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March 14, 2008

Comments

Great post.

I hate the rules. I really do.

Hilzoy for Preznit!

Katherine for Attorney General!

Ugh for IRS Chief Counsel!

Very nicely put.

His engagement with the Church was an attempt to connect with the life and feelings of a black urban class he had never truly belonged to and whom he intended to represent.

Well, to be blunt, even now Obama doesn't belong to the 'black urban class'. The child of a Kenyan father, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, Harvard-educated, and so on; the instinctive bigotry of American whites - based on learned contempt for the (nonexistent) stereotypical 'ghetto black', residual slaveholders' guilt, instinctive fear of (just) black retaliation for current and past oppression - simply isn't triggered by someone who hasn't grown up oppressed by American whites, no matter how much melanin he happens to have. This is why the 'Bradley Effect' doesn't seem to show up in Obama's poll results; with all respect to Ms. Ferraro, Obama has gotten this far specifically because he's not black, not in the way racist American whites recognize and instinctively despise.

And this is why Obama's own rhetoric paints him as someone who 'transcends race', and why conservative propagandists are working so terribly hard, and grasping at such thin straws, to connect him with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the Nation of Islam: because if Obama becomes identified as a 'member of a black urban class', white American racism will make certain he loses. Guaranteed.

The blogosphere response to the statements is more a reflection on white america (since most bloggers are white) than the statements are a reflection on Obama.

Wright blames American imperialism and racism for ills both here and a home, things that progressives/liberals agree with, but somehow that's now a bad thing because the person saying it is a loud black dude.

The only response should have been getting Wright and Obama's back.

Unfortunately that isn't what happened and that speaks volumes to me as a liberal African-American.

Sorry. I should have said a reflection on progressive white America. I expect the GOPers to respond like lunatics.

Most bloggers & media people are white & don't belong to a church.

Wright blames American imperialism and racism for ills both here and a home, things that progressives/liberals agree with, but somehow that's now a bad thing because the person saying it is a loud black dude.

Heh. Quite apropos.

This is not new material if folks were REALLY listening, instead of slotting people away.

Sheesh. I should have said "both here and abroad". That's what I get for typing and talking on the phone at the same time.

While I understand that logic will not prevail, how logical is it to blame Wright for what he said and give a pass to Falwell (RIP), Robertson, etc. when they say America (or small geographical parts of it undergoing hurricanes and terrorist attacks) are being rightly punished by God? Of course it is not logical. There is a long "prophetic" tradition beginning in the Old Testament days where preachers denounced the sin they perceived in their society and called down God's wrath on it.

After YEARS of right wing religious bigotry and mingling with all levels of local and federal government - including the military - I for one won't have it. Allowing this story to gain traction when McCain and repugs religious support gets a pass is a double standard again.

Just in case anyone noticed, this country is on the verge of a meltdown economically. It has zero credibility in the world. We are running a war that qualifies as the biggest foreign policy mistake in the history of the republic. Most of the senior members of this administration are criminally culpable for a variety of offenses and are skating. And we are trying, trying, trying to get someone with a shred of common sense, humanity and competence elected.

This "issue" is bull. Can we please focus on the real critical threats. Why are we feeding this? The CSM will do it on their own, we need to repudiate it for the nonsense it is. I thought we could help change the freaking rules and we won't do it by concern trolling our own side.

I miss Steve Gilliard at times like this.

And don't even think of bringing up what Jonathan Alter called "blaming the rape victim for wearing a short skirt." No, the US was not "asking for it" in the rape case sense. But neither were Palestinians, Iraqis, native Americans, Latin Americans, South Africans of color, Bangladeshis who were murdered in 1971 by bullets supplied by the US, and the Vietnamese.

And part of the reason I hate the way politics seems to be played these days is precisely that it forces a separation between what you have to do to win elections and what you ought to do in straightforward human terms.

This "issue" is bull. Can we please focus on the real critical threats. Why are we feeding this?

I agree with both statements. Not being religious or belonging to a church I cannot really judge motives there, but I know that I have plenty of people close to me whom I admire and may even try to emulate in some areas but whom have views I definately don´t share in others. The uncertainties I have about Obama are not even close to thinking that he shares those views of his pastor.

I think this represents the bully factor of the media. Search out some person with a connection to the target, hold them up as paragons of evil and try to get everyone involved in (and I'm thinking that perhaps I shouldn't use this term, but then I think, well, that's precisely what it is) a lynch mob. Because this is how modern politics is played in America, Obama can't go and point out the hypocrisy of it.

I also think this feature of the modern US media has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative. The only person to successfully handle this demonization by association was Reagan, and he did it by being the absent minded grandfather, a part which Obama can't play. Though it seems to me that he's going to try to do that, though I'm not sure if it is a conscious strategy or a result of his upbringing. Or both.

I have a really deep disgust for this story, and I wish Obama could simply go out and deliver a speech about how the media needs stop this BS. And, if this were a movie, one speech, delivered to the right people, would have them nodding in agreement and they suddenly the world would be a better place. That would be the better world, where the media doesn't act like a pithed frog.

