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'

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. MJ

    Why is the media giving Rev Wright so much coverage? He is entitled to his opinions no matter what they are, for every nut there is a notion. The media is making the issue bigger than it is. He no more speaks for Obama than Roger Clinton did for Bill.
    Racism is alive and well in the USA. Has anyone thought about the fact that when Africans were brought to America as slaves no one talked about them needing documentation or illegal immigrants? If the undocumented people (human beings) here today were willing to work for free the debate would end about immigration and amnesty. Have a discussion on that.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:58 am |
  2. Mischae Locke

    I have had enough of Dr. Wright. Let me explain. I believe that everything that he has said is ABSOLUTELY true. Walk in the shoes of any black man in America today and you will feel the sting of racism all over your body. It is no mistake that there is a rise in sensationalism over the words spoken by Dr. Wright right when Obama is gaining momentum in what will be an historic event in American history. At the same time, New Yorkers are up in arms over the unjust murder of yet another Black man, shot 51 times by the police. I feel a bit of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man coming out here. You see, these events are all connected to America's refusal to face the insidiousness of the racial divide. In the midst of the struggle to validate the seemingly invisible body of Black American men, Barack Obama is made to denounce (angrily) his (angry) pastor of 20 years. He is made to denounce all things "too black" about him in order to obtain the vote of Americans. i.e. He needs to lie in order to win. If he has to deny the very thing that has shaped his life, what is it worth? This entire situation has been so painful for me to watch. Obama wants to bring about change but how can he successfully do so when America is blind to change, to justice, and to her own faults? America is not a spotless lamb. America has issues just like any other country and it is time that we face those issues, publicly, and seek ways of reconciliation. Until the philosophy that holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, That until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation until the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes(Haile Sillasie), then we will have division, separation, and the whole "YES WE CAN" will never make sense to people in America. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee–dark coffee, that is–our dark past is haunting us and history certainly repeats itself in so many ways. A black man is running for office and has to denounce AND reject everything black about him...There is something absolutely wrong with this picture. Thank you, Tim Wise and others for weighing in, honestly, on this subject. Let's face it, racism exists and it's not going anywhere until we all become honest with ourselves and each other.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:57 am |
  3. Richard

    Thank you for your eloquence and insight.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:54 am |
  4. perlie murray-dunn

    I feel the media has been very unfair to Obama, indicating he can dictate to Dr. Wright what he needs to say. Dr. Wright is an adult, that lives here in America where we do have the freedom to speak. I would not try to tell my Pastor what he must say even if I disagreed with what he has said. I am sure those that are making these comments would not tell their pastor's what to say (if they go to church).My pastor is accountable to God and not to me. Dr wright is accountable to God and not Obama! I personally believe this is not a Dr. Wright issue with the media but a Black /White issue! I am in the working class and an Obama supporter. I resent the fact that media is indicating, the "working class" is voting for Hillary. There are thousand of working class citizens that are supporting Obama. I would like to see the media get back on track and deal with the issues each candidate is addressing , including Mccain (you have left him out of the loop). America needs a Change and a President that can help initiate that change. Stop giving Dr. Wright so much coverage, he is not running as a candidate or President!

    April 30, 2008 at 12:38 am |
  5. Laura

    Wright should seek new employment outside of the church, his outrageous behavior yesterday is so out of control the world should stop and pray for him. A Pastor should preach forgiveness and understanding and work together to bridge the gaps in our community, not divide us. Rev. Wright forgot about the youth of today when he showed his insane side of emotional remarks. He should had used is logical mind explained his sermon and answered any questions. Rev. Wright sent a very negative message to the youth of today "Don't get mad get even" How sad.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:22 am |
  6. Ernest from Southfield, MI

