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March 20, 2008

Comments

This is why I can unequivocably say that it is a full time job trying not to hate whites.

This is why I can unequivocably say that it is a full time job trying not to hate whites.

And how do you think the East Asians felt when they found out the VATech gunman was Korean or for that matter, how did anyone vaguely brown feel after 9/11? Fear of backlash is the first instinct any of us have, and it's something white people don't have to live with.

Thank you. In a country awash with preachers of intolerance, this hypocrisy is just staggering.

Thank you. In a country awash with preachers of intolerance, this hypocrisy is just staggering.

The tendency to see an immoral action by a person of your group as a function of their individual flaws, & an immoral action by a person of another group as a function of their group membership, is a basic human tendency, not just a white or American tendency. But since white Americans happen to belong to the majority, dominant group in the most powerful country in the world, it works out a lot better for us than for racial minorities or citizens of other countries.

And how do you think the East Asians felt when they found out the VATech gunman was Korean..

The same way lots of Jews feel when some financial fraud or other crime turns out to have been engineered by someone with a distinctly Jewish name. Fastow and Boesky, for example, caused a lot of heartburn.

I can easily believe the reaction is worse for African-Americans.

The tendency to see an immoral action by a person of your group as a function of their individual flaws, & an immoral action by a person of another group as a function of their group membership, is a basic human tendency, not just a white or American tendency. But since white Americans happen to belong to the majority, dominant group in the most powerful country in the world, it works out a lot better for us than for racial minorities or citizens of other countries.

Basically, fundamental attribution error writ large ("group attribution error").

Thanks.

> fundamental attribution error

its natural for a person to see other people in relation to themselves. So a white older man sees another white older man who is a democrat as a "democrat" he sees a young white democrat as a 'youth' and black young man as a 'black man' and a black woman as a woman (or some other heirachy).

People then attribute the traits they see in such people (probably emphasizing the bad) to those categories. 'women driver' 'black drug users' 'lazy democrats' 'immature youths'.

It is all pretty natural and logical, unfortunately.

The media has been obsessed and has marginalized Obama over race for months. Ever since the clintons started it, they have latched on like leeches and won't drop it. i wish there was an organized group to petition CNN and msnbc, et. al. about this.
overkill is one thing. A continuing attempt to basically swiftboat a good candidate day after day by the media is another.
Reminds me of what they did to Gore and kerry.

A lot of people say there is nothing that Obama can do or say that can excuse his association with a black man who would say those things. Never mind whether Obama was there. Never mind when Obama found out about them. Never mind whether they're typical of Wright's sermons--the media cannot be bothered to explore that question at all. Never mind that Obama specifically denounced those remarks, repeatedly. Never mind that Obama obviously doesn't share those views. Never mind that there is absolutely no evidence in his entire public record that he hates America or hates white people, or that he has ever pandered to those sentiments. He is guilty of fraternizing with an angry, scary black man; he is therefore unfit for the presidency.

Why these people aren't also condemning Obama for having an equally racist relative, I don't know--

Oh, wait. They're condemning him for throwing her under the bus---when he's treating her the exact same way he's treating Wright.

Sorry, but that's just racist behavior.

Well put. I've linked this over at Lean Left.

Another side of Wright (How good or bad or hateful a person Wright is isn't really the issue, but the press's refusal to look at him as a person instead of as 6 crappy soundbites played in a loop is part of the problem.)

Painers.

This is why I can unequivocably say that it is a full time job trying not to hate whites.

For us white people, it's only a part-time job.

Looks like we win again...

You want to see a double standard?

Look at the first comment in this thread.

That kind of thinking, and tolerance for it, might give you an idea why whites are so scared of blacks.

There's racism everywhere you look. Own your own, and try to understand how your objects react to it. You might find you can help yourself.

I'm more interested in double standards that decide elections. The reaction to Obama's speech is not plausibly connected to the first comment on this thread, and there is no plausible, rational basis for believing that Barack Obama is racist or hates white people.

(I also don't think white people not telling black people "suck it up, you anti-white racists" more often is actually a meaningful contributor to racial tension.)

I don't doubt that there's a double standard that is manifested in our cultural response to extremist white religious rhetoric vs extremist black rhetoric. There are so many ways that the dominant culture reinforces and congratulates itself and suppresses and marginalizes minority cultures.

But there's a huge leap in logic, and a leap over some important factual components of this story, to go from that pretty much undeniable fact of the existence of a double standard to the supposition that the increased play Obama's Wright gets compared to McCain's Hagee connection may be chalked up to the double standard.

It falls far short of describing the full reality of this issue to say that the "stock response" is "that Obama knows Wright better." He doesn't just "know him better."

He sat in the pews and listened to him for 20 years. He remains in his congregation even as a Presidential candidate, which carries great symbolic weight. Wright baptized his daughters and OBama brings his daughters in regularly to listen to Wright's sermons. He named his book for one of Wright's sermons. He calls Wright his "spiritual mentor." He put him on his campaign staff.

That's NOT just "knows him better."

And more: it's not the media's fault, or the white culture's fault, that this stuff is sooooo soundbitable. EVERYBODY will see Rev. Wright saying God Damn America—in that special little way he says it, with all the gusto. Every white swing voter in Missouri and Kentucky and Ohio and Florida and New Hampshire and Nevada will know that this black guy who grew up in Indonesia takes his little girls to Rev. Wright's church every Sunday.

This is 1000X worse than Dukakis in a silly hat. And, at least politically, this is an issue that's not going to be solved by analyzing the marginalization of minority subgroup messages, as worthy a topic as that may be. Politically, it's a question of who Barack Obama is and whether he understands American politics well enough to be President, or to be the Democratic nominee for President. Based on my personal understanding of American politics, I would say that Obama's continued association with Wright while running for President shows that he does not.

