Let’s talk about Race


Over the past few weeks we have been bombarded with media distortments of Pastor Jeremiah Wright and his statements made during his tenure as Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. Questions of race, which deeply divide this country though many of us would like to believe that it doesn’t have been wedged into our news coverage of this historical moment in our country. Of course I am speaking of the fact that the two front-runners for the Democrat Presidential nomination are a black man and white woman; two unequivocal minorities.

Why is it that a black Pastor who has no formal role in our Political process has received so much coverage based around his comments? Yet, Patrick J. Buchanan, a well know Republican, columnist, and at 3 different points in his career sought the nomination to be Commander in Chief of the United States of America can make divisive comments centered around race. Comments that are quite insulting and there is no uproar in the media, there is no condemnation of his language. Could this be the type of oppression that Jeremiah Wright was speaking about, the interesting way in which our media sets the agenda for what we think and how we think about it. Is it ok to think about racism when it negatively depicts a black minister, but when this privileged man; whom to many represents the views of our government invokes incendiary language about the history and culture of a people we turn a blind eye to it?

Barack Obama was right; we do need to have a serious conversation about race in this country if we ever plan to move forward. Slavery ended in the 1800’s, however the oppression black people face still exists today. This is not an issue against white people; white people are not the government, white people are not the institutions that impose on the civil liberties of minorities. I think that a genuine conversation about race and oppression in this country will show both sides this point. Until we open up this dialogue and speak about these topics responsibly we can expect eloquent comments like the one you will read below from privileged, white men, who run this country.

“America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.”

“[N]o people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.” – Patrick J. Buchanan

To read more just click the link below.


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9 Responses to “Let’s talk about Race”

  1. haireality Says:

    this sort of patronizing crap from a white racist is intolerable. Many more whites than blacks have benefitted from these programs….everyone with one ounce of sense knows this.



  2. anonymous Says:

    The best option we have is to realize that we’re talking about Pat
    Buchanan here and just ignore it. It’s one thing if these comments
    came from Howard Dean…but they came from Buchanan. He’s just like
    those idiots on Fox News. I’d expect nothing less. You think he
    doesn’t know that he just spewed a bunch of crap? Of course he does.
    But he knows it will do two things:

    1. Appeal to his base, who are morons lacking critical thinking
    skills and actually believe he has a point


    2. Piss off black people, which will lead to a reaction from us that
    is bound to fire up and rally his base around him.

    I mean really, in 2008 are we really shocked that Buchanan would say
    this? I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC and every time I see Pat I can
    visually see the hatred he has for Senator Obama. It’s so obvious
    that I’m pretty sure the rest of the crew on Morning Joe can see it
    too. Joe Scarborough who is a republican isn’t even as vile as Pat
    is. Whenever Buchanan says something they all just look at him like
    “Oh there goes the old ranting white guy again”, shake their heads and
    basically ignore what he says.

    We’ve tried the “fight’em with facts” approach. It’s never worked
    with O’Reilly, Hannity or Buchanan. It doesn’t work because these
    ignorant fools don’t deal in facts (and neither do their fan base) but
    in ratings. The more outlandish and ridiculous they are, the better
    their ratings. And nothing you can do is going to convince the people
    that actually listen and believe these fools that they are completely
    off base. So, just ignore them. It’s not worth the time of the
    effort and if we stop reacting to them, then they’ll lose their
    popularity and they’ll slowly disappear.

  3. anonymous Says:

    I agree with your premise, that we truly need to have a conversation about race as a top priority moving forward. And I agree that Pat Buchanan’s comments were incendiary and divisive. They could also be considered or proven to be quite foolish considering it’s been popularly asserted that poor white women have made up the largest segment of welfare and subsidies beneficiaries for years. And the comment about Blacks needing to be happy that we were “saved” from the savagery of Africa… well, what can you say? Some people can be pure idiots (even when they get paid lost of money not to be) and they can make statements that are grounded in no party of reality.

    What I hesitate to do is to call them racist comments. What constitutes racist comments? Do we believe Wright’s comments were racists, as has been aggressively asserted through media these past couple of weeks, because they were seen as disparaging towards white people? Shouldn’t there be a very clear bar that distinguishing something that’s disparaging from something that is indeed racist?

    My point is, if we continue to label any white person who makes unflattering comments about our communities (even in the case where they are loosely grounded in truth) as a racist, or having made racist comments, then we stymie the effort for which your thesis seems to have been built upon: to open true dialogue about racial tension and perceptions in America. If our goal is to have true unification of our communities, then we’ve got to stop expecting more from white people than we expect of ourselves… otherwise we’ll never even get them to the table.

  4. anonymous Says:

    >>>>>What I hesitate to do is to call them racist comments. What constitutes racist comments? Do we believe Wright’s comments were racists, as has been aggressively asserted through media these past couple of weeks, because they were seen as disparaging towards white people? Shouldn’t there be a very clear bar that distinguishing something that’s disparaging from something that is indeed racist?

    There is a very clear bar of what can be considered racist….they are comments that support a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    The comments by pat buchanan that you say can be so easily pushed aside as “foolish” has many believers and is often said and left unchallenged. Also, there are many people both black and white in this country who believe that blacks make up the majority of drug users, the majority of people in prison, the majority of people on welfare and the majority of the people who benefit from affirmative action (which has NEVER been the case). There are people who believe that blacks are just their stereotype and call anyone who doesn’t act like it “acting white”. Buchanan’s comments were based out of the belief that African Americans were inherently inferior which is why we all supposedly continue to find ourselves in the bottom rungs of society. Most importantly they were false and represented gross generalizations.

  5. nativenotes Says:

    I appreciate your feedback on the piece, however I stand strong in my conviction that his comments were not only distasteful but racist as well. The term racism is a complicated term but at the root of it besides discrimination it looks to disenfranchise the minority by the majority who is in power. Essentially it is discrimination with power in my opinion.

    Now I don’t think that every time something distasteful is said of black people that it warrants the term racism. This is why the real effects of racism have been swept under the rug because constantly we throw out the term racism and it starts to lose its meaning. But if we analyze not only Pat Buchanan’s comments but also what he means on a national scale maybe that will clarify why I call his comments racist. Buchanan is a syndicated talk show host, he is a columnist, as seen to many he is an influential leader and representative of our government. Through his post as a political commentator he is able to inject his falsehoods and negative depictions of blacks into mainstream media on a regular basis. His comments are not only unflattering but they look to disenfranchise people of color and further miseducate his own followers about issues with respect to African Americans.

    By doing so he perpetuates the “always looking for a handout, ungrateful nigger” stereotype and infiltrates the minds of his followers with such bogus thoughts about black people. He looks to discredit our achievements and blame them on a system that we all know does not in fact help us more than it helps poor white women as you have already stated. If all of what I am saying is true, is he not using his position of power to promote his racially charged negative statements? Do his comments not further a divide between his white supporters and the many faces that look like you and me? Do these comments not make people question how a young man like myself is even sitting at a predominantly white law school. Thus making me the subject of possible discrimination and making admissions officers, and job recruiters who listen to his views re-think their decisions about employing people of color who are qualified. Just my thoughts brother, I am with you the racist term needs to not be thrown around but clearly his words and views are looking to disenfranchise our people and to me that is RACIST!

  6. NH Says:

    Perhaps one of the things about his comments that disgust me most is his assertion that white Americans have done more to lift up Blacks. However, Blacks have actually been the individuals who have uplifted our own people. White Americans have simply been the individuals to pass the laws because after stripping this country from Native Americans, they placed themselves in the position of power and oppressed all others. Yet none of the laws that he listed would have been passed without the movements powered by leaders such as Dr. King and the shark like litigation skills of Fred Gray.

  7. Tricia of Charlotte, NC Says:

    See, just as we figured, all of you writing those insulting comments, you don’t REALLY want to talk about race after all, did you?

    If we are going to have a “talk”, we are allowed to voice our opinions in any way we so choose.

    A “talk” is not for us to say what you want to hear…otherwise it’s no longer a “talk” but let’s see…a waste of time.

    Stop feeling sorry for yourselves, you are keeping yourselves trapped as the victim. Because of Obama the Messiah’s speech, we are all miracuously transformed and “The man” is no longer keeping you down, you are.

    You really didn’t want to talk about race after all, did you? Well, neither do I.

  8. nativenotes Says:

    tricia I don’t think anyone was making insulting comments. everyone who uses this blog is using it as a means for a discussion please provide your opinions as well. it is through this type of dialogue that we can all learn

  9. Shakira Says:

    The problem is, when we talk about race the conversation becomes intense. People feel insulted. Others make honest comments with no true intent to be hurtful but the comments sting anyway.

    Here’s my two sense: When we talk about race, we need to go all the way back in history when the racial divide came about and research what it’s purpose was. Then we need to trace the steps to the present day to determine why and how race is still used today. Race is divisive. No matter what we say or how we try to embrace it (Black pride, White pride, whatever…) it’s original and perpetul denotation was meant to divide people and to prticularly place one “race” of people over others. I say all this to say, that it seems the moment someone of one race opens their mouth to speak of another race they are tagged as racist. What would the conversation be like if Jeremiah Wright’s comments were made by Pat Buchannon or if Pat Buchannon’s comments were made by Jeremiah Wright? Would their comments then be seen as true comments, rather than as racist comments?

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