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Obama’s ‘Race Neutral’ Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The world views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Sen. Barack Obama were incompatible from the start, just as the mythical American Manifest Destiny world view is directly at odds with the facts as perceived by Blacks in the United States. Wright finally forced Obama to choose sides in the conflict ofRevWrightObamaWOrried racial/historical visions, and in doing so, performed a service on behalf of clarity. Obama lashed out in a startlingly personal manner, calling Wright a "caricature" of himself and linking the minister to forces that give "comfort to those who prey on hate." Rev. Wright exposed the flimsy tissues of so-called "race neutrality" in a nation founded on racial oppression.

 

Obama's ‘Race Neutral' Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

"Obama positioned himself at the political/historical fault line alongside the defenders of the Alamo and American Manifest Destiny." 

 

Rev.WrightPressClub

 

Things fall apart; some things, like an ill-tied shoelace, sooner than others. Barack Obama's strategy to win the White House was to run a "race-neutral" campaign in a society that is anything but neutral on race. The very premise - that race neutrality is possible in a nation built on white supremacy -  demanded the systematic practice of the most profound race-factual denial, which is ultimately indistinguishable from rank dishonesty. From the moment Obama told the 2004 Democratic National Convention that "there is no white America, there is no Black America," it was inevitable that the candidate would one day declare the vast body of Black opinion illegitimate.

That day came on Tuesday, April 29, when a battered and (truly) bitter Barack Obama made his final, irrevocable break with his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose televised Black Liberation Theology tour de force the preceding Friday, Sunday and Monday had laid bare the contradictions of Obama's hopeless racial "neutrality." It was the masterful preacher and seasoned political creature Wright - not the racists who had endlessly looped chopped snippets of the reverend's past sermons together in an attempt to make him appear crazed - who forced Obama to choose in the push and pull of Black and white American worldviews. Obama was made to register his preference for the white racist version of truth over Rev. Wright's, whose rejection of Euro-American mythology reflects prevailing African American perceptions, past and present.

"Rev. Jeremiah Wright laid bare the contradictions of Obama's hopeless racial ‘neutrality.'"

Obama was less than eloquent. "All it was is a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in truth," said Sen. Obama, low-rating Rev. Wright's remarks at the National Press Club, in Washington, the morning before. Rev. Wright had become a "caricature" of himself, said the wounded candidate - another way of calling the minister a clown.

Under questioning from reporters in Winston Salem, North Carolina, Obama swore up and down that he had never before, in 16 years as a member of Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ congregation, observed his pastor behave in such a way. The declaration rang patently false, as even a red-state Republican white evangelical observer would have recognized Wright's Press Club performance as that of veteran pulpit-master with a vast repertoire of church-pleasing moves and grooves to draw upon, all of them honed over decades for the entertainment of his parishioners - including Obama. But the senator was intent on giving the impression that Rev. Wright was - unbeknownst to Obama - a Jekyll and Hyde character, whose statements "were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate."

An amazingly Bush-like turn of phrase! The man who married Barack and Michelle and baptized their children is now rhetorically linked to Osama bin Laden or the Ku Klux Klan.

Clearly, this is what panic looks and sounds like when Obama's flimsy tissues of "race neutrality" are stripped away. He berates Rev. Wright and other Black voices for self-centeredness in failing to strike a balance between African American grievances and whatever ails white people.  "When you start focusing so much on the historically oppressed," said Obama, "we lose sight of the plight of others." Obama is desperate to convince these "others" that he rejects anything that smacks of an Afro-centric worldview, as represented by Rev. Wright. "What became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for."

Rev. Wright succeeded in drawing a line in the sand, whether that was his intention or not, daring Obama to take his stand on one side or the other. Race "neutrality" - an impossibility in the actually existing United States - went out the window as Obama in extremis positioned himself at the political/historical fault line alongside the defenders of the Alamo and American Manifest Destiny. As dictated by the logic of power, Obama furiously maneuvered toward "white space," shamelessly taking cover in a kind of populist white patriotism that has always branded Black grievances as selfish, even dangerous distractions from the larger national mission. Rev. Wright's "rantings" amounted to "a complete disregard for what the American people are going through," said Obama. "What mattered to him was him commanding center stage."

"Obama's flimsy tissues of ‘race neutrality' are stripped away."

Obama had belabored the same theme in his Philadelphia speech on race, a few weeks earlier - a widely applauded piece of oratory that was at root an exercise in moral equivalence that equated white and Black grievances in the U.S., as if history and gross power discrepancies did not exist. Obama is as quick as any smug corporate commentator to dismiss as the ravings of extremists and those who "prey on hate" the very idea that U.S. imperialism is an historical and current fact. Chickens cannot possibly come home to roost in terroristic revenge as a response to American crimes against humanity, since "good" nations by definition are incapable of such crimes. It is beyond the pale to contemplate that the United States has Dr. Deaths on its covert payrolls dealing in ghastly biological warfare - the AIDS genesis theory.

In order for his race-neutral strategy to appear sane, Obama must constantly paint a picture of an America that does not exist. This cannot be accomplished without mangling the truth, assaulting the truth-tellers, and misrepresenting America's past and present.

