Monday, March 24, 2008

Race Relations

Andrew Sullivan wrote:

There is plenty to criticize in that sermon.

I spent most of this past week thinking about Obama’s speech. The more thought I put into it, the more I believe he was spot on with The Speech.

Because I am not part of the never blame America crowd my take on Wright’s sermon are quite different than others (Whites mainly), because I didn’t find what he said to be all that shocking. Many of his remarks related to race were as fitting as they were discomfiting, and his views on the American governments propensity to fuck up were neither fatuous nor exceptional. I assumed that the remarks would create a political liability for Obama, but based on the substance of Wright’s arguments (OK the HIV nonsense IS NOT unlike the 9/11 truther garbage found out in the blogosphere) they were NOT inexpiable.

You can argue all you want about Wright’s fire and brimstone approach (you know, those scary Black Men leading crowds of angry Black people!) but, as Sullivan rightly pointed out, listen to the extended cuts of his sermons and tell me what was disgusting about his remarks. I remain unconvinced that Wright is wrong. Yes, I acknowledge race relations have come a long way; but, we must simultaneously acknowledge that we can do better. As a White man I don't feel any urge to declare that Wright should feel about, or preach to his congregation, in any particular manner, about the state of race in America. I do have the desire, however, to ensure that my kids grow up to accept each person for who they are and appraise others based on "the content of their character."

I can only imagine--and probably not to vividly--what it must be like to walk into a job interview and never being quite sure if race didn't factor in to the decision making process of whether or not I would be successful. Now replace job interview with and number of other routine activities like purchasing or renting a home and it must weigh heavily. I understand my privileged place in our society because I happen to be Caucasian. Do you?

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