Reverend Jeremiah Wright

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I'd hope that we would look beyond his “fire and brimstone� rhetorical style and these snippets of his work, to get a fuller understanding of the man and his work. We all deserve that, when we are to be judged in the public domain -in my opinion.

[National: Op-Ed]


I do not condone Reverend Wright’s harsh rhetoric or all of the views expressed in the aired TV segments.

As I listen to his 911 remarks, I don't hear him saying the US deserved such a vicious attack, what I hear him addressing are what he sees as associated root causes of the attacks. Reverend Wright is hardly alone in speculating beyond the, "they hate us because of our freedoms”, explanation for the 911 attacks. So condemnations of his remarks should target on the specific elements he mentioned not his right to engage in speculation about root causes.

Unfortunately, Wright’s style distracts from his point about 911. To noncongregants and most unfamiliar with Wright’s "over the top”, "fire and brimstone" blunt delivery style, much of what he says is going to be lost or easily distorted. If ever a prelude, translation captions or interpreter for a religious sermon were necessary - Jeremiah Wright on national TV is the perfect candidate. For some viewers, his sermons might be understood about as well, as a recitation of “Canterbury Tales” in its original form.

Wright also makes repeated reference to America’s ruling power structure; the last I checked this country is ruled by neither the poor, middle class nor the non-White. If there is any real offense with regard to Wright’s notion, it is with those, who put forth a different version of reality.

I readily concede that some of the examples Reverend Wright cites are clearly debatable and understandably offensive in both form and substance. They are not comments that I find useful or acceptable. That said, we should be careful not to let style of rhetoric get in the way of honest analysis of what he says.

At the end of the day, Reverend Wright's comments are his and his alone and I'd hope that we would look beyond his “fire and brimstone” rhetorical style and these snippets of his work, to get a fuller understanding of the man and his work. We all deserve that, when we are to be judged in the public domain -in my opinion.

Wright's comments, in the TV clips, are insensitive and offensive when viewed standalone and his style of rhetoric is not one I find appealing - tone and sense of proportion do matter. That said, he never says all Whites or all US citizens are the targets of his remarks - this is commonly understood in the vernacular of some in the Black community, as are the institutional targets of Wright’s remarks.

Personally, I wish he had been much more thoughtful and exacting in his remarks -as we all should be.

All the above noted, until I get further evidence, I cannot judge the comments as hateful or overtly racist - as some are suggesting. I find them insensitive and insulting - yes -but not hateful or overtly racist.

Further, as Wright's comments are not in keeping with my values , sense of decorum or standards for oratory clarity - I can denounce and reject them without hesitation, as has Senator Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama should have addressed this matter more forcefully and sooner ,if he was aware of this situation.


Finally, not everyone understands the Black “fire and brimstone” clerical vernacular and style, including many Black folk. As such, Rev Wright  needs to come forward and explain himself and his statements; he owes that to the nation and to his own reputation.


 

 

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