Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wright On Time

Rev. Jeremiah Wright is back and talkin' up a storm. Next time I'm in Chicago I might just have to visit that "infamous" church of his and maybe even give the brother a hug. Is it because I agree with everything he says? Nope. It's because he just might have contributed to the kind of civic maturity necessary for a healthy democracy. If you've been reading this blog, you know that I've been thundering for the past couple of months regarding the relentless "post-racial" propaganda Americans have been subjected to during this flawed process by which our next chief executive will be chosen. As I observed the fervent chants of "race doesn't matter" and watched folks who should know better engage in a Faustian bargain of silence regarding racial justice hoping it would win the White House, I prepared myself for a long, cold winter of discontented blogging. Then a voice in the wilderness burst the bubble of happy talk about "transcending race". Right on time we got a reminder that racial unity is something that we are going to have to actually earn and eloquent speeches aren't going to be sufficient. Whatever happens in November, the Wright controversy has put race back at the center of our national discourse which is exactly where it belongs. Being forced to wrestle with the implications of our past and our present regarding race is not "divisive" it is adaptive, healthy and necessary. Now if we could just have some visionary leadership that would seize the possibilities of this moment it would be even sweeter. That remains to be seen.

"Let neither [whites nor blacks] think that anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil [racism] has left on the fair name of their common country."
(Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 40)