In the intervening years, what has changed about Barry that he doesn't now believe all whites are cruel or to use Michelle's phrase "downright mean"?
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
A 1995 piece in the liberal Chicago Reader basically refutes Obama's statements that he never heard Pastor Jeremiah Wright invoke his racist rants and also provides some additional insight into Obama's early years in politics.
"That's just how white folks will do you," Obama writes. "It wasn't merely the cruelty involved; I was learning that black people could be mean and then some. It was a particular brand of arrogance, an obtuseness in otherwise sane people that brought forth our bitter laughter. It was as if whites didn't know they were being cruel in the first place. Or at least thought you deserving of their scorn."
Obama on the rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright this year:
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign.
In the Chicago Reader it seems Obama was well aware of rhetoric like Wright's and most likely others, as well. How else to explain this? Or did he simply assume this was going on, never having heard it himself?
He says he's tired of seeing the moral fervor of black folks whipped up--at the speaker's rostrum and from the pulpit--and then allowed to dissipate because there's no agenda, no concrete program for change.
Gee, he couldn't have possibly meant Wright here ... right? He wasn't against what Wright was doing, he wanted to prolong the energy inspired by it. Note another key phrase, as well.
"We have no shortage of moral fervor," said Obama. "We have some wonderful preachers in town--preachers who continue to inspire me--preachers who are magnificent at articulating a vision of the world as it should be. In every church on Sunday in the African-American community we have this moral fervor; we have energy to burn.
"But as soon as church lets out, the energy dissipates. We must find ways to channel all this energy into community building. The biggest failure of the civil rights movement was in failing to translate this energy, this moral fervor, into creating lasting institutions and organizational structures."
Oh, but the Right and Christian groups have it easy because they are so narrow-minded and intolerant.
"The right wing, the Christian right, has done a good job of building these organizations of accountability, much better than the left or progressive forces have. But it's always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia. And they also have hijacked the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility.
Obama also suggests that racism among whites, as opposed to among blacks, is particularly troubling. Yeah, we have so many white preachers like Wright, don't ya know....
Obama, who had to reconcile these sentiments with the loving support he had at home from his white mother and grandparents, dismissed much of his buddies' analysis as "the same sloppy thinking" used by racist whites, but he found the racism of whites to be particularly stubborn and obnoxious.
As for Hispanics ... eh .... while at Occidental:
There he played it cool and detached, and began to confuse partying and getting high with rebellion. After he and his buddies joked about the Mexican cleaning woman's forlorn reaction to the mess they'd created at a party,...
This may be an FM recording of Obama on Johnnie Owens - not quite sure.
Obama's work on the south side has won him the friendship and respect of many activists. One of them, Johnnie Owens, left the citywide advocacy group Friends of the Parks to join Obama at the Developing Communities Project. He later replaced Obama as its executive director.
Another reference to Obama's very close relationship with ACORN. Obama only ran a get out the vote initiative ... hmm, what does the fraudulent ACORN do? But you already know that.
Obama continues his organizing work largely through classes for future leaders identified by ACORN and the Centers for New Horizons on the south side. Conducting a session in a New Horizons classroom, Obama, tall and thin, looks very much like an Ivy League graduate student. Dressed casually prep, his tie loosened and his top shirt button unfastened, he leads eight black women from the Grand Boulevard community through a discussion of "what folks should know" about who in Chicago has power and why they have it. It's one of his favorite topics, and the class bubbles with suggestions about how "they" got to be high and mighty.
But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations."