Monday, March 17, 2008

Defending Racism 101

Those that cry racism at the drop of a hat, yet are guilty of the same thing in reverse, are (in my opinion) the most hypocritical people of all. These are they that can say whatever they want because of the so-called oppression put upon them by white people, throughout the course of history. Slavery was ended years ago, but there are some members of a radical element that will not let it go.

Take the wrongful Rev. Jeremiah Wright's hateful and bigoted statements that have been under much scrutiny, for instance. There is no excusing them, there is no spinning them, there is no explanation that will make them anything but: Racist, hateful, and divisive. Yet, this past Sunday, the new pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ has found cause to spend a Sunday sermon justifying and defending, the unjust and indefensible.

Let's examine some of what the new spiritual leader to Barack Obama, Rev. Otis Moss III, had to say yesterday:

Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe.


Invoking Martin Luther King's name is usually a given here. But having lived thought the King era, I cannot remember Dr. King ever using such inflammatory rhetoric, nor could I imagine him taking a page out of the speech book from Louis Farrakhan. Dr. King had a dream, not an indictment on the government (or the white man, in general). He had a stated objective of equality, not empowerment for the specific purpose of making the white man pay.

You can read the rest of the sermon as it is printed. But the most disturbing part of the article linked is where Rev. Moss told his congregation to not give any interviews to the reporters, who were present at the service.

But Moss was well aware that he was hosting some guests. At least a dozen reporters sat in the pews, taking notes on the services. Moss asked them to be respectful and his congregants not to grant any interviews.

"Some people, looking for their 20 minutes of fame," Moss teased his flock, "No interviews."


One must ask the question, why not? If the media has it all wrong about this congregation and its leadership, why wouldn't the members themselves be able to effectively communicate this? This kind of no contact policy is consistent with cults.

No folks, the bottom line here is this: Jeremiah Wright, Otis Moss III, and countless others that preach divisive religion, all have the right to do so. It is a free country and they have the right to free speech, as any of us do. But we, as citizens, also have the right to refute this kind of hateful prose and expose it for what it truly is.

And to those grace this blog from time to time that think that the white man has not been made to pay for his crimes of over a hundred years ago, let me offer you this. How about we dig up the rotted corpses of all of the slave owners throughout history, and put them all on trial. If convicted, they can face life imprisonment or lethal injection. Would that make you feel better?

I never owned slaves, I have never adhered to the racist doctrine of separatism, and I have nothing to fear. I have treated people from all races and nationalities with the utmost respect they deserve, until they do something stupid enough to lose that respect. And I must say that I am tired of the invocation of the old slavery arguments.

Even more important is Obama's choice to remain a member of this kind of organization for 20 years and the audacity he has shown in telling us, he never heard Wright make inflammatory statements. Sugar coat it how ever you want, It is what it is, and you will be hard pressed to convince intelligent people to believe otherwise.


15 comments:

Mustang said...

This is, as always, a thought provoking article. I cannot add more than my own perspective, and I will do that as briefly as I can. Less than 1 in 100 white people owned slaves in this country, and at the outset of the civil war, most white Confederate soldiers were as dirt poor as the blacks who worked plantation fields. They didn’t fight to maintain slavery; they fought to maintain state sovereignty. And while it is true that there was a white aristocracy in the south, that it was a controlling interest, over 600,000 whites died to resolve that issue. I should note that slavery also existed in the North, and that even free northern blacks owned slaves.

What transpired next was the emergency of a new white aristocracy in the South; the Democratic Party who enacted Jim Crow laws. Blacks remained enslaved, this time economically and socially through “separate but equal” mentality. There is no such thing, of course. After 1954 and civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, there was a new beginning for black Americans. It hasn’t been an easy progression, but we must now examine the issue of “oppression.” What is the real difference between the white and black American who chooses not to value education as the only path to change? There is no difference, because both occupy the lowest run on the economic ladder. Everyone has an opportunity to change the circumstances of their birth, but no one is entitled to a “free ride” in life. Neither of my parents finished high school. I have a college degree. I might have chosen to follow the path of my parents, and I would have no one to blame but myself; not white society, who kept the poor white boy down, but my own stupidity or laziness in not wanting to do better. No pain, no gain.

But many blacks have found that if they cannot achieve something for nothing, they can at least gain a veneer of sympathy from people like Wright and Otis, and comfort from the fact that white oppression is a shared experience. They opted for the poison of New Democrat ideology that did nothing more than enslave them further. Literally, generations of blacks and whites benefitted from welfare programs and free housing, but all it really accomplished is that it made them dependent upon the government. They were not encouraged to learn that success comes from achievement. Today, no one wants to live in government housing areas; they are no more than flea infested high crime areas where young people can find drugs, prostitution, illegitimate children by the hundreds, and premature death.