Maybe Obama's the one who's right about American politics, and maybe I'm the one who's wrong. This is one occasion where I can honestly say that it would nice if I were wrong--I just don't think I am.

That kind of thinking, and tolerance for it, might give you an idea why whites are so scared of blacks.

Only if you're assuming that this type of thinking is typical of all blacks.

I spend enough time in the black community to know
a) not everyone thinks like that (nowhere close!), and
b) folks who do think think like that don't generate it in a vacuum.

(Though I think a) is a lot more relevant...)

That kind of thinking, and tolerance for it, might give you an idea why whites are so scared of blacks.

What gwangung says, with an added dollop of "gawrsh, couldn't that be a troll?"

Moral: I wouldn't read too much into one-line comments, even when they're posted twice.

Thank you for giving the long version of the stock response Trickster. It is correct except for the "campaign staff" comment, my reply remains exactly the same, my conclusion remains exactly the same.

Your comment about "it's not the media's fault" makes absolutely no sense though: people see it in soundbites because the media covers it that way. They don't have to.

Also, Trickster, as far as I am concerned saying that "it's just how politics is" & still holding it against Obama that he doesn't Wright is no less of a double standard, & no less morally problematic. The press always absolves itself of responsibility that way: "hey, we're just covering this because people are talking about it & because it's had an impact in the polls" And why are people talking about it, and why has it had an impact in the polls? Because you're covering it. To some extent this is inevitable, but the point is: "hey, people are talking about it, it's a story," in answer to questions about whether your coverage is fair or substantive, just begs the question.

If you hold a black politician to a different standard than a white politician because of "political reality", you're perpetuating the the reality that white & black politicians get held to different standards.

"I don't have a problem with Obama associating with Wright, but the voters in November will never allow it so we shouldn't nominate him" reminds me of the old chestnut: "I don't have any problem serving black people, but my customers would never allow it." (The point isn't that they're equivalent--the point is that they're structurally similar: treating a black person differently from a white person because of his race, & then explaining that you're enlightened, but some other group of unenlightened folk leaves you with no choice.)

I don't know who is what race here.

But the first time I saw the Wright video it shocked me the way he was screaming, and I found the "god damn America" bit so over the top. I listened to his words though, and most of it was obviously true, but it was the way it was said that was so shocking. I gather from listening to the talking heads on TV that this is the way black preachers speak to their congregations. But it still shocked me, never saw or heard anything like it.

Something like this happened to Howard Dean.

It may have as much to do with the press flexing its power than racial issues.

Changing these kinds of attitudes is a longterm thing, as is wresting power away from the media. I actually the latter will happen first.

I'm an Obama supporter, so this stuff pains me. I voted for him in the Calif primary, I have given money to his campaign, and I have campaigned for him myself in every way I can.

I think getting started on creating new lines of communication is almost as important as getting him elected.

That's a clever analogy of the racist shopkeeper using "customers" as an excuse for perpetuating racism over his little piece of turf. At least one important way that it doesn't carry over to this discussion, though, is that you can--and, of course, we did--pass a Civil Rights Act to get rid of the racist shopkeeper/racist customers problem, but we can't pass a law to stop racist/cultural dominance behavior in elections.

That's because the elections express the will of the voters from whom the legitimacy of the laws are derived. You can't enforce new ideas with laws and have them represent the consent of the governed. If you want the laws and government to be progressive, first you have to educate the people in progressive ideas.

I'm all for that. I think we should spend most of our time and energy on that educational process. What I'm NOT for, though, is nominating unelectable candidates in order to make a purer educational statement, not for a position as important as President of the United States, and especially not when so many Supreme Court members are 60 or older (or much older) and the Court is already teetering on the brink of pushing our legal system back into the property-rights era of the 19th century.

I'm not saying our decision making needs to be all-pragmatism-all-the-time. What I am saying is that we need to exercise enough pragmatism to win Presidential elections, and then change mindsets with the wiggle room that's left over.

Don't forget how important that bully pulpit can be to changing opinions. We need to have our guy or gal standing behind it, not theirs.

Finally, one more note. If we really want to create a narrative that reflects truth, as opposed to wanting to create a narrative that reflects our worldview, then our work to create it must be scrupulously honest. And I'm sorry, but I can't accept that categorizing the difference between the Wright-Obama relationship and the Hagee-McCain relationship as "knows him better" is scrupulously honest. Hagee is some guy whose endorsement McCain is accepting. Wright is a person Obama has joined himself to at the hip in his life, in his books, and even in his strongly-religious-influenced political messaging. Those aren't just two spots a bit apart along the same continuum; that's a qualitative distinction.

"Something like this happened to Howard Dean."

There is a certain similarity, but at least that was something Dean said. "Don't say anything that will look bad if we take it out of context & play it on loop for a week" is one thing; "don't associate too closely with anyone who says anything that will look bad if it we take it out of context & play it on loop for a week" is another. Admittedly, though, there are multiple things contributing to this, & it reflects the generally degraded state of press coverage as much as a racial double standard.

This post was complete perfection.

I also wonder how many of the people who are calling for Obama's head actually believe that he hates white people and/or America, or just wish and hope that other people think he does. Or if they're just so mad at Wright that they want to punish Obama for not being madder himself.

Barack Obama's speech clearly indicates a conscious choice. He chose to trust the electorate to see his point of view as he explained it. This may or may not have been wise politically -- time will tell.