If I viewed Hilzoy as 'mass media', I'd probably fulminate and complain that by examining the story, she's keeping it alive. However, the blog in general and ObWi in particular, is more like a smaller place where one hashes things out, so I'm torn between saying something like wilson says about focussing on real threats on the one hand, and acknowledging that this is something to discuss and try and figure out on the other. How we view these discussions depends on how we are led to the discussion. So the anger and disgust in my comment shouldn't be taken as saying hilzoy shouldn't write about this (even though that's what basically what I say above), but trying to figure out where to draw the line between discussing this among friends and pushing the story.

hilzoy: “Why, exactly, do people choose churches and pastors?”

You’re diverting from the issue again: it has nothing to do with why Obama chose Wright’s church—it’s why he stayed and acquiesced to the racist under and overtones of Wright’s sermons – all those years…!!!

Even more disheartening is the fact that it’s a ‘buppie’ church with a solidly working class membership. On the video did or did you not see the enthusiasm for Wright’s sermon? If black teachers and secretaries and government workers buy into that kind of crap then the racial divide hasn’t closed at all--.

here's Obama's response

Hilzoy, what an exceptionally fine examination. And it isn’t feeding the frenzy, it’s facing it down with grace and humanity.
A fine moment in blogland, another fine moment at Obsidian Wings.
Brava.

I ObWi ignores the story, that's not going to stop it from being in the news. I'd rather see this talked to death now than come out anew just before Pennsylvania or worse yet in October. The more people who are educated about this now, the better, because if they don't hear now, the Republicans will certainly make sure they hear later, in the most distorted way possible.

dutchmarble: "The uncertainties I have about Obama are not even close to thinking that he shares those views of his pastor."

If he didn't share them, why didn't he speak out against them? And not keep silent for twenty years?

If blacks want to keep playing the 'blame it on whitey' game after all this time, that's up to them -- but we shouldn't be electing a president who buys into it, or by his silence lends support to people who stigmatize white people with that kind of creepy racist rhetoric.

I thought I saw some cheering white people in the clip, or at least the one over another blog (IOZ's). That evil racist pastor is so diabolical he's enmeshed self-loathing white folk into his cult of hatred.

"While I understand that logic will not prevail, how logical is it to blame Wright for what he said and give a pass to Falwell (RIP), Robertson, etc."

You shouldn't be giving a pass to ANY of them, or excuse any of them because others are guilty of it too.

Multiply ironic, seems to me, Hilzoy is reputedly an irrational devotee mindlessly following a shallow celebrity.
The quality of searching balanced judgment is not here strained.
A model for us all.

& btw jay, you seem to have blindly ignored Hilzoy’s whole piece. Did you read it?

I was going to comment on the other thread about some of the history of Wright's remarks, but since it has come up here, it might be better to put it here, because I think it complements some points.

The 'chickens come home to roost' comment has a pedigree, and it was Malcolm X who made that comment in questions to this speech. That Wright chose to use this makes it less a quirk of Wright, but connecting it to a much deeper vein of discontent and anger in the African-American community. I believe that failing to understand that deeper vein is really a problem for white america, rather than what it is going to be portrayed as, an instance of inappropriate anger on the part of african americans.

I also believe it is significant that Wright mentions Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This brings up the linkage between the Hiroshima maidens, who were 25 Japanese women disfigured by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who came to the US. The wikipedia link above makes no mention of the role of Yuri Kochiyama in bringing them to the US, nor does it mention that the group came to Harlem and met with Malcolm X. I think that these links are in the minds of African-Americans, and Wright mentioning Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the same paragraph as chickens coming home to roost is not a chance happening. Some might say that because it wasn't a chance happening, it deserves to be censured, but to me, it points more to fact that the frames that black america views reality are treated as non-existent, until they can be trotted out to condemn and vilify, but all it really does is underline the cluelessness of those doing the demonizing.

That evil racist pastor is so diabolical he's enmeshed self-loathing white folk into his cult of hatred.

Not only that, he's been blaming America for 9/11 for twenty years!

liberal japonicus: "I have a really deep disgust for this story, and I wish Obama could simply go out and deliver a speech about how the media needs stop this BS."

You're blaming the media for broadcasting a story that Obama's pastor is an anti Semite black racist who disparages white people?

One of those 'blame the messenger, not the message kind of guys, huh?


Jay Jerome:

I've met Jeremiah Wright, and he is not a racist.

-- Bokonon

The 'chickens come home to roost' comment has a pedigree, and it was Malcolm X who made that comment in questions to this speech. That Wright chose to use this makes it less a quirk of Wright, but connecting it to a much deeper vein of discontent and anger in the African-American community. I believe that failing to understand that deeper vein is really a problem for white america, rather than what it is going to be portrayed as, an instance of inappropriate anger on the part of african americans.

Not just white America, but any part of America who doesn't understand the multicultural viewpoints that exist in this country.

I've met Bill and Yuri Kochiyama before and was honored to have dinner with them. A fabulous and wondrous couple.

ome might say that because it wasn't a chance happening, it deserves to be censured, but to me, it points more to fact that the frames that black america views reality are treated as non-existent, until they can be trotted out to condemn and vilify,

Oh, we haven't seen THAT around here, have we?

If he didn't share them, why didn't he speak out against them? And not keep silent for twenty years?

I'm going to assume you are just very ignorant about what life in a religious community is like. I've heard things just as bad, and maybe even a good deal worse, in various churches I've attended over the years. People don't leave for many reasons, but mostly because most don't expect to get the whole complete truth from any one person, so they're willing to accept some random biased crap from a minister they otherwise respect.

