Friday, March 21, 2008
Truth is important
The one thing we find bothersome about Pastor Wright's positions on "the government's" historic treatment of African-Americans is not their anger. There is a right to anger, to indignation, and to a sense of radical urgency. These feelings are a legitimate patrimony of those whose history is defined by such a dreadful historical injustice as chattel slavery, forced dislocation and de facto genocide. I think this point has not been appreciated in the media commentary. Many seem to find the anger offensive, in itself. I don't have a problem with the anger. I do question the easy acceptance of the main points of the "radical mythology" whose platform we've heard before: the HIV/AIDS conspiracy; the 9-11 plot that only represents (in self-contradiction) the "chickens come home to roost," and so on. I think Mr. Obama gave some recognition to this problem in his speech. There is a duty to truth: this is one thing that is present above all in the public testimonies of Dr. King. Read a document like the Letter from Birmingham's Jail, or the "Dream" speech. The truthfulness and clarity of thought are what render these great documents. Like Dr. King, Mr. Obama is right that African-American anger and "white fear" must be dealt with in serious dialogue. I think this must be granted.