Rev. Wright, Obama and racism in the U.S.
Published Mar 31, 2008 12:48 AM
Now that a Black presidential candidate has a real chance of winning the
Democratic nomination and even the presidency, we’re once again asked not
to talk about oppression. We’re supposed to reject the teachings of, for
instance, Malcolm X, and even Martin Luther King Jr. We’re supposed to
deny what, for so many poor and oppressed peoples in the United States and
throughout the world, is a clear-cut reality. We’re not supposed to be
angry—and we’re definitely not supposed to speak up and fight
Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Such is the case in the media-bashing of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former
spiritual mentor of presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In a media flooded with racist, sexist and anti-LGBT images and voices, the
words of a Black man calling the U.S. on its violence and oppression are
labeled “hate speech.” Obama’s opponent for the Democratic
nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton, went so far as to put Wright on a par with
Don Imus—who is back on the air even after his racist, sexist rants made
The attack on the Rev. Wright is nothing less than nationalist baiting and
anti-patriot baiting. It is being used not only to undermine Obama’s
campaign, but particularly in an attempt to defeat the Black struggle.
The media, as they will often do when attempting to defile someone’s
character, have reduced Wright’s comments to mere snippets and sound
bites of supposedly inexplicable outbursts against the U.S. Even in that
limited context, it is hard to find fault in his words.
For instance, the idea that HIV was created to target people of color (and LGBT
people) is not new, and understandable given the overall government attack on
The warehousing of people of color in the prison industrial complex, as well as
the flooding of drugs into poor people of color communities, has been well
documented. Why, then, wouldn’t Wright say: “The government gives
them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strikes law, and then
wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn
However, the media was also careful to omit the obvious evidence Wright
presented for some of his words. Here are some excerpts of Wright’s
comments on 9/11, the video of which can be viewed at alternet.org:
“I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday. ... This is a white
man and he was upsetting the Fox news commentators to no end. ... He pointed
out that what Malcolm X said ... was in fact coming true, America’s
chickens are coming home to roost. We took this country, by terror, away from
the Sioux, the Apache, the Arawak, the Comanche, the Rapaho, the
Navaho—terrorism. We took Africans from their country to build our way of
ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear—terrorism.
“We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military
personnel; we bombed the Black civilian community of Panama with stealth
bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers and
hardworking fathers. We bombed Qadaffi’s home and killed his child.
“We bombed Iraq, we killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We
bombed a plant in Sudan to pay back for the attack on our embassy; killed
hundreds of hardworking people, mothers and fathers who left home to go to work
that day, not knowing that they’d never get back home. We bombed
Hiroshima; we bombed Nagasaki; and we nuked far more than the thousands in New
York and the Pentagon—and we never batted an eye: kids playing in the
playground, mothers picking up children after school, civilians, not soldiers;
people just trying to make it day by day.
“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black
South Africans, and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done
overseas is now brought back into our own front yard.
“America’s chickens are coming home to roost. Violence begets
violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white
ambassador said that, y’all, not a Black militant, not a reverend who
preaches about racism.”
Elections in the U.S. are always an attempt to dampen militant people’s
struggles, to silence our legitimate outrage at oppression and demands for
With the attacks on the Rev. Wright, the continued attack on communities of
color, an election season and a growing economic crisis that is sure to
exacerbate misery for working people—now is the time to affirm the
self-determination of oppressed peoples and stand together in solidarity with
the Black struggle.
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