    Who's right...? obama of course... he's always right...
    Like when he said... Republicans were the party of ideas in the 90's....
    or when he admired what a great president Reagan was...
    and also how bad the 90's were under Bill Clinton...
    and let'snot forget his unilaterally bombing of Pakistan....
    and when he said he doesnt take pac money...
    only the money from the people in charge of the pacs...
    Then there'a Rev. Wright who was minding his own business and who did not seek out obama as member of his church... quite the opposite obama sought him out as his pastor who presided over his marriage, who baptized his children, and brought obama to Christianity
    But for some reason the great obama never found out in 20 years of attending Rev. Wright's church the contents of some of his sermons... he just found out in the last 20 days not the last 20 years...
    And now he's finally decided t throw Rev. Wright "under the bus" and in addition ruin the reputation of a man who did not seek him out... so now the media can talk about the deranged Rev. Wright... who before he became involved with obama was considered a scholar...
    But as we know obama is always right... even if it takes him 20 YEARS!!!....

    April 30, 2008 at 12:18 am |
  7. Senella

    This was an excellent article, yet in reading some of the comments some of these people are clueless.

    My great aunt told me a long time ago that people tend to accuse you of doing the things they are actually doing.

    With all of the opinions, can anyone tell me (who is on Social Security Disability) how to fill my gas tank for less than $60.00, how to get decent health and dental insurance for less than $375.00, how to reduce my prescription cost, or my grocery bills, or any of my bills(basic living cost) for that matter?

    I thought not! Opinions are like butt holes, everyone has one.

    No matter, I'm still voting for Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 at 12:15 am |
  8. Phillip C. Hudspeth

    I just wanted to say that it seems to me, and I'm sure a lot of people that the Rev. Wright is trying to bring down Obama so he can not win.

    and if they keep giving him time on the airways then he might do some harm to Obama. the man(Rev.Wright) is a clear nut case,

    and should not be given any time on t.v.

    How long must Mr. Obama clean up this mess.

    Only a creazy person would feed in to this man, (Rev. Wright) and the rest of the people should understand this and should just ignore everything that Rev. Wright say.

    Or are we still blind people still stuck in the 50's and 60's.

    Come on everyone we are better that, Right.????????????

    April 30, 2008 at 12:15 am |
  9. Bob


    You say: "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..."

    ...which makes me think you probably went to college, to learn how to have a "sensitive" opinion, at the expense of being factual.

    Because you, Tim, ignore...that actually most news outlets, CNN is included, have been asking: "Can Obama win the WHITE working class?" See? They used whiteness to frame the question. For weeks we have been seeing Barak bowling, and eating sausages, and standing in front of gas stations. We have heard pundits claim that he needs to get the hunters' vote or the gun owners' vote. By all this they mean "the white vote." To stereotype "the white vote" with cultural signifiers like bowling and jello molds is totally racist: it would be like saying, oh that candidate is trying to get the hispanic vote and so he is going to need to be seen around town wearing a sombrero...I could go on in this vein, but what's the use, it would only offend people, just as the media's stereotyping about what they thought were white cultural signifiers offended me). The media pundits have thus been racist. But not in the one-sided way you portray: They have scoffed that to win the white vote Barak will have to carbo-load and break out the jello mold. All of these horribly narrow minded cultural signifiers have been used to indicate "white" or "mainstream" culture. It is totally insulting. And now, instead of debating Hillary, Obama choses to play basketball: trying to "connect" with things Hoosiers are "passionate about." This whole thing about him being beyond politics is a total joke. A fairy tale. And the idea that the "white" media (have you WATCHED this media these days? there is an OBVIOUS attempt to make their commentators as multi-ethnic as humanly possible) is being particularly insensitive to blacks, any more than they are being insensitive to whites or any other racial group is simply failing to see the obvious. But your college professor would have approved of your article, because you demonized white people once again. Oh you're so enlightened. Congrats.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:14 am |
  10. Ned

    40% of whites vote for a black candidate and 7% of blacks vote for the white candidate – the numbers clearly show where the racisim is and its not where this author thinks.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  11. Tate,Nc

    I think Obama said it the best. He said if I give Hillary Clinton 9 complements the media will not report it, but if i says one thing negative it will be play on snippets and loops ever hour. The media needs conflict to sell their market not unity. What a shame and the world is watching.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  12. vicky

    I think that the reason why racism is still a huge issue is because that media keeps talking about it; they continue to add fuel to the fire. I mean everyday you hear how Obama can't get the WHITE vote; the media always separate people and never seeks to unite us. We are all American and you would think that as a nation we would be able to put all of the things that separate us behind us and move forward as one nation under God. I think that the media is giving Rev. Wright to much attention lets talk about the issues. The only way that Wright can hurt Obama's campaign is if we let him, it is up to the American people to move beyond this and look towards the future and a united America.

