What disturbs me most is how two prominent black men have been forced to address the nature of their relationship. The media has evaluated each word, blasting Wright for calling Obama a politician while assuming he meant something bad when he made that statement. I didn’t read into Wright’s words what many have. Maybe it’s because I listened to his comment within the context of a question-‘Has Obama ever used your words?”
Oh no, he does what he does and I do what I do. I’m a preacher and he’s a politician. In other words, I’m not his speech writer. My impact on what he does isn’t as prominent as you assume. It could be that my admiration for Wright is tainting my perception, or it could be that people are hearing something coming from Wright based on an opinion they have developed after hearing tidbits of his sermons?
I’ve always believed it is dangerous to assume a person’s intent when they speak. Can we all say, with 100 percent certainty, that Wright was blasting Obama for playing politics, or is it possible that he was attempting to speak to the absurdity that comes with connecting him with Obama beyond what happens during a Sunday morning worship service? He does what he does, and I do what I do. What’s wrong with that?
Of course we can read into those words-politician-something negative if we base that opinion on the notion that he views the title as a negative thing. If that is true, and I’m saddened that we would think it is, we would have to blast a person whenever politician is used to define the work a person does.
The angst I’m feeling goes even deeper than all of this. It all reminds me of the resentment I feel when I see two black men step into a boxing ring. They beat each other to a pulp while a few white promoters sit at ringside counting their money. Two men who have shared stories and faith are forced to address one another. They are forced to define and redefine the nature of their relationship while white America stands on the sideline benefiting from the cruelty of it all.
Many of my readers will blame Wright for all of this. He should have shut his mouth and waited until the end of the election to speak. There may be some truth to all of that, but what has happened in this story is sad, and is, at the very core, a reminder of how difficult it is for a black man to prove to white America that he isn’t too black to serve in leadership.
Like it or not, this is an attack on Black faith. The nation has gotten a glimpse at what happens on Sunday morning in pulpits across the country, and they have heard from one of the giants of the Black Church. He has said what others have stated. His attack on America is no different that the one I made after 911. I too said America is to blame for its policies and hatred toward the Muslim world. Attack me for my prophetic witness. Call me unpatriotic. Do that if you wish, but, in doing so, keep in mind the audience I preach to every Sunday, and the historical pain that has many grappling to understand why we fight this war.
Understand that when Wright makes comments about AIDS there is a precedent for his argument. People are still troubled by the Tuskegee experiment. It’s not far fetched to think that it could all happen again. Wright isn’t a conspiracy theorist out of control. He is speaking out on matters that reflect the opinions of many Black people. The problem with this discussion is related to the lack of real conversation between people about what they feel and think.
Two black men are forced to contend with the nature of their relationship. Obama has to distance himself from a man who has inspired him, nurtured his faith and supported his campaign. The problem with Wright is he is too black for America, and Obama has to prove that he isn’t so black that he can’t lead America.
It saddens me that Obama has to reject that black side. It’s too bad that America can’t embrace the power and purpose of black faith. It is the Black Church that teaches love in the face of hatred. There’s nothing wrong with Black faith, and there is nothing wrong with Jeremiah Wright.
It pains me that Obama has to say there is something wrong with Wright to prove to all those critics that he isn’t like that man. He has to stand in the ring, box with him-destroying the credibility of a man who has touched so many lives, including mine, over the years.
It’s a sad day for the Black Church. It’s a sad day for black men. In 2008 we continue to be forced to beat each other down in order to prove we are not like that guy over there. Martin Luther King, Jr. had to do the same with Malcolm X.
Tell me he is bad and I will let you play. The worst part is most people refuse to accept the deep-seeded racism that stirs this pot.