial slurs and prejudice where present? I have known countless whites who have confessed that they have parents, brothers, or sisters have often times used racial slurs and had racial biases. Or that they have attended social events and parties where there were no minorities present and the racial jokes and the N-word were being cast around like lures at a bass fishing tournament. My point is that there is enough blame to go around and if we all just look into our own lives honestly we will see it.
The question I have is this. If you are attending a church and you look around and everyone in that church looks like you and acts like you, then why are you there? I present this question to both black and white. Newsflash – If you call yourself a Christian and everyone at your church looks just like you then you are in the wrong church. How can we expect to worship the same God when we can’t even come together and worship him here and now. It is no wonder so many people have such bad opinions of Christians. We preach togetherness and one Church, one Lord, and one God, but where is that unity on Sunday? We each run off to our safe little church communities and talk about all of these virtues and once the sermon is over we climb right back into our cars and go right back to our segregated worlds. The problem is not this one preacher, no my friends the problem is the Church as a whole in America. If we are ever to overcome the many obstacles that divide us we must begin with the One who unites us.
“At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation,” King said in 1963. “This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this.”
Only 7 percent of America’s churches are racially mixed. On June 29, Biggers is planning a nationwide Mission Sunday. He hopes to organize 1,000 churches across the United States to visit churches that “look different from one another.” News OK.com
How can this be? We talk about love, honesty, and fairness yet we don’t have a clue how to worship God together. The problem is hypocrisy in the Church. Jesus had His harshest criticisms against hypocrites* because of their damaging effect on the Church. Hypocrites destroy the Church from inside as well as outside. They destroy it from the inside by undermining the faith of others. How can I trust the preacher when he is running around with the deacon’s wife? They destroy it from the outside by preventing those who want to join the Church from doing so. Why should I join the Church when they are doing the exact same things that the world is doing? I beseech anyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ to look back at what He did. He went out into the world; he didn’t just stay in “His” community. Can we not also do the same? I would ask all true Christians and non-Christians alike to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to those who appear different from you. You may be surprised how much they may be like you.
~ Matthew 23:13-36
False history gets made all day, any day,
the truth of the new is never on the news – Adrienne Rich
The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.
~ Barack Obama [Senator and Potential President] March 18, 2008
When we are separate, our experience is never equal. African-Americans mingle among the many Anglos in this country. However, individuals with dark-complexions do not fully unite or fit into a society that segregates by color. While Americans have forcibly progressed beyond the laws that allowed for racial discrimination, the bias and bigotry that filled the hearts of many citizens in the United States for centuries still thrives. While we muse, we love thy neighbor, we react to those whose race is not our own.
Americans claim they are Christian, inclusive. Indeed, we are a Judeo-Christian nation. Yet, Jews are still scorned in America, as are people of any color that is other than a pinkish white. Amongst Caucasians, the habit of hate has been passed on for generations. Yet, when those whose skin is pale, hear the words of a Black man, a Reverend, Jeremiah Wright, who has been wounded by racism for all the years of his life, speak of his distress, they react as though they had never uttered a racial epithet in their lives.
The most respected Americans, white in color proclaim, “I have never heard such vile derisive language in an Anglo church.” “No preacher, pastor, priest, or rabbi would ever express him or herself in such a loathsome manner.” Shocked Caucasians inquire as if to invite a shared criticism, “Is this what Black people believe?” If reasons are presented for such resentment, the response from self-righteous lovers of G-d and man is, “African-Americans are bigoted!” “How dare they.” The pink persons declare, “In the House of the Lord only words of love are spoken, at least that is the way it is in white churches, temples, and synagogues.”
However, this may not be the case. Hate is harbored on every avenue in America, even in places of worship. As Barack Obama dared to remind us, on Sundays African-Americans and Anglos who reside in the United States are perhaps more divided than they are on any other day. The pale persons pray with those whose skin tone is similar to their own. When we look at only the surface, all whites may appear equal; and they are in the eyes of the Almighty. Yet, as humans gaze upon each other, they see differences.
A white man or woman, whose gender preference is unlike those of the self-ordained “absolved of all “sins” congregation may experience discrimination even in death.
Texas congregation acted out of principle, not malice, pastor says
Associated Press. MSNBC
August 11, 2007
Arlington, Texas – A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.
Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.
“It’s a slap in the face. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’re sorry he died, but he’s gay so we can’t help you,”‘ she said Friday. . .
