On Wright and Wrong (Guest Post)

A letter to Rev. Jeremiah Wright by JD McCallum:

Dear Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright,

I originally was going to write about people and their short memories.

Remember when Black Chicagoans were so proud to be “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” If you had cojones and integrity, and weren’t part of the Machine, you were at Trinity.

I remember, Rev, that you were so popular that Trinity went from something like 80 to thousands of members in a number of years under your leadership. Truthfully, you did it by calling out government leaders, making correlations between Biblical times and present day.

You, Reverend Wright, were the most articulate voice of reason espousing what irked your people in the Chicagoland area. Bar none.

More after the jump.

People might have thought Farrakhan extreme and Jesse too complacent but by and large, you were viewed as a balanced, if opinionated minister who was willing to back up your claims and allegories with history. Boy, you knew black folk, and you knew church folk. Used to call them out from the pulpit. You knew black Christians, with their cliques, songs and sanctified judgment, were a funny people. Love you today, tomorrow get upset if you embarrass them. Look at Bill Cosby. Look at Jesus. Man, black people loved Christ one week and called for his execution the next.

Getting ahead of myself. Never were you as on point as when addressing politics, Chicago style (to say “political corruption” would be redundant). I remember one sermon, entitled “Spiritual Amnesia,” where you reminded Chicago preachers their allegiance “was to God and not to government.” This came after several well known Black pastors endorsed Mayor Richard Daley, never the Black community’s ace boom coon, over a viable Black candidate. The kicker was that one of the preachers was the Black candidate’s pastor. His pastor for what, two decades?

Black folk elsewhere have it a bit more together than to fall for the same political okey-doke in 2009 they did back in the day, but you know what MLK said about Chicago Negroes. How everyone in the sanctuary laughed, clapped and shouted in agreement when you drew parallels between black folk living in oppressed Palestine 2000 years ago kowtowing to an oppressive power structure and those in the 1990s living under the reign of Pharaoh Richard Daley II. These same folk howled when you pointed out how desperate and sick an individual must be to sell out his own brother for the dubious honor of sitting with the power structure on a dubious perch of authority. Remember the African proverb about the snake?

Now the same people who used to laugh when you made fun of what was wrong in our city and with its political machine are shunning you. Hypocrites. The same Knee-grows who two years ago found it loathsome for intelligent folk of color to bend over backwards to be accepted by mainstream society are now saying, “Would you please SHUT UP? Wes gots us a president now!” Cats are going from Huey Newton to Stepin’ Fetchit at warp factor five with no end in sight.

The same people who were willing to enter into intelligent discourse about how to fix what ails our community now cringe when anyone with that mindset opens his mouth. I am not in favor of victimology, but a black president surrounded by and large by everyone but black people does not change reality for so many of us. Nobody knows this Reverend Wright or that of which he speaketh.

There’s a precedent for this, Rev. You know church people. Peter denied Jesus, too.

I originally was going to write about a minister who believed in Black people, valued our contributions to this country and its culture, championed higher education through its institutions and loved its women. Poor Rev. You got railroaded, I initially thought.

Then I remembered something.

I was at both Obama’s primary and Senate win celebrations in Chicago. Weren’t you there? Remember when Barrack Obama used to be a nobody in Chicago politics? He couldn’t even beat Bobby “Don’t Lynch Roland Let ‘em Be Senator” Rush for a congressional race. He was probably at Trinity weekly then, basking in your glow.

Then one day, he got tied in with the state’s political machine, which endeared him to the city’s even more powerful machine, which got him elected Senator and introduced to Chi’s big Dem money givers. At no point did you call him on that, the way you called out others. Now he’s at Trinity with you basking in his glow. You’re no longer Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, brilliant preacher dedicated pastor and black thinker. You’re Rev. Wright: Barack’s minister!

Admit it, you liked it. You liked it so much you forgot that which you preacheth … People are finicky … people are sometimey … people switch sides in a heartbeat … people’s loyalty … man, Rev. You forgot about Peter.

I was going to write and lecture Black people about the dangers of wanting to belong so badly, they catch themselves up and find themselves sitting in the dust as the train goes by.

Then I realized that lesson went further than I originally thought.

Sorry Rev.


JD McCallum is a Chicago native and the author of the blog Ya’ll Know Better.

11 thoughts on “On Wright and Wrong (Guest Post)

  1. Good Post. And makes the question of why Rev. Wright decided to show his ass the way he did during the election and since, all the more confusing. SMH.

  2. Reverend Wright is a very intelligent man who’s accomplished much in life. It’s too bad that he’s let the effects of racism in our society cloud his judgment. But just like prejudiced old white people, some people of color will remain stuck in the past.