    I do want to say that although Obama disagrees with Rev. Wright it is important that we put into perspective what Wright says. I am an Obama supporter as well as a minority and I do think that a lot of the issues that we face as minorities are encouraged by the actions of government and our concerns dismissed, which is exactly what we are doing with Rev. Wrights concerns. If you are not a minority you understand that struggles that we face. I do want to make this clear Obama and Wright speak to separate audiences and Rev. Wright has a constitutional right to speak. Obama has done all he can, its time to get back to the ISSUES!

    April 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  13. Victoria

    You CAN NOT go to a church for ‘20′ years, choose to be MARRIED there by Pastor Wright, have your children BAPTIZED there by Pastor Wright and NOT know the beliefs of the minister!
    By staying in the church, Obama was saying that he accepted what was being preached. Obama even called this minister his “MENTOR”. We all saw the clips of the congregation laughing at and applauding the outrageous ideas of Wright. Yet, today, Obama called the congregation “good people”. This cleartly shows where Obama’s head is!!! Indiana and North Carolina. It also explains Ms. Obama comment about not being proud of her country until ‘now’.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  14. kelvin

    I am black. I am a Christian. I think what Reverend Wright is missing from all that he expresses is the most fundamental of Christian principles, "Forgiveness" Without forgiveness, the Christian faith could not exist. The Christian faith is about GOD providing forgiveness for the sins of man, and one of the main commands of God is that we forgive others. We all know about the history of slavery in America, but at some point we (Black America) must "Forgive" We cannot continue to hold every white person responsible for what their fathers, and forefathers may have done. We must give each person a clean page to write on. and please give them an eraser also because you will need one also. We all have sinned. And we (black People) have sinned against and mistreated our own people also. Rev. Wright misses that very important point. It is about healing, restoration and moving forward which cannot be done without forgiveness. We cannot live as a perpetual "victim" Our forefathers were held in physical slavery against their will for hundreds of years, we in this generations cannot be guilty of remaining in a mental and psychological slavery willfully. Unforgiveness will do just that. Rev. Wright needs to re-examine one of the most fundamental tenet of his faith "Forgiveness" Whatever happened to "loving your enemies"
    Is Obama supposed to hate his mother and only love his father ? what type of nonsense is that ? He is supposed to love all people. and be the president of all people equally. and that is what I think he will be. Don't listen to the noise.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  15. Seattle Sue

    I have only listen to Rev. Wright twice this past weekend and I am angered, Yet it took Obama twenty years to become angry.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  16. Dongan

    As long as you are on the air and digging deep for the purpose of destroying a young man who challenged the chemistry of your brain and who happen to leap over the bar which has been set by the guy like you who don't want to see in the American politics secen, the controversy never go away.

    You made the nation cry, you have no mercy and remorse for the gentelman whom you are bleeding everyday. You don't represent the wider white American who see him as rising star who has been annoyted and praised by almost every walk of life not only here in America but around the world.

    I am asking you to be fair for him and dig deep by representing the both voice. It is all I am asking.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:06 am |
  17. Matthew Higgs

    Obama conveys the true essence of Honor, love for country and the qualification to be president of the United States of America. It shocks me that the American people/ the media can be so naive to say they don't know Sen. Obama. Believe me if the American people did not know Sen. Obama he would not have reached this far in the campaign. So America this is the time for us to show the world the greatness of this country, true democracy and a land of opportunity for all who can DREAM and HOPE. Lets focus on the issues and NOT VALUELESS TOPICS LIKE REV. WRIGHT. As a born again Christian myself, I do think Rev. wright was totally wrong in his actions and reactions. He needs to focus on leading souls to Christ.