Simons said the church believes homosexuality is a sin, and it would have appeared to endorse that lifestyle if the service had been held there.
“We did decline to host the service – not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle,” Simons told The Associated Press. “Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it – yes, we would have declined then. It’s not that we didn’t love the family.”
Love rears its ugly head in many odd ways. Fondness, in the form of fury and foment, is found on film throughout cyberspace. As the “average” American bears witness, people, pale in color, have become a community of contempt. Condescension is what appears in the Judeo-Christian churches throughout the land of the free. Americans, be they Jewish, Mormon, Protestant or Christian are calm when they contemplate the G-d and the all that he creates. People are polite in public; however, when they are in the comfort of their homes they express what they claim is never stated. The proper and pink teach their progeny to believe as they do.
A 5% annual increase in hate groups in 2005 caps a remarkable rise of 33% over the five-year period that began in 2000.
By Mark Potok
Southern Poverty Law
Fueled by belligerent tactics and publicity stunts, the number of hate groups operating in the United States rose from 762 in 2004 to 803 last year, capping an increase of fully 33% over the five years since 2000.
The expansion of hate groups last year, documented by the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, seemed to be helped along by aggressive maneuvers that landed them on front pages and in national news broadcasts. The National Socialist Movement, for instance, repeatedly made national news with provocative attempts to march through black, inner-city neighborhoods. Other groups rallied with increasing fervor and frequency, and even undertook sure-to-infuriate campaigns like “Operation Schoolyard,” an attempt in the 2004-2005 school year to distribute 100,000 free racist music CDs to schoolchildren . . . A growing Internet presence also helped groups’ propaganda to flourish; there were 524 hate sites counted in 2005, up 12% from 468 in 2004.
Yes, whites individuals and groups do indoctrinate their young. The practice amid the pink population is as odious as they believe it is among African-Americans. Whites are as blackened by bigotry as their brethren may be.
Sadly, too frequently when we look upon another we see only what appears on the surface. Just as the oppressed of one color or creed voices words that may be defined as dishonorable, so too do those in the supposed superior sect. Each of us errors. We are all emotional beings, complex and never viewed completely. New York Times Columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, addressed this truth in his recent editorial, Obama and Race. The articulate author writes of what goes on within the walls of Trintiy United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois.
Many well-meaning Americans perceive Mr. Wright as fundamentally a hate-monger who preaches antagonism toward whites. But those who know his church say that is an unrecognizable caricature: He is a complex figure and sometimes a reckless speaker, but one of his central messages is not anti-white hostility but black self-reliance.
“The big thing for Wright is hope,” said Martin Marty, one of America’s foremost theologians, who has known the Rev. Wright for 35 years and attended many of his services. “You hear ‘hope, hope, hope.’ Lots of ordinary people are there, and they’re there not to blast the whites. They’re there to get hope.”
Professor Marty said that as a white person, he sticks out in the largely black congregation but is always greeted with warmth and hospitality. “It’s not anti-white,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who’s white who walks out of there not feeling affirmed.”
Mr. Wright has indeed made some outrageous statements. But he should be judged as well by his actions – including a vigorous effort to address poverty, ill health, injustice and AIDS in his ministry. Mr. Wright has been frightfully wrong on many topics, but he was right on poverty, civil rights and compassion for AIDS victims.
What should draw much more scrutiny in this campaign than any pastor’s sermons is the candidates’ positions on education, health care and poverty – and their ability to put those policies in place. Cutting off health care benefits for low-income children strikes me as much more offensive than any inflammatory sermon.
Indeed, what is an affront to a person affected by a policy or practice is barely observable to one who will never realize how a political promise or lack thereof can destroy the life of those they love. When in an impoverished community people depend on the kindness of a culture such as the society Thomas Paine described, one in which the commonweal was more important than the needs of any individual. The disenfranchised rely on the good will of people who believe in the Lord, practice as Jesus preached, “Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Yet, inside and outside of a religious house, mere mortal man fails to adhere to the principles preached from the pulpit. We need only remember the plight of a sweet young child, a twelve year old, Deamonte Driver who died of a toothache Sunday, February 25, 2007.
If his mother hadn’t been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.
By the time Deamonte’s own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George’s County boy died.
