Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith: Jeremiah Wright’s Words Hauntingly Relevant Today

Jeremiah Wright’s Words Hauntingly Relevant Today | HuffPost – In 2008, the presence of then-Senator Barack Obama in the race for the White House became troubling, it seems, to a nation which had always been wracked and ruled by racism. There seemed to be a growing panic that this African-American might just win the Democratic nomination and worse, the presidency. A move was put in place to try to upend Obama’s campaign by using what strategists was sure would work — racism. How best to do that than to use a couple of soundbites by Obama’s then-pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.? The soundbites showing Wright preaching were chosen precisely because his words and his presentation would feed into the fear of black people that racists know well. Surely, the strategists thought, if they could show that Obama was listening to an angry black man who appeared not to buy into the myth of American exceptionalism, the country would be swayed, Obama would lose the election, and things would go back to normal. The plan did not work, and although Obama distanced himself from Rev. Wright in order to help his chances of winning the election, the fact of the matter is that Wright’s message of the pervasiveness of racism was spot on… and it still is. America’s refusal to deal with its racism is eating away at its very core, but nobody wants to talk about it. Today, however, we see racism in rare form. The shootings of black people by white officers with no accountability, the massacre of the nine innocent people in Charleston, South Carolina, and the burnings of black churches gives the actions of racism front and center stage once again.

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