Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reverend Wright Revised

Unfortunately Reverend Wright seems lost in his "preaching" and his ego. Tis a pity that all the Good Things that he's done and said will obviously be lost in how he is hurting Barack Obama's presidential campaign with his perceived "craziness". Twenty Years ago I heard Louis Farrakhan speak at the University of Wisconsin. The good things that he said and his charisma as a speaker were squashed by his insistent Anti-Semitism. Reverend Wright seems similarly "irrational" - brilliant, but ....


hysperia said...

Hi. I've only been blogging for a month and I've just found you.

About Louis Farrakhan, I THINK he has ranted about Zionism but perhaps not against Jews per se, i.e. Israeli kind of Manifest Destiny? But he's not my fave so I'm not sure. Do you know?

Also, I haven't lost my admiration for Rev. Wright so ... WHAT? lol

geo said...

I wish that Farrakhan would rant and focus upon Zionism and specifically about the injustices done upon the Palestinians by the Israelis.

Unfortunately he seems similar to the young male comics who as soon as they run into any kind of trouble in their presentation, they run to homophobia as a savior for their issues.

Farrakhan's focus upon Judiasm has apparently lessoned in recent years, however it remains problematic. It is difficult to avoid getting caught in taking some of what he says out of context, similar to how Some of what Reverend Wright said was taken grossly out of context.

Opposing US and Israeli politics related to Palestine is important and necessary. How one does this can be important. Simply shouting out "Zionists" without discussing the issues in depth is not helpful.

It is true that in predominantly Black communities such as Harlem and Chicago's West Side that there were exploitative Jewish merchants. Jewish immigrants had often been the last wave of immigrants before inner city communities became predominantly Black.

To confront such exploitation focusing upon the exploitation is highly appropriate. To translate economic exploitation into a systemic "problem" through inflamed rhetoric can easily become problematic.

"Wicked and false Jews"
At an NOI-sponsored event in February 2006, Farrakhan provoked accusations of antisemitism in Illinois by stating that "These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood. It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality, [and] Zionists have manipulated Bush and the American government [on the war in Iraq]" [22]

Zionist groups such as the ADL (
) already exploit the rhetoric of people like Jimmy Carter who is certainly both "radical" and a "peacemaker". They can easily use Farrakhan, detracting from the good that he and the Muslims do within Black communities because he talks of Jews as "evil" and "good".

We, who are Jewish, have consistently been well out of proportion in the leadership in various progressive causes such as the Civil Rights and Women's Movements as well as Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgender causes. Jews have also been disproportionately the owners and leaders in the major movie production industry.

One can focus upon the perceived "evils" of individuals, without labeling such a person as "bad" related to being Jewish, or Muslim as well as many other such labels.

It is important for us, as Jews, to confront our racism, where we are White particularly.

It is sad to me that Reverend Wright is caught up in controversies currently. His statements about AIDS are difficult to defend. It is understandable to believe that there may have been a government conspiracy. It is difficult to understand how the import of crack cocaine happened "innocently". Believing that the government intervened and "caused the problem" is understandable.

Where one is educated and speaking from a position of leadership, one chooses how one approaches issues such as AIDS and crack cocaine.

To talk of How Blacks have been lied to and exploited and to question IF this may be happening today is potentially helpful.

Reverend Wright is part of One important Black Church Movement which combines religious belief with political activism. His recent words imply that he is "the voice" for Black churches, which is problematic.

Barack Obama may have "dissed" Reverend Wright as a political decision prior to this week. Reverend Wright referenced this in his Moyers' interview seemingly accepting it as necessary. In a similar way Obama must speak out extremely fervently in support of Israel to avoid being seen as the "anti-Israel" candidate in contrast to others.

Unfortunately Reverend Wright's timing of what he said this past week and how he said it could do little other than put forth a bad image of himself and create an unfortunate split from Obama.

One may blame such things on the media and those who exploited things through the media.

One can also look at Farrakhan and Wright similarly. Both have stood up to racism and proved to be capable leaders. Both Wright and Farrakhan have been caught up in similar needs for "respect" or recognition. It has lead them both to end up in a "divide and conquer" mindset. They may "win" the battle - the speech to some, while in the end perhaps "losing the war" - missing their chance for true heroism and to have a greater impact upon others.

It is, of course, most important that both Farrakhan and Wright help their communities within their religious faiths, rather than us on the "outside".

I hope that both Farrakhan and Wright will both learn and grow in these areas.

More importantly I hope that we will not let their words detract from our focus upon the important issues such as: racism, sexism, militarism, classism....

I appreciate your comments. I'd be open to more dialog if you'd welcome it.