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?