So I have to ask, if the great black leaders (nee racists) truly cared about black people, why aren’t they insisting that blacks stay in school, abstain from fornicating and producing illegitimate babies, and learn that hard work and education is the only path to success in any western society? Like you, I am thoroughly disgusted with these black millionaires who made their fortunes by perpetuating misery in black communities; I am equally disgusted with the victim mentality, and the stupidity of blacks who — if they need to be angry — aren’t aware of the fact that they are the problem, not white society.

LASunsett said...

//if the great black leaders (nee racists) truly cared about black people, why aren’t they insisting that blacks stay in school, abstain from fornicating and producing illegitimate babies, and learn that hard work and education is the only path to success in any western society?//

As I have often said, try telling Bill Cosby and Robert Johnson they cannot make it in America because they are black. It's a shame that the message of empowerment through education and hard work isn't resonating well in the black community. There are many blacks in this country that can buy and sell you and me many times over, as well as blacks in many third world African nations that do not place an emphasis on education and hard work.

A.C. McCloud said...

I live in a city with a black mayor. The state govt is well represented by people of color from this district. We have a black candidate one step away from the presidency.

Blacks have a super majority in pro sports and pop music. We have many fine black actors, both movies and TV.

While far from perfect, it's hard to keep making the case that things are as bad as ever. They certainly have changed in my lifetime.

b80vin said...

HI-larious! Nice strawman: all prejudice and inequality ended with slavery, therefore once you argue against slavery as a modern factor the reverend's statements are silly. Except that slavery is not the important point here: it is systematic racist oppression, which was overtly ended only about 40 years ago, and continues with stubborn subvertness to this day.

It is comical to see the males of the majority race, which has held all power in this country since it began, complain about black americans, mexican americans, women and any other minority not being happy with the status quo. Further it is always a treat to hear about the racism and hatred coming from black churches without even a nod to the racism and hatred coming from churches of all colors and creeds. There are white pastors, preachers, and clergy who are preaching nothing but hatred for gays, muslims, atheists, LIBRULS and yes, even blacks. But the only important thing to remember is that some black clergy aren't happy with America's current racial divide.

Oh, I'm sorry, did you not know there was a racial divide in education money spent in mostly black neighborhoods and predominantly white neighborhoods? Did you not know there was a huge divide in sentencing for white criminals and black criminals? Did you not know there was a huge divide in the number of black inmates and white inmates in America's prisons? Did you not notice that this is the FIRST time a black man has had even a remote chance to become president?

I have nothing but disdain for white americans who feel that asking for equal treatment is somehow asking for special treatment. I find the inordinate focus on what black clergy say to be boring and in and of itself, at least racially motivated if not racist. If you can tell me that no american anywhere at any time is a victim of racism because of the amount of melanin in his skin, I'll listen to you moan on about how hard it is to be white in this country. Until you can honestly do that, give it up.

Mustang said...

b80vin, your view is narrow and ill informed, which I submit is the crux of the problem. Most Americans want equality for all our people. This is not achieved through racism, or victimhood, but a responsible constituency who (at some point) refuse to accept business as usual by the politicians who are in a position to implement responsible changes, by fathers who take responsibility for their families, by parents who actually raise their children, and by individuals who finally begin taking responsibility for their own behavior.

Now when I consider your remarks (above), I shudder to think how anyone can expect meaningful changes when that’s the best that you can do, for example. Let me address a few of these. Poor education has more to do with students who refuse to learn, more than it does about how much money we throw at low-performing schools. I’ve written much on this, and I agree that we short change students when not offered programs for which they are interested, or qualified. But even this doesn’t address the “gangster” mentality among teenagers who could care less whether they, or anyone else, learn anything.

If there is a disparity in the allocation of funding in your school district, in your state, what have you done to address these issues with your elected officials? “Whitey” didn’t create this mess, politicians have; you know, the people you voted for (if you voted at all). There should be no disparity in the allocation of money to schools, but you might ask why we are spending money educating illegal aliens, when we can’t even educate our own citizens.

I am tired of hearing about “sentencing disparities.” I don’t care what color skin a person has; if they rob someone at gunpoint, they need to account for that behavior. If they murder someone, wound someone, or assault an old man working as a night clerk in a convenience store – who is only trying to earn money for his family, they have to go to jail. Period. But the question is, “Why so many blacks?” What is the answer? Are we convicting black people who didn’t really commit the crime? No, it is more likely that a greater number of black “gangsters” (kids who didn’t want to learn) are committing more criminal acts than are white punks. And if this isn’t simple math, then ask yourself about the cause of criminal behavior — you’ll find it isn’t about skin color; it is about absentee fathers, working single mothers, and a gross level of parental neglect of kids who could have turned out differently.

