Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), spoke before a meeting of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference at the school in Hampton, Va., on June 5, 2007. Sen. Obama, who is bidding to become the first black US president, took the stage after a succession of ministers repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet, singing, praying and swaying to music.
He declared that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a “quiet riot” among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago. The Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.
Those quiet riots that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things
are never going to get any better.
Sen. Obama’s criticism of Bush prompted ovation after ovation from the nearly 8,000 people gathered in Hampton University’s Convocation Center. He repeatedly referred to the riots that erupted in Los Angeles after a jury acquitted four police officers of assault charges in the 1991 beating of Rodney King, a black motorist, after a high speed chase. Fifty-five people died and 2,000 were injured as a result of the six days of riots in the city’s black neighborhoods.
The author thought nothing about this at first; it is normal for politicians and even more so for political candidates to speak boldly and in grand or grim terms when denouncing the behavior of their opposition. Repeatedly reinforcing the idea that the US is on the verge of Race Riots seemed a bit extreme and using the fact that during the 1992 riots a bullet pierced the abdomen of a pregnant woman, lodging in the elbow of her fetus and that later the baby was delivered by Cesarean section at which point the bullet was removed successfully as a metaphor for society’s problems was in extremely poor taste, but again such behavior is normal if not completely palatable on the part of any politician.
…in too many places across the country, we have not even bothered to take the bullet out.
The author’s opinion changed after Sen. Obama introduced his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ as “Unashamedly Black and Apologetically Christian.” Research into Sen. Obama’s chosen place and community of worship uncovered some facts that are disturbing to the author.
Trinity United appears to be rather racially divisive in nature. They herald themselves as a Black Church and appear to be veryAfrocentric – not just Black, but actually self identifying as African as opposed to American or even African-American. Trinity United also indoctrinates its congregation in Dr. Manford Byrd’s The Black Value System (PDF).
This Black Value System is the crux of the Author’s concern. It seems blatantly separatist and uses a theological format to espouse specific insular and elitist attitudes. Certain passages especially made the author uncomfortable. Those sections are detailed below – but the reader should use the link above to read the full original text and make their own opinion:
- Commitment to the Black Community:
The highest level of achievement for any Black person must be a contribution of substance to the strength and continuity of the Black of the Black Community.
- Commitment to the Black Family:
The Black family circle must generate strength, stability, and love despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society.
- Disavowal of the Pursuit of ‘Middleclassness’:
Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must keep the captive ignorant educationally, but trained sufficiently well to serve the system. Also, the captors must be able to identify the ‘talented tenth’ of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.
- Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills
Available to the Black community:
- Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions.
- Pledge Allegiance to all Black Leadership Who Espouse and Embrace The Black Value System.
- Personal Commitment to Embracement of the Black Value System – to Measure the Worth and Validity of All Activity in Terms of Positive Contributions to the General Welfare of the Black Community and the advancement of Black People towards Freedom.
Personally the Author finds the ethnocentrism of the tenants of this church with its “non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA” rather repugnant. If an expressly – or even implicitly White congregation – published a similar manifesto, they would would be branded as the worst sort of racists and with good reason. Racism, whether it advocates active abuse or isolationism or separatism, taught through the vehicle of religion is shameful at the very least.
Sen. Obama has been part of this African congregation for many years. Now he wishes to be President of the United States. The Author is unsure – just that, nothing more – if it’s appropriate for there to be a “Black President” or an “African President of the US. Obama’s fervor in detailing the incidents in the LA Riots and his racial fearmongering take on a whole new and disturbing tenor when added to his religion and his candidacy.