(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
I checked out Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Hallelujah strut in Amen Corner of the NAACP convention. He's been making the rounds after an interview with Bill Moyers followed by at a press conference today and another speech to the press club today. And as fascinating as I found the guy, I didn't think he helped his ace Barack Obama at all. Mostly because Wright, who's not running for president, was himself in full, unrepentant, proud, defiant, resilient, brilliant and glib, charging that his critics were misguided, miseducated and misinformed.
He was practically basking in the glow of making the white folk uncomfortable.
As I was born a black person, nothing Wright has said is new to me. He doesn't sound any different from the Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu books I read as a child, given to me by my mother. It didn't sound any different from the Malcolm X speeches I studied. And not any different from the speeches of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. if you weren't solo worshiping the end of the "I Have A Dream" speech.
I've been inoculated from such blushing surprise. A black man? Complaining about America? I think I got the vapors! But for individuals who never take a stroll in black America, Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "Fuck You" Tour is not going to set well with those looking for apologies and pleasant, grinning pretensions.
Now I don't think Wright ever had anything to apologize for. It was his opinion. He is not a public figure. And most people outside of Chicago wouldn't even know he existed if he had not been the pastor who Baptized the Great Hope Mongerer and his daughters. But this "anti-charm" offensive (or regular charm offensive if you are a like-minded black person), only stoked the fires that Wright was always this colorful in his preaching and Obama's claim that he'd never heard Wright's more incendiary words is false.
I always thought that was a major flub when Obama claimed he never heard Wright speak this way (which evolved some when he gave his "race" speech). I don't even think Bill Clinton could have squared that circle and he professionally lies to people on a daily basis. Of course Clinton, covered in the friendly pall of whiteness could have Rev. Wright's love child and still get a pass. Obama is daily being taunted by the press and the opposition to throw black America, and all its complexities and inconveniences, under the bus.
Soon he'll be apologizing for everything from Body Count's/Ice T's "Cop Killa" record to Barry Bonds to Nat Turner's Rebellion. Forced to deny all of us in his bid for the White House, the same community he worked so hard to become a part of.
This is your cross to bear when you run as the post-racial candidate. Especially when no one else is post-racial. Sounds like everyone else is just old fashioned racial, arguing for Obama to pull a King Solomon and split the half-black baby.
So how should Obama handle the fall out of Wright's "I'm Grown and I Say What the Hell I Want To Say" victory lap? And how many denials does Obama have to do here before he heads into "Peter" territory? When do you cross the post-racial Rubicon, where you can't go back to tidy up all these fuzzy edges and clear the nuanced gray haze that no one likes in a black or white world?