I am an optimistic person by nature so I hope that this will eventually redound to Obama's benefit. I like to think that raising the level of the discussion will have a good effect. I hope that the insanity of the past 6 years was temporary and we are recovering our senses.

In my darker moments, well, bob mcmanus comes to mind.

Wow. I had no idea the 'please-don't-let-the-criminal-be-of-my-ethnicity' was so common.

I know that in my little community it's something that is on our minds all the time. Whenever there's a grisly crime, a lot of people will wait and hope that the person they catch doesn't have a name that sounds like theirs.

This is just awesome.

After all the worry that the right would tar Obama as a "secret muslim" because of his middle name; or a manchurian candidate because of his childhood in Indonesia; or happily confuse his last name with Osama; or whisper about his drug dealing -er use. After all that, the one charge that's going to stick, the one charge that's going to cost him the nomination or the general election if he's nominated, is that good old American standby: he's an angry black man.

Obama, (Atticus Finch, pro se), will calmly explain, in a compelling, logical and irrefutable manner, why this isn't so, why both black and white anger in these times is nonetheless real, and why he is the candidate to set us on the proper path.

Nevertheless, the American people (in a remarkable dual role as both Mayella Ewell and the jury) will vote him down.

Really, it's just perfect.

Here it is: the stupidest reaction to Obama's speech, in my humble opinion.

And this from a professor of something, somewhere.

On the bright side, Ugh, if that happens it will still be a happier ending than the last time an American presidential candidate spoke with this much compassion & understanding about race during a campaign. (I'm referring to RFK).

Also, Obama still could win...

A comment I came across yesterday, sorry I’ve lost track of where (onset of alzheimer’s? the drugs?...) about unfamiliarity with what is a common style of preaching in black churches, and white churches throughout the South: The commenter spoke of a childhood in the South where passing a church on a Sunday morning would mean hearing a whole lot of fever-pitch preaching.
Further it was suggested that what The Clip conveys to most people is: This man is Angry. And, well, yes, but what is in fact heard by most is a man yelling, and (almost) uncontrollably angry. In fact Rev. Wright is employing a manner that polite white ears hear as abrasive, and stirs fears of Radical Black Violence.

IOW, it’s a cultural disconnect. Rev. Wright is preaching in a way familiar to black churchgoers, and unfamiliar to many whites. And as usual, ignorance leads, as the night the day, to fear.
I imagine Obama was trying to imply the distinction when he spoke of Wright’s academic and intellectual honors; saying, in effect, “This man has been welcome and admired in the sober halls of the ivory tower where no feathers were ruffled by some fearfully aggressive contentiousness. Rev. Wright is a man of intellectual distinction. Just because his preaching would be out of place in a sedate white church (where sedation may be expected) doesn’t disqualify him from being an admirable preacher.”

I don’t make a point of listening to preachers, but I have heard Hagee speak twice. Hagee’s point was that the Bible should be taken at it’s word, that there is widespread decadence in the world, and that it will lead to the consequences spelled out in Isaiah, Zechariah, and Revelation. I challenge anyone to tell me how he is interpreting scripture in an unfair way.

That’s a whole different animal than ‘push back against the white people who injected you with AIDS in this God Damn America’.

If segments of the left hate the Bible, so be it, but call it what it is. Don’t smear those men who follow the written faiths of their fathers by associating them with a man who uses the veil of religion to preach his personal brand of hate.

Wright’s nearly direct counterpart is the KKK, not the men who follow the teachings of the Bible. The real double standard is that America is willing to call the KKK what it is while giving others a pass.

Ara: oh, no, not even close. Did Victor David Hanson dedicate an anti-Obama "poem" to Andrew Goodman? I think not.

Wright’s nearly direct counterpart is the KKK, not the men who follow the teachings of the Bible.

No, it isn't.

And' it's not hate. Distrust, perhaps, but not hate.

And please. Since you've admitted you don't know the context, you should not leap to make a conclusion.

Bill, did you read the Nightline interview linked to in the post? The KKK question comes up...

On the bright side, Ugh, if that happens it will still be a happier ending than the last time an American presidential candidate spoke with this much compassion & understanding about race during a campaign. (I'm referring to RFK).

I'm trying not to think about that.

Also, Obama still could win...

Let's hope so.

IOW, it’s a cultural disconnect. Rev. Wright is preaching in a way familiar to black churchgoers, and unfamiliar to many whites. And as usual, ignorance leads, as the night the day, to fear.

Similarly, white businessmen and politicians always talked about the "inscrutable" Orientals, until they spent enough time with them to know it was more of a poker face than anything else. Nowadays, nobody (well, nobody who's spent more a little time in the world) talks about "inscrutable Easterners." They talk about sharp businessmen and the like.

I challenge anyone to tell me how he is interpreting scripture in an unfair way.

"He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations."

"And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids."

"And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass."

You want to see a double standard?

Look at the first comment in this thread.

That kind of thinking, and tolerance for it, might give you an idea why whites are so scared of blacks.

There's racism everywhere you look. Own your own, and try to understand how your objects react to it. You might find you can help yourself.

The above is a textbook-perfect example of what Obama was talking about when he referred to "the untrained ear" in connection with services at black churches. I would suggest that many white people -- all too many -- have untrained eyes and untrained hearts and minds when it comes to hearing and seeing and feeling what African-Americans do every day.

Let me say right here that I am neither black nor Christian. I am white, and Jewish, and first-generation American (my parents came from France and Holland). But I do not find it hard to understand what Billie meant when she wrote that it's a full-time job trying not to hate whites. I really can't explain any better than Katherine did WHY I didn't find it hard to understand. If you can read that, and still sincerely not understand why a black person might struggle with feelings of anger and even hatred toward whites in general, then I don't think any words of mine could help.