Since Obama's candidacy is predicated on minimizing the pervasiveness of racism in American life, it is necessary that he cast doubt on the legitimacy of those with race-based grievances. Otherwise, he would be morally compelled to abandon his neutrality and side with the oppressed minority. Thus, he announces in Selma, Alabama that Blacks "have already come 90 percent of the way" to equality - a non-truth by virtually any measurement. He says the "incompetence was color-blind" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, thereby deracializing all that occurred in New Orleans from the moment the winds died down to this very second. He claims that 1980s Ronald Reagan voters had understandable grievances due to "the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s," in the process cleansing the Reagan victory of any racist content.

Race neutrality requires that Barack Obama become a cleanup boy for racists, historically and in the present day. At the same time, Obama is driven to loath most those people and facts that might lead to divisiveness. America's worst enemies are not the racists, but those who point out the facts of racism, as Obama explained in mid-March in Philadelphia:

"Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all."

Rev. Wright and his ilk, by this reasoning, are Public Enemy Number One, standing in the way of the racial harmony that is the natural order of things in Obama's mythical America.

"Obama must constantly paint a picture of an America that does not exist."

Ironically, in practice, race-neutrality also requires that Obama disarm himself in the face of racist attacks. "If I lose," he told reporters with a straight face, "it would not be because of race. It would be because of mistakes I made along the campaign trail."

Perhaps it is fitting that, having absolved American racists of all manner of crimes against others, Obama also holds them blameless for their assaults on himself. That's his prerogative, as long as he's the only one being assaulted. But Obama was also dogged over the long weekend by the ghost of Sean Bell, whose death in a 50-shot New York City police fusillade was held blameless by a white judge. Many African Americans anxiously awaited Obama's reaction to the three police officers' acquittals on all charges. "We're a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down," said Obama, when asked about the case by reporters in Indiana. "Resorting to violence to express displeasure over a verdict is something that is completely unacceptable and is counterproductive." That was it.

Hillary Clinton, aware that the Sean Bell verdict was an outrage to Black America, issued a prepared statement:

"This tragedy has deeply saddened New Yorkers - and all Americans. My thoughts are with Nicole and her children and the rest of Sean's family during this difficult time. The court has given its verdict, and now we await the conclusion of a Department of Justice civil rights investigation. We must also embrace this opportunity to take steps - in our communities, in our law enforcement agencies, and in our government - to make sure this does not happen again."

It is difficult not to conclude that Obama distanced himself from the facts of the acquittal - except to counsel against violence and urge folks to "respect" the verdict, whatever that means - while Clinton had the sense to prepare a statement that sounded sensitive to Black anger and on top of developments in the story. The Sean Bell police and judicial atrocity revealed with horrific clarity that Black life continues to be systematically devalued by police in the United States, even when the officers involved are of African descent, as were two of the three shooters in the Bell case. The New York verdict shows that Black lives are devalued by all actors in American society, including Black actors: the essence of institutional racism.

"Black life continues to be systematically devalued by police in the United States, even when the officers involved are of African descent."

Institutional racism is alien to Barack Obama's version of the nation, a fantasy place where racial oppression has never been so endemic to the political culture as to overshadow the "promise" of America. In Obama's public vision, his Democratic caucus victory in 98 percent white Iowa, which began the cascade of Obama wins, proves that the U.S. is ready for profound racial "change." Left unnoted is the fact that Iowa incarcerates African Americans at 13 times the frequency that it locks up whites, the worst record in the nation.RevWrightWithObama

For people like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, mass Black incarceration and slavery are seamlessly linked, part of the continuity of racial oppression in the U.S. Most African Americans see the world the way Rev. Wright does - that's why he's among the top five rated preacher-speakers in Black America. This Black American world view, excruciatingly aware of the nation's origins in genocide and slavery, is wholly incompatible with the American mythology championed by Barack Obama. When the two meet, they are mutually repellant.

The relationship between Rev. Wright and Sen. Obama has undergone "great damage," says Obama, understatedly. But the break was inevitable and is no tragedy, because it reveals the incompatibility of Obama's adapted world view with the body of knowledge amassed by African Americans since before the landing of the Mayflower. The truth is always a revelation.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Comments

Great work

Thank you for an extremely well reasoned piece. There has been so much hysteria unleashed over the Obama/Wright saga that a lucid, logical article like this one stands out like a breath of fresh air in a reeking slaughterhouse. However, without the hope and unity that Obama champions, what are we left with? Hoplessness and divisiveness. So I say to you, let's get the man elected, then we can bash him as much as we want. At least with Obama as president we'd have a chance at some kind of progress. The alternative is more of the same. Again, I really enjoyed this article and I hope it gets a lot of exposure.

A word response to this article, on my part, is sufficient: Amen.

Call me crazy

Why are black people sticking up for Obama when he so obviously will not stick up for us?
When political pressure to choose sides is applied, he consistently kowtows to those with whom he wishes to curry favor.
Now Rev. Wright is an egomaniacal caracature hellbent on sabatoging Obama's candidacy?
How is this okay with black voters?
It seems that we've all stepped through the looking glass into this "post-racial" wonderland where down is up and the ridiculous is the norm.
I'm not defending or condemning Rev. Wright, but unless this is some carefully constructed soap opera in which Rev. Wright is complicit, it makes no sense at all.
Maybe it's me, but I don't get it.

