Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Angry White American for Obama

I was impressed with Barack Obama's speech today on race. You can see and read it here. Honestly, I'm not offended by Jeremiah Wright's most fiery sermons. We live in a country that tortures, wiretaps, and kills innocent Iraqis and Afghans so that a few people can profit. And I see the impact of racism every day in my life. I doubt I'll ever fly an American flag on my house after what I witnessed at the Causeway Concentration Camp in the days after the federal levees broke, flooding New Orleans and killing more than 1,000 people. But Obama's gift is one of hope, whereas I spend too much time being angry about what has already happened.

Many Caucasians were shocked to see Wright use such harsh language when condemning America. They wonder why African Americans such as Wright are so angry. Obama states in his speech concerning the anger felt by many African Americans: "But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races." America is not very good at reality checks. It's not easy to admit that racism is still a problem that disenfranchises so many of our citizens.

My favorite paragraph in Obama's speech is as follows: "Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding." This mirrors John Edward's message about the 2 Americas.

Much of this Jeremiah Wright material is meant to be a distraction and it has been remarkably well orchestrated. I hope that soon Obama can get back to his message of hope instead of being asked to apologize for his friendship and associations with Jeremiah Wright. It will be interesting to watch the news tonight to see the reaction.


Ann said...

Wasn't that a wonderful speech? I read the pre-presentation text at a link to the NY Times, and I was so, so impressed.

Sue said...

I totally agree. Obama did a great job today. Sadly I don't really count because a) I've had the Obama widget on my blog for months (ie- am not one of the 'undecided' voters); and b) I live in Indiana which is decidedly red in every election.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard the speech, but I will say this: Rev. Wright's "the government sells drugs" is about as helpful as "the government give's black people Aids" or "they blew up the levees". It diminishes the rest of what he has to say.

Your driver said...

Have to disagree with the comment above. Black folks have been lied to on every subject imaginable. When told that the government couldn't possibly have done such a thing, disbelief is a sensible reaction. Being white, I'm not quite so quick to point my finger at government conspiracies. Why? Because so many of them work in my favor. They don't even seem like conspiracies. They seem like sensible policy. I'm working on it.

Sue said...

Also worth mentioning in response to the comment above (2 above) an observation someone made on NPR --

When Republican candidates stand up on stage with preachers of hate like Falwell or Robertson, they don't get nearly the same level of criticism heaped on Obama's preacher. Let's remember, it was "femininsts" and "gays" that caused 9/11, and the number of abortions in the US that caused Katrina according to the two aforementioned white ministers -- yet Rudy accepts the endorsement of one, McCain goes to Bob Jones "University".

Let's play fair here.


thanks for saying what im thinking in a more literate (sp?) way.

thanks for picking t.j. whites version of polk salad annie in your last post.


Anonymous said...

I heard a teaser on NPR this morning concerning Wright's comments and their controversy. Funny how it isn't "old news" by now. The media stays on it because it loves controversy. They'll stay on it until the next big controversy or a white girl goes missing.

Anonymous said...

This thread is so full of bleeding heart nonsense I don't know where to start. I won't begin to endorse the often misguided ramblings of Falwell or Robertson, but Wright's comments were far more incendiary and hate-filled than anything those two have offered. And in case you folks missed it, no one has done more to distance themselves from Wright than Obama himself...for political gain, if not pangs of conscience.

And I'm not sure which churns my stomach more: racism from any individual, regardless or creed or color...or the whiny, apologetic tone of some whites who think they will forever owe blacks an apology for unfair treatment they neither endorse or perpetuate. We're all accountable for our lives, folks. Re-living the past is a fool's errand.

As for Katrina, that tragedy did indeed expose the conditional, ineffective makeup of our federal government's disaster relief programs. It also exposed a significant percentage of a black populace that is more than happy to sit back and live off of government handouts rather than working to improve their lot in life.

Play fair, indeed.


Michael Homan said...

John, glad to be churning your stomach. As a historian I find that the only way to understand the present is by studying the past, and as far as things like slavery and Jim Crow being over and done with, I wonder if you feel the same way about things like Jesus' crucifixion and 9-11? Time for Christians and Americans to quit complaining about the Roman Empire & Bin Laden and move forward with our lives, eh? Anyway, keep taking care of yourself, that's the main point. Hope nothing like Katrina happens to you one day. If it does, give this bleeding heart whiner a call, and Rev. Wright and myself will canoe over to your rooftop and improve your lot in life.