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April 29th, 2008
02:13 PM ET

Race in the Race for the Presidency: How Media Pundits Gloss Over Race and Feed Racism

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/29/art.obamaspeaking2.jpg ]

Tim Wise
Friend of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Author of 'White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son'
www.timwise.org

Much has been said about the role that racism may play in the outcome of the 2008 Presidential election.

But what has been largely ignored is the way that media pundits, by virtue of the language they use, the questions they ask, and the way they frame issues, often reinforce racial division, and make it harder for us to examine race issues honestly.

So consider the way the media has been pushing the question, "Can Obama win working class voters?" Or, "Why is Obama having trouble connecting with working class voters?" Both questions ignore that Obama doesn't have a working class problem—large percentages of the black folks who are turning out to support him at rates of 90% are indeed working class—but rather, a white working class problem.

By implicitly equating "working class" with white, the media reinforces the notion of "hard-working," average (i.e. normal) folks as white. This then leaves blacks to be viewed either as the decidedly non-working and dreaded "underclass," or the elitist types that Hillary Clinton wants people to envision when they think of Senator Obama. Either of these images can reinforce racism, either by stoking white fear of the former or resentment toward the latter.

Or consider the way the media has responded to the Jeremiah Wright controversy.
Although much attention has been paid to black anger in the wake of Rev. Wright's largely-taken-out-of-context comments, and although some have tried to explain the place of such righteous indignation within the black church and community, the framing of the issue has reinforced the white perspective as normal, and thus, valid. So we are asked to wonder, "Why are some black people so angry?" rather than, "Why are some white people so complacent?" about racial injustice.

White complacency is seen as normal, while black anger is taken as the pathology to be understood, ultimately making them the problem. Their perspectives are the ones that are strange and in need of explanation, but ours (if we're white) are perfectly fine and need not be explained or defended to anyone. Such a normalizing of the white perspective only makes it more likely that whites will be hostile to those who think and view the world differently.

Of course, it's not only this election where the media has normalized whiteness, or made it altogether invisible, so that its consequences can't even be seen, let alone understood.

Consider the 2004 Presidential race, after which most every talking head noted that President Bush had won the "evangelical vote," and claimed that the nation was divided between "blue states" and "red states."

In the first instance, commentators failed to notice that the President most certainly did not win the black evangelical vote, but only the white evangelical vote. Black evangelicals voted against him by at least four to one. Saying that "evangelicals" supported the President, as the media did, marginalized Christians of color, whose sense of religious duty compelled them to vote differently from their white brothers and sisters. Why? Who knows? No one thought to ask.

As for blue states and red states, the notion of a geographic divide in this country is largely mythical. Most whites in the blue states—including New York, California, Illinois, Michigan and Maryland—either voted for Bush, or split 50-50 between Bush and Kerry. Meanwhile, in the red states, people of color voted overwhelmingly against the President. In other words, the real divide was racial, not regional.

By ignoring this truth, the media ducked the hard questions about why whites and folks of color often view our country so differently, and come to such different conclusions about what would be best for the nation politically.

But it is this kind of question we need to confront in order to have a truly productive conversation about race in America. That our respective racial identities often shape the way we view our national past, present and desired future—and therefore, often cause tension because we can't fathom where "the other guy" is coming from—is the truth that won't go away.

Only if media helps to uncover that reality, and encourage a real discussion about what it means, for all of us, will we likely make progress on the road to racial equity.

soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. April

    I think Wright is an aggressive preacher. He is very smart, and he knows the Bible from all over in/out. I think his delivery is too harsh and although we have been through bad times, his "descriptive" ways are thought provoking and somewhat offensive. I do not think, Obama should be judge because of Wright. I do not think Wright should be attacked because his argument is skillful and many Master minds get a little crazy as their knowledge advances.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  2. Shmuel of NY

    kevin jetz – I am a Hasidic Jew and the Torah teaches us to look at human kind with our eyes that act as a window to our soul. We are to bring light to darkness. We were put on this earth to do kindess and make this World a drelling place for G-D. If you allow yourself to be this hateful, it would only consume you and not see the good this Country does. President Bush has increased the AID to South Africa and has helped more third world Countries than any other recent Presidents. Please keep in mind, that half of the Jewish population in the World was mudered just 60 years and we do not hate Germany, cause daily riots, or wish death to Germany and Poland. What America did 250 years ago was a terrible thing, but that was 250 years ago. Look at President Bush Cabinet. Sec of State is Black, Sec of eductation and the former Attorney General was Hispanic. Why would anyone blame todays population for the errors of 10 generations ago? Just ask yourself, are you better off in America or your own homeland?

