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Comment: Obama’s hit and miss speech on race

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  1. Clover Mathis 19 Mar 2008, 10:41am

    Senator Barack Obama’s offering on race is eloquently constructed and, surprisingly, on the mark, but I’ve heard a similar take given in a similar tone and manner before. How long must we, the poor so-called white, so-yellow, so-brown, and so-called black masses wait for our justice, equality, and opportunity? The French had their revolution. When will we Americans have ours?I am fifty-nine years old. I came of age in the late Sixties and am a self-identified contrary African American male person human being of the rural Southland. Namely, Georgia. Yes, the mortar used to build the foundation of this country was race and race continues to hold it together. If the Africans in North America had been white they would not have been enslaved by the European immigrants. The decision to target and enslave a group of God’s children, their sisters and brothers, was knowingly an determinedly made and carried out in the name of white superiority by the European immigrants who settled in North America. I think if they had not trafficked in that immoral commercial activity race would not be an issue in Senator Obama’s bid for the presidency, and he would not have been compelled to deliver a speech on race. If there are whites in the U.S. today who still are fearful of blacks, it is because they know in their innermost selves that they are the descendants and inheritors and benefactors of a way of life that was established by their North American ancestors, whose trafficking in human flesh was a crime against humanity. Now, least we forget, race does not exist. It is a delusion. There is no scientific basis for race. Yet race eats at the soul of we Americans, and it will not be overcome until those of us who persist in calling themselves white mature and evolve into whole human beings. By the same token, those of us who persist in calling ourselves black need to get righteously angry and proclaim to the powers that be that we are tired and are not going to take it anymore. Unfortunately, too many Americans of both groups are too damn comfortable, in their respective fears and collective national insularity, to acknowledge that the racial cancer is destroying us, which is why we still are not eager to do the dirty work necessary in order to bring about true healing and unifying change. Many of us think we are God’s gift to humankind; that our way of life is the best on the planet; that we have a democratic government; that it is our duty to police the whole world; that we are God-fearing Christians; that we are free; and that we will live mightily forever. Well, I am too old not to know that no thing/country and no person/man, and no idea that comes out the mind and imagination of male persons human beings, lasts forever. Why is it taking so long for change to come to the U.S.? How long must each succeeding generation of Americans struggle for equality and justice and opportunity before the premise and principle on which this country was founded become a reality for each and every single solitary U.S. citizen? Sadly, I do not think so-called white Americans are willing, much less able, to face the facts of their blood-thirsty, racist history in North America. Too much is at stake. If whites acknowledge that we so-called black folks are full human beings, their biological equal, then they would no longer be able to identify as white. White exists only in relation to black. These two tired old labels are political tools, mistakenly used to identify who we are when, in reality, they, you, me, we, and us are not our perceived skin colors and names. We each are our souls, experiences, feelings and thoughts. In my own book, there are no black and no white people. There is one family of earthly creatures-made by the same Creator from the same template and the same materials-who essentially are Spirit manifesting as human beings. Until there is a radical transformation of consciousness in the masses and those individuals who run the country and call the shots, there will be no righteous and vital change.We African Americans need to stop caricaturing who we are and acting like buffoons for the comfort of whites, and we ought to stop leaving everything adverse that happens to us in God’s hands. It takes two: God to do his part and we to do ours. He has endowed us with an unique brain; we can choose to use it to make decisions for better or worse in our behalf, or not. It seems to me that faith without reason is nothing if not self-imposed psychological slavery. Harriet Tubman and James Baldwin and Malcolm X knew this. Finally, until we African American male persons learn to love ourselves for our very survival in the U.S. and stop being afraid to go on and allow ourselves to evolve into 360-degree human beings, we will continue to kill each other in the name of manhood and catch, as a result of our juvenile decisions and actions, the same old kind of punitive/judicial/spiritual hell. Consider what The High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone, sang in one of her songs back in the day: “If I should die and my soul be lost, it’s nobody’s fault but my own.” Malcolm X, too, was something of a street thug, among other things, before he got caught and was sent to prison, but he did not lay down and die after he got there. Instead he used his Creator-given brain to self-educate and save his soul. Peace and Peace and Peace and Peace.

