Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Now that I have had a chance to process the Reverend Wright - Barack Obama controversy, this is what I have to say.

You and I know that barring the 1977 network television premiere of ROOTS, most white people in America are either in the dark about black history or in serious denial about the many racist and discriminatory practices used against people of color here in the United States today. And after watching conservative talk shows like The O’ Reilly Factor, it is clear that many could care less.

Recently, while watching CNN conservative talk show host Glenn Beck ranting about why “it boggles the mind” as to why Barack Obama’s (now former) Pastor, Reverend Wright, would have a "conspiracy theorist mentality" about AIDS. I thought, this man is either an idiot, ignorant, or both. Glenn Beck obviously does not have any knowledge of the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment which took place between 1939 and 1972 conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), during his (Beck's) lifetime.

Beck went on to talk about how black people continue to use the excuse that because of slavery, they can’t get ahead. He then used Oprah Winfrey as proof positive that black people can get ahead. And while I do agree that there are a lot of black people who are full of exscuses why they won’t work to improve the quality of their communities or their individual lives, there are a whole lot of African Americans who do very well in spite of racial descrimination and who do care about the black community and America at large. There are also a lot of white and other non black people who are full of excuses about why they are not doing enough to improve their communities or their individual lives as well. Glenn Beck’s oversimplification of the issue was dismissive of the fact that equal treatment of blacks and other people of color wasn't "a given" in America until recent history.

Mr. Beck also forgot that Black Americans had to ask the U.S. Government for fair and equal treatment and weren't fully protected under Federal Law until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was not that long ago, and is within the lifetimes of baby boomers including Reverend Wright and Senator Barack Obama.

And let’s be real, we all know that history shows that since the end of slavery and the beginning of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many white Americans have evolved overtly racist practices into a behavioral system that employs subtle tactics used to keep people of color out and is based on white skin priviledge. And although many white people have refused to adopt these racist and discriminatory practices, they are very aware that they exist.

Another truth is that "Black" people have traditionally used African American churches as outlets for political activism and to air our grievances against our U.S. government. The black church has also been used as the place of community sanctioned anti-homosexual hateful rhetoric. And if the Reverand Wright debacle is red flag for future potential black presidential candidates, I think that they will think twice about what is being said in the pulpit of their church of choice.

I would bet everything that if the good reverend was admonishing homosexuals (which I am not sure that he has not), most black people (who are not gay) and most white non-gay folks (liberal or conservative) would not have even batted an eye, primarily because in church, you can preach negatively about certain groups, just not white people who aren't gay.

I hope that Barack Obama has learned a lesson from this, a lesson that says that everything said in the darkness (church or behind closed doors) will come to light. We all deserve a place at the table of American society and not just the public table for political purposes.

See Barack Obama's video speech below.

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