    April 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  3. JoeAmerican

    hmmmm....

    let's see a super racist anti-black USA is ready to nominate and possibly eventually even elect a president of African heritage.

    Keep in mind the black population is at or around +-20% and I don't beleive any other predominantly white country has even come close to doing this.

    Mr. Wright's whining and complaining doesn't add up, but is good fodder for a Sunday anti-whitey spectacular sermon.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Phaedra

    CNN news is a source I have looked to for NEWS for several years. I am angry and disappointed by your continual coverage of Jeremiah Wright. It seems CNN's only reason was for gossip and not news. I am disappointed that you feel Wright is news yet you have not concentrated on Hagee, Parlesy or any of the other nut jobs connected to presidential candidates. I guess I'll now find a REAL source to get my news. I will not continue to support such a silly, divisive news organization.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  5. Angel Brito

    This article hit the nail on the head! Thank You Mr. Wise.

    The media has let the American people down in this country. They try at every corner to try and divide us as a people and in particular in their coverage of this presidential primary. I am so saddened for Sen. Obama who I really believe can help this country come together and do a lot of good for us as a nation. I believe in you Mr. Obama keep on pressing forward in spite of the clowns who enjoy dividing us.

    Angel Brito in Pennsylvania

    April 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  6. Loretta Williamson

    I knew on Sunday while watchIng Rev. Wright that Barack Obama would again have to devend himself for words he himself had not spoken. Oh" how the Hillary camp must be enjoying this. However , I don't think it's going to stop Barack chances from winning. It has not changed my vote. NOTHING could make me vote for Hillary !!!

    April 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Douglas

    The media coverage of the racism in this election is hurting the relationship between communities. The impact of their coverage of the race issue will have in the Americain society will be great and bad; a lot of people are bieng hurt and this election, which had a change to bring people together, is dividing America. I think, the media is playing with fire, in this age of religious extremism, racial divide can bring the fall of this great nation

    April 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  8. debbie

    I think this last episode of Rev Wright is going to help Obama. Obama is a very decent human being and now everyone can see the difference. I wonder if Bil Clinton paid off Rev Wright or will pay him off in the future for doing this to Obama at the "perfect timing.! I believe anything from the Clintons. But now you can see how special Obama really is. I believe that he has just taken a hugh burden off his back and now he will rise to the top. Just watch.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  9. David

    We Americans need to reflect on ourselves on why there are people like Rev Wright thinks that way. I am sure there are more people in the Middle East believe what Rev Wright said.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  10. Donald

    For all the people who has already voted would they change their vote now if they knew what they know now about Obama. as a West Virginian we havent voted yet and i am from a big family of 342 and we are voting for Clinton

    April 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  11. R Smith

    Racism,what a joke and overused word.If a person does not like blacks?,whites?,asians?whoever?, this makes them racists.NO IT DOESNT.I'am not comparing people to dogs,cats,food,or anything else, but common sense tells you that what we like or dislike is based upon our experiences in life.If during your life you have had bad experiences with Asains then you will not like Asains.If you have been ripped off by Asains a number of times you will not have much trust of them.This is not racism, its life experiences period.I dont have to like anybody, nor does anybody have to like me.That being said if you are of a different race than me and choose not to like me OK,BUT LET HAVE THE RIGHT TO NOT LIKE YOU WITHOUT IT BEING RACISM.Leave Obamas ex-preacher alone and let this crap die.You are only fueling the flames and giving this man his 15 minutes of fame and he's running away with it.A bunch of crap for nothing.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  12. fairnessreeper