    This great country I love so dearly, but it needs a change drastically.

    Matthew Higgs

    April 30, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  18. Michael

    I think it's fair to question Obama's core beliefs regarding his patriotisim and feelings about race. Sure, it's easy to distance yourself from comments your reverend makes now that you're a presidential canditate. I'm sure Reverend Write didn't just come up with this garbage over the past month. Why didn't Senator Obama oppose him earlier?

    April 30, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  19. Pat

    I do not think Mr. Obama should to held accountable for anything. Mr. Obama is an highly intelligent man and I know he, like myself and others, are able to fliter out the negative and nonesense that is spoken in church, with friends, between family members, icluding what is said in the media.......not to mention in political campagings.

    I surely have to fliter out a lot of stuff my pastor says on Sunday mornings........but that is why God has given us a mind to think for ourselves.

    Mr Obama looked to this man as a friend and someone who did speak to him about God's love and the role the church plays in the community. I am sure Pastor Wright was on his best behavior when the Obamas were present. For the media information, Mr. Obama's children were in Sunday School and not sitting during Pastor wirght's messages, good or bad.. Children have their own classes in most churches, they do in mine.

    The media is the instigator and plays the devil advacate way too much..........I am sorely disappointed with how the media beats a dead horse and over kills a story, especially when there are so many other real stories and serious things happening in the world.

    Like Mr. Obama said, "manufraction distractions." Move-on to other noteworthy stories such as "Iraq and the food natural disasters" Mr. Obama gets my vote in November with his name on or not on the ballot......I will write his name in, because I will not vote for anyone else.

    Thank you!

    April 30, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  20. Charlote

    Wake up America we do not need Obama in the White House. Do you really beleive that he has disowned Reverend Wright? He used Reverend Wright and now that he doesn't need him anymore he throws him under the bus. Reverend Wright was used by Obama.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  21. Tom F

    If Reverend Wright doesn't want the press to "cherry-pick" his comments, perhaps he should stop running the orchard.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  22. scott

    I challenge anyone on this board to grab a train, bus, or plane and head to inner city Chicago (or Philadelphia, New York, etc., your pick) When you get there, you'll need to guess again, because likely you'll be on a pretty street with a great deal of hustle and bustle and lively commerce. Once you've reached this pretty starting point you must first find, then traverse the ugliest, most downtrodden street you can find. Upon finding this street, you must wander down it as far as possible until all vestiges of reality have long since disappeared. I would now wager to say you have found yourself in the ghetto. Kudos. With 300 plus murders and thousands of shootings in Chicago every year, you can now safely assume that if you stand in your current locale you will be mugged or shot within a matter of minutes, perhaps hours if your lucky. Do you call me narrow minded? Perhaps, and hopefully you can sleep better for it. But please, try it for yourself, and see how your life and views will change. America is divided, and there is racism, which is an ugly and original sin which all whites should carry great empathy and remorse over. However, there is a dark side to racism as well. Many African Americans harbor a deep and vengeful hatred against whites, and many who do not at minimum have deep seeded feelings of resentment. In this we find the wellspring of the Rev. Wright, a man consumed by his hatred and anger. Perhaps his feelings are justifiable, and perhaps Obama is justified in calling him his pastor. But America is much more than a country, it is an ideal. Despite our flawed past and the pragmatic and very real horrors our people face today, the country cannot go on, and indeed cannot succeed without a strong and emphatic patriotism that has defined and set apart America for hundreds of years. Look closely at Obama. Listen to Michele Obama, read her senior thesis from Princeton. Draw the logical and rational conclusions about both Barack and Micheles association with Rev. Wright, and I believe you will come across a truth which you are very much trying to deny. They are liberal because liberalism feeds money from the top down and castrates the moral institutions of society in the name of secular and pro government rhetoric. They are ultra liberal because socialism is a means to accomplish the radical end they seek. Their ideology sits readily upon their sleevs. Indeed Rev. Wright and Obama preach the same message, albeit Obama has cleverly veiled his hope with flowers and smiley faces. Look again, I challenge each and everyone of you. Spend a day in the ghettos of America, if you make it out alive, think about what life must be life, think of the anger, think of the revolutionary ideas that must be brewing there. There are many things that must be done in this country, many changes that must be made, but Obama is not the man to do it properly. He does not love America, and it will be Americas end as we know it to allow a liberal and socialist agenda to take roots in our proud capital.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  23. Fraser from Maryland