  2. I highly recommend that PinkNews readers go to YouTube.com and watch the “A More Perfect Union” speech themselves.The PinkNews writers claims that Obama didn’t sufficiently address his relationship with Wright or his relationship with he church is complete and utter bullshit.Listen for yourselves.I don’t know who the writer is and what his background is but I can tell you that this WHITE, MALE from rural MISSISSIPPI who grew up threw the most horrible days of the 60′s in the deep South completely understands why an African American activist of Wright’s age would be so frustrated and indignant as to speak out in such anger.I don’t know if the writer of this commentary has actually viewed the COMPLETE servmons from which the 5 to 10 second inflammatory clips were cherry picked from. If not he certainly should. Does the writer know that the five or so minutes of cherry picked clips come from a THIRTY SIX year ministry in which this pastor has been a leader in fighting for social and economic justice for many oppressed minorities? That is what influenced Mr. Obama.I also don’t know if the writer has ever been to an African American church in America. I can assure you that the style and passion of Rev. Wright is not the exception, it is the rule in these churches, especially when they are addressing social and economic injustices. I believe Christ got a little hot under the collar when addressing these evils too.I’ll tell you another thing, The United Church of Christ is a VERY VERY diverse denomination. Though Trinity is the largest congregation it the vast majority of UCC’s are very mixed or mostly white. NO Christian Church in America stands up for social, spiritual, economic, legal, gender and sexual orientation justice more than the UCC. It is the ONLY mainline Christian denomination in the country to support FULL spiritual and legal marriage equality for gays and lesbians. We are one of the ONLY churches in America that has loudly and publicly challenged the Bush administrations war, spying, attacks on gay people and the litany of other evils he has brought to the US in the name of Jesus. THAT is why I, like Obama, am PROUD and UNAPOLOGETIC to be a member of the United Church of Christ.Regardless of whether or not the writer of this commentary has any more background on this issue than he got from Fox News clips, the fact of the matter is, Barrack Obama most certainly did address the issues that the writer claims he didn’t.

  3. Sorry for all the typos.threw = through, and so forth.

  4. In his speech Obama referred to his grandmother as “a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street”. However, If you read Obama’s book “Dreams of my father” you will read in Obama’s own words that it wasn’t just a black man passing by. It was a panhandler, who confronted her at the bus stop and demanded money, and even after she gave him money, he continued to be aggressive to her to the point she was afraid that had the bus not came he would have done something worse, and she never told him the man was black. He found out from his grandfather. The Reverend Jesse Jackson once expressed his fear of passing young black men on the street, this was a grandmother who was confronted by an aggressive threatening man. So it seems not only did Obama lie and smear his grandmother who, raised him, loved him and put him through the finest schools, he also Lied once again, just to gain votes. Shame, Shame on you Mr. Obama.

