Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Damn mad!

Forty-three years since the Civil Rights Act which outlawed segregation passed, with a tacked on and much debated gender protection clause, America has a woman and a black man running against each other for a spot on the Democrat ticket for president.

Pride and progress swell American hearts and minds. We have put both the race and gender divide behind us. Or, maybe not.

It appears that while I was comfortable in my church listening to sermons about loving my fellow man no matter what his skin color, and while my parents were raising me to be colorblind, there were, and still are, black churches preaching a decidedly less gracious view of whites in the USA-- or the "US of KKK A" as Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, raved from his pulpit in a Chicago church whose motto is "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian."

I hesitate to discuss the issue, because I'm white. Whites, apparently, are held to a different version of what constitutes racism. Try attending a church whose motto is "Unashamedly White," (not that you'd want to). Al Sharpton would swoop in, and the ACLU would scream.

Do I sound racist? I'm not. But frankly, I'm angry.

Damn angry at the hate, racist language, and antisemitism, spewing from Wright's mouth. Say what you will about this being the culture of the Black church, it reeks of hypocrisy that blacks cry foul at far less incendiary comments from the mouths of whites, yet defend the right not only of this pastor to say "God damn America" while assigning centuries of unfair treatment of blacks to present day whites, but for our presidential candidate to have steeped in this racism for the twenty plus years he has attended Wright's church. Yes, racism!

That Barack Obama wouldn't salute the American flag months ago, that his wife says America is worse now than decades ago, says that because her husband is running for president, for the first time she is proud of America . . . She who went to Princeton, and Harvard, who became a lawyer, who has a husband running for President is just now becoming proud? This is something I ponder when I'm not caught up in the daily grind, and the issues raise a flag-- not the red white and blue one.

And it makes me angry.

How disappointing that while Americans of all races continue to strive to make America a place of equal rights and fair treatment for all, some blacks, who were born well past the separate but equal days, continue to hold the sins of the grandfathers against present day Americans.

It makes me mad. Damn mad!

At whom? Not all, and certainly not most Americans. But to those who continue to divide with hate speech and ugly rhetoric, come, let us reason together. Before, like Sisyphus, we slide back down the long hill it took years to climb.
“I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one 'race' - the human race - and that we are all members of it.” ~Margaret Atwood


Wanda said...

AMEN!!! And I will say it again ~~ AMEN!!

Barry said...

Others are apparently mad, too, Ruth, for whatever reason. From the Tennessee Guerilla Women's group:

Poll: Will You Support the Democratic Nominee?

How will you vote in November?

I support Hillary, but WILL vote for Obama if he's the nominee. 22% (162 votes)

I support Hillary, and will NOT vote for Obama if he's the nominee. 58% (426 votes)

I support Obama, but WILL vote for Hillary if she's the nominee. 14% (103 votes)

I support Obama, and will NOT vote for Hillary if she's the nominee. 7% (49 votes)
What with Ralph and all, I fear this will not end well. I say "President McCain" every day, trying to steel myself for Bush's 3rd term.

Makes me sad. Damn sad.


Janice Thomson said...

Many Canadians are sitting on the edge of their seats wondering about this outcome too. I so agree with you on this Ruth. This is still a world where racism holds great power as much as we try to sweep it under the bed.

Carter said...

I hate to disagree with Ruth, but I'm not surprised she's mad--nor am I surprised that plenty of blacks still feel oppressed. They are.

It's standard practice for a group that has done bad things to another to pass a law saying the bad things should stop, and then say to the victims, "Now let's all play nice!" But memories don't go away, and laws don't stop people from doing bad things.

How would you feel, being white, if every time you walked into a medium-to-upscale department store some security oaf starts following you around? It happens to blacks all the time, and they find it unpleasant. How would you like being poor in a city like Boston and wanting a decent education for your kids in the public schools? You wouldn't, because it's not available, and just this morning the head of the board of education said they have to deal with severe budget cuts and Boston will have to fire some teachers. Of course, there are poor whites, too, but a lot more blacks. There's lots more stuff like this. In sum, blacks are largely still second-class citizens. Some say that's their fault. That's not entirely wrong, but it's not right, either.

Jon Stewart talked about this issue with his "senior black correspondent" for five minutes last night--you can see and hear the conversation here: http://tinyurl.com/263yy2 They tried to make it funny, but it really wasn't.

Back when I grew up in Texas, Jim Crow was the law. That really wasn't so long ago. People remember things like that, and the stories get passed down. Things are much better now, but far from the way some of us would like to think they are. Incidentally, white people of Irish descent suffered some discrimination a hundred years ago, though they were never slaves, and some of them still remember it. Some non-Irish still think the Irish are inferior, though they are now the richest single category of Americans.

Like Barry, I'm very fearful. President McCain could easily leave this country in far worse shape than it is now, which is saying something. But I greatly fear that neither a black nor a woman can get elected president.

Me, I'm a white American non-Jewish, non-Irish, male, so everybody should be glad I let them do anything at all. I am a naturally superior person. ButI am sad.


Ruth D~ said...


I want to start this presidential race over again with different candidates. I'm not happy with any of them. It's never a black and white, one-issue deciision with me. I wish it were, It would be easier.


You're correct historically, and I empathize, of course, with the feelings of any formerly enslaved people, as much as within my understanding, anyway. True, legislation doesn't guarantee that oppression will cease, and hurt an anger will disappear. I understand that. But I think you may have missed my point.

Change takes time, but things have changed and continue to. I mean, we have a black man and a woman running for president. That's not an affirmative action mandate.

