The great Obama speech on race in America impressed a lot of people, but they were already Obama supporters. It left me cold, and more than a little offended. To compare his grandmother’s probably rational fear of black men on the street with the bitter public rhetoric of the bombastic Jeremiah Wright shows a distinct lack of judgment on Obama’s part. Women are often fearful of men on the street at certain times of the day and certain parts of the city, and it’s a fact that black men are more likely to commit violent crimes than other demographics. There are all sorts of reasons for that, but it’s a fact and we’re all aware of it.
Wright has claimed, among other things, that the government of the US created the HIV virus in order to commit genocide against the black race. He has said, in effect, that the KKK rules America. Wright evidently hates white people, and doesn’t feel bashful about saying so from his pulpit. To compare Wright’s racism – and there’s no other way to describe it – to granny’s private fear is simply bizarre.
Consider the differences between Obama’s granny and Wright. Granny expressed a private fear to her grandson, perhaps to help him understand attitudes that people have. She didn’t take to a pulpit and denounce all black men as criminals, which is apparently the way Wright would have behaved in her shoes. And moreover, Obama doesn’t get to choose who his granny is, but he does get to choose a pastor. And of all the pastors in the city of Chicago, he just happened to choose the most hateful one.
It’s simply bad judgment, or a lack of intellectual honesty, not to make these distinctions.
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Obama must be so inured to black racism that he can’t even recognize it. And given that the two most significant people in his life in recent years – his wife and his pastor – express anti-white racism with no apparent discomfort, that’s not surprising.
This tells me that Obama is a lightweight, a John Edwards, a pretty face, and not qualified to lead this country. It’s sad for Hillary and for the country that he’s seduced so many Democrats, because a Clinton-McCain contest would have put all the important issues on the table for serious discussion. With Obama the presumptive Democrat nominee, the election will revolve around experience and judgment, much less interesting topics and ones that are easily disposed of.
See the LA Times Op-Ed pages for a similar take on the speech from New York Civil Rights Coalition director Michael Meyers.