  5. Bill Perdue 20 Mar 2008, 7:04am

    Clover – “If the Africans in North America had been white they would not have been enslaved by the European immigrants. The decision to target and enslave a group of God’s children, their sisters and brothers, was knowingly an determinedly made and carried out in the name of white superiority by the European immigrants who settled in North America.”Some of the first slaves in English North America, held in a condition called indentured servitude, were English: deported criminals, persecuted religious minorities, and rebels from Ireland and Scotland. However that form of slavery proved ‘unsuitable’ because some were indentured for a fixed period and more than a few escaped to the frontier to make a new life. Repeated attempts were made to enslave Native Americans but most escaped, chose suicide or fell victim to imported disease.That early form of slavery was too limited and unreliable for the owners of the growing tobacco, and later cotton, plantations that grew in the Southern colonies from about 1700. Soon ambitious traders began to make raids on the African Slave Coast and eventually created a lucrative three way trade. Sugar, tobacco and cotton went to England, manufactured trade goods went to African slave raiders and to North America and slaves went to the Caribbean and North America. The slave trade took an unbelievable toll – almost thirty million people were in chains destined for North America and the Caribbean from the late 17th century until the Civil War. Nearly two thirds of those people died in awful conditions during the passage. At the beginning of the salve trade political and religious leaders, especially in the Southern colonies, invented a novel justification for the brutality against imported Africans by creating a ‘race’ theory based on the bible. They preached that Africans had devolved, were not fully human and ‘ordained’ to serve plantation owners. Garbage, for sure, but when has that ever stood in the way of greed for the almighty dollar at the expense of working people. Slavery is an old institution but ‘racism’ is a modern Anglo-American invention. Since that time racists have been intractable criminal and antidemocratic elements who’ve blocked every attempt to eradicate racism from US society because workplace inequality and lower wages for some means extra money in their pockets. (The same reasoning and the same people were behind the recent trashing of ENDA, the GLBT employment anti-discrimination bill.) Their profoundly antidemocratic influence constantly pulls society to the right. Scratch a racist and you’ll usually find a union buster, a war backer and a gay basher. The only way to tame the racists, and the same goes for gay bashers, is too repetitively impose punitive, harsh sentences on them and to legally confiscate all their assets for hate crimes and hate speech. That’s the system the Fidelistas put to good use in Cuba but of course we’ll need to see a lot of changes in the US before we can accomplish the same here. We’ve had two Revolutions, one for independence and one to abolish slavery. The aspirations of the first Revolution were betrayed by clauses allowing slavery and the second was betrayed by a deal between Republicans and Democrats to end reconstruction and let the heavy club of Jim Crow descend on the US. That happened about 130 years ago and amazingly that’s where we stand today, with only a few real and lots of cosmetic changes to mark over a century of struggle. I don’t believe for a minute that the Obama candidacy will lead to substantive changes but what it’s already done is refocus thinking on the need for independent political action and on the relationship between racism and homophobia.The war combined with corporate deregulation and union busting is pushing the US into the most dangerous economic situation we’ve encountered since the Great Depression. The ratio of income and savings went negative in 2007 for the first time since 1930. The division of wealth is at 1929 levels with roughly 15% of the population disposing of 85% of the wealth and 85% or us controlling the 15% of the wealth. Another characteristic of the new economic situation is the constant growth of poverty combined with regular cutbacks on welfare, unemployment insurance and medical care. The war is unwinnable and extremely destabilizing. The GLBT agenda has been effectively jettisoned by both parties –DOMA and DADT are intact and ENDA and the hate crimes bill have been discarded. No substantial progress has been made in since the 1970’s in terms of ending the effects of bigotry against African Americans, Native Americans and immigrant/imported workers.Maybe that will help answer your question “The French had their revolution. When will we Americans have ours?” The answer is that if conditions continue to deteriorate it’ll be sooner than many people think, and like the first two Revolutions costly but ultimately worth the price.

  6. I have a little bit of a problem with the portrait that has been psinted of the Rev. Jerimah Wright.Wright was born and raised inPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents are . His parents are Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Sr, a Baptist minister who pastored Grace Baptist Church in Germantown from 1938 to 1980, and Dr. Mary Henderson Wright. [4] His wife is Ramah Reed Wright, and he has four daughters, Janet Marie Moore, Jeri Lynne Wright, Nikol D. Reed and Jamila Nandi Wright, and one son, Nathan D. Reed.From 1959 to 1961, Wright attended Virginia Union University,[1] an historically black school in Richmond. He then joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the 2nd Marine Division with the rank of private first class. He subsequently transferred to the United States Navy and entered the Corpsman School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1963[5]. He was trained as cardiopulmonary technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and graduated as salutatorian in 1967[5].Wright then enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1968 and a master?s degree in English in 1969. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. [5]Wright holds a Doctor of Ministry degree (1990) from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied under Samuel DeWitt Proctor. On December 19, 1966 he received a letter of Commendation for caring for President Lydon B. Johnson while he was hospitalized. Jerimah Wright was a Navy Medic at Bethesda Hospital. That’s All

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