    I just gave another donation to Senator Obama. This man has been put through the ringer and subjected to a double standard. If his pastor connections must be vetted, then the same standard must apply to Clinton (the Family, her former pastor who was convicted of child molestation) and McCain (Hagee and Parsley who don't like gays, Catholics, Jews).

    The media has been biased against Senator Obama and holds him to a greater and unreasonable standard. He is NOT his pastor. If you want to make everyone "guilty by association", then you have to apply it to ALL of the candidates.

    Obama 2008

    April 29, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  24. joy

    Dr Wright has exposed Obama for exactly who he is, " a hypocrite". There is no way I could be affiliated with a church body and not agree with the fundamental principles of that body. H eattended that church for 20 years, yet was not aware of the teachings, beliefs of Dr. Wright. Americans must be stupid; and he is not playing the same game as the other politician. THINK people! Rev. Wright's beliefs are comparable to Barack Hussein Obama's; there is no different. I disagree with things my pastor says at time about the word of God and the interpretation because I might not be at the level spiritually. However, these are humane issues expressed by Rev. Wright; Obama and his wife are lawyers, intelligent; all of a sudden they are ignorant and uninformed about what their pastor beliefs? Did they go to bible study? marriage counseling? their daughters got baptized and at no time these views were expressed in their presence? rev. Wright was just playing nice in their presence but when they weren't there is went wil? Come on novw!!!who's fooling whom

    April 29, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  25. Former Clinton fan

    I sense that Rev. Wright is REALLY mad and insulted that Obama didn't condone his viewpoints or come to his defense right away.
    Now he is standing to make a lot of money selling his newest book that he's been working on. Good PR, Reverand.

    Makes you wonder, sometimes, where some of these pastors' love is. Wright comes across as very judgemental and cocky. For those of us white people who really do love Obama, we feel sickened that this ex-pastor and former friend really has chosen his own career over trying to help his church member to succeed.

    All of this while Bill, Hillary and the Republican camp is licking their chops. They couldn't destroy Barack by stressing his second name...(which he didn't choose himself) they didn't get him by sending out his picture in tribal dress, trying to make him look like a Muslim. They didn't quite get him with their lies about him being a secret Muslim on a mission to take over the United States and turn us all into Muslims! ( I got one of those emails, by the way from some "loving" Christian friends.) But since they couldn't get the Muslim thing to stick, and it's obvious to anyone with half a brain that Obama IS a Christian, the only ingredient needed to provide a good hot scandal was to have Rev. Wright in the game....With friends like that, Barack doesn't need enemies.

    Call me childish, but I do believe Obama. I also travel a lot, and he has been residing most of the time in Washington. He doesn't have the time or the opportunity to be in that church very much of the time. It is very plausible that he hasn't been focusing on what has been preached from the pulpit there the last years. Maybe he stayed because his kids had a good Sunday School class. Most of us have done that before!

    In regards to the news looping Wright every few minutes; it is really getting sickening. I have watched and loved CNN for years, choosing it over Fox, because I just can't stand Fox. Fox's emotionalism and one-sided, unresearched opinions are enough to make you throw up. So why is CNN trying to copycat them? Why are you using guys like Glenn Beck, and now.... Tony Snow???? Why????? Who next?? Rush Limbaugh?? What's the second CNN station trying to do?
    Dumb itself down to make you wander if you don't look at the station number if you accidentally landed on Fox!! You should call it CNN for Dummies!

    Does anyone besides me almost love it when something else happens in the world, just to take the heat off the discussions about Obama?

