Do Whatever You Like

You can vote for whoever you like. This is the first video that the Ron Clark Academy kids did, before they became a YouTube sensation.

Obviously inspired, now Obama feels he can do whatever he likes. Courtesy of YouTube’s Alphacat:

And it’s good to see how well the white community, disparate though it is, has taken to it all.

A “Blog Conversation” on Reverend Wright.

As I navigate through the world wide web, I see that Rev. Jeremiah Wright continues to be a polarizing figure. His name is usually raised in the context of an attack on Barack Obama, or a statement of concern about the perceived ill will that African Americans have toward white Americans.

I don’t want to be, or seem to be, a Rev. Wright apologist. He is intentionally overly provocative, and seems to have a nose for controversy. I don’t agree with everything he says.

But it does bother me to hear people say that, for example, Wright is a purveyor of hate speech against white Americans in particular or America in general. That’s just wrong.

I engaged in a conversation on this subject on another website, and I feel this is worth sharing.

INITIAL COMMENT ON REV. WRIGHT:

One thing that I am shocked and hurt by during this campaign season is to discover the fact that people of color have so much hatred or ill feelings towards whites. I have never in my lifetime had any bad feelings towards blacks, in fact, have had quite a bit of good wishes and good will towards them.

I hope I am not speaking out of line here, but trying to be honest. I cannot tell you how horrified I was to hear Jeremiah Wright screaming about rich white people and about our country.

And I am particularly heartbroken to hear this from a pulpit, where truth is supposed to be spoken. And the unforgivable to me is that he has and is teaching his people and youth to think of us an the enemy. I always thought that as a Christian, there was a common ground, you know, the “there is no slave nor free, but all One in Christ,” stuff.

Naive? I guess so. But I really didn’t want to know about those feelings, but they quite obviously exist. In fact, it has made me stand back and wonder, do all the people of color who I have worked with and known and run into every day feel this way towards me? I don’t know any more.

MY RESPONSE:

Rev. Wright is not a sympathetic figure. He is so extremely disliked by so many people, it’s probably impossible at this point to change minds that he is not the monster that people believe him to be.

But on the subject of Wright, I offer this not for purposes of persuasion, but in the hope of providing some insight and context regarding some of his more controversial comments:

[1] Rev. Wright does not preach hate, he doesn’t even come close. If you think he preaches hate, you haven’t really heard people who do.

[2] The closest person to Rev. Wright rhetorically, that most whites can “relate to” as an example, is Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh’s speech is hard coded to his target audience. Outside of the context of his listeners, his comments are considered racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-intellectual, etc.

The thing is, Rush says things that extremely provocative to the point of meeting the legal definition of fighting words.

Wright is like that. Wright is basically a fire and brimstone preacher for whom rhetorical excess is considered a virtue. But away from his regular listeners who know the full context in which he speaks, he can seem offensive.

Continue reading

After the Election, Hope for Improved Race Relations

I’ve posted several stories lately on some of the negative reaction to Barack Obama’s election to president, from both here in the US and abroad.

I think it’s fair to note some of the positive reaction, too. This is an excerpt from a USAToday article:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s election has inspired a wave of optimism about the future of race relations in the United States, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken the day after the first African American won the White House.

Confidence that the nation will resolve its racial problems rose to a historic level. Two-thirds of Americans predict that relations between blacks and whites “will eventually be worked out” in the United States, by far the highest number since Gallup first asked the question in the midst of the civil rights struggle in 1963.

Optimism jumped most among blacks. Five months ago, half of African Americans predicted the nation eventually would solve its racial problems. Now, two-thirds do.

I can personally say that I was pleasantly surprised by the election results. Obama got more of the white vote than Kerry did in 2004. He got just under 50% of the white outside the South and southern border states. I honestly didn’t see it coming.

It’s not all good, but there’s more reason for optimism than cynicism.

Al-Qaeda Calls Obama a “House Negro” (This is NOT Satire)

I just saw this on the Huffinton Post. Here’s an excerpt:

CAIRO, Egypt — Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites.

The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.

In al-Qaida’s first response to Obama’s victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect _ along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice _ “house Negroes.”

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term “abeed al-beit,” which literally translates as “house slaves.” But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as “house Negroes.”

The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters’ house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.

Wow. They went there.

But al-Qaeda has plenty of reason to hate on Obama; he’s vowed often that a major US goal should to be find Osama bin Laden and kill him.

