Obama Speech: Will it get the CNN to STFU? Or will the drama continue through Penn.?

It was a good speech. Very poignant. Very authentic and well thought out. Couldn’t have said it better myself. We all know that racism is a sickness in our country and Barack is not professing to be the cure, rather the president who could help steer the path to some “racial psychotherapy” with the help of others.

I know some will remain cynical. I know some black people will never trust white people out of the fear that the most deadly of racism could pop up at any second and the visions Sister Soulja’s song “Slavery’s Back in Effect” could come true. I know there are white people who think the issue of racism is just some black phantasma living in our heads. But you’re not going to purge the world of our angry black parents and grandparents who remain upset over a litany of injustices and abuses that they personally had to suffer and live through.

That said, it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m familiar with black anger because I’ve lived it. My parents are still pretty bitter due to the whole disenfranchisement of their rights, “Jim Crow” thing. My grandmother is pretty bitter about it too, considering that she never got to do the things my parents were able to, let alone enjoy all the freedoms I have today. What do you expect? Affirmative Action and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were not magic bullets that miraculously cured 300 years of bigotry and oppression.

Racism is more like diabetes – if left untreated it’s potentially fatal, but medication won’t cure it. Even if you’re healthy, it’s always there.

Overt racism may be pushed to the fringes now but that wasn’t so called “poor white trash” spitting on black children integrating schools in the 1950s and 60s. Those were white middle class, upstanding members of the community. Where did those people go? It all just happened 40 years ago so they sure as hell aren’t dead yet. You can’t just assume racism is owned by Johnny Rebel Six-Pack, Butt Crack. Racism was institutionalized at every level in most of the south and other parts of the US. All these upstanding individuals did was learn how not to be racist in public. Racism out of sight, out of mind.

Hence the hypocritical shock, shock I say, that some having regarding the truth that America still has race issues after, goodness gracious, only 40 paltry years out of Jim Crow. You’re a fool if you think 300 years was going to made up in 40. That must’ve been one hell of a diversity training seminar. And if the most blacks ever had to deal with from bigots were some fiery rhetoric and pulpit thumping like the ones Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave, black folks would have nothing to complain about. The only reason why people don’t react as strongly towards Wright compared to white incendiary rhetoric is because racist pontificating by whites has historically been backed up with violence and oppression. There are only 22 million black Americans out of the 300 million people who make up the United States. Who’s ass are we going to kick? How can we, who run almost nothing, hold sway over the white masses? If non-racist white people didn’t police the racist white people we’d still be picking cotton somewhere not making direct eye contact with anyone.

Rev. Wright’s words were just the same bitching we’ve always done because that’s all we’ve historically been able to do. Some of us went out there and risked getting their head knocked in to get some rights, but most of us towed the line and bitched privately because it was all we could do. To exert power you have to possess power. It’s pretty simplistic. No white person should lose any sleep at night over anything Wright says. Even if we wanted to be a bunch of vengeful sociopaths (and it’s amazing that we aren’t) it would be completely counter-productive, as the more militant wing of the Civil Rights Movement proved. Most of them ended up dead or in jail. The non-violent ones ended up in Congress.

I hope Obama speech does what he wants it to do, encouraging a rational, healthier debate about race in this country rather than everyone preaching to their own choirs all the time. It would benefit everyone greatly is there was some massive reconciliation where everyone could get all their proverbial monkeys off their proverbial backs. Then we could all “hug it out.”

But that’s not going to happen any time soon.

I don’t know. Does anyone think the speech will start a new discussion or do we just have four more weeks of mock outrage and hearing “G-D America” over and over on the TV news?

8 thoughts on “Obama Speech: Will it get the CNN to STFU? Or will the drama continue through Penn.?

  1. I read many of the comments on CNN.com and to tell you the truth, I don’t think Obama’s speech will reach those who need to be reached most. Some of the comments were the most ridiculous and ignorant and it’s obvious they totally missed the whole point to the speech. There are people that talk about him sitting in church listening to “hateful, bigoted” remarks for 20 years, so he must think the same thing. I’m sure not every Catholic agrees with their church’s stance on abortion, birth control, or other issues. Does that mean Obama has to agree with everything Rev. Wright says? I’m also sure that most pastor’s have different topics, different passages from the Bible to speak on over the course of their years in ministry. Why must people think the worst of him because of a couple of snippets of tape taken totally out of context. I just get so frustrated that people don’t “get it”. Is it so hard to put yourself in another’s shoes? Michelle Obama’s comment, taken out of context, about being proud of her country. What’s wrong with that? But McCain’s wife had to comment how she’d ALWAYS been proud of her country. How can you have ALWAYS been proud of this country knowing it’s history? Are all Americans proud of the fact that Japanese Americans were stripped of their jobs, homes, and dignity because white Americans believed they might be in cahoots with their Japanese ancestors/relatives to wage war on America? Should we be proud that black children were spit at and had things thrown at them just because they wanted to go to school? Should we be proud that Vietnam vets were cursed and shamed when they returned physically and emotionally scarred from a war they had no business being in? I’ve gone off on tangents, but I just don’t understand how some people want to forget that American is not perfect and America does not have a pure past (or present). I am proud to be an American, but that does not mean that I am proud of all that America (US) has done or how it has treated various groups of people.Although I would LOVE to say that Obama’s speech has put him back in “good graces” with white America and black America, I’m just not sure. I read the speech and it spoke on EVERYTHING that needs to be addressed. But will the US do that????? Time will only tell, but from those comments…it seems it fell on deaf ears. (I know, I know…call me a pessimist) We’ll find out more on April 22nd??? What I am interested in is how Hillary Clinton will respond?