    First of all, I am white. It seems to matter for some reason. I think Rev Wright was dead on 100% accurate with his sermon and interviews. I think Obama should embrace these principles. I never thought he had the record to be president, as opposed to Clinton, but I would have voted for him out of principle just as I voted for Ralph Nader. As if it is not true that the US has commited terrorism around the world and that we have Imperialist values. This is the main reason I wanted Obama to win, I thought he realized these truths and stood ready to correct our horrible image that bush and cronies have made of us.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  13. kc

    I beleive it took this long for Senator Obama to denounce Rev Wright because he has known this person for 20 years. This individual has helped him grow and developed so I am sure it was hard and sad to have this press conference today. I think he is going to be a great President but I am not sure if white American( especially the older ones) is ready for a Black President. However, he had to say something about Rev Wright, he could not just ingore it and I think it too this long because of their relationship and his membership with the church. it is hard to just reject/denounce someone that's like family, good or bad.

    April 29, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  14. Gary Chandler in Canada

    The US election, from an outsiders view, is beginning to look, not only like a racial conflict, but a religious 'war' as well.
    (At least now we know who Obama was talking about when he mentioned bitter people clinging to religion. aka Rev Wright)
    Get this! The ministers that support McCain believe aids was God's punishment. Wright believes 9/11 was the USA paying for its sins.
    Now both or neither of these scenarios may or not be true, but it more than humoress that both sides will use 'religious belief' to prove their stance. If you can believe a god can punish gays with aids, how can you then disclaim that god could punish a country for having a history of slavery and terrible foreign affairs policies?
    If one of these ideas is laughable, so is the other.
    (I am not saying, and I do not know if god planned aids and 9/11 as punishment. Don't misconstrue my observation that people do believe these issues, that I believe either or none.)

    April 29, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  15. Rob

    the media spins all this stuff ... sound bites.... comments taken out of context etc only for the ratings. What ever happened to journalistic integrity? Isn't it time to focus on the issues, yes main stream media it's boring but creating and sustaining issues when they don't exist only harms the process and the ability for the American people to make an intelligent choice for the leadership and future of the country. Especially, and here I show my personal bias, you now have a unique individual that shows up as a candidate that brings something completly different to politics in the country. Honesty, intelligence, character and compassion for the real issues that affect people every day. But you focus instead on the poison, no wonder there is so much apathy, the media keeps it alive!!

    April 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  16. Robert Mcbride

    CNN in the person of commentator Roland Martin have reached a new plateau in sanitizing the news. Yesterday immediately following the Reverand Wright debacle at the National press club Mr. Martin was full of understanding and did not report any problems with the rants of the rev. Now today he is replete with understanding of the Obama distancing from Rev. Wright. Is Mr. martin a commentator, reproter, or a supported of Reverend Wright.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  17. Fabian McGill

    For what it's worth, an "outsiders" (Canadian's) view.

    The so-called "Wright controversy", in my view, represents all that's wrong about American politics and the American media. Barack Obama is not his paster. Reverend Wright's views are not Barack Obama's. The media's obsession with Wright is mere sensationalism. Choosing to report so heavily on Wright and stories like this for their mere "shock value" while paying scant attention to the real issues is, in my opinion, "shockingly" irresponsible. Even when the media chooses to deal with real issues, it does so only in the most facile, superficial way. Giving passing reference to economic issues or health care issues, or "the war in iraq", simply naming issues and occasionally adding a rhetorical flourish giving expression to their seriousness is not really seriously discussing the issues. Finally, the predominantly white media's obsession with Wright and it's seeming determination to have Wright undermine Obama's changes for nomination is a clear indication of the profound racism that still resides just below the surface of American society. Surely, Hilary Clinton's Bosnia lie is a clearer indication of character than Barack Obama's association with Reverend Wright.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Brandon Hayes

    Just curious as to why there was no media up-roar over Falwell and Robertson when they said 9/11 was gods punishment on American citizens..oh yeah that's right because BOTH Falwell and Robertson are white! These are the same people McCain said are his friends!

