Thoughts on ‘race’ in the Presidential race

Many of the supporters of the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are more than just a little bit peeved these days that the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright has gone public in his defense of reputation, his theology. Black Liberation Theology. Where’s the “contrition” in that philosophy?

On the other hand, Sen. Obama’s critics are ecstatic. They feel Rev. Wright has piled more fuel at the foot of the already incendiary stake to which Sen. Obama–a healer, a Rev. Jeremiah Wright at Press Club 2008reconciler, a conciliator, who has eschewed a race-base campaign all these months–has been bound. Somewhere, smirking, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) must be hoping someone will soon toss a torch onto the awaiting bonfire.

Just two months ago, Sen. Obama was forced to “reject and denounce” the unsolicited kind words said about him on Feb. 25 by Min. Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. Min. Farrakhan’s name is still being bandied about in this latest contretemps, even though he has been silent on the subject for the last 60 days. Go figure.

Suppose, just suppose, in his remarks before the National Press Club April 28, instead of quoting the Bible: “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he reap…” in defending his “incendiary” comment about America’s “chickens coming home to roost” on Sept. 11, 2001; suppose instead Rev. Wright had quoted James Russell Lowell’s poem, “The Present Crisis.”

“Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,–

“Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,

“Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.–a man who was himself mercilessly scorned and criticized during his lifetime, much as the Rev. Dr. Wright is today, often quoted that triplet. And so, if Dr. King’s life is any indication, it would not have made any difference in the attacks against Dr. Wright, and by extension, Sen. Obama.

No, even though Sen. Obama has nothing to do with the prophetic and dead-on words that the Rev. Wright–Sen. Obama’s pastor for 20 years–says in his sermons, Sen. Obama, who is an American politician whose mother is White, and whose father just happens to have been an African from Kenya, has self-chosen to associate himself with the African American community. Though he has none of the “baggage” and pain of slavery in his genes or his own thinking or political outlook, this American politician with healing and a new direction for this country in his heart and his message, has been successfully transformed into a “Black Dude” (my substitute for the N-word). Why does that mean anything?

The great Black scholar E. Franklin Frazier, author of The Black Bourgeoisie, explained it more than 60 years ago, when discussing the true motive for the barbaric public lynchings of Blacks from the Civil War up until the 1960s. Dr. Frazier said, “The closer the Negro gets to the ballot box, the more he looks like a rapist.”

We know what happened to Black rapists in those days. Filmmaker D.W. Griffith sent the signal early in the 20th Century in his movie: “The Birth of A Nation,” which lionized the murderous terrorists called the Ku Klux Klan. They got lynched that’s what happened to Black rapists. They did not even deserve a trial, not even in a Kangaroo Court. Just ask Mack Charles Parker who was drug from his Mississippi jail cell and lynched.

And we know from the case of 15-year-old Emmit Till, down in Greenwood, Mississippi back in 1955, that a real rape did not even have to occur for the Black man or boy to suffer the rapist’s penalty at the end of a rope, tar and feathers, burned and disfigured, with a weight around his neck, then thrown into the Tallahatchie River. That was what Blacks in Mississippi learned was “eyeball rape.”

So, if a Black man simply trying to cast a vote in 1948 was seen by the White society as a rapist, then what must a Black man look like in 2008, a Black man who just 60 days ago was the odds-on favorite to become President of the country where the crime of “eyeball rape” was devised?

I’ll tell you. He looks like someone who needs a good White man to put him in his place…politically, that’s six-feet-under.

But alas, the audacious, bombastic, un-repentant, Rev. Wright has gone ahead and incited Sen. Obama’s political lynch mob. So now, the preacher says, the matter is in God’s hands. If it’s God’s Will that Sen. Obama become President, then no White racist will be able to thwart that Will. That is also dead-on correct.

So, for Sen. Obama and his supporters, the choice is also clear, according to the Poet Lowell:

“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,

“In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side…”

With that in mind, I’ve made my choice.

Right on Brother Jeremiah!

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