As long as you continue to avoid the underlying reasons for these disparities, which in my view demonstrate more than ignorance, you are part of the problem. You can help make a difference by rejecting the “throw more money” at the problem mentality, and begin by attacking the cause of our social problems. If you can’t do that, then you are the problem. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” ~~ John Kennedy.

b80vin said...

Mustang excuse me for the following language: nigger, spade, jungle bunny, spear chucker, jiggaboo, darkie, coon. How many derogatory names for white people are there? Do you suppose this difference is because there are black children without fathers?

What, in you opinion, is "racial profiling"? Can you not imagine a connection between the phrase and the fact that there are more blacks in prison? How is it that there are more drugs in black inner city neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods? More liquor stores? And I am not proposing this as an act of government racism but as an indicator of the general malaise of the poor black community.

Why, in your estimable logic, do the media make such a fuss about white females who are murdered or go missing while disregarding black females who suffer the same fate? And how do you think this disparity speaks to the black community concerning their worth and importance to this country?

How many white male teenagers do poorly in well funded schools? How many white male students have adopted the "thug life" style? For that matter, how many black males who fail or do poorly have this mentality? All of them? Some of them?

And you didn't address the fact that black clergy are attacked vociferously by white commentators while white clergy, who are tied to white republican candidates, are never mentioned? Why is that? Why aren't the insane statements of Hagee disseminated here? Could it be that Hagee is white and Wright is black? That McCain is white and Obama black?

While we're on the subject, why is Obama attacked because he's a muslim, then when that doesn't work the church he attends is attacked. What white candidate is attacked because he isn't Christian, then attacked because he isn't the right Christian (besides Romney).

Am I arguing that every black argument has merit? No. Am I arguing that blacks shouldn't be held to normal standards? No. Am I arguing that racism is alive and well and an everyday part of black life, and by its very pressure denudes feelings or worth and hope in black people? Yes. That is precisely the point. I don't agree with everything Wright says, but I understand his views and see them as necessary to his community. That you don't doesn't surprise me.

Greg said...

b80vin:

I've heard people mention this guy Hagee and remarks he has made. But no one ever tells me who he is or what he said. Can you provide details?

In any case, there are plenty of examples of white politicians being criticized for hanging out with intolerant white clergy. If I'm not mistaken, GWB got criticized for speaking at - what's the name of that school that banned interracial dating?

This leads me to a general response to your comments - the issue of imagined racism (as opposed to the real racism everyone acknowledges does and probably always will exist). Are poor black kids who go missing given less media attention than white kids? I'm not convinced - a black mom was on TV just this weekend pleading for the nation to help find her missing kids. Are poor schools really badly funded? I live in Boston. Our public schools receive more money per pupil than any other school district in New England. And we have among the worst schools anyway.

Living in a majority minority neighborhood has really opened my eyes to lies of "liberalism." I see first generation immigrant blacks from Haiti excelling - owning businesses and property and making money in the Mattapan neighborhood. Other blacks, in Roxbury and Dorchester, born in this country and raised on a steady diet of victimhood, think they can go no where b/c "the man" won't let them. So they don't try. Or worse, they are listening to people like Wright, who tell them to reject financial success (or "middleclassness" as Wright puts it), b/c it's just a way for the white majority to control them.

And isn't there something inherently inconsistent in the teachings of Obama's church? If America is so horribly racist, how is this guy - a virtual nobody in politics only 3 years ago - about to become POTUS? How is it his wife has such a great education and a big salary? (And why hasn't Wright castigated them for not rejecting middleclassness?)

I think the ideas you have put forth on this thread - ideas I think are popular in the African-American community - are actually part of the problem. Rev. Wright is part of the problem.

Mustang said...

ziublHow convenient it is for you to underestimate my capacity to understand, simply because we may disagree. I believe that much of what you say (immediately above) is true; and equally objectionable to me. Where we disagree, however, is I think our problems have solutions, but that no solutions are possible until we denounce petty racism. Here’s what I know from many decades of life: I have heard those objectionable words before, and I am not shocked. I also know that I served in combat with men of all colors and that we were then, and forever will remain brothers — a relationship forged in the crucible of horror. We cried together, we died together. Many of these men, black or white, and hyphenated Americans of every sort, found their salvation (as human beings) in the military services. We served an ideal greater than self. We realized that our strength was our teamwork, our devotion to one another. It didn’t make any difference where we came from, whether we were rich, or poor, had good parents, bad parents, or no parents . . . we learned the importance of structure, morality, the importance of maintaining high standards. We were proud of who we were/are. If we can do that in a military environment, we can definitely do it within our communities.