    April 29, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  19. Nancy

    I am outraged that CNN would give Rev. Wright such publicity especially at this crucial time in the presidential campaign. The man is crazy. He should NOT have been given the attention he has gotten in the past few days. I feel sorry for Obama. He has run such a wonderful race and thanks to CNN, you very well could have ruined things for him just so you could make a story. It is Obama's privilege to attend the church of his choosing and I can't for the life of me figure out why you found airing Rev. Wright's "homilies" (or whatever crap you want to call it) so necessary.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  20. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Let's face it, ratings and revenue are the bottom line for the media. They want conflict and look everywhere to find a big breaking news full of brouhahas. Having said that, I do think race is a bigger issue than most of us want to admit. We need the media to bring us together to solve those issues, not stir up more intense anger. We are all Americans. Labeling us in compact groups, does nothing but show we all are individuals, who have our own agendas when we vote. Our life experiences shape our choices. If our lives are unequal, then we need to help each other overcome those hardships that tear us apart.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  21. Sylvie Grace

    The mainstream media has always been an outlet for white thought and culture. Never that I have known the media either local or national to even consider the views of any other ethnic group but white people.
    When I was growing up, all I ever saw on the national news was white men discussing the issues of the day. These men were like "all knowing fathers" who had the answers to all the questions Americans were thinking. Racist comments and attitudes were said with so much astuteness, I just reasoned that when one watches the news, one is watching the way the white people view the world.
    I hope that through this election cycle in interest in different cultural perspectives, we can grow as a country. There are more views to this country than just the white view. If whites can accept that, we can handle more effeciently terrorist thoughts and ideals, because a lot of that is based in anti – European and anti- Anglo thought processes.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  22. Michele in PA

    I have a question. I just recently learned of Pat Buchanan's response to Barack Obama's speech on race called "A Brief for Whitey" Why is there limited coverage of this? He wrote this on March 21, 2008 and no one has talked about it. However the Rev. Wright clips have been played over and over. Both the clips and Pat Buchanan's article are damaging to the race relations in this country, yet one is basically excused. Why?

    April 29, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  23. Marjorie

    I would hope that someone on this network would have the courage to exam Rev. Wright's comments about the government infect Black people with AIDS in the context of what happened to the Haitian boat people on Guantanamo Bay back in the early 1980's. I am Haitian-American, and most Haitian-Americans have known for a fact that the Haitian refugees referred to as "boat people" were experimented on during the Reagan Administration in Guantanamo Bay. The reports we received by the Haitian-American journalist stated that the men were experimented upon to the point where they were growing female like breasts.

    It is a widespread and well respected belief in our community that it was during this period of experimentation that the refugees were infected with AIDS and then sent back to Haiti. If CNN has courage, not only would you post my comments, you would investigate this claim in the Haitian-American community, consult with some Human Rights watchdog organizations along with your governmental sources.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  24. Beverly

    Robert @;36pm: Do you walk upright and have opposable thumbs.

    What do you mean by this:
    Assuming Obama wins the Dem. nomination, I don’t think it’s too far out there to predict rising racial tensions to explode this summer and into the fall. Especially as the U.S. economy continues to falter and the cost of everyday necessities rise....

    Are you insinuating that black s will somehow be embolded by Barrack's nomination and riot!!! All races are being affected by the Bush White House, I don"t see anyone picketing the white house.

    If Baracks the nomination and the white house the day after I will get up and go to work like any other.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  25. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Generationally speaking–most youth and young adults of today–are clearly not as race conscious as the author may presume.

    The abject–refusal to accept that the recently viewed "sound bytes" of the Rev. Wright by many Americans of all races is a testament to the fact that Americans aren't as racist as in past years.

    Most are outraged–that a man of God–still hasn't realized it yet!!