....WE HAVE TO MOVE ON

No one can dispute that there have been injustices done to the Black community. We've stood up against it, talked about it and strongly expressed our grieviances...
Now it's time for the next chapter. Barack Obama would be in the position to address all of these issues when elected if we don't sabotage his efforts in his journey.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE HAVE SOMEONE AT THE MOST INFLUENTIAL POSITION IE. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (BARACK OBAMA) to execute the mandate that we have been TALKING ABOUT FOR DECADES.
If not, we will continue to TALK for another few decades with the same daunting results.
WE KNOW THE ISSUES WE FACE, NOW WE HAVE TO MOVE ON TO RESOLUTIONS.
WE PRAY TO GOD EVERY DAY TO GIVE THANKS AND TO EASE OUR BURDENS.
HE HAS RESPONDED IN A BIG WAY!! ARE WE GOING IGNORE IT OR ARE WE GOING TO EMBRACE IT... THIS IS OUR TIME PEOPLE ...THIS TIME we have no one to blame but ourselves if we allow this opportunity to slip by.
So far, our voices have united and our votes have rendered unsurmountable support, we are too close to let all of efforts go in vain.
WE HAVE TO MOVE ON AND THIS IS OUR CHANCE!!

The Connection

Great article.
What it reveals is that Sen. Obama is a politician. He is someone who tells those who would support him what they want to hear -- even though what he tells them is a lie.
On the other hand, Rev. Wright is a religionist. He also tells people that support him what they want to hear -- even though what he tells them is a lie.

In America, both politics and religion are rooted in lies and deception. Both have been key tools in an American history of Negro oppression. It's great that the reverend has exposed the contradictions in Obama's rhetoric...but who will dare to expose the contradictions in his own?

I can't believe that chickenshit !! said

'were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate.'

Rev. Wright was wrong

When you are the oppressed, you have to play the game of the oppressor to effectuate change, you and Rev. Wright apparently missed the big picture. Look at Malcom X and Martin Luther King, King did more for blacks because he played within the rules of the system.

You and Wright are so hell bent on demanding an apology for slavery and other wrongs that you have completely missed the bigger picture. President Obama as a role model for African American youths does more good than an empty apology for slavery. Also an above average presidency for Obama will shatter the dangerous stereotypes and mistrusts white Americans have of blacks. That will truly start a healing process not you and rev. Wright ranting about our differences.

The United States of America is bigger than black America. Yes it has wronged black Americans but it has also wronged other groups and black America cannot monopolize the stage. It truly saddens me that you and Rev. Wright have the "crab in a barrel" mindset, they same thing that is responsible for all the senseless killings in the black community. Senseless selfishness, he could have disagreed with obama privately, he could have disagreed with him after the election. No he chose to place himself as the spokesperson for black churches and apparently act for God in his apparent attempt to destroy Obama's candidacy.

His actions were inexcusable and reeks of the same exploitative qualities shown by our so called self appointed black leaders.

side note, his actions yesterday makes him a politician as well. Politician also means "a person who seeks to gain power or advancement within an organization in ways that are generally disapproved."

What's 20 Years Got to Do With It?

If I were not convinced before, I am convinced now that Black folks have lost their minds! To think that Barack Obama is going to advocate issues that disproportionately impact the African-American community when he has turned his back on these issues throughout his campaign is laughable! Why should we elect a Black man who will not stand up for us, when he clearly told a Latino-American crowd in Texas -- as he was pandering for their votes -- that he was the candidate for Latino-Americans? Barack would never state the same for African-Americans, yet we, with low self-esteem, are so starved for representation, that we keep running after this man as if he is our savior. I would elect a chimpanzee for President if the chimpanzee was going to advocate and push for policies that would help the middle and low income and underserved people in this country. What do we need a symbol for? A symbol can't do nothing but represent different things to different people. I'll take courage, strength of character, strong leadership, good policies, proven track record, and a bias for action anyday over symbolism!

All in all, if Black folks can't hold Barack's feet to the fire during the campaign, we can forget getting anything out of him during a Barack presidency. The man has turned his back on his own pastor of 20 years. . .what do you think who will do for you? Stay tuned for more of the same during a Barack presidency.

I call you crazy Mozella

Why does Obama stick for so long with his pastor when his pastor so obviously will not stick up for him?

The matter of fact... Wright only did a favor Massa Clinton...

I told you so!!!

People tell you who they are, all you have to do is LISTEN!!! Many black folks want to believe in OBAMA and have defended Wright. Now they are on apposing sides. Where do you line up??? If you believe in that Wright has sad how can you still support OBAMA. Watch up Black people, (YOU) have all been PLAYED!!!

Obama's race neutral campaign

Why does Jeremiah Wright still get so much public attention? Why is America still concerned with racial issues which should have long been a thing of the past, rather than focusing on major problems like global warming which results in natural desasters and criples not only America's but the world's economy? There are major problems in the world's 21st century to solve and we need a president who has the intellectual ability and the willingness to address those problems and reach out to international leaders. And who cares if this president is black or white or male or female?

Writers logic is too extreme

Geln Ford, whom I've admired for 4 decades of journalistic excellence, is too extreme in the negative and misses the middleground. In the public space where we ALL have to give up a bit of our own preferences for the greater good, Senator Obama has challenged all of America to reach for a new and better paradigm to congregate around. Those votes he has garnered to date are real votes, and they are in the majority. Has seeing the future, which must inevitably move toward change, made the writer who has for so long made a living critiquing race/politics try to beat it back at all costs?...even a Presidency? How ever off-point one may consider Mr. Obama's politics to be, Obama has a long way to go to reach equal measure with the 43 CONSECUTIVE white male presidents of the United States preceding his candidacy. Let's cut him some slack.

Hitting the nail on the head...

I've been reading your writing for years, and this might be your finest piece yet. It completely captures the gigantic fraud that is Obama.

