I honestly do not know whether Senator Barack Obama agrees with the opinions on Race held by his long-time friend and “mentor”, Jeremiah Wright. On the one hand, he might not agree with the Reverend, in which case he played along for two decades while the pretense bought him street credibility. On the other, Obama may be playing down Wright’s hate speech while he chases votes from moderates and white voters. Neither possibility makes Barack Obama look all that mature or honorable, but for here I leave it at that.
Reverend Wright offends me not merely because he is a black racist, a man who sees all Caucasians as evil people. It does not seem to occur to him, that his sentiments mirror those of any slave trader of two centuries ago, the sort of people who figured that blacks were inferior and therefore did not deserve to be treated as humans. That’s what racism really comes down to, in the end – hating someone because of their race, and desiring evil on them solely because of their race. Reverend Wright is an obstacle, a parasite, and a blight on the reconciliation between blacks and other races in America.
I am not saying there is no racial tension, nor am I denying that the crimes against blacks in the past do not go away just because they are not perpetrated anymore. I even agree that there are people and places where the old bad days never seem to have ended. These are real problems that should not be ignored, but must be faced and resolved. But with that said, the progress over the years is real and substantial, and the good people far outnumber the bad. More, people like Reverend Wright are guilty of three kinds of sins which make race relations worse rather than better.
First, as I said many things have gotten much better, and while that does not mean that we should pretend the work is done it does mean that there needs to be recognition of the good. Even if people in general are as selfish and crass as Reverend Wright claims, it is understood that reward of a thing makes more of it. Ignoring progress is therefore the worst way to continue it, besides the dishonorable treatment of people whose work brought us where we are. For example, my family came to America as Anabaptists and determined abolitionists. The men in my family therefore considered Slavery a horrid abomination, and they fought in the Civil War specifically to abolish it and establish equal treatment of all men. Two sorts of fortunes came back to them for this; some died in the war while others merely lost their property, health and fortune. There was no Veterans Administration to care for them, no help from banks or churches to rebuild their farms or help their families. Yet even 140 years later, men like Jeremiah Wright can’t be bothered to respect their sacrifice, simply because they were white. I could also point out that the Civil Rights Act passed a Congress which was overwhelmingly white, because of overwhelming support among white voters. Wright focuses on the minority who resisted the reform, but will not commend those who fought to end that injustice, were they white.
The second sin is fomenting hate through false witness. Whites wanted to kill all the blacks? The United States is fighting in the Middle East because white people hate arabs? AIDs and crack cocaine were white strategies to hurt black people? As absurd as these charges are, when repeatedly over and over they begin to have the same effect as the Klan’s claims that blacks were conspiring to overthrow the United States. It’s the same sick strategy and way of thinking, a conspiracy mindet that locks out any chance of rational discussion and collaborative problem solving. People like Wright start with reasonable grievances, but instead of seeking solutions they use those initial causes as basis for clearly evil actions, killing discourse and civility and driving out solutions in favor of a chosen bloodfeud.
The third sin is what happens to real outrages. Blacks like Wright show rage at imagined offenses as quickly as real ones, blurring the distinction between true injustice and fodder for publicity. Real injustice should not be hidden in a pack of false allegations, which by the way racists can use to defend their rhetoric. Hysterical blacks like Wright undermine the effectiveness of valid protests, because Wright’s sort is too common and gets more media. An industry of fake rage has sprung up, dulling the public from seeing true wrongs when they happen. He will never admit it, but Jeremiah Wright has done as much to hurt blacks as any KKK Grand Dragon, and if he cares at all about his race at all, Senator Obama should be sorely ashamed for his association with Wright.