    Although I'm a news junkie, I am getting so sad that I think I must stop watching CNN or I may never recover. It's time to focus on the important issues, and give Barack a break. Please.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  26. Jason, MI

    How can we say that Obama has a good judgment to be the President of the United States when it takes him 20 years to “divorce” himself from his conspiracy theorist and controversial spiritual leader?

    How can we say that Barak Obama has a good judgment to run this Country and the world when it takes him 20 years to find out and learn about his spiritual leader and his church that he is a proud member of?

    If it takes him 20 years to learn about his church and his spiritual leader, how would he know what happens in the country and the world? What we are seeing is a Barak Obama has a clear lack of judgment.

    Do we need a president with this judgment?

    April 29, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  27. Raphael

    Obama is a hypocrite. Only now is he coming out and denouncing his mentor, Pastor and Spiritual Advisor on his campaign.

    You mean to tell me in 20 plus years Obama never heard Mr. Wright unpatriotic views? Obama is doing and saying anything he can to get elected. Just another slick politician who is decieving the American public.

    "Change We Can Believe in" Yeah right... We no longer believe you Obama.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  28. Casey

    This is not about black or white. This is about a man who said that he does not "subscribe" to what Rev. Wright has to say, but attended his church for twenty years? I heard most of what Rev. Wright had to say these past couple of days had he makes no bones about what he has to say or what he believes. If Obama had a problem hearing his own pastor what makes us think he can hear what we have to say as Americans.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  29. Waterman

    This is what Obama meant :

    I did NOT have "relationship" with that pastor.

    Come on. Give me a break. It's 20 years, not just several minutes. "Outraged" ? Where is the judgement?

    April 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  30. Marlon

    I could have a friend I’ve known for 20 years and never known he was a serial killer folks it happens. And if Barrack did know about his Pasteur that doesn’t make it his believes. I am black and have close friends and some family that don’t like white people. So my close friend and family members affect the way I feel. No they don’t one of my best friends is white. No one truly can speak on the situation better that Barrack. I mean people his mother is a white woman. I don’t think this man dislike or resent his own mother. This shouldn’t be an issue and I hate to say this but it’s only an issue because he’s a black canadate. He’s the only candate that the media has dugged and dugged until something was found. What even stupid after all these years Racism in all races still exist. It just now it’s not up in your face like the past. Most black people in the USA have dealt with racism. A white person will never truly know how that feels. That’s where the bitterness comes from regarding the Pasteur and his believes. The Clintons have been in plenty scandals I’m sure if the media dig as much as they do on Barrack they’ll find something. They won’t because that the way society is. If we as a country don’t look pass this blown out of proportion issue we will lose the best canadate for the job.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  31. Peter

    Democrats our renowned race batters and promote class envy at every opportunity. Their obsession with race is destroying this country. Wake up people and put down the kool-aide. I can care less about Rev. Wright, it's Obama's tax and spend policies that I'm concerned about.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  32. steve

    After reading many (not all, many) of the positngs on this blog, I am amazed that this country has survived for as long as it has. And that it has prospered and judged as the greatest country under god. We are far from perfect, far. But if we cannot agree about the basic goodness of America and its people, we are doomed. And for those who don't see it that way, leave and make room for the millons who live elsewhere and want desperately to come here. Some of you morons should really think – why do so many want to come here if we are so terrible? But I guess thinking is foreign to some of you.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  33. Anthony Gibson

    What a sad day for Mr. Obama. I must say I feel duped. When the "roosting chickens" and "GD America" turmoil was going around, I didn't know who Mr. Wright was or what he was about. So I listened to some of his sermons, the WHOLE sermons, on the web, and I was struck by how intelligent and compasionate he was, and how all of these people just hearing the soundbites were all over-reacting to the 10 second clips they were catching on the news. Now this weekend I hear the HIV comment and I was dumbstruck. What the heck was he thinking? I stood up to all of the people I know that accused him of hate and division, and now this? I feel suckered. I doubt Obama will recover from this. But I still hope.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  34. Ahmed

    Gabriela, I really like your comment. It should be about individual identity when it comes to Obama and Wright. I sure everyone on this site has disagreed with their parents at one time. People can be friends with a person and still disagree with them without ending the friendship.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  35. Rutha Gibson

    Rev. Wright represents the past and is trying to hold on to it. He has made a living on the hatred that blacks have about the way they have been treated.