Oddly enough, this is good news politically for Obama, at least in the United States. Many people here believe he’s a Muslim, and have problems with an American president being in that religious faith. Some have have actually equated Obama with Osama.

So maybe this will change the minds of a small number of ignorant people on this subject.

Prominent Black Democrat Won’t Endorse Jim Martin in Georgia Senate Race

This is from the AugustaChronicle.com, concerning the Georgia Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

AP, November 19, 2008: U.S. Senate candidate Jim Martin won’t be getting an endorsement from his former Democratic rival anytime soon.

DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones, who lost to Mr. Martin in a primary runoff in August, said he has no plans to back him, citing the former state lawmaker’s lack of support for Democratic President-elect Barack Obama during the primary season.

Mr. Martin voted for Democrat John Edwards in Georgia’s Feb. 5 presidential primary even though the North Carolina senator already had dropped out of the race.

Mr. Jones, who is black, hammered Mr. Martin repeatedly for that vote during their bitter campaign.

“Jim Martin did not want Barack Obama to be president,” Mr. Jones said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “He did not want to vote for an African-American or a woman.”

Mr. Jones said it’s hypocritical for Mr. Martin to now be “begging Barack Obama to come down here and help him” in his Dec. 2 runoff.

Mr. Martin is locked in a runoff with Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss after neither garnered 50 percent of the vote in the general election. He has asked Mr. Obama to campaign for him but has received no word on whether he will.

That kind of news can’t be helpful to Martin, who needs the black vote to turnout if he’s going to win the runoff. While Chambliss got just under 50% of the general election vote, Martin got around 47% (the same percentage that Barack Obama got in Georgia).

Continue reading

More Signs of Racist Backlash to Obama Victory

Editor & Publisher chronicles the continuing, disturbing racist pushback to the election of Barack Obama. This is an excerpt:

NEW YORK Earlier this week we started covering (see link at bottom) anti-Obama, often racist, incidents taking place around the country, generally overlooked in the national media — but covered by local papers. This seemed to strike a nerve with many readers so we will continue regular updates.

Local stories show that anti-Obama incidents (including physical and verbal abuse, KKK outfits worn, flags burned on front lawns) are occurring on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

AP reports today that “in a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into ”he Osama Obama Shotgun Pool,” saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. ‘Let’s hope we have a winner,’ said the sign, since taken down.”

From the Orange County (Ca.) Register, concerning an incident in Fullerton: “Two gang members pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crime and attempted robbery charges in connection with the beating of a black man who was trying to buy cigarettes at a Fullerton liquor store.” The two men shouted racial and anti-Obama epithets in the attack.

In Snellville, Ga., Denene Millner said that a day after the election, a boy on a school bus told her 9-year-old daughter that he hoped “Obama gets assassinated.” That night, Millner said, in an AP account, someone trashed her sister-in-law’s front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door.”It definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with,” said Millner, who is black. “And makes you wonder what they’re capable of and what they’re really thinking.”

In Idaho, the Secret Service is investigating a “public hanging” sign erected by a man upset with the election outcome, the Bonner County Daily Bee (Sandpoint) reported Thursday.

A handmade sign posted on a tree reads “FREE PUBLIC HANGING” written in large letters beneath a noose fashioned from nylon rope. The sign then names former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, current U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and civil rights activist Al Sharpton. The most prominent name on the sign is “OBAMA,” according to the Bee.

This is just too scary. If hundreds of people are doing this, thousands of others are probably thinking about it, but don’t have the time, energy, or guts to follow through on their feelings.

Our country has come a long way, but clearly, we’ve got a long way to go.

Political Miscellany @ 11/17/2008

Black Leaders in the Colorado Legislature Make History

The Colorado legislature has only two black members. But now they are the two most powerful members of the 100-person body.

colorado-legislators
Colorado Rep. Terrance Carroll; Colorado Sen. Peter Groff

Colorado Democrats made legislative history by electing Rep. Terrance Carroll as speaker of the House and re-electing Peter Groff as Senate president.

It will be the first time in American history that the presiding officers of both chambers of a legislature will be African-Americans.

Two Omaha-area Black Women Elected to the Nebraska Legislature

For most of the past 30 years, Nebraska has had only one African-American serving in its single-house legislature. After the November election, it will have two, both female.

cook-and-council
Incoming Nebraska State Senators Tanya Cook and Brenda Council
Continue reading