The Children of Hypocrisy
But there is a flaw in Barack's argument. He sought to engender understanding for why Wright feels as he does, by blaming a history of racial oppression which embittered Jeremiah Wright as he grew up and matured. Then Barack offered a sunnier view of America, indicating that the future holds more promise, that he invests much optimism regarding the future of race relations in America partly due to his own rise (echoing Michelle Obama's comments about being proud for the first time of her country because of her husband's rapid political ascent).
Always a nice balance- contrasting a blemished history with a more optimistic future. Herein, though, lies a kernel of hypocrisy.
Here is what Barack Obama said:
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.
He himself spoke in his speech of feeling hurt when he was younger and exposed to to racist comments of his grandmother. Racism hurts our youth the most. It stings them emotionally at a sensitive time in their lives. But also, hearing from our leaders a string of racist comments also causes damage to young people. When one hears a litany of complaints about the racism of white people, and the racist suppoerpower of White America, that can also cause a diffferent kind of damage to children.
Then why did Barack and Michelle Obama choose to bring their daughters up listening to Pastor Wright?
When Don Imus slurred an African-American women's college basketball team last year, Barack Obama spoke out (and rightly so), "There's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group".