My boss sometimes says things that are dumb, but I still think she's an incredibly smart woman that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. Also, when I was growing up, I was inculcated with the belief that you should never let any human being interfere with your relationship with God; oftentimes that means ignoring bloviations from the local priest on certain issues. That's what being part of a community means: recognizing that you need the community while also recognizing that some parts of the community don't completely match your values.

I've kinda lost track, but for that last Jay Jerome remark, Obama is going to get a nice chunk of change.

Turb, not only do I think that Jay Jerome doesn't know what life is like in a church, his knowledge of Malcolm X extends only so far as knowing it was some film that Denzel Washington was in.

Gwangung, seriously cool.

While hilzoy's post was great, I didn't see this kind of careful analysis and distinctions being drawn with regard to Hagee's relationship with John McCain....just sayin'.

Bottom line, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Either we say that both Obama and McCain must "denounce and reject" their pastoral supporters, or we should say that hey, we are glad that these pastors sport us and we like them-but we don't like EVERYTHING they say.

Gwangung, seriously cool.

Well, of course...they're seriously cool people...

Bottom line, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Either we say that both Obama and McCain must "denounce and reject" their pastoral supporters, or we should say that hey, we are glad that these pastors sport us and we like them-but we don't like EVERYTHING they say.

Or, we could look at the specifics of individual cases, and decide them on the merits.

If he didn't share them, why didn't he speak out against them? And not keep silent for twenty years?

If blacks want to keep playing the 'blame it on whitey' game after all this time, that's up to them -- but we shouldn't be electing a president who buys into it, or by his silence lends support to people who stigmatize white people with that kind of creepy racist rhetoric.

I've seen you in threads with sexist remarks where you didn't comment upon it. By your logic I should consider you either a sexist or a supporter of sexism.

I could also look at your own words, and assume that since you want to vote for a woman you might not be that big a sexist (though, to be honest, I am sometimes not sure wether you would vote for her if she was divorced).

LJ: ".... Denzel Washington."

Leaving Jay Jerome out of it for a minute, the Malcolm X the lower dregs of the Republican Party will have us all remember is the pissed-off Nation of Islam Malcolm X, the earlier fried-hair Malcolm X.

Martin Luther King will be claimed by the same people as their hero.

The "chickens coming home to roost" is not going to look good to a lot of people who know nothing about Malcolm X, in other words, the folks who might put John McCain in the White House.

If blacks want to keep playing the 'blame it on whitey' game after all this time, that's up to them

Ah, I see -- you're from the idiotic "Get over it" school. You think that the Civil War made everything all A-OK. Oh, no, wait, it was the passage of the postwar amendments. No, no, it was Reconstruction. No, wait, it was Plessy that fixed everything. Oh, no, wait, it was Brown. That made everything all right. Or was it the Civil Rights Act? Or the Voting Rights Act? No, no, it was when Halle Berry won that Oscar -- that fixed racism forever.

No, wait it was . . . well, in any case, something in the last 140, or 100, or 50, or 40, or 20, or some number of years greater than 1 but less than infinity, that's what fixed all our racial problems so that blacks can just quit "blaming whitey." Only "brothers" do that kind of thing. The rest of those lazy Blacks should stop blaming whitey and vote for her instead. That will solve everything. If everything hadn't already been solved, which it was.

I'm beginning to suspect, based on your comments in these threads, that you're just a straight-up racist.

I mean, really. "After all this time." Just amazing. Jim Crow was in my parents' lifetime, you schmuck. And I'm only 38. The Tuskegee Syphylis Experiments on black men were only terminated 36 years ago. "After all this time." Jesus fncking Christ on a pogo stick. COINTELPRO went on through 1971. "After all this time."

I have nothing to add to Hilzoy's excellent post except to argue with the poster up above who said that Wright is to Obama as Hagee is to McCain and that if we, on the left, are demanding that McCain repudiate Hagee then we ought to demand that Obama repudiate Wright.

This is incorrect. Hagee is not McCain's pastor he is an influential broker of evangelical votes who McCain very deliberately went to and of whom McCain asked support. In other words, he's an important supporter of McCain, analagous to a donor. Wright was merely the pastor of a church Obama attended. Obama did not go out of his way to approach him for votes.

Second of all the left/liberal side didn't denounce McCain's sucking up to hagee it was *catholics* who denounced McCain and it is republicans and catholics who are nervous about Hagee's anti catholicism and bigotry. The left and the liberal side of things, if I may speak for them (and why not, everyone else seems to) sees Hagee as symptomatic of the general state of bigotry on the far right. What's the point of mcCain "distancing" himself from his base? He shoudl have it wrapped tightly around his neck. I, certainly, would never call for McCain to repudiate hagee. On the contrary,I think the connection between the two should be talked up all over town.

aimai

I’m a survivor of severe child abuse, and I think that gives me some perspective on Rev. Wright’s ranting.

One thing I have learned is that a person cannot forgive abuse without having the opportunity to express their profound anger. Such expression is very emotional and not necessarily balanced or rational. And, of course, the abuser doesn’t want to hear it. Thus, survivors express their anger in safe, confidential places- a therapist’s office or a support group. It’s an important and necessary part of recovery.