Few in a white American world can imagine such a situation. Certainly, a Caucasian churchgoer does not subscribe to the belief a child must suffer. No clergy would caste a little one to the wolves or ask them to endure the burden of a national budget disagreement. An ordained Minister, Reverend, Pastor, Priest, or Rabbi, a Shaman would not will a poverty-stricken parent, people within an impoverished community, or those not yet empowered, to care for a child without adequate means to assist the young person. That is unless the religious leader is part of the “Fellowship” or “Family,” who congregates in Washington District of Columbia or other Capitols throughout the globe.
This group of world leaders, the affluent and comfortable from Congress to the Cabinet, from the White House to the wondrous world of power elite, accepts as part of their mission, that those whose pigmentation is darker, or persons deemed to be of lesser value may be left to die when they no longer serve the “masters.” This theological order differs from some of the other organized religion.
The Family avoids the word Christian but worships Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the “meek.” They believe that, in mass societies, it’s only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God’s “dominion” on earth. Insofar as the Family has a consistent philosophy, it’s all about power — cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or “cells.” “We work with power where we can,” Doug Coe [Fellowship leader] has said, and “build new power where we can’t.”
African-Americans rarely and barely have authority equal to those of Anglos in this nation. “Affirmative Action,” a policy established to appease those embarrassed by the actions of their ancestors, is granted and taken away. Caucasians complain of “reverse racism,” for few can comprehend.
[B]lacks have not simply been treated unfairly; they have been subjected first to decades of slavery, and then to decades of second-class citizenship, widespread legalized discrimination, economic persecution, educational deprivation, and cultural stigmatization. They have been bought, sold, killed, beaten, raped, excluded, exploited, shamed, and scorned for a very long time. The word “unfair” is hardly an adequate description of their experience, and the belated gift of “fairness” in the form of a resolution no longer to discriminate against them legally is hardly an adequate remedy for the deep disadvantages that the prior discrimination has produced. When the deck is stacked against you in more ways than you can even count, it is small consolation to hear that you are now free to enter the game and take your chances.
Chances are opportunities will be scant and tentative at that. Former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro reminds us of this. For the Clinton cohort, and a former member of the Clinton Finance Committee, Barack Obama, and perhaps all Black Americans are “lucky” to be where they are today. For Ferraro, another Anglo American who evidently cannot connect to the experience of being poor or purplish-brown in hue, being Black in this country is apparently an advantage. Perchance, it is a privilege to suffer at the hands of those in power, the people who do not wish to speak of their work or worship. We cannot know. For unlike the scenes seen in volumes of video in the worldwide web or in news network libraries, there are no recordings of what occurs in “Fellowship” [Family] meetings. The “cells” remain cloistered, just as the rich do.
[T]he prayer groups have become cherished sanctuaries for their members-providing respite, however brief, from the cacophony of political Washington. Speaking about a group is strongly discouraged, and what transpires at meetings is strictly off the record.
No one will know if these elite powerbrokers express their racial hatred aloud. One can only determine what is true through the policies these persons enact. They may say they prayer for equality; however, the laws introduced and passed frequently, further disenfranchise the poor and people of color.
There is much evidence, anecdotal as the Ferraro affair may be, and research analysis, to suggest Caucasians in this country find it difficult to relate to the circumstances of those whose skin is a darker color. The predicament of people whose skin gleams a brownish-purplish hue is incomprehensible to those who do not suffer from the effects of racism.
A Jew can pass amongst gentiles. An Asian can climb, albeit inch-by-inch. Hispanics are hindered in their assent; yet, not in the way a Black man or woman is. An African-American is never fully free from the stereotypes. On screen dramas, depict African-Americans as villains. The nightly news amplifies this message. The public presumes if a crime is committed, certainly the lawbreaker will be Black.
Our language leads us to believe black is bad. White is good. From childhood on Americans are indoctrinated. Slavery may have ended with the Emancipation Proclamation; however, African-Americans remained incarcerated in caricatures.
From the introduction of animated film in the early 1900s to the 1950s, ethnic humor was a staple of American-made cartoons. Yet, as Christopher Lehman shows in this revealing study, the depiction of African Americans in particular became so inextricably linked to the cartoon medium as to influence its evolution through those five decades. He argues that what is in many ways most distinctive about American animation reflects white animators’ visual interpretations of African American cultural expression.
The first American animators drew on popular black representations, many of which were caricatures rooted in the culture of southern slavery. During the 1920s, the advent of the sound-synchronized cartoon inspired animators to blend antebellum-era black stereotypes with the modern black cultural expressions of jazz musicians and Hollywood actors. When the film industry set out to desexualize movies through the imposition of the Hays Code in the early 1930s, it regulated the portrayal of African Americans largely by segregating black characters from others, especially white females. At the same time, animators found new ways to exploit the popularity of African American culture by creating animal characters like Bugs Bunny who exhibited characteristics associated with African Americans without being identifiably black.