I'm starting to wonder if he'll make it to the primaries. Perhaps the "plan" regarding him has changed.

...NOT ANOTHER WORD

I'M MYSTIFIED HOW SOME BLACK FOLKS COULD IN THEIR CLEAR CONSCIENCE DISAGREE WITH OBAMA'S STANCE OVER REVEREND WRIGHT'S ACTIONS ON MONDAY.
BARACK OBAMA IS RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IE. BLACKS, LATINOS, WHITES, ETC. IT'S NECESSARY FOR HIM TO INCLUDE EVERYONE IN HIS JOURNEY. AS MANY HERE HAVE RIGHTLY NOTED, AS A PRESIDENT HE WILL BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE BLACK ISSUES AS WELL AS THE PENDING ISSUES OF A COUNTRY THAT IS IN DIRE STRAIGHTS ECONOMICALL AND OTHERWISE.
AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS CAMPAIGN BLACK FOLKS WERE SKEPTICAL ABOUT HIM BEING VIABLE AGAINST HILARY CLINTON. GUESS WHAT?! HE'S PRESENTLY IN THE POSITION TO SECURE THE PRESIDENCY.
QUICK QUESTION FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM OBAMA WOULD NOT HAVE THE INTEREST OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AT HEART DURING HIS PRESIDENCY .. HOW IS IT WORKING FOR YOU NOW WITH THE PAST AND CURRENT PRESIDENTS .. JUST TAKE KATRINA AS A PRIME EXAMPLE.

I WOULD PREFER TO TAKE A CHANCE WITH BARACK OBAMA THAN CONTINUE WITH THE STATUS QUO. IT SURE ISN'T WORKING FOR ME NOW!!!
IF, FOR SOME REMOTE REASON OBAMA DOESN'T WIN, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S BY THE HAND OF HIS OWN PEOPLE THEN...
NOT ANOTHER WORD.. OF HOW THE SYSTEM CONTINUES TO OPPRESS AFRICAN AMERICANS

NOT ANOTHER WORD... OF THE INEQUALITIES IN OUR LIVING CONDITIONS

NOT ANOTHER WORD.. OF INSTITUTIONAL RACISM

NOT ANOTHER WORD PEOPLE... BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE NO BETTER THAN THE INSTITUTIONS YOU DISDAIN FOR KEEPING US BACK FOR ALL OF THESE YEARS ...
...NOT ANOTHER WORD....

i'm reminded of a line in the song...

by House of Pain, Jump Around:

but I ain't goin out like no punk bythch.... which is exactly what Sen. Obama did.... and what's funny is listening to so-called whyt 'progressives' talk about how ebil dat Rev. Wright was by holding up a mirror to Amerikkka and making her see the oppression that she's inflicted upon ALL PEOPLES OF COLOR, NOT JUST AFRICAN AMERICANS! some of the posters here missed that part of Rev. Wright's speech...

I look forward to the Faux News video of Sen. Obama and his family entering/leaving from their new church, which will no doubt be a predominantly whyt one.... I'd be surprised if they remain members of Trinity again...

Finally

Ford has put it well: Wright finally forced Obama to choose sides, publicly, and he chose the lie. Beautiful article!

white guys for reverend wright

What I think is interesting about the Obama campaign is that despite how "race-neutral" he would like to be, he seems to be summoning social forces that are to some extent beyond his control. Without Obama, White Americans would not get a chance to hear a powerful voice like Rev. Wright, and even if he's scaring the hell out of a bunch of racists, there's plenty of people Black and White who feel like he's speaking the truth. Black people, young people, and oppressed people are looking to Obama to deliver "change," and when he lets them down (or if he's denied the candidacy in a shady deal among superdelegates) it might be enough to spark a mass movement to the Left of the Democrats. Obama is an imperialist and a neo-liberal, but people are projecting very big hopes onto him, and they're going to expect them to be answered.

I'm shocked beyond belief by this article

When will Black America move on from this position of resentful victimhood.
It seems to me that black people have fallen in love with their own suffering and refuse to let it go.
Here's an opportunity to completely transform their position in American society and instead Reverend Wright and his supporters attempt to sabotage it.
For what purpose? What are your alternatives? Another 100 years of black third class citizenship in America. Here's your chance for real change and you reject it outright. You people are really your own worst enemies. You can't see it but everybody else in the world watching you can.

Wonderful stuff Glenn!

Glenn Ford has laid bare the futility of "symbolic representation" advocated by so many. The proposition that Obama will "execute the mandate that we have been talking about for decades" is wishful thinking at its maximum velocity. Obama's agenda is at odds with the demands of the working class, the poor and the victims of racial oppression. According to Obama, racism is the thing of the past. In present day America racism does not exist, after all, "there is no White or Black America". It is not a mere belief nor a supposition; it is a historical/logical fact that you cannot fix a problem that does not exist. Were Mr. Obama to ascend to the presidency of this country he would have to address the grievances of not only the African American community, but of the entire planet since the United States' tentacles reach every corner of the world through its stated goals of world domination and the spread of its influence and way of life to people who could care less what US imperialism has to offer.

Mr. Obama's defense of the indefensible is rooted in his erroneous belief that a problem ceases to exist if you deny its existence! That's peek-a-boo politics folks. If a child does not see your face, you are not there... The worls is facing calamitous problems in the areas of energy, global warming, hunger, disease, corporate greed, xenophobia, exploitation of the world's resources by a tiny minority of shortsighted capitalists whose thirst and greed have no boundaries and can never be satisfied try as we might!!