We need to move forward. We cannot do that if we maintain the racial politics of the past. We do not (and will never) live in a perfect world. If there is an unsavory aspect to society, WE must seek to improve it. I can’t do that. You can’t do that. But WE can. The first step in this process must be a concerted and honest effort in communities, churches, and local governments to address significant issues. Why do so many young men join gangs? No fathers. Why do adolescents get into trouble or fall prey to drug pushers? Absentee parents. Why is there so little regard for the rights and sensitivities of others? We deny God’s presence, and opt instead for filthy music, which preaches hatred, over, and over, and over.

Read Thomas Sowell; listen to Bill Cosby — both very wise men who understand the horrific ramifications of denying reality, and what results from our refusal to accept responsibility, our lack of commitment to core values, and failing to devote ourselves to something more important than personal gain. I am talking about civic virtue. If we cannot or will not honestly evaluate where we are, if we point fingers at circumstances neither of us are responsible for, or if we continue to detest one another because of skin color – there will be no changes, ever. We cannot continue to dwell in the past if we truly want to move forward. You seem unwilling to move forward; I hope this is not true — but only you can decide that.

b80vin said...

Greg, this is exactly what I'm talking about! You've heard of Wright and are willing to say he is part of the problem but you've never heard of Hagee. He is aligned with John McCain, endorsing him on a shared stage (Wright has left all official connections to Obama's campaign). Here are two of many statements by Hagee, both equally offensive as some of Wright's worse remarks:

"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ."

"All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing"

Then there is Rod Parsley, a man McCain calls his "spiritual advisor". Here are a couple of quotes by him:

"I cannot tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam, that we see it for what it really is. In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."

"(On Planned Parenthood) You know, if I were to call for the sterilization or elimination of an entire segment of society, I'd be labeled a racist, or a murderer, or at very best, a Nazi. Yet every single year, millions of our tax dollars are funding a national organization built upon that very goal. Their target? African-Americans... the shocking truth of black genocide is next."

Neither of these men are running for president nor will they be elected, and I don't think the fact that John McCain feels a spiritual connection with them means he necessarily agrees with everything they say, just as I think Obama and Wright can have a spiritual relationship and not agree completely with each other politically. Man, if I ran for president I'd hate to see what the press, particularly FOX news had to say about some of the things my friends say.

b80vin said...

Mustang, we will have to agree to disagree. I don't see that the military is a good analogy to society at large. Just as Greg uses his neighborhood, the sample size is too small and the particulars too centralized and specific.

The problems that plague the lower classes, black and white, cause many of the symptoms you seem to think are "black" problems. Poverty is a killer. But poor blacks have the added indignity of a cultural history of racism, while whites do not. And neither you nor I know what that means and how it affects certain people. You were in the armed services. You know that some people thrive and some don't in that environment; some people make it through war and are fine and some have emotional scars and problems that never release their strangle hold on their lives. Imagine these scars for an entire race. We simply don't know how this would effect some people.

I'm not asking you to abandon your political beliefs or causes, I am simply asking you to accept the fact that to some blacks, like to some veterans, the "war" is never over. Older blacks, particularly have painful memories of overt and even violent racism.

I will end our discussion with this: Some of what Wright has said strikes me as bat crap insane, but at the very least I think I can forgive him that and assume that these are exceptions. After all, the man makes sermons for a living so a few quotes here and there are only a small fraction of his overall output.

Greg said...

b80vin, thank you for those details on Hagee. I intend to research it further b/c those are statements I would not expect from a President's "spiritual advisor."

A.C. McCloud said...

I have nothing but disdain for white americans who feel that asking for equal treatment is somehow asking for special treatment. I find the inordinate focus on what black clergy say to be boring and in and of itself, at least racially motivated if not racist.

b80vin, I think you're probably right to a degree--white guys are popping off a little hard on Barack. It might be a power thing, who knows. But allow me a question. Some minorities, without the slavery issue in their background, come to America and do pretty well. How much influence does the slavery issue have on your viewpoint? If there is a cloud hanging over our relationship, can anything short of handing over power make it right? And do you think many blacks are voting for Obama now because he represents that power?

If you can tell me that no american anywhere at any time is a victim of racism because of the amount of melanin in his skin, I'll listen to you moan on about how hard it is to be white in this country. Until you can honestly do that, give it up.