    Barack is trying to move us forward away from devisiness, racism, and separatism. He has a very, very, big challenge, because there are millions of dollars earned by people based on these issues.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  36. Jeff

    All this attention to the Rev. Wright, the media is obsessed with trying to make Obama look bad. What about the court case against the Clintons in Calf? The Judge gave Hillary a pass, the media has given her a pass. this is borderline pathetic.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  37. cheryll

    To all of you people who just can’t stop saying “He just needs to explain why he sat there for 20 years” Why don’t you ask the hispanic or white people who attended the church how they could sit there? Are you people just plain mad? You act like Obama was a pastor or that he even went to church every Sunday. How many of you go to church every Sunday. BE HONEST. This pastor did not preach like this every Sunday. Lets stay focus please. Why did no one speak up to Mitt Romney with the mormon view that to be black is the curse of Cain and if you touch a black person you will be curse. Do your homework people before you start saying “I just don’t understand” Why do we not get on Haggi or Farwell, oh I forget they are of another color. We get on Obama because he does not wear a flag pin and I have yet to see the others wear one, why is that? When Sen. Obama came to the faith he came for many reasons and the main one was what the church and the pastor did for people outside the church walls. We beat on him for his clinging comments when anyone with common sense knew what he meant but he was called an elitest. A black man! That is a hoot. I guess McCain having an affair with his current wife when she was 25 and rich is ok. I guess Clinton who came from surburia and went to the best schools and now has a combined income of over $109 million. I guess that is okay and they are just down home folks. You all are hypocrites and we will be judge for this believe me.

    I am also sitting hear watching CNN and Anderson Cooper I am very disappointed in you. You have gone out of your way in trying to destroy this man. Why did he wait 24 hours to answer to who you? Maybe the man did not see it remember he is running for President and how do you know that the man might have been praying before he opened his mouth. God does say Be swift to hear and slow to wrath. Shame on you.

    We did nothing about Clinton standing there lying over and over again about Bosnia without blinking and we moved on, but we are crucifying someone who has been about changing America.

    I know how about this how about getting tapes of all Rev. Wrights sermons in Sen. Obama’s 20 years and listen to them first before you start running off at the mouth. That is what I am doing. Because unlike all of you, I am trying to be a good American.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  38. briget

    excellent post!

    america is tied in a dead heat over race!!!!

    April 29, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  39. Pam from Georgia

    I certainly hope that Americans can see this for what it is, an attempt once again to flaw our judgement of the only canidate who can bring about the kind of change this country so desperately needs. I will not continue to watch CNN or ABC news cast because of the obvious negative biases that the networks have shown toward Barack Obama since he has gotten closer to becoming the actual nominee. Rev. Wright should have never been given the type of coverage that he received on this network, I guess ratings are more important than the real issues dealing with the economy, health insurance, and a no ending war. Besides, Hillary and John have much more baggage that comes from a personal attribute and not just an Association with someone. Change is never easy and if Americans can keep that in mind, Obama will be o.k.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  40. Jennifer L

    Come on, can you all not read between the lines? Obama clearly shares the same views as his Pastor or why would he continue the friendship for over 20 years and listen to his nonsense speeches. Of course Obama is outraged because he knows this could cost him the nomination. The media should have questioned this candidate long ago. His advisors have polished him to be someone he's not just to get elected. Here in NC, many of us share the same views that Obama has been sketchy from the get go. He won't wear the American flag or sallute it, has been shaped by the views and sermons of Rev. Wright and as for his dealings with the other terrorist guy. What in the world, if Obama is elected do you want him to invite this guy to the White House when he wants to bomb US buildings?? This election is all about race and always has been. Blacks are only voting for him because he's black, they could care less what he says. He won't bring the country together.