Almost no whites understand how angry many African-Americans are, and how rightly so. I hear people say “slavery was a long time ago”- that’s true, but Jim Crow was still going strong within living memory. My ex (who is white) remembers a lynching near the small town in the south where he grew up- and he remembers the utter indifference of the white community when there was no serious investigation. (He didn’t see the lynching, of course, but everyone knew about it.) There are African-Americans who know that they are poor today because their grandparents were illegally run off their house or farm in the 1910s or 1920s. There is research showing that job discrimination is still pervasive. And the drug war is destroying the low-income black community- while diversion provisions (which cost money to take advantage of) shelter better-off people who get caught with drugs (think Rush Limbaugh and Cindy McCain).

I would expect an African-American pastor to express anger along with the call to reconciliation and taking responsibility for oneself- it’s comparable to what abuse survivors do in recovery. Yes, some of the things he said were unbalanced, but I think it’s important not to confuse anger and hatred. For Fox News, which has a long history of broadcasting covert appeals to racism, to obtain Rev. Wright’s sermons and be shocked, SHOCKED, at what he said- I find that lacking in integrity. It’s as though my mother, who enabled my abuse, invaded my therapist’s office and criticized me for being so angry, or daring to say bad things about my family.

Bokonon: "I've met Jeremiah Wright, and he is not a racist."

Tell it to Natalie Holloway's parents; this is what he had toosay about her:

“Black women are being raped daily in Africa. One white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months."

Just more of Obama's trusted advisor, being himself.

" There is a long "prophetic" tradition beginning in the Old Testament days where preachers denounced the sin they perceived in their society and called down God's wrath on it."

Yep. Two links:

Civil Religion and the Anglo- and African American Jeremiads [pdf],
the introductory chapter to David Howard-Pitney's book on the African American Jeremiad: Appeals for Justice in America;

Fixing the Meaning of 9/11: Hegemony, Coercion, and the Road to War in Iraq [pdf], by Ronald Krebs and Jennifer Lobasz, which identifies a leftwing rhetorical response to 9/11 that fits squarely within the jeremiad genre, and asks why it so utterly failed to shape discourse and action, as opposed to Bush's&Co. successful Manichaean vision.

----
I'm now imagining ancient copies of the Judean Times, with prominent Israelite politicians being called upon to renounce and reject the angry, hateful and divisive words of Isaiah or Jeremiah . . . .

Wow. Observing the absolutely correct fact that Missing White Woman Syndrome is endemic in the news is now racist. Amazing. What else is racist on your planet, Jay? Noting that black people dance like this, while white people dance like this?

Jay Jerome is either willfully ignorant or chosing to say things knowing that they are wrong for incendiary purposes.

Wright is not racist, but does deplore the impact of racism on blacks for starters.

There is no indication to this date that Wright said the GD America thing prior to the one in the video, and that was not 20 years ago.

I have to assume that Jay also doesn't go to a church, or he would understand that going to church is for a lot more than hearing a sermon. Social ties are created in a church and they cann be very meaningful. Obama involvement in this church helped spur him on to a lot of things. He also, wisely, felt that if he was going to be a community organizer it ight be a good idea to get a feel for the community, and a church, even if the pastor is a rabble rouser, is a good place to start.

I have seen little said about Hillary's religious leanings but if I wanted to play Jay's game I could point out that she belongs to a prayer group that is pushing for a theocratic government. (True to some degree, untrue in the larger picture.)

Part 2 is even better than Part 1. Again, thanks.

Thanks for a moment of insight and wisdom on a day sorely in need of it.

john miller: "I have seen little said about Hillary's religious leanings but if I wanted to play Jay's game I could point out that she belongs to a prayer group that is pushing for a theocratic government."

Is the prayer group pushing for a theocratic white government? Does the prayer group claim the problems of the country are the fault of black people because they commit a large percentage of crime, and do poorly on standard IQ tests, and have such a high percentage of illegitimate children? If that was the message of the prayer group, and Clinton continued to attend it year after year, and only partially distanced herself from it AFTER some of those statements became public, saying "ya know, they're not my views, I only continue to pray with them because at heart they're good people" would you think she's full of crap?

The kind of race-baiting promulgated by Wright was supposed to have gone out of fashion in the 1970s along with black power salutes and Afros. Obama, who promotes himself as an agent for racial reconciliation, has continued to attend a church stuck in a forty year old time warp: one that still plays the same narrow-minded accusatory race games.

Jay Jerome is either willfully ignorant or chosing to say things knowing that they are wrong for incendiary purposes.

how many times does he have to do it before everybody here realizes that he's nothing but a troll ? day after day, post after post, it's the same thing over and over.

he's a troll, baby. a troll.

and yes, i'm crushing dissent. i'm a fascist. my uniform's at the cleaner, but it'll be nice and sharp, Monday. just you wait.

Bokonon: "I've met Jeremiah Wright, and he is not a racist."

Tell it to Natalie Holloway's parents; this is what he had toosay about her:

“Black women are being raped daily in Africa. One white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months."

Just more of Obama's trusted advisor, being himself.

Typical right-wing doublespeak. The only real racists are the people who accuse others of racism. There wouldn't be any racism in America if the blacks would just shut up and stop complaining, right, Mr. Jerome? :)

Re: Wright/Hagee : also, it presumably does matter that Wright's rantings are against injustice, brutality, and slaughter (however otherwise problematic one may or may not find them), while Hagee's all about anti-Catholic bigotry, implicitly blaming the Christ-killin' Jews for Holocaust, Islamophobia, welcoming and hastening war and destruction, and crackpot End Times dungmongering. Wright argues that 9/11 was in some way connected to "Hiroshima . . . Nagasaki . . . [our support for] state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans." Hagee squealed about how Hurricane Katrina and the death and destruction in New Orleans was God's judgement in response to a planned gay pride parade. I think both claims are incorrect, but one is evil. And stupid, too.