Are you saying that because blacks were held down for so long and are still feeling the effects (so are women, BTW), it's okay for a double standard on hate speech? Not too long ago some public figure was raked over the coals for using the word "niggardly!" And Wright can spew his garbage?

Wright is upset at the past? Fine! Things are not perfect yet? Fine! But what he's doing is not going to help a damn thing. Instead he continues to inflame, and I think he's beyond the pale with his attitude in this day and age. And so do many blacks from what I hear.

What does he accomplish, apart from continuing the divide? He's perpetuating hate and distrust. He's not just speaking of the past here. He's talking today, too. We're you or I to speak publicly of blacks, ala Wright's style, where would we end up?

He's entitled to his feelings. And I to mine, and I'm damn angry. Still. I can't help it. I'm still in the flushed cheek stage when I think of this.

Grrrrr. . . .

sc morgan said...

I have been following this posting, and had to think about it for several days because I am angry too but not in the way you might expect. Politics is a rough way to make a living and when you run for president you must expect a rougher time than usual. If you are a populist candidate running on a platform of helping lift the poor out of poverty, curbing the lobbying interests in Washington, working together to solve America's REAL problems, and you are a black man, expect a fist fight.

Forget what the good reverend said for the moment. If you were Hillary Rodham Clinton and you found the polls steadily showing your opponent gaining momentum and advantage in the general election over John McCain, what would you do to stop your slide into obscurity? If you were a Republican and feared your candidate would be beaten in the fall, what would you do? Why, find something so incendiary it would make people write entries in blogs just like this one.

Let us not forget Billy Graham and his anti-Semitic comments, or Jerry Falwell and his blaming 9-11 on the gay community, or any of a number of other so-called religious figures ranting on with a political agenda that I find distasteful. I am not excusing Reverend Wright. I am saying that everyone has known that Barack Obama has attended this church for twenty years. But no one has brought up these tapes until a) he was a viable candidate, b) he was beating his Democratic opponent, and c) was showing, according to the polls, that he would beat McCain in the general election. If you think I'm being paranoid, read the article by Adam Nagourney in the NY Times today:
http://tinyurl.com/2arthq .

This is her last ditch effort to annihilate him as an opponent. As Huckebee once said about running against the Clintons in Arkansas: "Don't go into politics in Arkansas unless you don't mind looking at your own blood."

Fox news is looping this tape continually and it's worked. The latest polls I saw yesterday show Obama sliding in general popularity. Perhaps the Super delegates will take a second look... and we can all look forward now to President McCain taking us further down the road George W Bush started us on. How many more trillions of dollars will we spend killing people abroad and having our own people sink further into poverty, which will spur more comments from poor and angry people of all races and creeds? Yes, I am angry, but I'm angry at the manipulation of the American public.

Tere said...

So many people bring up the past to make a point. Rev. Wright knew that bringing up history would bring out emotion in his congregation. And when this happens, people get stuck in the past. They fail to see the progress that has been made. Michelle Obama's comments reflect that.

Will we ever be a fair and equal society that doesn't see gender, sexuality, or race? I don't see how we can. It is human nature to judge others and to compare others to ourselves. We are hesitant to embrace those that are different or unusual. But tolerating hate speech from anyone is never acceptable. And Wright's speeches were about hate.

I am damn mad too.But the discussion you opened is an important one. Progress is made when we discuss issues with anger but without hate. That's what you have done.

Barbara said...

It makes me just a little suspicious that Obama is just now distancing himself from the rants of his pastor. It makes me wonder what he believes in his heart of hearts.

Carter said...

I'm with Sarah all the way.

Blaming Obama for what that preacher says--and believes--would be like blaming me for what the Pope says. God forbid!

Church is a strange place. Most of us go for companionship with friends. Doctrine has little to do with it. But for some what the preacher says is gospel. That's very sad.

I remember when JFK ran. Plenty of people were quite vocal about his being a Catholic, but he won anyhow. He made some horrible mistakes as president, but they all do, and he was trying to be decent. Sometimes voters can be intelligent.

Ross said...

I don't get to see/hear too much American political news, I had vaguely heard about this Wright person. These are the people who get the air-time. Those lunatics in Kansas (is it?) that decry everything American, blame all on the gays (happy they are in hell).

And those who cannot be more than a skin colour. And those who have the correct word from God. Well, I am God! I'm black! I'm white! Like God.

("Forive me this day, my daily faith, and protect me, dear God, from beliefs ..." is my personal prayer.)

What to do with America? Come on back to Mother England ... Perhaps we could send out some Royal Governors for each of your "States" ... No, not Tony Blair ... promise!

The USA kind of rejected its past, its history, in 1776. We are new! We begin here! And that is what it needs so much, don't you think? Real roots. Instead of these always unrealized dreams. Who can say "My dreams make me what I am! Follow me!" and be truly believable, safe.

As for being sorry about our roots? Where to start? I suppose, somewhere along the line, some web-footed ancestor of mine, a Pict or Jute, slew a Saxon, and that made Mrs Saxon and her children awfully sad. But, of course, some older ancestor of mine might have been buggered behind Hadrian's Wall as it was being constructed by some Roman bloke.

Never trust Italians ... THEY are to blame for everything!

Tim Elhajj said...

I thought Obama made some thoughtful and compelling statement on his feelings about race in his book, Dreams of My Father. I also thought his recent speech seemed pretty informed and even handed.

sc morgan said...

Well, Ruth, you certainly posted a comment-rich subject this time around.

I am laughing out loud at Ross' comments. It's the Italians, is it? I was wondering who to blame. I like that they can be blamed for *everything.* And here I thought it might be Costa Ricans. Due to our recent legal problems here I was ready to lay it all on them, but now I have another group to vent my anger toward. Very funny, sir!