    The Rev. Wright–is doing what earned him prestige among radical blacks in the past–and continues to fuel his gravy train. But he has no concept of what the current culture in America is–or he'd never have said the ridiculous things he has said.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  26. Cathy from Minnesota

    Spin, distortion, sensationalism. Can I have a large helping of issues please? Today I put $50 of gas in my tank and it wasn't even full. The issues matter. Sen. Obama is not resposible for the words that come out of any mouth but his own. Please stop this rabid chasing after ratings and let us enjoy some journalism for awhile. I miss Aaron Brown and his common sense.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  27. Shelton

    True!!!

    April 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  28. Michele

    Excellent article and so true!

    I watched Rev Wright's interview with Bill Moyers and his speech at the NAACP. Both were excellent and informative. When he spoke at the National Press Club, he definitely was on the offensive and I don't blame him one iota. The media hounds deserved a smackdown. However, they came out of it like crying children rather than apologetic for treating him so badly.

    The media is to blame for this mess. It was shoddy journalism from the beginning and should be categorized as "entertainment" on the same level as the shock jocks.

    What I find interesting is Rev Wright's reference to "the chickens are coming home to roost" which means the very same thing as "blowback" that Chalmers Johnson has described in his books since 2000. I notice Mr. Johnson was not vilified for bringing to light the injustices that the US/CIA has perpetrated on other countries. Why is that do you suppose? [okay, I am being sarcastic here]

    If I can get "it" being a 50-something white woman in the middle of redneck country, I am sure other people can too if they would just stop and think about how they are being manipulated by the press with these 60-second sound bytes and not getting the full story.

    In the words of Bill Cosby, "Come On People!"

    April 29, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  29. M C

    I would like to hear from Michele Obama, Does she denounce Wright?

    I saw her give a speech and at the end she put her fist in the air several times. What did that represent? I was told it was for black power?

    April 29, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  30. dp

    In my opinion there is one candidate that decided to make race a central issue in this campaign (Hillary/Bill Clinton). She interjected race into the campaign. She decided to not openly portray herself as a victim by playing the gender card. Her strategy to undermine Obama's campaign by sneaking in the issue has actually backfired in some way. If by any chance she does receive the nomination, I am not voting for her.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  31. don

    well its about time someone in the news sees the way other news people cover this racism thing going on we are all amercans why cant all these polls show that insted of all the different catigores that we list but i geuss there is no devide listing it as just americans and definely no overblown news in that

    April 29, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  32. Collins

    What is questionable is that " It took Sen.Obama twenty (20) years today April 29th 2008 to discover who Rev. Wright is and what he stands for while the American people took only three (3) public appearances to know who he is and what he stands for" . Is it because he's contesting so he wants to distance himself from his Rev.? Super delegates and voters needs to be more careful in making decisions on who to select or else we might head for more problems after President Bush is gone.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  33. Paul Epner

    I find myself deeply saddened by the whole media circus surrounding the Reverend Jeremy Wright. While not an Obama supporter, I took great civic pride in knowing that my countrymen (and women) had risen to a cultural awakening where they could see beyond differences of both gender and skin color in choosing both a women and an African American male to be the prospective nominees of the Democratic party for President of the United States.

    I was astonished to hear the hatred coming from Obama's Pastor, that we are responsible for the bombing of New York by Al Queda, that the U.S. Government spread the aids virus to kill innocent black children, that Israel is a terrorist State, that white America are all racists, that our soldiers are no different than the Roman soldiers who crucified Christ, that blacks and whites have different brains and therefore need to be educated differently. I may have been able to turn the other cheek if these were statements made decades ago, but there was Reverend Wright on National Television saying them all over again this week. When Americans were, in the words of Barack Obama, obviously offended by these comments, the Reverend responded that the vocalized offense was not an attack on him or his statements, but an attack on all blacks, thus further dividing the races rather than unifying them.

    The ramifications of such divisive oratory by Reverend Wright could be much greater than merely hurting Obama's chances both in the Democratic Nomination and (should he receive the nomination) the General Election this fall. The tendency may be for other Black leaders to rally to Wrights defense (which is made more probable since Wright made it a black verse white issue). It would set back race relations in this country just when we all thought we were seeing the realization of decades of hard work to bring the racial divide to a close.

    I therefore believe strongly that it is incumbent on both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to speak out now to address this situation in the clearest of terms. Not for the benefit of their own political fortunes but for the benefit of the citizenry at large. In order to be effective and truly understood as heartfelt, as opposed to pandering, I put forth that Hillary needs to speak to White America and Obama needs to speak to Black America.

    Here's a sample of what I believe they need to say:

    Hillary Clinton:

    Recent events have put the issue of race back in the forefront of the American Dialogue. I wish to make a statement to my fellow Americans who are not African American. I wish to make this statement loud enough that everyone in North Carolina and Indiana who will be voting next week can hear me. I wish to speak it loud enough that everyone throughout our nation and throughout the world can hear my statements as well. "If you plan on voting for me because of the color of my skin than yours is a wasted vote and I would rather you stay home and don't vote at all". The color of my skin will not help me one iota in being the best President of these United States. It will not make me better at addressing Health Care, the Economy nor make me a better Commander in Chief. I come before you to let you know that I believe I would make the best President because of what I am on the inside and not what I may be on the outside. We all, black and white, male and female need to realize that today in America we are farther along the path to racial and gender harmony than at anytime in our country's history. We need to stand together to ensure that no one, black or white, male or female, can push us off this eternal path we are on together. We must celebrate our accomplishments in reducing discrimination, division, bigotry and inequality at the same time that we recognize that we are still on that path and have a ways to go before our dream is realized. If anyone tries to tell you that we are not on the path to racial and gender harmony then you should feel comfortable in telling them this: "Look at who the people of the Democratic Party have selected as their prospective nominees!!! A Woman and an African American. And on November 6th, we can tell the world, Look at who the American People have elected as their President and we will say it with great pride"!! Now let this woman get back to talking about the issues that face all of us regardless of our gender and regardless of our skin color...

    Barack Obama.

    [I admit this one is harder for me to write, because I have not truly been immersed in the black struggle. However, I do not feel Barack has any way out of the box his Pastor has created for him other than to take the tact I about to espouse. He cannot merely attack his Pastor since by definition Barack was a member of that Church for 20 years and so an attack now, would only look political. He also might offend his largest voting block (African Americans) and cannot afford to lose them now (in the beginning he split their vote with Hillary). On the flip side, he cannot say that he agrees with his Pastor without losing much of White America who will view him as an Angry Black man and people just can't be asked to vote for someone they feel hates or holds anger towards them. The only solution as I see it, is that Barack needs to formulate a speech to be given to the African American community itself.]

    Let me address for the moment, my fellow Americans of African Heritage. Many of our ancestors and many here today have had to struggle through the worst of times. Through Slavery, Lynchings, Prejudice, Bigotry and all forms of inequality. There can be no one who could deny this as fact and therefore appreciate how such an overwhelming struggle would affect the black community and their prodigy. But today is not the day of slavery, it is not the day of segregation in restaurants, hotels, and residences. Something universally good has changed. It should not breed anger, but hope. It should not foster continued despair, but a new realization that today is brighter for us than yesterday and tomorrow looks better still. What has changed? Non-African Americans have changed and more then ever before can be seen across this great land of ours reaching out to us to build one family known as the American Community. I know that is hard for many of you to accept. It is often the case that the victim of discrimination is the last to shed the ties to such victimhood because of the distrust such discrimination has instilled on the minds of the victims themselves. While racial harmony is not yet perfect, it is moving in the right direction which my candidacy itself manifests the clearest evidence. And so my fellow Americans of African descent, if we are to find racial harmony in this great land, we must open ourselves to the reality of change here in our land and accept that it takes two to tango. Most non- African Americans are sending us an outstretched arm of hope and love. If we are going to find hope, unity and equality for ourselves, then we must find it within our being to meet them with our own outstretched arms of love and hope with an equal determination to come together. It is time to break our chains of victemhood and the poison of anger and distrust that it ferments and walk together with our fellow Americans towards a brighter future where race is a celebrated difference and no longer a measure of status or privilege.

    Well that's it, I have said my part and hope with an outstretched arm of love, that someone out there hears me.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  34. nerakami, Miami FL

    Are you all kidding me? CNN last night took 70% of their 5 hour prime time coverage and discussed the Rev. Wright.

    So I ask again, are you guys in the media gone loopy? Have you all lost your sense of purpose or integrity as newscasters?

    Here's a reality check... I am a single mother with NO health insurance and a daughter diagnosed with BPD (look it up, you may learn something) with one of her symptoms being bulimia. I am devastated and overwhelmed by the lack of information and assistance out there.

    Now, walk in my shoes for a moment... do you really think facing what I do every single day, not knowing whether my child is going to live or die, would have the Rev Wright as my priority?

    You guys in the media need to wake up and realize that we are real people out here facing real problems ! Why don't you all get over the soap opera garbage and do some good by providing folks like me who NEED information, who NEED help with some substantial & informative reporting. Do some good for the people of this country instead of losing your souls, your integrity in the hunt for ratings.

    By the way... don't you all think Americans need to know what is happening in the rest of the world? After all. there's a big wide world out there! What a tremendous disservice to the American people.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  35. E. Hanold

    Barack Obama has experienced what many Americans have in their church. We care for our religious leaders and believe in the need to respect them, but we do not agree always with what they say. For example, as a Catholic, I have heard many a priest denounce homosexuality and encourage those who love gay people to convince a loved one that his or her lifestyle is wrong and that will never change. I also have often been told that women are to obey their men. I certainly love my husband but I do not "obey" him. I do not believe that I should try to change the sexual preference of anyone. Does this mean I should leave my faith? And then, when Reverend Wright said "God...DAMN America," all we have to do is listen to Pastor Wright's inflection. I took it as meaning the condemnation of misguided actions aour country sometimes makes. We need to admire Senator Obama for feeling pain in having to part company with a friend who is wounded, albeit wrong, so that he can focus on the issues he wants to address in his campaign for a country in need of his visionary leadership.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  36. Taj

    In America everything is a big deal. Media hypes & spices it up pretty good for marketing, people have no better business to do, read it & buy it. In this capitalistic society even doggy pooh is marketable let alone cow dung used as fuel & source of methane gas. When are we going to be sober, take things as they come naturally? We need to change.

    April 29, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  37. JoAnne

    Oh! Tim Wise. Thank you

    April 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  38. JoAnne

    All I have to say is: whomever wrote this article is on "point". Thank you.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  39. Ernie Abbott

    last night anderson cooper was again addressing what obama should do about jeremiah wright and he was of the opinion that obama should get mad about wright's remarks. as long as the media keeps giving coverage to wright, he will continue to spout off whatever he wants. when asked questions, he does his little sarcastic smile and dances around the question never giving any straight or direct answers. he is arragont old smart a__ b______ and just "full of himself". he seems to be enjoying all the free publicity he is getting from the media. it is feeding his huge ego. the way to shut him down (although you never will shut him down completely) is to start ignoring him. he is old news and any future coverage is simply going to be wright dancing to the same old tune. he is trying to achieve something for himself out of this; an appointment? to what? what is his thinking? dump him. get him off the news.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  40. Bickett D. Fort

    The April 29, 2008 article is the truth and right on point. Yes, America is in denial, and the American media is comprised of propaganda operatives that only report half truths and help to cover the truth. A good example of this is the events that led to our invasion of Iraq on lies promulgated by the American press in consort with the most oppressive regime that I ever have experienced in my 58 years.

    The ploy that the media (in consort with the "Dirty Clintons" and promiscuous Clintons) to distract from the relevant issues. Why is it that Black men have to do so much explaining that is not required of others? Not only is the American government in denial of the facts, but so is its right arm (the American media). Bill Clinton was impeached for taking advantage of a young girl and lying about it to the entire world. Do you take the trash out at your house and then bring it back in. If the Democrats go as far to steal the nomination and "give it to" Hillary (ala changing the rules on Blacks including Obama as we go through the nomination process) my sole mission in life will be to discourage Black people from voting Democrat or from voting period since the elections are blatantly rigged, and now it appears as thought the nomination process is corrupt. If the Democrats insists on further discounting Black votes and further disrespect Obama more Blacks will certainly smell the coffee. I do.