A good thing to do, which I do not expect the Obama campaign to do & which someone else should take on, might be to release the text of some other sermons by Wright. I would like to read the text of the "Audacity to Hope" one, for one thing.

This whole exercise has a disturbingly McCarthyite air, though.

Hey, I hear Martin Luther King associated with Communists; you can't trust a word he says about unity! Not that Obama is King, but the claim that he's a radical America-hating white-hating black nationalist makes about as much sense as civil-rights-movement-as-Communist-plot.

And if this doesn't reflect anything about Obama's views, then what exactly are we talking about? One part is: "black candidate hangs out too much with the wrong kind of black people". The other part is the media enforcing certain rules about ritualized displays of patriotism & a certain orthodoxy about American exceptionalism, which is really not the media's job.

Also surreal: candidates' votes about a disastrous war based on lies that has left thousands of Americans & god only knows how many Iraqis dead or otherwise brutalized is "past history" that's not really relevant to how they'll govern. YouTube recordings of sermons by candidates' pastors from 2001 and 2003, which the candidate did not attend, learned about much later, & which the candidate vehemently disagreed with, are totally relevant!

I've had it with Obama. His associations are highly suspect. I am white, yet I am not his enemy. How can a candidate promise change when his pastor and advisor is a bigot and racist who God damns America, preaching separation instead of integration???? This is being a liar and a hipocrite. Wright has been part of his advisors throughout this campaign, and he would have remained so if the press hadn't finally exploded this story. I can't fathom that kind of virulent hate for America and Americans. I can't fathom calling myself an American while supporting Obama. This is it for me. I am proud of America. I am proud of being American and I will not be shamed for the color of my skin.

I can't fathom that kind of virulent hate for America and Americans.

really ? you can't ?

i find that surprising.

I am proud of America.

Really? What exactly does that mean? Are you proud of everything that the US government has ever done, without exception? Or do you have a complicated balancing test where you've decided that the good things the US has done outweigh the bad? Are you proud of every single American in the entire country? Were you just as proud when the Abu Gharib photographs came to light or when you heard about the Lancet report? Do you have the kind of pride that exists no matter what the United States does, you know, a "my country, right or wrong" pride?

It just seems bizarre to talk about being proud of something as massive and enormous as a nation of 300 million people. I mean, my feelings to things much much smaller than the United States are far more complex than "proud" or "not proud".

I am proud of being American and I will not be shamed for the color of my skin.

Um, OK. Can you explain why you think you should be ashamed of your skin color?

Itaqua: There wouldn't be any racism in America if the blacks would just shut up and stop complaining, right, Mr. Jerome? :)"

No, Mr. Ithaqua, there will always be racism in America, and the world at large: it's part of the human condition. Prejudices, and other forms of stupidity, will always be with us. I believe in speaking out against them, don't you? But that means speaking out against all racism: white racism, black racism, yellow racism, red racism-- don't you feel the same way about it?

You wouldn't selectively condemn one kind of racism, but excuse another kind, would you?

I have a good test to determine if statements are racist. Just switch the keywords, and see how they resonate.

Let's take Wright's statement above and see how it sounds if we alter the words and premise a little. Say a black girl from Alabama, last seen on a beach at night in the Virgin Islands in the company of three young black men, disappears and can't be found. The girl is young and pretty: the daughter of a middle class American black family; the young black men are sons of well-to-do families from the upper class black neighborhood of Spring Hills, Florida. The media plays up the case - court TV, Larry King, BET - the whole 9 yards. Lots of coverage, lots of interest and angst from the girls family, and from the black community nationwide.

And then some incendiary white man like John Hagee gets up in his church and indignantly tells his white congregation: "White women are being raped daily in America, and one black girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to St. Croix, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months?"

Isn't the implication of those words -- that a raped and murdered black girl shouldn't monopolize the national spotlight when white women are being raped - racist? That a raped black girl isn't as important as raped white women?

Hearing that, wouldn't you speak out and call it racist? Or would you remain silent because some fool would call you a racist for calling Hagee a racist?

So if white racism in evident in Hagee's remarks, black racism is evident in Wright's wrongo remarks, and you should be condemning him for making them -- right?

Get it? Got it? Good --

turbulence: "Um, OK. Can you explain why you think you should be ashamed of your skin color?"

Wait... let me think... could it be... because... racist blacks keep insulting white skinned Americans?

Why, by George, I think I got it!!!

"And then some incendiary white man like John Hagee gets up in his church and indignantly tells his white congregation: "White women are being raped daily in America, and one black girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to St. Croix, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months?""

Well, that would be factually false. See, when you switch the nouns around, true statements become false ones, which is actually a relevant factor in these discussion. "America was founded by black men who owned white men as slaves"--false, and offensive. "America was founded by white men who owned black men as slaves"--true, therefore NOT offensive. "Jews crashed planes into the twin towers, killing thousands of innocents civilians"--false, offensive conspiracy theory. "Radical Islamic terrorist crashed planes into the twin towers, killing thousands of innocent civilians"--accurate! etc. etc.

turbulence: "It just seems bizarre to talk about being proud of something as massive and enormous as a nation of 300 million people"

How about if she simplified it and said she just has a profound love for this country, you OK with that?