In the domestic front, it is evident that his policies would be based on perpetuating and repeating the lies that have been the cornerstone of successive administrations of both parties that the oppressed and the exploited are very fortunate they are here; if they don't like it here, they can go somewhere elase. This kind of blackmail can only work among people who are not aware of the power they possess if they could only unite to further their interests by any means necessary.

Mr. Obama, the chosen one, might succeed in his quest to be president but we don't have to pretend that we are not aware who would be pulling the strings. We simply cannot afford to subjugate our beliefs, strategies and needs to the capriciousness of callous and calculating serpents masquerading as our saviors when it is them who need to be saved, so to speak...

Barack is Jesus now

What will it take for colored people to see this man for the weasel he is? He's lying. He knew exactly what Wright was about; he sat under him for over 20 years, was married by him and had his children baptized and now he throws him to the wolves. I can't believe how naive we are. If he can't or won't come out now and say that his policies will reflect our agenda, what makes any of you think he will change once in the White House?

What do you want from him

we all know that what Pastor Wright has said is true but have no doubts that if Obama was to openly agree with him he would never get elected. Hillary Clinton does what she does because she can. She can side with blacks because she is white, she can march and speak for any cause because she is white if Obama was to participate in Black only events, speak out against black injustices and agree with Black liberation theology he would be cast out of this race as the Black candidate. Racism in this country for black people has led Obama to these choices, if he speaks for blacks he will be too black, if he sides with whites he is too white, the only way he can sucessfully run in America is to be neutral, the commander in chief will be the President of us all not just blacks, whites, hispanics or asians, all races some how we have go to reconcile the atrocities of the past while also supporting the candidate of neutrality.

Crypto racists like Daniel LOVE OBAMA

"hen will Black America move on from this position of resentful victimhood.
It seems to me that black people have fallen in love with their own suffering and refuse to let it go.
Here's an opportunity to completely transform their position in American society and instead Reverend Wright and his supporters attempt to sabotage it.
For what purpose? What are your alternatives? Another 100 years of black third class citizenship in America. Here's your chance for real change and you reject it outright. You people are really your own worst enemies. You can't see it but everybody else in the world watching you can."

Please you sound like King Badouin on the eve of Congolese independence! The world is watching you? Chance for real change? How by accepting a canidate who slams his own community and denies reality of racial oppression not just historically but currently? By accepting someone crypto-racists such as yourself love? Thats not change, thats not even really a legitimate choice.

Lena

If he can't or won't come out now and say that his policies will reflect our agenda, what makes any of you think he will change once in the White House?

Maybe because he has to lie to get elected

Identity

Many people seem to be identifying with Senator Obama's "blackness".
Why?
Clearly, he doesn't.
When people say that he has to do what he does the way he does it or he'll never be elected, I say, if he does things like that why should he be?
So far he hasn't seemed to "transform" the South Side of Chicago where children are killing children in record numbers.
Living condidtions don't seem to be demonstrably better there since Barak Obama has been involved in politics either municipally or at the state level.
You could argue that the most he's done for black people in Chicago was donate to Rev. Wright's church.
Now he wants to denounce the man who even he says does a lot of good.
I don't even know why so many people assume that if elected president he would be a good one for anybody, black, white or in between.
And what if he isn't?
What happens to black people's self esteem then?
When you look at him as he insists on being seen, as "other" than yourself, his qualifications don't seem compelling at all.

Matt

Where did he slam his own community ?

Aren't Obama bashers who slam Obama for voting for hum ?

Thank you Mr. Ford

You have written the perfect response to the Wright affair. I'm sending this to everyone I know in Indiana and NC.

great column. for some white people to feel comfortable around a black person it`s often necessary for that black person to criticize some black man in the news. back in the day it was ali and dr. king. these days its usually sharton and jessie jackson . now its become rev wright.

Racist garbage

The only thing apparently acceptable to old-line, race-politics blacks like this author appears to be a fully racialized Barack Obama. That would be a fully loser Obama. White guys like me like Mr. Obama not because he is black, but because he is not invested in his black-ness.

Just keep pushing, folks. You'll bring him down and pull him back into the barrel as another black failure. No threats to our own self-concept there. Everybody's a failure, and we can all revel in our victimization.

Attack the machine, not the man

Why isn't the attack, emphasis and analysis on the Anglo-dominated, corporate media institution that operates on behalf of the Euro-Am. racist supremacist system? This article is correct, however, as imperfect as Obama is, I have seen some signs that he might be a challenge/threat to the system, otherwise, why would they be orchestrating this showdown and hype? Rev. Wright is certainly not the problem, nor is his message. He's real. Obama has to naturally be more careful because of the political race he is in, tho I wish he had not played into the hands of the corp-racist media machine. Why go on FoxTV? This would have been an opportunity for him to use his diplomatic skill to deflect the manipulativeness that McCain and Clinton are not being subjected to. We have all these White preachers say racist things and candidates embrace their endorsement without public scrutiny or question. Obama may not be perfect, but we should have not let him out to dry on his own because we are complicit with and subject to the same White supremacist racism going on in the media institutions playing their role for the power system in American. Where is our intelligence and backbone to stand up to, rather than play into, the white supremacist racist INSTITUTIONAL AND SYSTEMIC machine instead of going after only a single man?

