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Monday, March 24, 2008

Where Wright Was Wrong And Obama Was (Almost) Right (Even Though He's Left)

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Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike that Barack Obama's March 18 speech, A More Perfect Union, is the greatest bit of rhetoric ever to be uttered since the Sermon on the least according to the mainstream media. To those of us in the real world of course, this is nonsense. The speech was, first and foremost, a political necessity, a way to stop the immediate, alarming and potentially fatal slump in Obama's poll numbers in the wake of the revelation of Jeremiah Wright's, Obama's pastor and close friend of many years' hate-filled videos. As such, it had to walk a fine line, sounding credible to all sides and not alienating either African-Americans (including those of Wright's paranoid mindset) and Whites, who are ready to vote for an African-American, as long as he won't don a Dashiki and deliver an address titled Payback Time at his Inaugaral. Any speech with such broad goals is bound to have some bits that are going to please any group, even conservatives who are skeptical of Obama's Leftism. And so it did.

Among best parts of the speech, from a conservative perspective are the following lines:

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he
spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

Unfortunately, immediately thereafter he starts to go wobbly:

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means
acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed.

It is in "acknowledging that what ails the African-American community" that he starts to head into the tall grass of the Left. What ails the African-American community at this point isn't racism and the lingering effects Obama sees, ingrained societal attitudes and policies that are keeping Blacks down, but the belief that this is true as well as those who profit from that belief. It is understandable that after generations of slavery and Jim Crowe, Blacks should have incorporated victimhood as part of their identify. But that paradigm is now false and clinging to it no longer serves a positive purpose. Instead it is perpetuating the problem.

While not denying that racism exists in the form that the Al Shartons, the Jesse Jacksons. the Jeremiah Wrights and the Democratic Party say that it does, the reality is that it exists to a much smaller degree than they would have us believe. And the evidence of that is everywhere for those willing to see it.

One of the best ways to view how people feel about each other is to see how they interact on an intimate level and one of the best ways to do that in this situation is to look at Black/White intermarriage. In the '40's and '50's only about 2% of Black men married White women, the societal taboo against such a thing being very strong. By the 80's and 90's that percentage had risen to about 10%.

Also, economically the disparity between the races is not nearly as profound as many would have it appear. Thomas Sowell, one of the truly great intellects of our time and a man who fearlessly confronts the lies of the zeitgeist daily, frequently addresses this issue head-on in both his column and in many of his books. Those who have a vested interest in continued racial discord often point to the disparity in household incomes between Blacks and Whites. Sowell has pointed out that the problem with this comparison is that it doesn't take into account that fact that Black households comprise a far higher percentage of single mothers, a much poorer income group among both Blacks and Whites. He also points out in this example, that a Census Bureau study of a few years ago,

"... with dozens of pages lavished on income disparities, mentions in one brief sentence that the real per capita income of whites rose 13 percent from 1989 to 1999, while the real per capita income of Blacks rose 24 percent during that same period."
Maybe the most startling statistic that militates against racism being responsible for economic hardship is the fact that immigrants from Barbados, almost exclusively Black, have higher incomes than Whites.

The fact is that today most of the disparities between African-Americans and Whites is caused cultural factors, and by that I specifically mean the retention of a debilitating belief system that says that Blacks can't get ahead because of White racism. It isn't true but what is true is that such a self defeating world view can be self-fulfilling. Which is just what both racial con men like Jeremiah Wright and the Democratic Party need for their own purposes. An excited and inflamed audience keeps the pews full for Wright and a large, aggrieved constituency is needed by the Democrats whose only hold on power is through the manipulation of identity politics.

If Barack Obama had really wanted to make the greatest speech this side of the divinely inspired he might have tried really speaking "truth to power" and said some of the above. But his objective here wasn't nearly so lofty. He was really just trying to get himself out of a jam and despite the media's fawning reception, he went only as far as was necessary to do just that and no more. Thanks to the media he may just have succeeded in his limited goal, but the opportunity that existed to do so much more, sadly went unfulfilled.

Cross-linked at Liberty Pundit


Mike said...

Wow, your post is so wrong on so many levels.

His speech was anything but safe. A safe speech would have shunned Wright. He wouldn't have lost any votes from his base and you on the right wouldn't be able to complain.

As a child of a black man and white woman who married a white woman, I have witnessed racism in ways you wouldn't believe. Racism is out there to say it isn't is useless. We have to acknowledge it before we can move past it.

You can try to ignore the truth but that wont change anything. Look past the partisan talking points. He spoke the truth as did Reverend Wright. Listen to his whole sermon, not just the Fox edited sections. They are great sermons that speak truly about the pros and cons of the US. Yes, the US has done the wrong thing, admit it. The clips are horribly out of context.

I don't expect this comment to get online of course but I still needed to respond.

Nocomme1 said...

Mike, I have no objection to posting your comments at all. You weren't crude or abusive; you disagreed with me in a civil manner. That's what blogs should be about.

I do believe that racism still exists, as I said in my post. I just don't believe that it is anywhere near the impediment that the Al Sharpton's and Jesse Jackson's say. I believe they have a vested interest in maintaining racial tensions, not "healing" them. There will always be prejudice to some degree. I think there is prejudice against fat people, homely people, people with bad name it. That's the human condition. People just have to deal with it and persevere, at least as long as it is only on this kind of baseline level.

I think the major problem for Blacks at this point is a victim mindset. Some of the facts and stats I pointed to (and there are MANY more like them) prove the point. The emphasis on racism has become a problem in and of itself.

Re: Jeremiah Wright. As a minister he said "God damn America", lied that AIDS was created to be a genocide against Blacks. Etc. I really don't care WHAT else he said that is wise and wonderful, the comments that are getting such a large amount of play deserve the attention they're getting. America is not perfect as I well know. It doesn't deserve to be "damned".

I just disagree with you, that's all.