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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
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Opinion Piece On Truthdig: Is Wright Right About Racism? 
28th-Mar-2008 08:23 am
Racist
Is Wright Right About Racism?
By David Sirota
Since the 1960s, bigotry has undergone an aesthetic makeover. Today, the most pernicious racists do not wear pointy hoods, scream epithets and anonymously burn crosses from behind masks. They don starched suits, recite sententious bromides and stage political lynchings before television cameras. For proof, behold the mob stalking Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

Wright has long delivered fiery (and occasionally outrageous) sermons, to little fanfare. Now, though, a gang of thugs is inflicting a guilt-by-association blow to Obama by excoriating his spiritual adviser for three specific declarations.

Sean Hannity, Fox News’ own George Wallace, turned a fire hose on Wright for his church’s focus. “[The church] is all about the black community,” Hannity thundered, claiming that means Wright supports “a black-separatist agenda.”

Pat Buchanan billy-clubbed Wright for saying, “God damn America.” The MSNBC commentator, who avoided the draft, implied that Wright, a former Marine, lacks sufficient loyalty to country. Out of context, Wright’s exclamation was admittedly offensive. But remember: It punctuated a speech about segregation. Buchanan, nonetheless, unleashed, deriding “black hustlers” and insisting descendants of those “brought from Africa in slave ships” owe whites a thank you. “Where is the gratitude?” he asked.

Fox’s Charles Krauthammer berated Wright for saying the 9/11 attacks were “chickens coming home to roost.” Krauthammer labeled the pronouncement “vitriolic divisiveness” despite our government acknowledging the concept of “blowback”—or retaliation—that Wright was referencing. The CIA knows that when it supports foreign dictatorships, there can be blowback from radicals. While blowback is often immoral and undeserved, its existence is undisputed. Yet, Krauthammer alleged that Wright takes “satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents.”

In promoting the Wright “controversy,” most media outlets joined this mob and embraced “colorblind racism,” says Duke University’s Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of “Racism Without Racists.”

It is polite pinstriped prejudice shrouding bigotry in feigned outrage against extremism—the operative word being feigned. After all, John McCain solicited the endorsement of John Hagee, the pastor who called the Catholic Church “the Great Whore.” Similarly, according to Mother Jones magazine, Hillary Clinton belongs to the “Fellowship,” a secretive group “dedicated to ‘spiritual war’ on behalf of Christ.” She is also friendly with Billy Graham, the minister caught on tape spewing anti-Semitism. But while Wright’s supposed “extremism” blankets the news, McCain and Clinton’s relationships with real extremists receive scant attention.

Why is it “controversial” for one pastor to address the black community, racism and blowback, but OK for another pastor to slander an entire religion? Why is it news that one candidate knows a sometimes-impolitic clergyman, but not news that his opponent associates with an anti-Semite? Does the double standard prove the dominant culture despises a black man confronting taboos but accepts whites spewing hate? Does the very reaction to Wright show he’s right about racism?

Clinton seems to think so. Her aides have been describing as their political “firewall” the states they believe Obama will lose. That’s campaign-speak for “race wall”—one built with bricks like Pennsylvania and Indiana. These aren’t the near purely white states where racial politics is often muted (and Obama won). They are the slightly diverse states where racial politics simmers and where the black vote is too small to offset a motivated racist vote. This race wall is now being fortified.

ABC News reports that Clinton’s campaign is “pushing the Wright story” ahead of the Pennsylvania and Indiana primaries. The crass tactic is designed to motivate the racist vote by reminding whites of Obama’s connection to the African-American community. Put another way, Clinton’s message has become simply: Obama Is black.

Wright probably expected this brouhaha. He says our government is “controlled by rich white people” and our culture afflicted by racism. Though these statements are also deemed distasteful by the Establishment, they are truisms. You can see their veracity in the collected portraits of white millionaires commonly called the congressional photo directory. Or, just turn on your television and watch the mob continue stoking the Wright “controversy.”

David Sirota is a best-selling author whose newest book, “The Uprising,” will be released in June. He is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network, both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at www.credoaction.com/sirota.
Comments 
28th-Mar-2008 03:10 pm (UTC) - Thanks.
I agreed with a lot of what Wright had to say, and have been waiting for someone to write this article.
28th-Mar-2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
I get so tired of being preached at about all the secret clandestine ways I/we/they are racists if we don't embrace or condemn certain outrageous beahviors and speech.

I defend Rev Wright's right to preach whatever the hell he likes, but with those rights come the responsibilities of taking the heat for those comments.

Calling people racists for calling him on the carpet is complete and utter bullshit.

A great many of us called Jerry Falwell on his continuing pile of bile and bullshit, where were the cries of racism is disguise then?

This is a spendid piece of political convenience, nothing more.
29th-Mar-2008 09:11 am (UTC) - Is Wright Right About Racism?
i just have to look at who is blasting him, and i know he's not the bad guy: pat buchanan, hannity, krauthammer. and the more i see the clinton campaign descend into the muck, the more i know i was right about not wanting clinton II as president.

here's an interesting and eloquent reply of wright to an article in the NYT: http://www.tucc.org/upload/tuccbulletin_mar18.pdf

he sounds like a man who's much more thoughtful than he has been portrayed in the media. he doesn't strike me as being any kind of extremist. outspoken != extreme. yes, america is racist. yes, some terrorist activity is blowback. does anyone actually believe in their heart of hearts that the christian god is looking down here and saying "you're doing great, people"? you've got to be willfully blind to not see the many problems. and unless you acknowledge them, you're also deceitful and should not be trusted.
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