By the 1950s, protests from civil rights activists and the growing popularity of white cartoon characters led animators away from much of the black representation on which they had built the medium. Even so, animated films today continue to portray African American characters and culture, and not necessarily in a favorable light.
Perhaps, the portrayals burned into our brains, when we were toddlers, those heard in church, in homes, in movie theatres, and on televisions, helps to explain why Anglo Americans cannot imagine what it like to be Black in America. Few Caucasians have experienced the pain of prejudice. Pinkish people cannot comprehend what it feels like to consistently be a victim of avoidance. An Anglo does not think that their mere appearance might threaten another. White people walk down the street without a care. No one crosses the boulevard in order to steer clear of them as happens frequently to a Black man or woman approaching from the other direction.
Anglos do not know what it feels like to be shunned, snubbed, or scorned because your skin is dark. Caucasians cannot pretend to know how what some say is a tease is truly a threat. When Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman smiled and suggested today’s young players should “lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley,” African-Americans did not laugh. A noose in the neighborhood can cause ones’ blood to curdle. A word as vile as n*gg*r, does not cut to the core of a white man or woman who has never lost a loved-one to brutal aggressions based only on race. There is much the white world does not realize or rationalize as they sit in their ivory churches.
To whites, for example, it has been shocking to hear Mr. Wright suggest that the AIDS virus was released as a deliberate government plot to kill black people.
That may be an absurd view in white circles, but a 1990 survey found that 30 percent of African-Americans believed this was at least plausible.
“That’s a real standard belief,” noted Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a political scientist at Princeton (and former member of Trinity church, when she lived in Chicago). “One of the things fascinating to me watching these responses to Jeremiah Wright is that white Americans find his beliefs so fringe or so extreme. When if you’ve spent time in black communities, they are not shared by everyone, but they are pretty common beliefs.”
This thought is not merely a personal opinion, research documents the truth of this assessment. White Americans don’t truly comprehend racial disparities in our country. Philip Mazzocco, co-author of the a study titled, Whites Underestimate the Costs of Being Black, and Assistant Professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus states, “The costs of being black in our society are very well documented.” “Blacks have significantly lower income and wealth, higher levels of poverty, and even shorter life spans, among many other disparities, compared to whites.” Researcher Mazzocco avows, “white households average about $150,000 more wealth than the typical black family.” Overall, the total assets for an Anglo family are about five times greater than that of an African-American family. The disparity seems a constant in American history. The chasm has persisted for years. Mazzocco said. . . .
“When white Americans find it within themselves to say ‘I must be compensated for a past injustice done to me’ but the same logic evaporates when the injustice concerns black Americans, they are staring straight at bias,” Banaji [co-author Mahzarin Banaji, the Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University] said.
What is good for thou, is not tolerable for thee. Hypocrisy is a theme we know all too well. We witness it here in America. We hear charlatan expressions in our daily lives. Is this not the concern Caucasians present, when they criticize Reverend Wright?
Opportunely, those who protest too much forget the numerous groups who hate in the name of G-d, or the “Family” formed amongst the elite. Nonetheless, pinkish people preach; white worshipers never speak words of woe, or wrath. The Judeo-Christian clergy, and the congregation, at least when in church, do not speak badly of their brethren. If only Jesus had known. The Son of the Holy Father may not have felt a need to warn the hypocrites.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
~ Matthew 7:1-5 RSV
Perhaps, our best teachers, those who see most clearly, understand the complexity that is humankind. Perchance, a parishioner hears what is truly said. One with love in his or her heart does not hear the gospel as a reason for grief. He, or she, the commoners within a congregation may understand the clergyman in a manner consistent with the whole being that stands before them each and every Sunday. It seems Kennise M Herring, an “average” disciple of Jeremiah Wright lives the lessons of the Lord more fully than those who gather in gentler, kinder churches.
I am a member of Trinity United Church of Christ and have been for 17 years. Interestingly, I’ve never seen Barack in church, which may simply speak to the fact that there are 3 sermons and our family attends a different service than the Obama family.
