Let me respond to that question early on in this post with a resounding HELL NAH!
Honestly, I thought he should have been quiet as far as the Bill Moyers interview was concerned, however I am quite pleased that he did. I think that in fact that this Jeremiah Wright spat has in fact taken on a life of its own outside of his connection to Obama. Well, at least for me it has. We now see Jeremiah Wright coming under fire for his particular critique about this North American society in the United States.
First I want to give a critique of his speech at the NAACP regional meeting in Detroit on April 27th and give some thoughts on his SERMON at Friendship West Baptist Church (aka the Wild Wild West) earlier that day. I then want to further speak about the dumbassification of the political punditry (mostly in the guise of FoxNews Network), and ultimately provide the proper context, yet again (I fail to see why some white folk don’t understand context….wait, i’ll talk about that later) from which many African Americans, including Jeremiah Wright speak.
Let’s get to work.
Honestly, I actually had a problem with something Jeremiah Wright said tonight, and it was pointed out to me via Bill Cunningham (yes the same nut that made sure to emphasize Obama’s middle name at a Weathervane McCain rally, much to McCain’s chagrin), a radio show that I was flipping through on Atlanta’s AM dial as I went to go get my Sunday night calzone from Fellini’s. It was a FoxNews station, but as we all know I try and listen to the “fair and balanced [my foot]” reports. The soundbyte that was excerpted from the NAACP speech was how Wright made the assertion that we as Africans and African Americans have a tendency to learn with our right brains as opposed to Europeans and European Americans who learn with their left brains.
He continued to dig his own grave by saying that when desegregation occurred the white teachers were more than appalled when black kids couldn’t sit at their desks and stay still and “climbed up on ’em.” Now the “’em” or “them” in question is just that–in question. Right wingers interpret the “them” as desks meanwhile I interpreted “them” as the teachers. I mean, what white teacher would have wanted a lil’ black child climbing all up on them back in the 50’s especially if it was a teacher who had to work at a school that once was all white and was now desegregated.
That soundbyte could easily have been misinterpreted.
But yet again–soundbytes truly negate context. He went on to say that as a result of African aural and oral traditions, socialized and passed down throught the generations, this is why subjective learning is more apropos for those of us in the black community. Different does not mean deficient.
So, much to my chagrin, as I was turning back onto campus with my piping hot calzone wafting its aroma through my car, a black caller, 50 miles outside of Detroit in Ohio called the Bill Cunningham show and said to the effect that Jeremiah Wright doesn’t speak for most of black America due to him subscribing to black liberation theology and that he’s a part of the “subculture of black culture.”
Even Cunningham didn’t buy that one.
Cunningham responded and said “Well how do you explain the 10,000 this morning [at Friendship West] or the 10,000 tonight at the NAACP event when normally it would have been 3,000. People paying $150 a plate.” To which the caller responded “Well, I’m 50 miles from Detroit and I didn’t know about it [the NAACP event].”
I guess not.
But, I want to drive home Wright’s point about education. Granted the vast majority of us uppity Negroes engage our left brain just as much as our right brain, but I think his example in regards to the hip hop culture was appropriate. Young Raekwon at seven can memorize the lyrics of what he hears on the radio (aural) and from trying to learn them because he sees his older brother, cousin, mother, father, sister encouraging him and he’s able to recite (orally) the lyrics. But, you sit a workbook in front him, and tell him to do math problems 4-17 to help him learn double-digit addition and we have a problem that results in “climbing on desks” to show that “HEY TEACHER!!!! This is NOT the best way of learning for me!” And multiply that times 17 with the number or young black boys in the classroom–you do the math.
Secondly, as an aside, I think I will include the dumbassification of political punditry about this comment about Rev. Wright at Friendship West today. They (FoxNews and CNN) kept on saying “speech” when they should have been saying sermon. A sermon is when one preaches, usually with the main text being the Bible; the regional NAACP meeting was a speech, where the text was Wright’s collective lived experiences that allowed him to say that “I am not one of the most divisive” black spiritual leaders, he said. “I’m one of the most descriptive.”
I’m not sure if this is the result of pure stupidity and naivete or is it a true insult by diminishing Wright’s earned degrees, discounting him as an irate, crazy and divisive black man and negating his role as an ordained minister. Because for many, they fail to recognize him as an ordained reverend, just as I fail to recognize Jesse Lee Peterson of FoxNews ilk, as an ordained reverend, but of course I think I have good cause. (There’s no where on Peterson’s website that even acknowledges he went to high school, let alone has a church and ordained by whom!) Whatever the case may be, it results in the further dumbassification of political punditry.
Why is it that we’re satisfied with mainstream thought. For what its worth, I appreciate Newt Gingrich because he’s far enough right to really make conservatism convincing for some without placating to the center–we know where he stands–and usually he brings and argument to the table that operates from some logic that most will acknowledge. Granted it may lead to a faulty conclusion, I still take it for some attempt to reverse dumbassness in the political arena. Now an Ann Coulter–that’s divisive! Nuff said.
But off of the top of my head, by in large, we fail to recognize those who don’t fall into mainstream categories of our worldview. So in fact, we really are saying that different is in fact deficient. So, from now on, if you have listened to the entire sermon clips of Jeremiah Wright as far as him proclaiming that God shall damn America if x, y and z happens and still feel the same way as you did before–that’s he’s an old crazy, divisive cook–then GOOD! at least you made an informed decision and that’s all I’m complaining about. But it seems to me that as a result of the dumbassification process, we’ve forgotten how to make informed decisions about our opinions. We base our opinions off of others opinions, rather than facts. For even reality is based upon one’s perception.
Ultimately, as I said in premier Jeremiah Wright post, if white America thinks Jeremiah Wright was some lone voice in the wilderness, then beware because we’re out there, and Black America has been waiting for the platform to speak from our context about our own content. I believe Soledad O’Brien (as a sidebar, Roland Martin looked absolutely laughable with the white dashiki he had on) hit the nail on the head when she was about to come through the camera on one of CNN’s Republican strategist after the the Detroit speech by saying (to the effect) that Jeremiah Wright “took this opportunity to define himself rather than allow himself to be defined by others.”
Um…can someone call Dr. Maulana Karenga and tell him to sue for copyright infringement because that sounds like the 2nd Kwanzaa principle of Kugichagulia, Self-determination:
I will participate in the defining of ourselves, naming of ourselves and speaking for ourselves instead of being defined and spoken for by others.
Speak on Jeremiah Wright.
Keep it uppity, and keep it radical, JLL