There are Americans of other colors --even whites--that are treated unfairly every day due to their appearance. I suppose blacks may suffer from both cruelties at times, but very little can be done to stop boorish human behavior. We keep trying. Ironically many other countries--some of whom Barack and other liberals so eagerly want to regain the favor of--have long lagged far behind America in racial relations.

But Obama himself is an example of how far things have come here. Unfortunately I think he's handled the Wright issue poorly, which reflects on his judgment. To that end I don't think he's ready for the presidency yet (beside the fact he's a liberal!). Up til now I think he represented a utopian view of politics without the bonafides of a Colin Powell or even Jesse Jackson. And the bonafides are what gets you through the 3am call.

b80vin said...

AC, not being a minority or an immigrant, I'm not sure what the answer is to your question, but since you asked here's my take: It is precisely the history of racial prejudice that influences the thinking of black americans with a history in this country. Stories have been passed down from grandparents to parents to children. Immigrants have no such historical cultural memory, thus they don't have the feelings of helplessness and anger.

I am not a big believer in reparations, because I don't think the current generation can benefit from the misery of their ancestors. But I do believe in affirmative action in colleges. Sorry, but I do. I know that makes me a pariah here, but there you go. It just seems the majority race has had a 242 year jump on advanced education, or at least, if you are going to go with the forced segregation of colleges, a 292 year jump. And there is something to be said for a legacy of higher education in determining the next generation's attendance.

I don't know if there is a solution, or a way to make it "right". I suppose Obama would infuse a great deal of hope and goodwill in black americans if he is elected, but I hasten to add, I don't think that is a reason, alone, to elect him (yes, I'm an Obama voter).

A white man being treated unfairly because of his appearance is an odd notion and I'm not sure what you mean by that. I suppose if you mean dress or hair cut, I think it's important to remember that is a choice, and can be changed.

I don't think racial relations in other countries is a deal breaker. I mean, look at Saudi Arabia and it's history of racial and gender relations. It's not so much ironic in my mind as unfortunate.

I think Obama has handled the Wright thing perfectly. I think it is the media that has mishandled it poorly. I don't think it is that big of a deal that he goes to a church whose pastor says stupid things. He's handled it better than McCain has handled his attendant bozos, but Obama HAD to handle it, while McCain has not.

As for the three o'clock call, let's not forget that Abraham Lincoln had no government experience to speak of when he took the country through the Civil War. For that matter, intelligence (the brain kind, not the CIA kind) is a mighty predictor of capability and Obama has it in spades. In his books and speaches, in the issue he has pursued he has shown an affinity for studious research and consideration. I think those are fitting qualities; at the very least they'll be new in the White House.

Finally, I should say there is nothing wrong with being a liberal. I'm a liberal and I'm a decent fellow. And I should say, I apologize for my original tone. It was condescending and out of line. I'm happy I posted here and got to know you conservatives a bit. You're all wrong headed, but that's ok.

LASunsett said...

b80vin,

//I know that makes me a pariah here//

Nonsense. We have never minded dissent here as long as it was intelligently presented and respectfully communicated. In the end, we may still not agree, but at least we can express our views without being called names and denigrated for our views. So many that have come before you, with your views, haven't been able to keep the tome civil.

As far as I am concerned, you are welcome to do that here, anytime. And if I know my friends here well enough, I am sure they would welcome you on their sites, as well. Thanks for the healthy debate and do come back. I know I have been busy and couldn't participate, but I have read all of the comments.

A.C. McCloud said...

A white man being treated unfairly because of his appearance is an odd notion and I'm not sure what you mean by that. I suppose if you mean dress or hair cut, I think it's important to remember that is a choice, and can be changed.

When you were a kid did you ever pick on the red-headed kid (red headed step child, even), the nerdy kid, the fat kid, the kid with big ears, big nose, crooked teeth?

I don't think racial relations in other countries is a deal breaker. I mean, look at Saudi Arabia and it's history of racial and gender relations. It's not so much ironic in my mind as unfortunate.

I'm simply pointing out that one of Barack's themes is to regain America's status in the world.

I think Obama has handled the Wright thing perfectly. I think it is the media that has mishandled it poorly. I don't think it is that big of a deal that he goes to a church whose pastor says stupid things.

He misrepresented himself, or just outright lied. Then he rolled everything into a larger debate on race where he knew he held the moral high ground. Is that the change he speaks of in politics?

The only reason his pastor matters is the high praise he gave him in his two books and the elevation he gained by association with the church. We are trying to get to know the man. He talks nice, but is there any depth?

My mother always warned me I'd be judged by the people I hung around with--fair or not. That's why all the fuss is happening here. He says he wants to unite but looks up to a man who praises Farrakhan. Try the inverse with a white guy and see where you'd be right now.