The company he keeps

Should we judge Barack Obama by the Rev. Wright? One member of Salon's reader community, Table Talk, explains why not.


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Salon Staff
May 2, 2008 1:41PM (UTC)

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Macdaffy -- 03:17 pm Pacific Time -- Apr 28, 2008 -- #3329 of 3982

If anyone doubts the interests of the mainstream media or has any questions about their impartiality, those doubts should be completely dispelled by the saga of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama.

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I've said it before: For all the freedoms we've gained, we black people will never be free until we're free from each other.

Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright are being denied their individuality because that is what America does to black people. If one sins, we all sin. If one misspeaks, we all misspeak. If one steals, we all steal. Any negative thing -- real or perceived -- becomes the burden of all of us until we bow down and prove ourselves "good Negroes" by denying an association that shouldn't have been made in the first place. No other candidate is bearing this burden to the extent that Barack Obama is bearing it. Only Hillary Clinton is somewhat hindered by the baggage of her husband, but that's not the same thing.

The continued calls for Barack Obama to denounce every pronouncement of Reverend Wright, the continued calls for Senator Obama to moderate the speech and behavior of his pastor, the continued calls for Reverend Wright to be silent infuriate me. What other human being in this country has to live his or her life as the political and rhetorical shadow of some other person -- besides Clarence Thomas and Joe Lieberman, who signed up for the job? With no other people and under no other circumstances would this pseudo-firestorm be possible.

Let me emphasize again: It is racism of the crudest and most basic sort. Anyone who continues to judge Barack Obama in the reflected light of Reverend Jeremiah Wright is guilty of racism -- that bastard child of ignorance and arrogance. Not "vetting." Not "journalism." Racism. Pure and simple. Period.

Shall I tie Catholics to their pederast priests and demand that those parishioners renounce their church?

I have a nodding acquaintance with Amiri Baraka. Want to give me credit for the Dutchman?

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I know someone who knows Angela Davis.

Shall I loathe the pope for his stint in der Hitler-Jugend?

Shall I stop watching Keith Olbermann because all those General Electric jet engines are killing innocent Iraqis?

Would it be fair for me to challenge every person of Japanese descent on their role in World War II?

Why shouldn't I regard you with suspicion if your last name is McVeigh?

Ridiculous? Just as ridiculous as associating Barack Obama's every word and deed with those of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

It's racist. It's stupidity. It's the only handle the forces out to get Senator Obama have and I'm ashamed of and angry at the people who are allowing it to be used. One of the reasons I persist in Table Talk -- one reason I pay my subscription every year -- is to be one black voice willing to talk frankly and openly about race.

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Here's frank and open for you: We can discuss Barack Obama on any issue anyone desires as long as it's something that he has said, he has done, or he believes -- and that includes people working for his campaign. Any mention of Reverend Jeremiah Wright will signal to me everything I need to know about that person's moral and intellectual capacities.

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week can be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.


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