This is OT, but did anyone else catch this NYT article about Clinton supporters threatening to ask for their money back if the delegate situation isn't "resolved satisfactorily"? The article cites two FL contributors threatening to demand something like $160,000 back, and that Terry McAuliffe called up 250 donors about it.

That strikes me as... really, really wrong. On a totally new level from all the other stuff that's gone on.

Katherine: "Well, that would be factually false"

The point isn't if the statement is factually true, or factually false, it's to determine if the statement resonates with racist overtones if you switch the racial descriptives.

If in a classroom a teacher tells the students: since women score lower on advanced math tests they're obviously inferior to men mathematically and shouldn't be allowed to get mathematics degrees... and I say that's a sexist statement, and to prove it I swicth the gender descriptives (nouns) so that the teacher tells the students: since MEN score lower on advanced math tests they're obviously inferior to WOMEN mathematically and shouldn't be allowed to get mathematics degrees...

Are both statements sexist? Yes or no?
In fact, men do score higher then women on math tests, and switching the nouns does make the second statement 'factually false' but it doesn't negate the sexist conclusion in either statement.

Got it?

DNFTT

adam: "That strikes me as... really, really wrong"

why?

How about if she simplified it and said she just has a profound love for this country, you OK with that?

I'm OK with people feeling however they want; I just don't understand this particular feeling. And I don't really understand a profound love of one's country either. I can understand loving particular features about one's country: loving the sense of opportunity afforded by being an American, or loving the sacrifices that one's fellow citizens have made, or loving NASA, or loving the culture of entrepreneurship, or loving the national park service. But any country, including the US, will have both good and bad aspects and it seems that unadulterated love of one's country would make it hard to appreciate the difference. I love certain ideals like justice for example, and I suppose I love institutions according to how well they meet up with those ideals, but I don't think the US does so spectacular a job on that front to merit love per se.

Also, for me to say that I "love" America kind of cheapens the word. I love my wife. If she became a drug addict or a serial killer or a republican or fell into a coma, I'd still love her and I'd still stay with her. But if the US became an fascist dictatorship, I'd leave. There's a different form of commitment there which doesn't seem to match the word "love", at least not for me.

Many people that I've met have this bizarre idea that America is a superior nation and that Americans are superior to other peoples in the world. As an American, that really confuses me...I think Lewis Black said it best.

I'm moved to post an antidote to the above Mary 12:24 am post.

I still prefer Hillary Clinton to Barak Obama, but I think he is doing the right thing here.

I also think this is potentially a winning issue for him if he can use the opportunity to talk about what a great part of the Christian community black churches are.

Many people don't go to church regularly but if you do you know that pastors often use inflamitory sounding language to get inattentive, or sleepy congregationalists to pay attention or think about the sermon. Lots of other people have made good points about some of the other legitimate needs these kinds of sermons meet.

why?

Because it's blackmail?

Jay, at the time of the Holloway disappearance, there were several young, pretty black women who also disappeared without a trace. They had trouble even getting that out in the local news, much less across the nation. These were actually in the country where having the info out muight have helped. So yes, Wright had a point.

As for Mary, she's a troll from Carpetbagger. Don't feed her.

Let's take Wright's statement above and see how it sounds if we alter the words and premise a little. Say a black girl from Alabama, last seen on a beach at night in the Virgin Islands in the company of three young black men, disappears and can't be found. The girl is young and pretty: the daughter of a middle class American black family; the young black men are sons of well-to-do families from the upper class black neighborhood of Spring Hills, Florida. The media plays up the case - court TV, Larry King, BET - the whole 9 yards. Lots of coverage, lots of interest and angst from the girls family, and from the black community nationwide.

Oh, brother. Let's first get to a point in our country where this fantastical scenario could EVER EVER EVER happen, then we'll worry about "black racism."

In short, on Planet Jerome, the media's constant preoccupation with the status of missing young white women = not racist, a black man complaining about it = racist. Beautiful.

The point isn't if the statement is factually true, or factually false, it's to determine if the statement resonates with racist overtones if you switch the racial descriptives.

Even more beautiful. Actual facts don't matter! It's whether we can make something sound racist by switching nouns and adjectives! Orwell is spinning in his grave.

I'm way, way past "suspect" at this point. You're just about definitely a racist.

Prejudices, and other forms of stupidity, will always be with us. I believe in speaking out against them, don't you? But that means speaking out against all racism: white racism, black racism, yellow racism, red racism-- don't you feel the same way about it?

Yellow? Red? Jesus F. Christ, what century do you live in? Big hint, Martin Luther Jerome: We gave up referring to people as "yellow" more than a half-century ago, and as "red," well, I don't know when, but fer crissakes. What the hell, are you gonna bust out "quatroon" and "mulatto" next?

You wouldn't selectively condemn one kind of racism, but excuse another kind, would you?

See, you apparently would, as I haven't seen you say a WORD about the white racist tactics being used against Obama. Not. A. Word.

Sorry for the three posts in a row, but after having had coffee, see, here's the thing: "Racism" is not just saying things about people with a different skin color. Sure, you can call it "prejudice," and yeah, it would be great if nobody had irrational prejudices, and bully for Martin Luther Jerome up there for speaking out against it. Super.