    Thank you Tim Wise. Thank you and Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright. John Wayne or George Bush were (and can never be) my hero, but, gentlemen you are my heroes.

    Thanks again

    April 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  41. Stacy

    Only if media helps to uncover that reality, and encourage a real discussion about what it means, for all of us, will we likely make progress on the road to racial equity.

    If you're depending on the media to help us make progress on the road to racial equality, I'm sorry to tell you that the road is no doubt blocked and you're probably going to have to double back and take a detour.

    The media lives and dies by ratings, which are driven by conflict-oriented coverage, not honest discussions with context. If people truly want to see the coverage on their televisions change into something helpful, they're going to have to vote with their remotes.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  42. jp

    Amen for this article it is 100% correct.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  43. Yolanda Wolf

    "Liberation Theology" under the recent controversy with Rev. Wright, seems to link it to the Black Church. I wish you, Mr. Cooper, would talk about the history of this theology that was started in Latin America in the '60s by the Catholic Church and it deals with the oppression of indians, mezstizos, black and especially the poor including whites. There are millions of poor people in this country and they are not all black.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  44. Robert

    A very interesting post.

    I agree that Americans, and specifically the media in the U.S., tend to mention race as an very important issue without really questioning or researching much at all. America is very divided, both by race and class, and this post brings to light the fact that both the media, and Americans as individuals, need to look at themselves and question why they believe what they do.

    Assuming Obama wins the Dem. nomination, I don't think it's too far out there to predict rising racial tensions to explode this summer and into the fall. Especially as the U.S. economy continues to falter and the cost of everyday necessities rise, the recipe for anger is already starting to simmer...

    April 29, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  45. Selina

    The reality and the truth won't give the media the ratings they need. So the poke and twist and snippet 24/7. It's the people that stupidly follow everything they say like it's gospel that cause the most problems.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  46. seah ohio

    Wright seems to be the one Feeding Racial tension and Provoke much more.

    There is no way of knowing if obama is serious about denouncing wright.

    Since he lied to the public before over hearing wrights, comments in church.

    They have been best friends for over 20 years, and obama said he bounced all his political decisons off of wright.

    So It was pretty evident when wright said, Obama says what he has to as a politician and he as as pastor, that the friendship will not be broken.

    Considering all that, Obama has a long way to go to prove what he says.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  47. Rev. Laura Rose

    Thank you for articulating how distorted media wordsmithing throws fuel on the fire of our country's interracial wounds. Reflections like yours gives me hope that this can be a time of turning, a time of repentantace and reconciliation if we can open ourselves to this.

    I am a fellow United Church of Christ minister and see truthful speech and just actions as the only real "Balm in Gilead." I am thankful for Rev. Wright for trying to get some of the truth out in the open. By the way, I grew up in a working class and very prejudiced neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Rev. Laura Rose, Alameda, CA

    April 29, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  48. Stan Cole

    It is about time the truth is told. Thank you.

    April 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  49. Too Much Drama!!

    Mr. Wise, thank you for this article!
    The media is notorious for taking issues out of context then feeding it to the vulnerable masses.
    I applaud you for bringing these issues into context.
    It's time to stop the character assassination of Obama

    April 29, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  50. kevin jetz

    america is aracist country period…even on this blog they delete any post that is against whites and anything against blacks is posted…..this country massacared indians, lynched and burnt black people alive…and then invented HIV to wipe all of us black pople out…am so angry right now……..the only people who cares about us blacks are the alqaeda……most of us black people are so angry REV Wright was not even close to what we feel…but one thing for sure….we will revenge the killing of our grandparents….this time there will be no marting luther king, which means nothing will be peaceful, we’ll be blazing ourselves out…we dont really care about life, we were born dead already…yeah anderson….and racist CNN go a head and delete my blog

    April 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
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