All I can say is that, although I am white, I myself struggle with feelings of anger and even contempt toward whites who think it's racist for a black person to feel hatred toward white people after a lifetime of being treated as nothing else about you was as significant as your skin color.

If I were black, I would feel the same way.

Katherine: I stand corrected.

The other thing is that the Hagee & Parsley endorsements aside, McCain is less in bed with the Christian right than many other prominent Republicans. Bill Frist, while majority leader of the Senate, was the one who spoke at "Justice Sunday," where the comments about wanting to "impale" judges were made. Frist was also the one who specifically refused to contradict false statements in an "abstinence only" sex ed curriculum about how AIDS was spread. George W. Bush was the one who pushed the marriage amendment (Karl Rove, btw, thinks Rev. Wright is "hurtful". Thanks, Karl Rove, for lecturing Barack Obama about the need to eschew divisiveness in our politics!). Then you have the whole Schiavo episode, when the GOP leadership decided to screw around with a family's incredibly painful crisis for their political benefit--personally, I much prefer when religious leaders call down damnation on "America" to slandering specific private individuals; America can take it.

So the double standard is much more than just Hagee.

Obama put poor granny's private comments from more than 3 decades ago in the same class as the hate rantings of Rev Wright in the current millineum. all in the name of saving his own political skin . . . . thats more hurting and hateful than Rev Wright could ever be!

"Hagee’s point was that the Bible should be taken at it’s word, that there is widespread decadence in the world, and that it will lead to the consequences spelled out in Isaiah, Zechariah, and Revelation."

And it's all so innocuous--nless you actually say it like this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uViQ0hVV57Q

Wow! Hitler only finished what the Roman Catholic Church started!

Just like the Bible says, eh, Bill?

"Wright’s nearly direct counterpart is the KKK, not the men who follow the teachings of the Bible."

This is so distorted and perverse that it's really hard to know where to begin to refute it. We're talking about a career of helping people marred by a few ill-judged words, as opposed to over a century of violence, murder and hatred. It's so stupid and completely unnecessary.

Hagee is some guy whose endorsement McCain is accepting. Wright is a person Obama has joined himself to at the hip in his life, in his books, and even in his strongly-religious-influenced political messaging. Those aren't just two spots a bit apart along the same continuum; that's a qualitative distinction.

Hagee is not "some guy whose endorsement McCain is accepting." Hagee is the multimillionaire CEO of a global communications network that spreads far right religious ideology all over the world. He is closely connected with Christian "Reconstructionists," also known as Dominionists or theonomists, who advocate replacing the U.S. Constitution with a theocratic government that would adhere to a literal interpretation of ancient Hebrew law -- you know, executing women who have premarital or extramarital sexual relations, and the like?

Also, John McCain did not "accept" Hagee's endorsement -- he stood next to Hagee and said it was "an honor" to have his endorsement. And he did this knowing that Hagee said the people of New Orleans brought Hurricane Katrina on themselves because they allowed a gay pride parade to take place in their city. Hagee also called the Catholic Church the "Great Whore" and said that the Catholic Church conspired with Hitler to murder the Jews of Europe. AND, Hagee also said that God would bring a bloodbath to the U.S. if the U.S. government continued to support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Would YOU want as president a man who thinks it's "an honor" to receive the endorsement of a man like this?

Sharlet generously attributes Clinton's involvement to the under-appreciated depth of her religiosity, but he himself struggles to define The Family's theological underpinnings. The Family avoids the word Christian but worships Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the "meek." They believe that, in mass societies, it's only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God's "dominion" on earth. Insofar as The Family has a consistent philosophy, it's all about power--cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or "cells.

From">http://snipurl.com/22940">From The Nation. Linked this on another thread, but it’s worth drawing attention to it here. If the issue is ‘electability’ Obama seems to have an advantage.
Ehrenreich’s article is drawing attention to a new book due out in May, based on a piece published in Harper’s in 2003.

If Obama can't get elected because of his asssociation with Wright, that is a fault in the American electorate, not Obama.

For some reasons that I can't ennumerate them all but here's one: ity isn't that big a deal . Global warming is a big deal. Bleeding terillions on an unnecessary war is a big deal. Wright isn't.

Obama opposed the war when it wasn't at all popular or politically convenient to do so. These days, he gets a lot of credit for that.

It seems to me that he also made a choice not to abandon his Pastor and community at a time when it would have been politically convenient to do so. So now he's getting killed for that.

There's your double-standard.

...if a white candidate is affiliated in some fashion...

No. Not "affiliated in some fashion." Obama chose this church, this pastor. He has let it be known that this man is a mnentor and spiritual advisor. This is a false analogy and I'm finding it with breathtaking regularlity among defenders of Obama.

I find this kind of obfuscation unconscionable. The same holds for saying that Wright uttered "controversial" remarks. "Controversial" presupposes there is room to disagree, i.e., some people think the remarks are alright, some don't.

Since the only people who agree with Wright's remarks are racist bigots this wordplay with Wright's statements is dishonest at best and deliberately obscurant at worst.

I frankly don't care what Wright thinks. I want to know what Obama thinks. And most especially, I want to know what he was thinking for 20 years sitting in a pew and listening to his "spiritual advisor" going off like this.

Obama put poor granny's private comments from more than 3 decades ago in the same class as the hate rantings of Rev Wright in the current millineum. all in the name of saving his own political skin . . . . thats more hurting and hateful than Rev Wright could ever be!
[roll eyes]

I at least appreciate that you didn't parrot the soundbite "He threw his grannny under the bus!"