But racism is bound up in questions of power and treatment. And, in sticking with the whole Missing White Woman thing, police man hours and media air time are both limited resources. The latter helps to both set the agenda for the former and to create impressions in the minds of the public about what kinds of problems exist in our society.

For both of those resources to be deployed en masse whenever a white girl goes missing creates the impressions that a) there are an awful lot of missing white women but maybe not so many missing black women, and b) that in either case it's more important to devote our media and police resources to the former than to the latter.

That's racism -- the constant employment of society's resources to the benefit of one "race" over another, perhaps even to the detriment of another. Complaining about that imbalance is not racism, no matter how many topsy-turvy ways you can think of to rewrite a sentence.

So am I worked up about Rev. Wright complaining about the media and the police not devoting the same resources to helping black victims as they do white victims? Or complaining that the media -- especially the broadcast media -- largely confines the plight of black Africans to a few seconds on the network newscasts if at all, but will run countless hours of programming dedicated to locating missing middle- and upper-class white girls?

No, no I am not worked up about it. Am I ever going to be? No, probably not. And, in fact, anyone who gets more worked up about Rev. Wright's statement than about the problems he's describing and the imbalances he's addressing is, yeah, probably kind of racist him- or herself.

turbulence: "I'm OK with people feeling however they want; I just don't understand this particular feeling. And I don't really understand a profound love of one's country either."

Well, I guess you don't understand Obama using the 'loving America profoundly' phrase either - it's posted above, in 'Obama and Wright: the Response.'

ditto everything Phil just said.

Wright's comments were harsh, intemperate and hyperbolic. but if you listen to more than just the three words "God", "Damn" and "America", he's saying something true: black people are not treated equally in this country. as an ironic double kick in the nuts, the way his remarks are being treated vs. how equally intemperate remarks by the likes of Hagee, Falwell, Dobson, Bennett, Robertson, et al, are treated is itself an example of this racism. those men might not be McCain's personal pastor, but they do speak to scores of millions of devoted listeners. but, McCain's "spritual advisor" has called for the destruction of Islam. the MSM says... nothing.

why doesn't CNN devote 24/7 coverage to the fact that Falwell, whose death was declared a Nation Day Of Mourning by the President, declared that 9/11 was God's punishment for the homosexuals running wild. when white Christian groups declare that Katrina was sent by god to punish gays, it gets no mention at all in the MSM. when Dinesh D'Souza writes a book blaming liberals for 9/11, when Coulter's books accuse the left of treason what happens? nothing.

this whole fncking discussion is made absurd by the contradictions between the way it covers remarks by black preacher and the way it utterly ignores white preachers. a white preacher can say any fncked-up nonsense he want and McCain will happily take his endorsement. a black preacher points out that things aren't equal in America and the MSM falls over itself in a rush to prove his point.

this country is soooo fncked up.

phil: "So am I worked up about Rev. Wright complaining about the media and the police not devoting the same resources to helping black victims as they do white victims?"

I seem to remember a lot of media and police resources working to help a female black rape victim get justice, hundreds of hours of tv and radio time, and vistas of newspaper space devoted to sending those rapists to jail... Oh, wait, the Lacrosse players were falsely accused.

So I guess you're right, Phil -- blacks don't get anywhere as much police and media attention as whites...

But wait a second, lets do a quick google search on 'black victim rape' and 'white victim rape' to see how much disparity it shows:

white victim rape - 272,000 hits
black victim rape - 224,000 hits

Well, i guess you're right, there's a HUGE 8% difference if the victim of the rape is white.

But wait, who gets raped more frequently, blacks or whites?

Hang on -- let me check...
Ah, here we are:

In 2005, there were 111,590 white victims and 36,620 black victims of rape or sexual assault in the U.S. -- or about three times as many white rapes as black.

Which means black rapes are getting three times more public attention (on google, which should also reflect news media hits in the same proportion)then white rapes.

So I guess you and Rev. Wright (Dr. Wrong would be a better name for him) are misinformed on this subject, and his vile, disparaging rant was 'off-color'.

cleek: "this whole fncking discussion is made absurd by the contradictions between the way it covers remarks by black preacher and the way it utterly ignores white preachers."

The MSM covered outlandish statements by Hagee, Falwell, Dobson, Bennett, Robertson, et al, in the same way they're handling Wright's statements now -- briefly, and delicately -- the way they do with any and all religious controversies.

But on the liberal blogs like this one they were strongly condemned; and on the conservative blogs they were ideologically defended, with the same kind of idiotic self-serving rationalizations offered here, now, to defend Wright.

You, and them -- different sides of the same coin.

The MSM covered outlandish statements by Hagee, Falwell, Dobson, Bennett, Robertson, et al, in the same way they're handling Wright's statements now -- briefly, and delicately -- the way they do with any and all religious controversies.

nonsense.

find me a contemporary report of from the major TV networks that discusses Falwell and Robertson's remarks. if you can find even one, compare how hard it was to find vs. how utterly easy it is to find coverage of Wright's remarks.

Wait a second -- did you just try to prove that the media and police spend an equal amount of time on crimes against white women and crimes against black women using a) a Google search and b) a link to Frontpage, but no links to a cross-sectional study of print inches and air-time hours, and no link to FBI Uniform Crime Reports or any information on police hours spent or cases closed? Really?

