After mulling over the Dr. Jeremiah Wright story for the past few days, I've reached a conclusion that I already knew; America has a history problem. More specifically, Americans have a major problem with their own history. Blacks and Whites in this country come from different experiential backgrounds, and nothing anyone says or does can change that now. I'm sure it's confusing to our friends and neighbors from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and yes, even Africa, that almost everything in this country is viewed through a Black/White filter, especially when Blacks are only around 13% of the total population.
Well, like I said, it's a unique relationship and those Americans who come from other areas of the world need to recognize this for what it is; American History. Not the basically all White version of history that dominates our public and private school curriculum with only an oh so brief mention, usually in February, that Blacks have been here all along too. This February focus usually doesn't stray too far from the very significant contributions of MLK, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and a select few others.
But Black history in America is American history, and this country does all of its students a disservice by not teaching our history in a more complete way. The end result is a nation that is shocked, shocked, I tell you, that a Black minister would have the nerve to refer to America as anything other than the culmination of human civilization on Earth, and/or make reference to the racial realities that are an integral part of this country's history. Or as Shawn Williams over at dallassouthblog so eloquently put it:
What is most shameful about this entire episode with Dr. Wright and Barack Obama is that it shows how little America knows about and how much less America cares about the black church. A black preacher uttering words from the pulpit regarding America’s racist past and present is neither novel or unique.
...Dr. Wright talked about an America where white men controlled the resources and controlled the access to wealth in this country. What’s so radical about that? If it’s a lie please tell me.
Please, tell me too. Ignoring the reality of our surroundings doesn't make them go away. It also doesn't mean the country needs to dwell on the past, but the past damn sure needs to be acknowledged. That's going to take awhile, so in the meantime, prepare for even more shocking revelations about Black people as this history making campaign continues.
And for you Democrats out there, remember that political allegiance is a two-way street. In other words, Blacks haven't always voted for Democrats, and the last major shift happened in the political equivalent of the blink of an eye. Running negative, race-based campaigns against your most loyal constituency helps that to happen.