  3. It is hard to defend someone who says "them Jews" and then clarifies he only meant Zionists (not to mention the electric slide/Q dog debacle at the national press club). Reverand Can’t Get Wright has done a lot of good but now he comes across as a senile , bitter old man stuck in a time warp.

  4. Still, there’s some truth in the Rev’s statements. I’ll go as far as saying there may need some tweaks to the language used, but still…

  5. This post provides confirmation of what I’ve been speculating has been the reason for Rev. Wright’s "acting out".Rev. Wright is angry at HIMSELF for forgetting the lesson he so often preached to his flock. He got caught up in the glory of being close to President Obama, that once politics stepped in and kicked him to the curb, he couldn’t admit to himself that he had failed by not practicing what he preached. I’m still in the Rev Wright’s corner (and President Obama’s); but, he needs to forgive himself and move on.Note to Snob: Thanks for exposing me to Mr. McCallum. His blog has been added to my "Favorites".

  6. As a former member of TUCC, I have learned a great deal from Rev. as we affectionately call him. I learned how not to pray only for myself but the entire diaspora. I learned how to weather storms, be politically aware and socially conscious. I will always be grateful to Pastor Wright for his contributions to Chicago, Africans and Christians. Unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to judge him. He’s been demonized enough.

  7. I disagree with the author. Anyone with a SOUL could see that Rev. Wright played the fool at the National Press Club for only one person in the world. That person was his audience of ONE, Sen….Candidate….President Obama. The good Reverend was clearly broken hearted and didn’t care that the world watched him "perform" for his Judas. Are we really so PC that we couldn’t see this man weeping "the tears the of a clown"? If all Obama can say to us NOW is "I got mine, go get yours" then it’s truly a sad day for the memory and sacrifice of our "BLACK LIBERATION" heros. White folks will have succeded in splitting us up into smaller and smaller petty factions of Black Men, Black Women, Black Gays, etc. Whatever happend to being BLACK without all the selfish labels that water down our clout in our quest for true equility through political discourse. What’s going to happen to President Obama when the Huffs and Kos’ (his base?) get tired of his $hit? Looks like that is happening now. Please keep in mind that it only took Prop 8 for our liberal, so-called friends to start calling us the N-word…on National TV. Next thing you know some of us will start talking about America being a "post-racial" society or posting pictures of "light-skinded" sell-outs, turn-coats and other assorted MSM props as the new model for an ideal mate. Heck, we may even start idolizing the very movie stars and entertainers that talk peace and equality by day and sell craven violence, for our children to see, at night in darkened theatres. We might even ignore the crime of Madona and Angelina "buying" African children as "props" while the wails of protest from their natural parents are drowned out by the racist MSM. These ho’s are stealing our beautiful black children and NOBODY is $AYIN’ $HIT…!!!! I’ve got a question for any of you negros who think that Madonna and Angelina are savin’ our children:Don’t they have enough money and clout to save an "entire family" and bring them "ALL" to America instead of stealing their little children? Ask yourself this: What exactly makes Madonna or Angelina a more fitting parent or role model for our children than Michael Jackson? Would you like Michael Jackson to adapt your kids?There is no virtue in kidnapping or buying African children, no matter how pretty the cage.Speaking of Angelina…What’s up with her Daddy-O? Fruit? Tree? Is it just me? This racist P.O.S. is going to be the "grandfather" of her adapted African (property) children?Ignore the TRUTH, if it makes you feel good….at work. But, Rev. Wright’s "act" in front of the National Press Club was no less heart wrenching than watching a black man walk out the door, for good, while his wife and children are left crying and begging on the porch.Throw your prophets under the bus at your own peril…!!!Jus Sayin’,Domino49

  8. Both sides are wrong on this one: Mr. Obama was ready distance himself from Rev. Wright when it appeared his campaign was in danger. However, Rev. Wright had no qualms about supporting Barack when he was a faithful member of his church and his spiritual advisee. There is enough blame to pass to everyone involved.

  9. rev. wright could speak far more tactfully…but he has never spoken a lie…even when he is silent, the slander and libel against him are endless…shame!ab

  10. @alicia banks, I totally agree. Not from his generation, but I totally understand what he was trying to say. What separates Obama from Wright is class and professionalism. You just can’t be a man in Obamas position and talk like Rev. Wright all of the time. It’s like the drunk cousin that you love coming to your job and embarrassing you. You love that relative, but it’s not the time or place for him to visit. Wright does not understand this. So, no matter how accomplished he is, he’ll never get to where people like Obama get. Obama understands this. That’s why HE is president of the u.s.

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