There’s been a ton of analysis of Barack Obama’s speech yesterday, so the whole thing isn’t worth reviewing. There is, however, one point that I have not seen made elsewhere that I wanted to bring up.
This was, I think, the key sentence in Barack Obama’s speech yesterday. It was about his pastor, Jeremiah Wright:
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.
A lot of people are still criticizing Obama because they can’t understand how he could continue to attend a church where the pastor believed the things that Jeremiah Wright professes to believe in his own sermons. Wright’s beliefs are not only hateful and divisive, but in some cases also downright ludicrous. This is a man who has said that he believes the US government created HIV as a tool for genocide in the inner cities.
What they don’t get, and what Obama tried to explain, is that these kinds of views are not uncommon in African American society. There’s a reason why Wright was able to keep his job as long as he wanted in spite of giving the sermons he gave.
If you can’t accept that an African American might associate with people who believe those sorts of things, then you may as well say that you just won’t vote for African Americans.If you want to challenge those beliefs, it’s probably best to start by acknowledging that they’re out there and that they’re widespread.
The other day my (white) barber told me that Monsanto, Bill Gates, and some other shadowy powers are selling genetically engineered corn that makes people infertile in Africa in order to stop population growth. I’m going to keep letting him cut my hair. Does that render me unfit for public office?
Update: Anyone have a link to the text or video of the infamous 2003 Jeremiah Wright speech? If so, please post a link in the comments. You could buy a DVD containing the sermon from the United Church of Christ until recently, but they don’t appear to be selling it any more.