If there is anything more disturbing than watching the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s paranoid denunciations of whites and America, it’s seeing the reactions of many well-educated blacks who agree with him or find ways to justify his hate-filled comments.
“I am so proud of Reverend Wright, who speaks with unreserved passion, who accepts no quarter and gives no quarter,” said former civil rights leader Lawrence Guyot of Barack Obama’s speech addressing his longtime minister’s claims that America started the AIDS virus, trains professional killers, imports drugs, and has created a racist society to keep blacks down.
Culture of Conspiracy
While some of Wright’s language is “offensive,” the “reality out of which he speaks is that black people have suffered in America and continue to suffer because of the unfairness of the system,” said professor Cheryl Sanders of the Howard University School of Divinity. The black church “has always had prophetic preachers,” she said. “Prophetic voice goes all the way back to the days of slavery, when people were protesting being in bondage. And so protest is just kind of a part of how we do ministry.”
While saying he does not believe that the government created the AIDS virus to kill blacks, as Wright has said, professor R. L’Heureux Lewis of the City College of New York gave credence to the conspiracy theory by saying that he does “respect the right of some people to question the unfettered arrival of AIDS and HIV to the community and the ravishing effects it’s had.”
Responding to my Newsmax stories about Obama and Wright going back to Jan. 7, many blacks said whites could not understand what it means to be black.
“It is not a secret that black people were slaves and that we are still victims and suffering from slavery, a black woman from Inglewood, Calif., wrote. “The pastor is just expressing a reality that we black people are going through.”
In his speech on race, Obama implicitly condoned this backward-looking perspective.
“For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years,” Obama said. "While the anger is not always productive," Obama continued, "[it is] real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.”
Yet while Wright, 66, no doubt had brushes with discrimination growing up in Philadelphia, it was nothing compared with what Condoleezza Rice faced — or, for that matter, what six million Jews who were slaughtered by Adolf Hitler faced.
In contrast to Wright, who attended an integrated school, Rice grew up in segregated Birmingham, Ala. Denise McNair, one of Rice’s friends and classmates, was one of the four girls who was killed in the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Rice's Unbridled Courage
Rice had to sit at the back of buses. When more whites got on, the driver would move a “Colored” sign farther back in the bus, making less room for blacks. Rice could not eat at the same restaurants as whites unless the restaurant had a separate room with a separate entrance for blacks.
She was not allowed to use the same drinking fountains or public restrooms as whites. But Condi Rice, a descendant of slaves and white slave owners, had something else going for her: Her middle-class black neighborhood had developed a culture separate from the rest of the city, one that shut out the racism all around and taught children they had to be “twice as good” to pull even with whites.
Instead of teaching Rice to carry a chip on her shoulder, as she has told me, Rice’s parents amplified those positive values, giving her a strong sense of self-worth.
Rice’s father, the Rev. John W. Rice Jr., instilled in his daughter the faith that she brought with her into the White House and the State Department.
While Rice is comfortable with her own heritage and often speaks before black groups, she does not dwell on the racism she experienced growing up. Above all, Rice is proud of America and the opportunities that everyone now has. Witness the fact that she is secretary of state.
What a contrast to the poisonous atmosphere at the church that Obama has chosen to attend for more than two decades and the demagoguery of the man he calls his friend, sounding board, and mentor.
As my friend Fox News contributor Juan Williams told me after publication of his book “Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America,” many black leaders orchestrate support for themselves by promoting victimhood, creating a black “culture of failure.”
That self-defeating attitude tells blacks, “You can’t help yourself; you can’t help your family; and therefore, all you can do is wait for the government to do something for you,” Williams says. “I think it is a message of weakness and ineffectual thinking that is absolutely crippling the poor and especially minorities in the United States.”
Sounding a similar theme in his book “Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America,” black author John McWhorter calls the culture of victimhood “therapeutic alienation,” a form of self-medication that is “disconnected from current reality” and continues to hold blacks back.
To be sure, most largely black churches preach an uplifting message.
“As a pastor of a bi-racial church, I cannot accept that Wright’s way is the right way to do ‘black church,’ the Rev. Wally Shifflett, a minister from Charlotte, N.C., wrote to me. “Sen. Obama has been wrongly accused of being a Muslim — and why should that matter? We can hardly disqualify a candidate, offhandedly, because of his or her religion. But the senator’s continued participation in a church stoked with such anti-American rhetoric should no more be acceptable than if he openly supported one of the Islamic-extremist’s madrasses that teach their young to hate Americans. Is there any difference?”
The answer, of course, is no.
Both Islamic extremism and the black cult of victimhood generate support by conjuring up largely imaginary grievances and exploiting them.
The Rev. Otis Moss III, who recently took over from Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ, continued that theme on Sunday. Referring to the media’s belated exposure of Wright’s hate sermons. Moss said the church had been the victim of a “lynching.”
In contrast to the message of Obama’s church and its award to Louis Farrakhan for lifetime achievement, as one of its core values, Shifflett’s church adheres to inclusiveness: “Convinced that all people ever to be born have one common ancestor; and that God’s love for all people caused him to send the one Savior into the world to seek and save all people; we believe that he has reconciled all people to himself, and to one another.”
If Barack Obama were the unifier he claims to be, that is the kind of church he would attend and support with $22,500 in donations over a two-year period.
Instead of saying he understands where Wright and his “God damn America” are coming from and refusing to sever ties with him, if he really wanted to help blacks and further racial progress, he would denounce Wright’s message of hatred and the culture of victimhood that continues to undermine black society.
And if Obama were a leader who genuinely had the interests of all the country’s citizens at heart, he would be citing Condoleezza Rice as an example of what blacks can achieve in America.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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