First, you have no idea when his grandmother's comments were made.

Two, do you honestly believe Obama would have used his living grandmother as an example without her blessing?

And C., what he is saying is that people we love sometimes say things that we disagree with–even sometimes saying things that we find repugnant–and yet we still love them.

Not to hard a concept to understand I trust?

I frankly don't care what Wright thinks. I want to know what Obama thinks. And most especially, I want to know what he was thinking for 20 years sitting in a pew and listening to his "spiritual advisor" going off like this.

If you read the linked NIGHTLINE interview, you'd know what Obama thinks.

And do you really believe that Wright's "God damn America" bit is typical of the majority or even a significant fraction of his 30 years of sermonizing?

And I'm sorry, but I can't accept that categorizing the difference between the Wright-Obama relationship and the Hagee-McCain relationship as "knows him better" is scrupulously honest.

You bet Obama knows him better. Obama knows the whole man: the man who had his entire clergy tested for AIDS on World AIDS Day last year, or heard him speak on women in the Bible ("the stories are all about men, because men wrote the stories"!).

I'm a white Jewish guy, and I would LOVE to hear Rev Wright speak in person!

(Clips of Rev Wright's sermons, and his participation on Wold AIDS Day can be found at the http://www.youtube.com/user/TRINITYCHGO>Trinity Church channel of YouTube.

Very well said, Hilzoy.

Thanks, Jes, for the gorgeous quotes.
And thanks Kathy for bringing up the theonomists. You could have cited the stoning of gays as well.
As one of those ‘Bible-believing Christians’ (virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection), I’ve always seen the form of Christianity promulgated by Haggee as precisely the form of pharisaism condemned by Jesus, and that determined the crucifixion.
One of Jesus’ parables speaks of a tax-collector praying in the Temple, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner’ while a pharisee stands where everyone can see him and prays ‘God I thank you that I am not like other men, like that sinner’. Jesus says the publican’s prayer was heard, and the pharisee’s prayer wasn’t. Haggee is a bloodthirsty pharisee.

I wonder if the people who condemn Obama for associating with Rev. Wright would care to identify the controversial positions that their church and pastor agrees with and speaks out passionately against.

Oh, Jesus F. Christ, Ara, that Corner link . . . I'm sorry, but I refuse to be lectured by ANYONE at the pro-torture, IOKIYAR World's Sh*ttiest Website (R) on "the rejection of any constant moral standard—an absolute sense of wrong and right that transcends situational ethics, context, and individual particulars." I mean, really.

the only people who agree with Wright's remarks are racist bigots

This is, of course, categorically untrue, but don't let that stand in the way of your righteous froth of anger, Rick.

I frankly don't care what Wright thinks. I want to know what Obama thinks. And most especially, I want to know what he was thinking for 20 years sitting in a pew and listening to his "spiritual advisor" going off like this.

Setting aside the fact that I doubt you have any idea of what Wright's sermons were like for those 20 years, I am curious what you think Obama might have been thinking that is in any way relevant to his candidacy. Do you believe, for instance, that in all these 100s of sermons that we are all apparently so informed about that Obama was sitting there thinking: "Yeah. Tell it like it is preacher man! I hate whitey too! And when they make me President, they are sure gonna get there's."

Is that what you think he might have been thinking? Or is it possible

1) that these recycled clips give a distorted image of the totality of Wrights' work in the church?

and/or

2) that Obama and Wright are complex people with their own attitudes and opinions who disagree on some key issues but share many values which draw them together?

Is that possible or is the only possibility that Obama and Wright have spent the last 20 years obsessively discussing how much they hate white people?

To expand upon my prior kudos to Hilzoy for here post:

Were I an African-American man, I have no doubt I'd be disqualified under the standard being applied to Obama. Little known fact: One of my favorite bands from back in the day was Public Enemy. Still is. Indeed, I was listening to It Takes A Nation Of Millions.... not more than two days ago. How the hell am I going to explain my two-decade association with "Rebel Without A Pause"? I mean, here are some of the lyrics:

Impeach the President Pulling out a raygun zap the next one I could be a shogun ...

And, hell yeah, it's a great song.

White folks need to calm the f-ck down about seeing angry Black man. Really. Because a lot of that anger is pretty damn well justified. So what if it crosses into hyperboyle from time to time? Doesn't everyone have that right?

Incidentally, I do realize that I'm a white, male, McCain-supporting Republican (albeit classic liberal variety) who probably won't vote for Obama. But there's a level of BS to the current Amos-and-Andy re-run that no one should accept. I want to win on the issues. This crap disgusts me.

[/rant over.]


Obviously, that should be "White folks need to calm the f-ck down about seeing [an] angry Black man" in the rant above. And yes, that's what this is about. Obama is OK until someone, somwhere associated with him displays a trace of anger. Again, I call b-llshit.

Agreed, von - but it's Katherine's post, not hilzoy's.

yes: much as I would like to claim credit for this post, and appreciate von's gratitude, I didn't write it. ;(

yes: much as I would like to claim credit for this post, and appreciate von's gratitude, I didn't write it. ;(

Ooops. Just saw the bottom byline. Kudos, Katherine.

Once again encouraged to unaccustomed optimism by all this. (Occasioned by going back to the abc link.)
1. That ain’t the soundbite MSM that’s put a crimp on substance. It was good. And the video segment was wonderful. Exactly the part of the interview I wanted most to see. Perhaps there is indeed hope for change. Amazing.
2. It’s working. Obama wants us to start talking more openly about ‘race’. And here we are. Arguments? Cool. Slights and jabs? Good. The conversation is probing and heartfelt, and it’s as it should be, because the conversation persists.

Perhaps those who can't understand how Obama could maintain a relationship with Rev. Wright for the last twenty years would like to explain the Republicans' 20+ year relationship with Rev. Moon.

Just Google "Rev Moon and True Parents Day" and feel the love...

I find this kind of obfuscation unconscionable. The same holds for saying that Wright uttered "controversial" remarks. "Controversial" presupposes there is room to disagree, i.e., some people think the remarks are alright, some don't.

Since the only people who agree with Wright's remarks are racist bigots this wordplay with Wright's statements is dishonest at best and deliberately obscurant at worst.

There IS room to disagree. I happen to agree with most of what Rev. Wright said. It wasn't hate speech; it was truth speech. Hiroshima and Nagasaki WERE atrocities; they WERE war crimes. The U.S. *has* supported Israel unquestioningly while that country brutalized and terrorized Palestinians and illegally occupied land that is not theirs. The U.S. *did* support the racist South African government and ignore its crimes until the divestment movement forced it to remove that support.

America did not *deserve* 9/11 -- no one "deserves" tragedy and horror like that; but that's not what Wright said. He did not say that America "deserved" 9/11. He said that the U.S. government had committed or condoned violence and terrorism against other people in other countries for decades, and now that violence was being committed against us. Actions have consequences in the real world, Rick. That does not mean Americans *deserved* 9/11.

And that comment about Clinton? That was not racist! Wright was saying that Clinton cannot understand the black community, black anger, etc., as well as Obama can because Clinton has never been called a vile word that has been used for centuries to keep black people in their place and to terrorize and humiliate them.

Now, maybe Wright is being unfair to Clinton in that maybe she CAN understand even though she has never been called the "N" word. Maybe he's wrong that only Obama can understand. There's room for disagreement on those points. But it's not like Wright used that vile word to *describe* Clinton. He didn't call her a name. He said SHE had never been called that name, so she couldn't know what it felt like.

Where I come from, that's called common sense.

That's a good summing up, Katherine. You might also enjoy Greenwald's piece if you didn't see it.

White folks need to calm the f-ck down about seeing angry Black man. Really. Because a lot of that anger is pretty damn well justified. So what if it crosses into hyperboyle from time to time? Doesn't everyone have that right?

Well, the other thing is...what do you do with that anger?

Hm. Seems to me, what the Rev. Wright has done with it has been nowhere near as destructive as some people think it has been...Don't think I've seen any race riots or such promulgated by him....

Here's a question:

Throughout the campaign, Obama has been asked repeatedly whether an attack on him was "racist". Has he (himself, not his surrogates & supporters, who have sometimes been oversensitive & unfair about this) answered "yes" even once?

I'm not sure he ever has. And this is partly because giving people the benefit of the doubt is part of his whole approach, but it's also because he thinks it would be very politically damaging for him to accuse *anyone* of racism.

It's not only white politicians & white people who "can't say" certain things about race in this country.

And, you know, on this side, you've got Obama encouraging everyone to have this dialogue, and on the other, you've got . . . this. von, really, you're going to vote for this man?

For me, Obama's association with Wright is one of the best things about him. The fact that he's spent 20 years (or whatever) at this guy's church listening to this man sometimes bashing America in harsh terms (largely deserved) is something that makes me feel better about him than most of the politicians out there. Kathy already wrote what I would have said about Wright's comments, so it saves me the trouble of repeating them. There are crazy parts, of course--the HIV claim, but even that bit of paranoia has some historical justification.

There are crazy parts, of course--the HIV claim, but even that bit of paranoia has some historical justification.

Speaking of which...Republican platforms have their crazy bits, too--see the support for intelligent design and "balanced" treatment...but not only does that no historical justification, it hasn't even been challenged much by the media until the Dover decision. Talk about double standards...

Wright isn't a bigot. According to a write up in Newsweek he led his congregation to an acceptance of gay marriage and was a leader in the fight against the prejudice against gays that is sometimes promoted in AA churhes.

wonkie, to the Right that is a bug not a feature. Not only is he anti-American, racist he's also a gay lover.

Really, for those you criticize Obama for listening to Wright for twenty years, tell me what is wrong with that. There is absolutely no evidence that Wright's sermon were regular hate-filled speech. In fact, according to almost everybody at Trinity, the opposite is true.

He is a man who went above race many times, saying blacks did not get special exceptions.

He is big on black men being more responsible for there children. He iniated over 80 social ministries in Chicago. His church has the highest white attendance of any primarily black church in Chicago.

His over all message is one of toletrance and love. He is very much in the mainstream Christian tradition in that regard. Were some of his sermons over the top, probably not although some of the phrasing probably was.

Think about this for a minute. Almost all of his sermons are available for anybody that wants them. Don't you think there would have been a lot more out there if it was that regular an occurance.

Secondly, re grandmother. He wrote about her in his 1995 book, stating in detail what he talked about yesterday. And it is important to realize he was not equating his grandmother with Wright in terms of speech, but rather in terms of how he felt both of them were extremely important people in his life.

In some ways, simply because he knew and admired so much about Wright, who has a lot to be admired for, his staying with Wright and not disowning him is far more morally correct than McCain not only accepting Hagee's endorsement but to some degree seeking it. McCain does not know him personally, does not know what type of person he is. He only knows he represents a major constituency. Thus hsi staying and accepting the endorsement of Hagee is crass pandering and hypocrisy. It is the same as if Obama said how great it was to get Farakhan's endorsement, which he didn't.

One more thing, since people tend to think that everything Obama does is politically motivated (which I don't). If Obama had disowned Wright, he would have lost the vast majority of his AA vote and even much of his moderate to liberal vote. So if you what to find a political justification not to disown Wright, there it is.

