This is an edited transcript of a speech given by Rev Jeremiah Wright at an event for the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People in Detroit from Guardian Unlimited UK.
I come from a religious tradition that did not hold slaves, but preached against slavery and worked to end slavery. I come from a religious tradition that fought against Lansing like the NAACP, fought against discrimination like the NAACP and fought against skin privilege, fought against apartheid, fought again unfair labour practices, fought against segregation, fought against Plessy versus Ferguson.
I come from a religious tradition that fought for desegregation like NAACP. Fought for equality, fought for human dignity, fought for civil rights, fought for equal protection into the law and fought for the right of every citizen to have quality education regardless of the colour of their skin. I also come from a religious tradition that says if you feel excited about something, be excited about it. Don’t stand there – he has hate speech. Listen to how bombastic he is. Isn’t he bombastic? He’s stirring up hate.
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The Rev. breaks some stuff down about everything from (mis)education to music to language to a legacy of resistance. Whatever the political consequences, the brother is speaking Truth to power and getting mainstream attention in a way that we haven’t seen recently. He’s saying things that others have been afraid to say in a manner that does not equivocate. And I say, “Amen!” The original message was a sermon delivered in sacred space, and not meant to be chewed up and spit out in a white corporate context (the mainstream media, y’all). But now that is has been, he has no choice but to respond. What did Bob say? “2000 years of history, could not be wiped away so easily.”
Always insightful Glen Ford has his say here.
The world views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Sen. Barack Obama were incompatible from the start, just as the mythical American Manifest Destiny world view is directly at odds with the facts as perceived by Blacks in the United States. Wright finally forced Obama to choose sides in the conflict of racial/historical visions, and in doing so, performed a service on behalf of clarity. Obama lashed out in a startlingly personal manner, calling Wright a “caricature” of himself and linking the minister to forces that give “comfort to those who prey on hate.” Rev. Wright exposed the flimsy tissues of so-called “race neutrality” in a nation founded on racial oppression.
…and then I’m about done with this topic. But the reality is, this whole issue is about an attempt to redefine and re-frame issues of race from a Eurocentric viewpoint of history. We can understand Obama’s political need to “distance himself” but we can’t afford to lose sight of our historical struggles as a people in the meantime. How can we overcome American Imperialism in Iraq and forget American colonialism? And if we pretend that racism is a relic of a by-gone era in the hope of electing a Black president, we’re setting ourselves up for not having our issues addressed at all. And in light of the Sean Bell verdict, disproportionate incarceration rates, racist lending practices, etc, etc., we can’t afford that.
That’s what’s up.