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I just happened to see much of Rev. Wright's speech at the NAACP and all his appearance at the National Press Club both on C-Span. I also listened to the Bill Moyer's interview online. I am not surprised at the media's treatment of him and am very disappointed in Obama's denouncement of him. Rev. Wright spoke the truth about this country. And this country has so ugly truths. This country was founded on a concept of white supremacy. How else do you explain slavery, Jim Crow, the almost eradication of Native Americans, the lynching of black which we know about and Native Americans, Jews, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, Italians, Irish and Polish (before they became white) which we are just learning about.
The US government may not have invented A.I.D.S. or H.I.V. but the Tuskegee Experiment was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to medical experimentation on African, Mexican and Native Americans. With Sean Bell, sludge on the lawns of poor blacks, and not even three years ago African and Hispanic American children in foster care in NYC being used as guinea pigs for medical experimentation how can people deny racism dose not still exist.
Personally I am tired (and so over) baring the burden for explaining race. And the fact that all these black pundits on TV have to do so much "explaining" about the black church shows how invisible black people and I would assume other minorities are to whites. How do you not know about African Liberation Theology? Rev. Wright is demanding white America to took a look in the mirror, self-reflection. And you can't do that if you refuse to see the complete truth about your history it's greatness and it's horror. There can be no moving forward without that.
When I watch the angry white pundits and unfortunately the black folks who agree with them there anger is solely based in a concept of America that is white and therefore right. If they cared to take a look at United States in the totally of it's history - the victors and the defeated - they would see the validity in Wright's assessment of this nation. They call Rev. Wright crazy; well the used to call black folks who continued to run away from slavery crazy too.

So, so glad for this website. There is some sanity in this world.

Wanting something so bad

that you really don't look into what are the pros and cons. It appears that some think that there will be a change for black folks if Senator Obama is elected. One thing that we have to remember is that with a president comes a house/senate that approve laws,rules, etc. Do you really think there can be changes in the black community more so than any other cultural group without a message to the rest of America that Senator Obama is taking care of the blacks and no one else. Listen and read the signals, does he come into the heart of the black communities when campaigning, if so not many; he thinks he has those so tied up he does not have to, which in my opinion is his lack of recognition for our black communities. Just his taking us for granted. We have created this perception and along with the pastor we have been thrown under the bus and yet we support this man just because we want it so bad. Oh well more lessons to be learned.

HOW BLACK PEOPLE GOT SUCKERED!!

I as a black man have been saying this for months. Barack Obama has zero progressive agendas for black people. Bottom line we will get more out of Hillary than 20 years of Obama. Black people want a black president that bad? You black people need to wake up. Remember Don King and Clarence Thomas. Master Hillary? Black people wake up. You think because someone shares are "hue" they share our values. Poor to middle class. Making under $75,000. Thats who is voting for Hillary, and strangely thats the black demgraphic!!

Absolutely Correct Analysis

While disagreeing with BAR criticism of Obama's supporters in the midst of the race bait by the Clintons and the media, Glen Ford analysis is absolutely correct in the context of Jeremiah Wright.

Wright was the one who was being demonized by the corporate press.

Rather than blame the media, Obama chose to caricature Wright. Ford is also right about Obama lame ass response to the Sean Bell verdict. There was no empathy offered to the Bell family nor any mention of any Civil Right action taken against the officers.

Clearly Obama is running against the historical and legitimate grievance of African Americans. And his remarks yesterday is a blow to African Americans traditions and struggles. The "White" House isn't worth break away from those traditions since change comes from the streets.

Obama also had to jettison his support for the Palestinian struggles as well to appease Zionist. So throwing Wright under the bus is an appeasement to the racist power structure just to be come President.

Apparent now many of Obama supporters are now blaming Rev. Wright as Ford correct states drew a line in the sand and Obama decided to lurch to the right. It is rather unfortunate that some AfAms supporters labels Rev. Wright as being "egotistical" in what was an act of DEFIANCE against the racist/Zionist/corporate press. The wanted Wright to pass the "Farrakhan" test and he REFUSED and stood his ground.

As we know running to the right is a loser for the Democrats and this incident clearly reveals Obama vulnerability and the likelihood of how the Republican plan to defeat him in the fall.

Hillary Clinton is no better and as things stand now we better get used to the third term of GWB in the form of President McCain.

EXCELLENT POST KIMBERLIE

I agree 1000%....

Pathetic State of Affairs

To the Obama supporters who are angry at Rev. Wright your anger is misplaced and your political perspective are weak and extremely narrow.

If Obama has to LIE and DENY and cannot tell the truth about the true state of affairs in the U.S. in order to get elected then what does that say about American people?

It says that they are NOT READY for change.

Rev. Wright comes from a tradition of TRANSFORMATION and IRREVERSIBLE, PERMANENT change. And not the kind of "change" Obama has been promoting which is flimsy and transitional.

You can see that in the weakness of Obama economic and health programs. There is NOTHING about these programs that will make substantive change.

While Obama is encouraging his supporters to be engaged, the closeness of the race between him and Clinton indicates that there is not the kind of real POWER behind his "movement". As Adolph Reed correctly identifies it as a "fan club" rather than a "movement".

What is needed in the U.S. is a real movement yet the whites don't see themselves as a group that can unite with people of color as a CLASS.

Therefore prophetic teaching is extremely necessary for oppressed groups and people like Wright are extremely important to continue to tell the truth to power.

Rev. Wright "performance" at the National Press Club may have been the MOST important event throughout this entire campaign.