Personally, I don't think that ever entered Obama's mind.

Back from chores:

Gwangung; I don’t think you call for divine damnation upon things you distrust. Divine damnation is typically reserved for things you hate. At least that’s how I see it. There was no stuttering during Wright’s sermon.

Grover; I think that a strict literal believer of the Christian texts could find Catholicism to be incompatible with the Bible. My computer is too slow to download video quickly, and has no sound, but my guess is that Hagee’s argument is that once you deviate from the core texts by adding more (Catholics), you open yourself up to further perversions of the core texts (Hilter). Hagee’s position, if as I think it would be, is compatible with scripture.

PC Disclaimer: I think I can say that because, although I don’t go to church, I’m raising my kids as Catholics.

I’m not here to defend Hagee, because I don’t know him. But it is wrong to group fundamentalist Christians with groups who use religion to veil hateful agendas. Wright’s sermons contained some Biblical no nos. Bearing false witness, coveting your neighbor’s stuff, things like that.

Indeed, I was listening to It Takes A Nation Of Millions.... not more than two days ago.

PE popped up on my iPod at the gym today. In addition to that album, I've got Fear of a Black Planet and Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black.

Not voting for McCain though.

I thought it was the "wily Oriental" we had to be careful about.

Anyway, we all know that,

"In ways that are sharp,
and tricks that are vain,
the heathen Chinee is peculiar."

My last comment somehow omitted an introductory quote from Gwangung that I was responding to:

Similarly, white businessmen and politicians always talked about the "inscrutable" Orientals, until they spent enough time with them to know it was more of a poker face than anything else. Nowadays, nobody (well, nobody who's spent more a little time in the world) talks about "inscrutable Easterners." They talk about sharp businessmen and the like.

Probably the work of some wily Oriental.

Bill...
Nononono.
Maybe it’s your generous spirit, giving Haggee the benefit of the doubt and all.
From here that looks lopsided.
I’ve already described him as a bloodthirsty pharisee; so you know where I stand.
I was raised a fundamentalist/evangelical, Memorized whole chapters of the Bible. Went to boarding school with Billy Graham’s eldest. This man was a friend. (Scarier stuff than you seem to have imagined.)
And Haggee does in fact think the Pope and Hitler collaborated on the Holocaust. He happily anticipates the slaughter of everyone who doesn’t believe as he does. He claims to have a detailed topographical road map to the Apocalypse (a multimedia version of a storu I learned in my youth.)
He is a proud, judgmental power-tripping bully.
And leave us not forget. By his lights you’re entrusting your children’s immortal souls to The Whore of Babylon.
Sorry, that’s a bit of a low blow.
But it’s true.

I don’t think you call for divine damnation upon things you distrust. Divine damnation is typically reserved for things you hate.

Yes? Are you saying America equal white people? Because that don't play for me....

Ease off. If you don't know the territory (which you've said yourself), you're making yourself look foolish.

& btw; both H and W are drawing on a prophetic tradition in which God promised punishment to Israel for its idolatry and its scorn for widows and orphans. It’s a call to turn from unfeeling injustice and callous irreverence.

I think you’ll find that H puts all his weight behind damning America for its idolatry, and W leans towards damning America for its treatment of the poor, the orphan and the widow; the powerless.

& btw; both H and W are drawing on a prophetic tradition in which God promised punishment to Israel for its idolatry and its scorn for widows and orphans. It’s a call to turn from unfeeling injustice and callous irreverence.

Easier to see if you grew up in, say, a Southern Baptist tradition.

Look: the Old Testament is full of God turning his back on various nations, including Israel, and now that I think of it, the entire human population of the antediluvian world, with five exceptions. It is absolutely not unheard of for people in the Christian tradition -- all kinds of people -- to rail about God's likely reaction to various sins.

It's certainly not unheard of for people in this country to do it. I'm not the first to say this, but: how else are we to interpret Falwell's saying that 9/11 was God's punishment on us? Or Hagee on New Orleans? Or any number of people whose railings are passed over with, at most, a bit of eye-rolling, and whom politicians court continuously?

I mean, this is very much within a whole tradition of Christian oratory. (The aptly named Jeremiad.)

ah, cross-posted with felix culpa. :)

And, you know, on this side, you've got Obama encouraging everyone to have this dialogue, and on the other, you've got . . . this. von, really, you're going to vote for this man?

Yup, most likely. (Obama may tempt me to stray.) But let's not dilute the agreements we've got going on with a dispute.

PE popped up on my iPod at the gym today. In addition to that album, I've got Fear of a Black Planet and Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black.

Yes, but do you have "Greatest Misses"? (Which, unfortunately, is not an ironic name for album.)

"My computer is too slow to download video quickly, and has no sound, but my guess is that Hagee’s argument is that once you deviate from the core texts by adding more (Catholics), you open yourself up to further perversions of the core texts (Hilter)."

Mmmmmmmm...I don't think that really does justice to Hagee's lecture, Bill. Let me offer you a verbatim transcription:

"When Adolph Hitler came to power he said, 'I'm not going to do anything in my lifetime that hasn't been done by the Roman church for the past 800 years, I'm only going to do it on a greater scale and more efficiently,' and he certainly had done exactly that."

You can see how the Great Whore of Revelation, "this false, cult," "this apostate church," holds a cup bearing "the blood of the saints, meaning the Jewish people. Where? From the Crusades, that happened back here, from the Spanish Inquisition, from the Holocaust."

All this is by way of demonstrating that the Catholic Church has been complicit throughout the ages in the slaughter of the Jewish people.

