Reparations, "Typical Whites" & the Candidate

On the Web-site of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) is this suggestion: Order the new DVD "N'COBRA 2007 Annual Conference Gala: A Call For Justice And Repair" featuring Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.! The featured speaker at that conference was Barack Obama's pastor, whose hate/racist-rhetoric Obama has been trying hard to condemn lately.

That conference was held in June 2007. This is a paragraph from the Philadelphia Daily News of 21 June 2007: "Tonight, a fiery supporter of reparations for black enslavement, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, the Chicago pastor of presidential candidate Barack Obama, will deliver the keynote speech for the 18th annual N'COBRA conference at 7 p.m. at First District Plaza Ballroom, 3801 Market St."

This is a note in the Philadelphia Tribune of 20 March 2008 and refers to a conference in progress sponsored by N'COBRA: "The conference opens at 7 p.m. Thursday [at Temple University] with a gala led by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Its theme is 'A Call for Justice and Repair.'" It's been reported that Obama mentioned on CNN's Larry King Live show on 20 March something about Wright being on a cruise, so who knows?

It turns out that the African American preacher who glibly (well…pawing the air and screaming, actually) called for God to damn America (he probably meant only the USA, not Canada or Mexico or any other Latino America) also wants America to grease his palm with the tax monies paid mostly by white folk, such handout supposedly establishing justice and repair, though one wonders what injustice Wright has endured (perhaps too many traffic tickets?) or how he (or whatever) needs repairing.

In his ill-timed and ill-informed "race speech" on 18 March, Obama made no mention of N'COBRA or of any thought of reparations, yet in discussing the sayings and activities of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whose statements he attempted vehemently to condemn but which had everything to do with race and injustice, he didn't mention this matter, one which is so high-profile that representative John Conyers has introduced a Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act bill in every Congress since 1989, including in this Congress.

So…the plot thickens. In an Obama presidency, in which he will surely surround himself with African Americans in the highest appointive offices, how will the reparations business play out? One believes the Congress will never enact such a bill for a "study" – especially since it actually assumes reparations as a fait accompli – much less an actual reparations law. But, the current social-engineering crowd that came of age in the hippy-dippy 60s and 70s and is very much in evidence in Congress will not die out for a while yet, so…

Obama compounded his error in even bringing up the race question, much less the speech, when in an interview in Philadelphia on 20 March he referred to the "typical white person," whom he described as one who is wary of the company of people she/he doesn't know. Would Obama consider defining a "typical black person" or a "typical Chinese person?" His remarks had to do with the slander he awarded his own grandmother, a white lady who probably heard his speech in her home in Hawaii, as having made comments that made him "cringe." Did his cringing make him a "typical black person" in the company of a "typical white person?" More to the point, did this stereotyping of white people make him seem racist?

One thing has been made abundantly clear with regard to this race dustup as other black preachers have been interviewed. They seem to form a solid consensus that Wright's pulpit performance is fairly typical of that in other black churches. This is sad, but it explains a lot. Unlike in the white population, the church is still the most important institution in the black community and the preachers are often the best educated/motivated members, thus probably exerting more influence than any other professional. If black preachers have been spewing hatred like Jeremiah Wright's throughout the nation's black churches, should one assume that they've planted attitudes that will die hard, if ever?

One wonders if this has something to do with the statement by Obama's wife, Michelle, who reckoned publicly that only now, with her husband's candidacy, presumably, has she ever been proud of this country, never mind her inordinate success, as well as his, in simply "making it," in spades. Did she listen to Wright's rant week after week and buy into the hatred she heard? Did she actually believe him when he accused the U.S. of inventing AIDS and spreading it around to kill people of color, or that the U.S. inundated the black community with drugs?

This "race thing," precipitated by the recent wholesale citizen-awareness of Jeremiah Wright's pulpit performances and his intimate connection with Obama, then enhanced by Obama's untimely speech and subsequent white-stereotyping, and now even further enhanced by an inevitable notice of Wright's solid connection with N'COBRA (such as in this piece), raises yet another stink. Obama will do well to try to head off the predictable accusations concerning N'COBRA that he is a "reparations person" by getting out ahead of the crowd and denouncing N'COBRA now. If he doesn't, he is toast, for sure.