I was in attendance in the sermon after 9/11 that has been circulated. Ironically, I felt soothed following that sermon. I certainly remembered upon viewing the clips the infamous God Damn America comments, but that is not what stood out for me in that service. At the start of the service, Reverend Wright spoke poignantly about his fears as he was in New York on that fateful day. He spoke about the tremendous pain he observed, the evil and horror of the event and of his personal realization that he may never get to tell all of us how much he loved us. He spoke of realizing that his life with his family was not guaranteed and that he could not take anything for granted. He made a commitment to tell us at each service that he loved us and I experienced his words-I love you-simply and freely offered as real and soothing.
Yes-he spoke about policy matters and clearly used strong language but at the time, neither I or my three children or my husband found it the salient part of the talk. Despite the strong rhetoric, I left church feeling that “there is a balm in Gilead.” Reverend Wright delivered the eulogy at my aunt’s funeral and it is not hyperbole to say that I was more moved by his words than I have ever been at a funeral. He was warm, compassionate, empathic, and genuinely sad for as he said repeatedly about my aunt, “this was not ordinary parishioner, this was my friend.”
Reverend Wright frequently chided those of us too constricted to freely experience the passion often evident in the sanctuary and suggested that we were too educated to show our love for Jesus. I, being one of the more reserved-ok-constricted ones simply smiled for I longed for the kind of intimate, passionate relationship with God that he seems to have cultivated with God.
In finishing, I have seen this man on too many occasions do too much that is good and meaningful. He is imperfect-he will tell you that in a minute but I am certain in my core that he is doing God’s work and he loves God’s children even if he is disgusted by their behavior at times.
There are two Americas and the one I occupy is often invisible. How I wish that the peek inside my world had offered a fuller portrait of this man and not the caricature.
Might the Anglo individuals who dwell in the more visible America, assess their own passion, principles, and preachers. Might Caucasians consider the hypocrisy that lives within them and their clergy. Would white Americans be willing to judge one of their own people as harshly as they do Barack Obama or his Pastor, Reverend Wright?
Would Anglo Americans condemn one of the most profound and powerful Senators, Presidential aspirant Hillary Rodham Clinton for her affiliation with the “Fellowship?” Potential President Barack Obama “condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.” Yet, Hillary Rodham Clinton, an active participant of the “most elite cell” [their term] says nothing of the fact that . . .
The Family takes credit for some of Clinton’s rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing “religious freedom” in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics.
The former First Lady, Caucasian Clinton may not have considered how these laws affect those in the Black community. Certainly, one would imagine that the Senator, a scholar would understand that without birth control, abortions are more likely. Perhaps, she, as most Anglo Americans is unfamiliar with a life that differs from her own.
As an elite, among the “Family” Hillary Clinton may not have experienced the hurt that is an African-American’s life. Those in Black neighborhoods have limited access to pharmacists and clinics. The notion that African-Americans might shop around for someone to serve them is absurd. We need only consider the availability of viable transportation, the cost to travel, and the ultimate truth, the quality of health care services. Those whose complexion is dark in color remain separate and unequal in an America dominated by the affluent who are lighter in color and pray within a selective Fellowship.
Perchance, prosperous persons, members of the Family “cells,” people such as Senator Clinton, do not rant and rage as they reflect on racism. They cannot; they do not relate. These prominent individuals do not need to discuss their mediation which remains publicly unmentionable. They to talk of prejudice or the policies they ratify in order to retain power. Possibly, affluent Anglos and those who merely wish to appear proper do not need to speak of the strife that is their life in church, synagogues, or temples, for their situation does not compare.
For most Caucasians and for former First Lady Clinton, church conversations are yet to be called into question. However, we might wonder, what if Senator Clinton’s religious beliefs, her practices, and her pastor are not subjects of scrutiny. What if all Anglos were subject to such severe scrutiny? Might the discussion help eliminate the disdain? Could empathy be the cure for what ails America. Barack Obama asked us to consider that possibility. Yet, apparently the request is denied.
Churchgoers in the white community continue to think they do not speak of cruelties committed against them, few as these may be. These pious people truly believe they live by the Golden Rule, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Sadly, it seems Anglos do not wish to discuss hypocrisy either. Perhaps, those with paler complexions should. From Americans reaction to the topic of racism, it is obvious, parishioners in pinkish neighborhoods still have much to learn of the Lord and the lessons he hoped to impart.
The Year In Hate, 2005 A 5% annual increase in hate groups in 2005 caps a remarkable rise of 33% over the five-year period that began in 2000. By Mark Potok. Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Spring 2006