But we can excuse these hateful, divisive sentiments because, after all, THEY'RE IN THE BIBLE.

After the party’s ooover..
In case, I found that link was insufficiently precise. Francis was my friend, not Frank. So here is its correction. Headlined ‘Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero’

It really would be worth reading Jeremiah, if anyone is interested in the tradition behind this. If Rev. Wright's "God damn America for treating our citizens as far less than human" is anti-American, I shudder to think how anti-Semitic God shows Himself to be in Jeremiah:

""At that time," declares the LORD, "they will bring out the bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of its princes, and the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from their graves.

2"They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.

3"And death will be chosen rather than life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family, that remains in all the places to which I have driven them," declares the LORD of hosts."

It really starts in earnest around Jer. 4, and goes on, and on, and on. Just one curse after another, each worse than the last, and all of them brought on by the wickedness of God's own people.

(I had also forgotten this verse (Jer. 8:17): ""For behold, I am sending serpents against you,
Adders, for which there is no charm,
And they will bite you," declares the LORD." -- I quite like: "and they will bite you.")

One last thing about Dr. Wright: all we (white TV viewers) see are these same snippets, the "greatest hits". Yet he took a tiny congregation up to a mega-church, and preached nationally in black churches, and was Barack's spiritual (note, not political) mentor. I bet there is more to the man than these few outrages.

What sermon did he preach on, oh, Sunday, July 13, 2003? I really would like to know--and I bet it was quite different than what we've seen. (But I also bet that it was, ahem, more vigorous than the sermon at your local (white) Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran neighborhood church; there really is a whole different style going on...)

Ms.’zoy, yer BENT. In a nice way.

Yeah Wend, I’m impressed. Lotta energy for an old guy. Bet he can dance up a storm.

What sermon did he preach on, oh, Sunday, July 13, 2003? I really would like to know--and I bet it was quite different than what we've seen. (But I also bet that it was, ahem, more vigorous than the sermon at your local (white) Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran neighborhood church; there really is a whole different style going on...)

I'm talking to the converted here (pun intended), but Korean American sermons are also distinctive in their cadences and styles (so distinctive that various Asian American sketch comedy groups can nail their styles in parodies). That there are distinct styles across groups in church isn't surprising to me...

"I bet there is more to the man than these few outrages."

No kidding, but context? Our press corps?

Btw, the "associates with unsavory preachers" test is not even the relevant question, really. It's not just that "Obama's preacher is a scary black man!" trumps years worth of GOP being in bed with the Christian right--it also seems to be more of a problem than, oh, the president, vice president & Justice Department secretly authorizing multiple felonies & then covering it up for years.

In order to fully express how this makes me feel, I'd have to use language that would make all my close friends ineligible for the presidency for associating with such a deranged America-hater.

This from crazy leftist Mike Huckabee is interesting.

Including:

[...] JOE SCARBOROUGH: But what's the impact on voters in Arkansas? Swing voters.

HUCKABEE: I don't think we know. If this were October, I think it would have a dramatic impact. But it's not October. It's March. And I don't believe that by the time we get to October, this is gonna be the defining issue of the campaign, and the reason that people vote.

And one other thing I think we've gotta remember. As easy as it is for those of us who are white, to look back and say "That's a terrible statement!"...I grew up in a very segregated south. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told "you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus..." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.

MIKA: I agree with that. I really do.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It's the Atticus Finch line about walking a mile in somebody else's shoes. I remember when Ronald Reagan got shot in 1981. There were some black students in my school that started applauding and said they hoped that he died. And you just sat there and of course you were angry at first, and then you walked out and started scratching your head going "boy, there is some deep resentment there."

How terribly discouraging this is to honest conversation about race, I guess.

I know that Huckabee would've been a terrible president but he had a disarming tendency to act like an actual human being on the campaign trail.

At the other extreme, is there anyone on tv more loathesome than Sean Hannity?

"At the other extreme, is there anyone on tv more loathesome than Sean Hannity?"

There's Bill O'Reilly, of course, but I have to say I have a special, non-political, grudge against this kind of specimen.

Taking personal advantage, for money, of people mourning the loss of their beloved ones, strikes me as a particularly loathsome form of loathsome.

I don't think the double standard is because Obama is black. The double standard is being applied because Obama is a democrat. If he were a white democrat and when to the same church or another liberal church where American injustice was denounced then he would still be attacked by sleazeballs who want to gin up a controversy.

Still a great post Katherine! I also particularly liked your March 20 05:35 PM comment.

"There is a certain similarity, but at least that was something Dean said. "Don't say anything that will look bad if we take it out of context & play it on loop for a week" is one thing; "don't associate too closely with anyone who says anything that will look bad if it we take it out of context & play it on loop for a week" is another. Admittedly, though, there are multiple things contributing to this, & it reflects the generally degraded state of press coverage as much as a racial double standard."


I think it bears repeating. Though, remember Dean was yelling to be heard in a loud environment, the cheers were filtered out by the reporter's sound equipment.

I am not lower case frank and I disagree with his comment.
-Posted by: frank | March 20, 2008 at 06:30 PM-
That was not me.

If he were a white democrat and when to the same church or another liberal church where American injustice was denounced then he would still be attacked by sleazeballs who want to gin up a controversy.

Even by fellow democrats who support the other candidate.

I don't think Obama feels like Wright does, and agree with his pragmatic explanation. Though I think it will mainly provide an excuse for people who don't really want to vote for him I also think it makes him vulnerable for things like this video.

Right, dutchmarbel, because a creepy, secretive right-wing religious organization that recruits among the already powerful is just like a large and very public church.

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