After the dominant community found Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s comments about the racial relations between blacks and whites so inflammatory, many have proceeded to punish Barack Obama. As a member of Reverend White’s church Barack Obama must support everything that Reverend Wright said. People act like no one would ever be a member of a group and disagree with leadership. For example, the idea that everyone that is an American must agree with everything that President George Bush does and says is as wrong as they come. Barack Obama has publicly denounced what his former pastor has said. However, there are so many people using Mr. Wright’s inflammatory but true comments as a means to beat down the African American candidate. People wanted Mr. Obama to denounce his former pastor and his friend. Too many people say that because Mr. Obama didn’t knee jerk and kick Mr. Wright like an extra point that Mr. Obama is not fit to lead America.
Personally, I found Mr. Obama inspirational. I was prepared to see him do the typical politician shuffle where he simply kowtows to the whims of the dominant community with the white mindset. I expected Mr. Obama to make his speech in front of the podium and do an impression of Bill Cosby and say something to the affect that the black community isn’t doing enough to make the statements of people like Reverend White a thing of the past. I fully expected Barack Obama to come out and say, “God damn America? God damn America? God damn the black community!” to voracious applause from a national audience that wants to see this black man, like many black people who are successful, prove his devotion to the status quo and to prove his willingness to separate himself from his black audience.
But Mr. Obama didn’t kick his pastor out of his life. In fact, he respectfully disagreed with his friend and spiritual mentor and downplayed their difference of opinion. He could no more disassociate himself from Mr. Wright than he could disassociate himself from the black community. That’s nothing Bill Cosby would have said. That’s nothing Oprah Winfrey would have said. That is nothing Tiger “I’m an AnythingButBlackian” Woods would have said. That is nothing that a lot of high profile black people who have been embraced by the dominant culture would have said. Mr. Obama had the courage to stand before the world and say that the solution is not the expedient dismissal of the black people who share a bitter sentiment. The solution is to come together and put the dysfunctional racial relationship we have on the table so we can get through this once and for all.
Good god! Why in the world did he do that?
Suddenly the white mindset realizes that this isn’t some Jell-O pushing black man running for president. This guy admits to being part of the black community. The last time I checked, Mr. Obama was losing political ground to his rival Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton had opened up a seven point lead in approval ratings over Mr. Obama. The implication is that the national community isn’t ready for any real racial healing. Mr. Obama didn’t condemn his friend hard enough. He didn’t denounce his friend fast enough. He didn’t distance himself from the inflammatory remarks far enough. He didn’t appear non black enough. A black man in a black church with leadership that talks about black issues means that he is trying to assert a black agenda on America. Mr. Obama would destroy white privilege. White people would never belong to a white church. Never mind the fact that white people belong to spiritual organizations like the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Polish National Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Greek Church, or the German Orthodox Jews. No one would make the argument that these spiritual organizations are the strongholds of white only sensitivities although they are void of any sizable black population.
Many people in America don’t want a candidate that is ready to heal race relations. As far as the dominant community is concerned, race relations are fine the way they are. If they weren’t they would’ve been changed years ago. If the dominant community had a problem with black subjugation they would never had institutionalized slavery and condemned black people to a second class status. It is not a problem. As far as the white mindset is concerned everybody needs to quit acting like race is a problem in this country. It is because of this tolerance for racial disparity that the dominant community becomes surprised to see black people frustrated to the point displayed by Reverend Wright in the video clip that has so thoroughly captured America’s extremely short attention span.
As far as the white mindset is concerned the way to heal race relation is to get black people to quit bitching about disparity. Nobody is doing anything to hold black people down. All those things like keeping black people enslaved while white people accumulated wealth, keeping black people classified as only three fifths human, keeping black people away from the voting booth with various Jim Crow laws, keeping black people separated from the white community with various segregation laws, denying black people civil rights, incarcerating black people for crimes that barely get a slap on the wrist for white people, using black people for syphilis studies, etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera.
Black people just want special treatment. And every year the America Congress has to deal with trying to balance a budget wrought with earmarks worth hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars sourced from special interest. It looks like special treatment is the American way. It works for the oil companies, it works for defense contractors, it works for big manufacturers who export their jobs overseas, it works for communication companies, the rich people get the lion’s share of tax breaks that average well over two hundred fifty thousand dollars per billionaire and millionaire, and a lot of other entities are doing well because politicians are taking care to treat them special. Everybody wants special treatment. But black people need to feel ashamed for wanting to be treated fairly, the attitude is fairness for black people is in itself special treatment.
Now that Mr. Obama has proven that his commitment to the black community is just as strong as his commitment to the white community he no longer is the most appealing candidate many people thought he was. Suddenly, Hillary Clinton and even John McCain appear much more appealing as the president. I’m not surprised. Suddenly, I find Barack Obama a much more appealing presidential candidate for the very same reasons. Ms. Clinton and Mr. McCain are more than committed to keeping the status quo. Mr. Obama should have remembered that the only black people who do well are the black people who pretend not to be black or who are demonstrably not affiliated with the black community.
Mr. Obama has shown that he’s not going to automatically absolve white America of its collaboration in the overall condition of the black community. He is not going to say white people have done enough and the black community needs to do its part. I thank Mr. Obama for having the audacity to stand by the black community. Too bad there are so many people in America that aren’t ready to face the dysfunction of our nation’s race relations enough to want a candidate that appears genuinely ready to do something about them. And in all honesty I seriously doubt if some of us ever will.