Rev. Wright’s Pro-Blackness and the Problem with Pro-Whiteness
Politisite has added some previews of Rev. Wrights interview on PBS will Bill Moyers at 9 pm ET Previews are provided by the Public Broadcasting System. You may also click on the links provided
Bill Moyers is broadcasting a sitdown with Barack Obama’s “controversial” pastor, Jeremiah Wright, this Friday evening.
Now, I’m not going to even try to defend everything that Wright has to say. At least not the four or five loopy sound bites — out of how many thousands of sermons he’s given — that have made him quite the YouTube sensation. But there is a particular aspect of the Wright mischaracterization I take exception to: the idea that his pro-black teachings make him some kind of radical separatist. Interviewing Wright in March of last year, for example, Fox’s Sean Hannity had this to say about statements appearing on the Web site for Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ:
“It says, ‘Commitment to God.’ By the way, I’m with you, and I hope you’ll pray for me, Reverend. Commitment to the black community, commitment to the black family, adherence to the black work ethic. It goes on, pledge, you know, acquired skills available to the black community, strengthening and supporting black institutions, pledging allegiance to all black leadership who have embraced the black value system, personal commitment to the embracement of the black value system. Now, Reverend, if every time we said black, if there was a church and those words were white, wouldn’t we call that church racist?”
My answer to the question: yeah, probably. But that’s ’cause there’s a difference between being pro-black and pro-white, and the difference is a bad one.
Adherence to pro-black values isn’t code for “kill whitey.” It’s merely how blacks have managed to stay alive and viable in America all these many years since we were first graciously given a ride across the middle passage to get dropped off in Virginia.
“A commitment to the black community” is what got us collectively through slavery, through an abandoned Reconstruction and the ensuing era of Jim Crow. As I’m sure some will recall, because of a pesky little thing called segregation, there was nothing for the black community to rely on but the black community.
Ironically, the community values and focus on the family that Wright preaches are exactly the kind of “don’t bother us, do it yourself”-isms conservatives are always hectoring people of color to observe. How convenient for the pundits that they can both wish us off the perceived teat, then get riled by those who encourage us to be self-reliant.
To the contrary of pro-blackness, it’s pro-whiteness that has unfortunately produced some awful-to-horrible results: white sheets and nooses and burning crosses and Citizens Councils and redlining and guys nicknamed Brownie doing a “heck of a job.”
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