  2. As long as stubbornness is part of human nature, there will be racist assholes, no matter what you say to them. Once racism gets permanently etched into a young, impressionable mind, that’s it. And it’s really sad, because when you’re not racist, it turns out there are so many more people who can be you friend. And as long as stupid bigots are procreating, there’s a likely chance their children will retain some of the same prejudices.It’s not going to be easy to overcome this, but we have to start interbreeding like crazy until nobody can tell who’s black or white or red or whatever anymore. Then we’ll all just be people.

  3. What I find funny is the media dimissed Pat Robertson’s and those of his ilk words when they said 911 and Katrina was God punishing America, BUT they take to heart Rev. Wright’s words regarding the problems with our government’s policies (domestic and foreign).When did a black man’s words become so powerful? When it deals with politics and calling white folk on the carpet and having them to think about taking responsibility for their actions, black folk words do matter…But, I’m optomistic,that inspite of the media massacres, he will prevail. The closer he gets the worse it gets. It’s by design…

  4. I used “STFU” on my blog today as well. Cool! Great minds think from themselves, but sometimes they think alike.I think the drama will continue for at least 2 more weeks, then the focus will be back on Clinton.I know McCain is happy all this is going on.

  5. Tiffany: Too many people think that loving America = ignoring its flaws. Also, the only way to beat ignorance is to defeat it. If the troops hadn’t been prematurely pulled out of the south during Reconstruction maybe the actions of the 1960s would have taken place in the 1930s or earlier. But the focus was on making the country one again after the Civil War and less about protecting the rights of freed slaves.Basically, the US remained indifferent to such grave injustices for so long who knows how long it may take to reach some catharsis.Also, I don’t think many whites understand the smallness of the black community. There aren’t a lot of us, we band together in cities and southern areas and often its the church that unites us. It’s harder for us to just walk away from one another. Sticking together was the only survival mechanism black Americans have had since we were brought here. And things still aren’t equal enough for you to throw your friend and pastor under the bus just because he’s as pissed as almost every black person over 50 I know. If you were old enough to remember Dr. King getting assassinated you are likely still mad. My father and I watched the ESPN documentary “Black Magic” last night about the history of black athletes in college and pro-basketball. When scenes, my father said watching those news clips made him feel the same way he felt when he first saw them as a teenager. It made him angry. He’s always been amazed at people who were able to peacefully protest while getting the shit beat out of them. He said when someone hit him, he’d hit ’em back. That’s why Cindy McCain’s response seemed so shallow. She’s old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement. If she still felt just peachy about America when civil rights workers – white and black – were murdered in Mississippi and thought Emitt Till’s mutilation and murder was something to be proud of she might as wear a hood on the campaign trail. You’d have to be a heartless monster to grin while watching people die in the streets. And never mind what happened to the Native Americans. I’m sure what we did there was justified, forcing them off their land and slaughtering them by the thousands.My personal belief that the only reason why so many white American’s don’t want to confront the sins that still haunt our nation is a rancid combination of denial and guilt. Denial makes you rationalize everything as being “not that big of a deal.” Guilt makes you fearful because you know that if someone did to you what this country has done to blacks, the American Indian and countless others, they would be trying to burn the sucker down. The fear and guilt is based on the fact that they too know they did something wrong and fear what retribution would mean. That’s why condemnations over Wright were so over the top. It follows the same pattern of overreaction out of fear of us looking for revenge.You’d only fear revenge if you know you or at least those in the past, did something really messed up that no one wants to be held accountable for. malice: Familiarity with one another would go a long way. It’s hard to hate each other when you’re working, living and worshiping together. It also helps if people can have an honest discussion about race. The problem is too many people don’t want hear what the other side might say.gerald: Every thing is more controversial when a black person is involved. OJ got round the clock coverage during his acquittal for murder. Yet “Baretta” was a footnote in most media outlets when he was acquitted of murdering his wife.I don’t think the howling will stop either. I’m prepared for it to worsen actually.

  6. I’ve been looking at the Wright debacle as the long awaited birth of the meme we knew was there all along. Its been percolating and under the surface all along, this is just the final eruption: its the scary angry black “other” – be afraid! be very afraid! Don’t you dare vote for him or he might win and then what will happen to millions of white Americans?*sigh*I had to give Sen. Obama props for really breaking it down on both sides. I’ve been dealing with the realization all afternoon that I have been as dismissive of white resentment as some whites have been of racism. I’m just not accustom to that kind of honesty and such a high level of discourse coming from a politician. And on the campaign trail no less. I really felt that he not only is ready to be Commander-in-Chief, but that he has shown he is the best qualified to be C-i-C. The question is in a nation that elected Bush not once, but TWICE, what’s the likelihood of a positive outcome here?I guess we’ll see if there is a vast majority of Americans who will rise up and support him or whether his faith in America is mistaken.I figure we can always hope. I like hope – its not so bad once you get used to it.

  7. Although I too hope this speech does what he wants it to, I’m almost certain it will not. I’ve been trying not to be a cynic, but I can’t leave behind realism… once in my multicultural reporting class I was asked to use one word to describe white people. I chose “oblivious,” because they swear up and down they have no idea racism exists. But as you said, I think “in denial” may be a better phrase.The thing is, I did not live through the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow or legal segregation yet I feel like every day I wake up black in this country, turn on the news or read a paper, there is a reason for me to be mad. In my lifetime, I have seen a black man drug on the back of a truck in Jasper, Texas. I’ve been followed and accused of stealing because I was in the wrong part of town to have braids and be wearing Jordan’s. Visited a predominately white college campus and had ignorant things yelled at me from the truck window of a passerby during the same year students on that campus dressed in black face and toilet papered a statue of MLK. I’ve read about the baby Ivy down the street from me where white students held an “Affirmative Action” bake sale where the “black cookies” cost half as much. In my lifetime I have been privy to the systemic imprisonment of black men; seen family members and friends fall victim to disparate drug laws. I have attended under funded predominately black schools. I have seen affirmative action vehemently attacked by people who can’t stand the idea of anyone getting ahead who is not them. I’ve heard Rush Limbaugh and seen Bill O’ Reilly be given platforms day after day for their racist diatribes disguised as “conservatism.” The list of offenses is long and too numerous to recount, but the point is, I don’t have to look to the Civil Rights Generation to see black rage, I have my own.

  8. TBS: Where has THIS Obama been hiding? I’m somebody who actually wasn’t offended in the slightest by the “greatest hits” of Reverend Wright. I agreed with him. I had also LIKED the supposedly “unpatriotic” things Michelle Obama had said. My problem with Obama was never foolishness like worrying about him being a Muslim or a Black Nationalist — Christ, I don’t even mind Muslims or Black Nationalists. My problem with Obama was the constant religion and conservatism.When Obama gave a bullshit answer about having “missed church” that day I was sure that he’d boot today’s speech real bad. That he’d lie about his lie and that he’d just roll out the old “post-partisan, post-racial” thing and INTONE his way through it.I had been POSITIVE he’d do that because I’d never seen him in another gear before. This speech today was SICK (in the complimentary Canadian hockey fan’s use of the word).I had never heard him talk about social class before. I had never heard him get to the essence of Alexander Cockburn’s argument that the left and right need to realize how much they have in common. Poor Black and poor White were Obama’s proxy, but it worked fine. The man talked social class for the first time I could recall.The last third of the speech was a bit of campaign boilerplate but he finished with thunder. The speech was unlike any public appearance of his I’d ever seen either speech or debate and I didn’t even SEE it! I listened to the podcast while I worked and I still haven’t heard or read any commentary about it.The guy was just fearless is all. No crybaby bullshit. Not afraid to confront the issue from every possible angle. Extremely empathetic.This is really the same guy who wouldn’t have his photo taken with Gavin Newsome because Newsome had signed the SF gay-marriage bill into law, huh? Even though Newsome had just given him a full bar mitzvah wallet!My conclusion is that Obama’s either a pure prodigy and very quick study or he’d been holding this speech in reserve for a number of months, thinking he might need it. But even if that’s true, he still SPOKE it like he meant every word.It was the most “partisan” and “political” speech I’ve ever heard him give and definitely the most literary, without any of the grandiloquence and gobbledy-gook.Plus, he was self-deprecating for the first time I’d seen.Now, he’s got to hit the books and really get sharp on economics and foreign affairs and he’ll blow McCain apart.

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