Goodbye, Jay Jerome. Perhaps you can continue to suck in others with your repeated dishonest, bad-faith arguments, but I'm done with you.

Jay, most of your results must have been overlaps. The search "rape black white victim" yields 287,000 hits. There are many possible reasons for this, including the possibility that most of the time someone mentions the race of a victim, they are talking about race, not reporting on a case, so they will use both the words "black" and "white." Whatever the reason, it is obvious that these numbers show nothing by themselves about how the media covers black and white rapes. So your "facts" are meaningless -- and you would have known that if you had spent 5 seconds thinking about them objectively.

I am still at a loss to understand why Obama is responsible for every stupid thing his pastor has said in the last 20 years. Or, more precisely, every politically incorrect thing. Most of this foofaraw is not about anything untrue, it's about the one thing no politician is allowed to say but that everybody knows: that America is, in some ways, evil.

May I point out that Abraham Lincoln used his Second Inaugural Address to tell the nation that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of its young men were G-d's righteous punishments for the nation's sins? Did that mean Lincoln hated America? Of course not. It meant he loved it, hated its sins, and felt properly ashamed of them. Anyone who doesn't feel that way from time to time has no business being an American, and certainly not an American preacher. Most preachers don't have the guts to say it. We need the ones who do.

I wish Obama did, but I agree that he won't get elected if he does.

why?

Because it's blackmail?

For whatever it's worth, Adam, I'm an elected Obama Democratic precinct captain, and an elected Obama precinct delegate (and possibly an elected Obama State delegate, but I won't know until next week), and I think that donors saying what they want to do with their money, and to use that as leverage, is bog standard daily normal politics. People are free to contribute, or not, or to ask for their money back: it's freely donated. I don't see the faintest thing wrong with that.

Nobody is obliged to donate to a political party. And people are free to take it back for whatever whimsical or serious reason strikes their fancy. Why would that be morally or ethically wrong?

Why would it be different from saying you don't want to buy goods from a certain store, any more, for some reason, any reason?

If someone donates to a political party, are they obligated to keep donating forever?

If they want to ask for their money back, the party might not be obligated to give it to them, but they are obligated not to ask because... why, exactly?

Jay Jerome: "The point isn't if the statement is factually true, or factually false, it's to determine if the statement resonates with racist overtones if you switch the racial descriptives."

I'll try this once, and you won't get it, and I'll give up.

No, Jay Jerome, the point is, in fact, that racism and sexism, and all isms, are not equally applicable and equally virulent and equally damaging in either direction.

That's factually untrue. "White" racism against "black" people was engaging in slavery, and Jim Crow.

"Black" racism against "white" people is... talk. If it's "racism" to be angry about being mistreated, that is, which is not a universally accepted definition, as I understand it, though I could be wrong.

(Incidentally, Phil, to supplement your admirable comments, I'll also note that "miscegenation" was a crime in this country until 1967, which is to say, for six years, Barack Obama's parents' marriage was illegal in 17 states.)

Your whole notion that isms when reversed are equally harmful is utterly, plainly, completely, factually wrong.

Slave masters and slaves, to use the plainest example, don't have equal effect on each other when they curse the other, or threaten the other.

Neither did it have equal effect when the masters of Jim Crow did the same, and more, to those sujbected to Jim Crow.

The same goes for when women didn't have the vote, couldn't own property, and weren't allowed to hold innumerable jobs, or receive innumerable forms of study, without great effort, if at all, and men were subject to none of these handicaps.

The whole point of isms is that the two parties are unequal.

The powerless are, not, in fact, in possession of equal amounts of power as the powerful.

To insist that the sensible, or even sane, way to analyze them is to assume that they are equal is, simply, counterfactual.

Which is to say, wrong.

But this will bounce off you.

Surprise me.

[...] So I guess you're right, Phil -- blacks don't get anywhere as much police and media attention as whites...

But wait a second, lets do a quick google search on 'black victim rape' and 'white victim rape' to see how much disparity it shows:

white victim rape - 272,000 hits
black victim rape - 224,000 hits

Setting aside that it would be interesting to see you try to link to those figures, a Google search isn't a search of "the media."

Try Lexis-Nexis.

Not that I see what point that would get you to, but I live to serve.

I've seen one remark about HIV that seems crazy. Every other objective claim that I've seen or heard from Wright seems either plausible or demonstrably true. I suspect that when people call you crazy for telling the truth, it encourages you to doubt even reasonable aspects of what they think of as obvious.

As for the tone of Wright's remarks, as trilobite might say, this seems like a perfectly understandable tone for a pastor to take.

Gary, well put re power imbalances.

An analogy from my own experience: badmouthing people for things that are your own fault is always bad. But when a lawyer covers his ass by telling other lawyers it was the paralegal who screwed up the filing, she'll probably get fired. When the paralegal grouses to her buddies over a drink that it was all the boss's fault, a lot less harm is done. Not zero harm, but a lot less.

Griping about the powerful is the immemorial privilege of the powerless, and while it certainly can be taken too far, I don't see that Wright did.

Gary, well put re power imbalances.

Blacks have undeniably been dumped on by whites in the past.

Blacks are quite probably being dumped on by whites in the present (though it's better than in the past).

Whites asking blacks to act "equally" towards whites and blacks seems a bit much to ask, no? It's like Lucy asking Charlie Brow to trust her.

obama is the man. We need to give him time and he will have the U.S. in great shape.

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