    April 29, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  41. Kathy, Andover

    It never even occurred to me that the "working class" vote didn't include blacks. This is just another example of an incorrect assumption on your part Tim. I'll leave it @ that because I wouldn't want to be incorrectly analyzed by you or your friend Wright.

    April 29, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  42. cory,fl

    Mr. wright is supposed to be Obama mentor and inspiration, his words are his words, and his actions are more than words, wright has done some good but that doesn't excuse what he has done, he has to stand by everything, you cant do good and do evil and say well he has done good, evil and hate more than out weigh any good he has done, and as for Obama, he was the one to say he was his mentor and should be held accountable for that

    April 29, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  43. Gabriela

    We talked about this situation in one of my college classes today. I agreed with my professor in that it's clear the hype proves to be a test if the American people will believe in individual identity or collective identity. This country prides itself upon ideals of individuality but at present seems to think it's ok to clump all black people together. If one speaks out, the one speaks for all. I would like to think our society is more progressive than to succumb themselves in believing in the hype.

    April 29, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  44. Fred Oton

    I am an American with African father and American mother just like Obama. I must confess it is appalling the amount of favorable positions that the media have taken when it comes to Obama. I stopped watching News because of all these subjective news coverage. I am black but detest black only church. I do not support having black college, TV, group or black anything. Obama knew his pastor visited Libya with Farakhan. His pastor’s speech is the view that most black churches share and that’s what keep the congregation together. It is wrong for Obama and the media to think all American are fools. I know there are some people that are gullible enough that believe the theory that Obama do not share his pastor’s view.

    April 29, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  45. Diana Vaniotis

    Every time I hear Barak Obama speak and/or respond to a campaign "crisis" I am more impressed. He tempers his responses with reasoned, thoughtful analysis and yet, he inspires us with his passion that looks beyond the narrow views that fuel sound-bites. He is the first person in this country to address race relations with forward-thinking notions since Martin Luther King.

    The African American community is as diverse within itself as all of America is diverse. Not everyone will agree with Barak Obama, so it takes courage to do what he has done so far in this campaign. I am very proud of him and hope that we have the opportunity to vote for him in November.
    Santa Cruz, CA

    April 29, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  46. Demi T.

    Thanks for the insightful article. At least someone in the mainstream is carrying this discussion forward in a productive way.

    We are better than that which divides us. That doesn't mean we need to always agree, but respect each other and understand the context from which we come.

    Obama '08

    April 29, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  47. Billy

    It would be really interesting to see how this row effects obamas support amoung the african americans not just in the remaining primaries but also in the general elections, cause it will most definitely be divisive not to mention being obamas strongest support center.
    Secondly i think this is double trouble for obama since it already has and will cost him more white votes...since they ll be thinking wait first he didn't denounce those views and now they ll be like wait " he went to the church 20 years and was he that stupid that he didn't realize that Pastor Right shared such controversial views.

    April 29, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  48. Paula

    It is obvious who you endorse. If Obama did not make a statement about Rev. Wright he would be wrong. He made a statement and he is still wrong. Why do you keep on talking about it. You are the ones that keeps it alive. I am sure if you wanted to you could find something on Hillary but you find her angelic. We all know the illegal and under hand things the Clinton's have done and are still doing, but of course you don't know about that. How about the money they supposedly raised in one night? We are going to boycott your channel because we are tired of you continually bringing Obama down. You have no other news it seems. Please give it a rest.

    April 29, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  49. scott

    It seems that everyone is just waiting for Obama to fail. This race is over, Clinton cannot over take Barack in pledged delegate's and that is a fact. Yet, here we are in the final months trying to rip his campaigne apart and for what? The democratic party has a great leader in Obama, and a leader that will win the white house. Now stop jeopardizing the chances of a democrat from reaching the white house!!!!

    April 29, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  50. rick

    nice job, Hillary – whatever u paid Rev Wright was clearly enough for him to sell Obama out and throw him out the bus...

    April 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
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