Great analysis!

So it seems Pretty Brotha joined TUCC not seeking a greater, deeper relationship with God, but to advance his political career and ambitions and perhaps to finally have a strong Black father/mentor figure in his life. THANKS REV. WRIGHT YOUR WORDS HAVE INSPIRED US ALL!

Great article, brilliant and incisive analysis, wonderful courage! As always, your articles are on point.

I'm attending an event tonight where I will pass this around.

Thanks again to BAR!

Throwing Stones

Look, I'm white and a disabled 60-year-old lady who looks a little different at things.

Rev. Wright has stated some pretty far out things, those which many of us don't approve. But, IT IS HIS CHURCH and HE SAID WHAT HE BELIEVES. Whether I agree or not, doesn't matter! I believe African Americans are expressing their view points in a private area which is their church. One that wasn't supposed to be exposed and critizied by the media.

Let's all come to terms with this. My religious view points are surely different than my Catholic up-bringing has taught me. I cuss every day at the TV newscasters and politicians. I'd never want anyone to hear those remarks... whether they're right or wrong.

Sen. Obama has done an injustice to his church and to the African American community. Had he been honest to everyone, including himself, that his community expresses themselves in a manner not accepted by all, but it is important that they express their thoughts and beliefs. That although there are flaws in those ideas... it belongs to them and their God--not to critics.

Obama Should Have Never Even Run

I'm disgusted to see that still African-Americans support Obama the con artist, chameleon. He does not care about our issues! I'm supporting Hillary and I'm supporting her all the way--not because I believe she'd lay down and die on our behalf, but because I believe she at least genuinely will consider our issues. Obama will not. Don't kid yourselves. I read a post by one of the guest bloggers here if I'm not mistaken, "If Barack downplays race to gain power, he will downplay race to maintain power," and that is the God's honest truth.

I'm so disgusted with the way all of this is going. So many tens of thousands of African-Americans have voted for this con artist and now they can't take them back. Maybe next time a snake oil salesman like this nut comes to town we'll keep our doors closed....NOT. I hold my breath in vain. I'm sure

Will the Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up?

All along Obama has benefitted from folks like Rev. Wright and Jesse Jackson who line up blacks voters by playing the black race-card.

Now maybe everyone can see how quickly Barack will drop black folks in the grease when it suits his ambitions.

20 years, and now Rev. Wright's thrown under the bus...believe it.

To all of you "Black people got snuckered" people...

How stupid do you have to be to not understand that nobody gets elected in America unless he or she can credibly represent the hopes and dreams of the white majority. I support Obama. Still do. That doesn't mean I don't have my eyes wide open about what he can and cannot accomplish for Black people. After all, Black cops shot at unarmed Sean Bell too. Should we stop supporting Black Policeman because of that?

Under Da Bus

I wonder how fast Senator Obama would have thrown Dr. Martin Luther King under the bus if he were alive today.

Imagine Rev. King endorsing Obama and then later giving his "America is the Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today" speech. How do you think Obama would have reacted?

Based on what the Senator did to his own pastor, the answer is obvious.

I am a New Yorker and an immigrant. The first rule which I was tought after the arrival in the United States was: if a policemen tells to stop, you better do. I read about policemen being killed during a routine road stops. One bullet or fifty does not make any difference. There too many guns on the streets of New York.

I am an Obama supporter who donated more than a $1,000 to his compain. I am white and I am a Jew. I think that Rev.Wright and the like want Obama to lose. He threatens their power and influence. We are not living in a perfect world. Comments here are mainly divided in two categories: those who are against Obama want him to be a black president first, those who support Obama want him to be the president for all Americans. If Rev. Wright is correct and AID was created to destroy the black community, than who can investigate it better than Obama if elected. I want him to investigate it and tell us the thuth. Who are going to vote for: idiot McCain or a liar Clinton who will kiss you today and get rid of you tomorrow?

Jimmie

Great article, however we have yet to arrive at a place in history to fully understand the American game of motified slavery. Malcom said, " they removed the chains from our arms and our legs, just to place them on our brains."

Wake Up, Beloved

Are Negroes so interested in seeing "The First Black President" that we are willing to turn our backs on a truth-teller (Wright) who continues to be fully in the trenches with us in order to cast our lots with Obama? Curiously absent in this ridiculous uproar over Wright is a (“mainstream”) public analysis about whether or not Wright is correct in his viewpoints. (Indeed, my own research supports what Wright has been saying). Do people not care about the truth anymore or is “winning” and making money all that really matters now? Why on earth is it so important that we have a "Black President" anyway? How will that change the lives of everyday Black folk in any substantive way? How would that development necessarily change foreign policy, dismantle racism, etc.? Do people expect that historical development to go beyond what having beaucoup Black mayors has done for us to date (I fail to see, substantively what, on the whole, Black mayoral politics have done for the Black masses anyway). Honestly, I would rather have a “righteous” president of any color than a "Black President" who denies truth and turns his back on his own people just so he/she can be elected president (and continue the exact same general policies of his/her predecessors; albeit with relatively minor course corrections). As Angela Davis once said, “…there are some “firsts” I can do without…” That goes for Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and any others of that (imperialist) ilk as well; regardless of party affiliation. How did we get to be satisfied with simply having chocolate versions of an oppressive class of people? Where did our standards go? Since many people get off on saying what King would or would not do if he were still alive, please allow me to throw in my two cents. King would unequivocally be on the side of Rev. Wright. If you don’t believe me, read his classic 1967 speech entitled, “Beyond Vietnam”.

Does anyone here think for a single minute that a Jewish candidate would deny the Holocaust, minimize historical and ongoing oppression against Jews, wink at existing anti-Semitism, oppose Zionism, and argue some type of moral equivalence between the Nazis and their Jewish victims simply to be a candidate suitable for all??? And would that candidate be embraced by Jews who justify their support by saying, “well, once he gets in the door…”? Wake up Black people! Our collective salvation is not in electoral politics at any level. It is with US. And here is something else for everyone to noodle upon - it is the American system (based upon a perverse mythology of America moral certainty) itself that is the problem, not necessarily any individual candidate. This system requires that its leadership all share the exact same worldview and in perpetuity. And that system, historically as it is today, remains anti-humanist, corporatist, imperialist, racist, sexist, classist, xenophobic and utterly unfit to be in a position of global leadership. It is a system that needs to be dismantled. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, that system will not be dismantled from the inside (even by the Obama the Anointed). Obama is not playing on OUR team. He cannot be and get elected. And if speaking truth to power makes one unelectable, then so be it. I would rather hear the truth. I, for one, wish Obama the best (he seems like a good person), but he will not have my vote (he never had it). I challenge our people to think on a deeper, multi-dimensional plane - and that type of thought process requires research, reflection, open-mindedness and an understanding of context and nuance. It requires discipline, motivation and hard work. One has to actually want to lift the veils of ignorance from himself/herself. Glen Ford has done so. So have the brothers and sisters at Black Commentator, Min. Farrakhan, Tim Wise, Angela Davis, numerous others and, yes, Rev. Wright. Personally, I will continue to free myself and my thinking. Black people, Sen. Obama has chosen sides. Wish him Godspeed and let us turn away and get about the business of our community. Bravo Glen Ford!

@GJohnson

If the are proven to be dishonest policemen then yes we should stop supporting them.

Obama has proven he is dishonest choosing to go to trinity to gain credibility in the black community.

He through his pastor of 20 years under the bus, and he knew him personally but for some reason the Obamabots think that he won't through them overboard as well even though he does not know them personally.

Excellent work Glen

I was looking for an article such as your ever since the whole thing broke. I can now say there are other who feel the same as me. I am deeply saddened by all this, disappointed by Obama and angry at the media. But I still support him. I support him because who else should I support. What other choice do I have. Hillary is worse. She is behind many of these tactics by the corporate media that make Obama the target of the corporate media. She is guilty of the worst kind of racism. The only other choice is to support a third candidte and get McCain elected. I am still not prepared to make that choice, but maybe it will come to that. I suported Nader before thinking we needed Bush so we can have the majority to wake up and vote their interest. It has moved us closer to a better candidate, but we still have a long way to go. This article should be read by more people.

Crypto racial masochists like Matt love being eternal victims an

"Please you sound like King Badouin on the eve of Congolese independence! The world is watching you? Chance for real change? How by accepting a canidate who slams his own community and denies reality of racial oppression not just historically but currently? By accepting someone
crypto-racists such as yourself love? Thats not change, thats not even really a legitimate choice."

I'm no crypto racist, just a black man outside of America looking on at this debacle in wonderment.
Selling out your community, you say? So someone somewhere is looking out for Black American interests at the moment? If they are they're doing an atrocious job of it, with the rampant poverty, high crime, low education levels, disease and incarceration rates plaguing the community.
You have no answers and none of your leaders have had any since the really effective ones where eliminated in the 60's.
No answers, limited hope and narrow vision bedevil the black community.
This is an objective view from a concerned black outsider looking on. Now here comes someone who has the potential to address many of these issues from a position of power. And to attain that position, he clearly has to avoid antagonizing the majority opinion of the country. This is a political NECESSITY. African Americans are ONLY 12% of the population. How can he possibly declare himself as exclusively concerned with African American issues and expect to gain the requisite support of the majority population. USE YOUR BRAIN FOR GOD'S SAKE!

Commitment

Nobody says Obama should be exclusively committed to black issues.
The point is that there is no logical rationale for minimizing them, much less ignoring them altogether.
And as far as the assertion some have put forth that Rev. Wright is an agent of either the Republicans or the Clinton campaign, what would be his motivation for doing so?
Has he always disagreed with Obama's political positions, or is he suddenly so diillusioned that he would actively campaign against him?
Either way, does it say more about the integrity of Rev. Wright or Senator Obama?
I'm not sure that Rev. Wright has betrayed anyone, let alone his own priciples.
Agree with him or not, he seems to be his own man, with his own strongly held, long term convictions.
Can the same be said of Barack Obama?

Winning an election isn't enough now

I can't excuse Obama's recent negative comments towards Wright. The earlier Philly speech was still civil towards Wright, but this has gone too far.

People feel it's ok for him to say anything in order to win, but they don't realize the extent to which they impoverish their own souls in that belief.
They are squandering their own political capital.

If Obama will resort to this kind of character assasignation in order to win, how can we then expect him to roll back the Patriot act? He's effectively branding Wright a supporter of terrorism! Without habeas corpus, there is no democracy, we are in principle no different then all the hated dictatorships worldwide.

The stakes are too high this time: Peak Oil, Climate Change, Financial overstretch, Food shortages. There are alternatives: Don't vote. Protest the sham media and the sham elections. Work for local self-suffiency, food security, education and community empowerment.



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