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. jacqueline

    In my opinion, Obama's excuse that while attending Rev.Wright's church for 20 years and being his friend but never heard his racist and divisive views is ridiculous. It astonishes me that anyone would believe this!! His wife's comment about never being proud of her country until now, and his failure to wear or salute the flag are telling. He is lying to the American public about his belief system. If he did not agree with Rev.Wright's views he would have attended another church. It is that simple. To overlook this would be irresponsible.

    April 30, 2008 at 10:22 am |
  2. Debbie, NJ

    I think in order to clear this whole thing up and get a full perspective of racism in Politics and America, Hillary and McCain need to address the voters on race as a forum just like Obama had to do. This is the only way for this country to now move on. Rev. Wright nor the media should be given this much power over the voters decision. Neither are running for office. I say shut up the media and Rev. Wright about the racial issue and let Clinton and McCain now speak since race has become part of this campaign.

    April 30, 2008 at 9:33 am |
  3. ekwus, Australia

    I went to church 3days ago(sunday) and frankly I dont remember a word of what the priest said.
    It amazes me that the right wing press is pinning Obama to Rev Wright to the extent that they are asking Rev Wright (whom they dont believe and have labelled a megalomaniac) to tell them who Obama is and seemingly dont believe Obama to say who he is.
    Tells me that there is only one agenda!!
    Chelsea Clinton says dont vote for her Mum based on what her father is or has done and here we are talking about Obama pinned down to explain what his pastor-on-sundays-for-twenty-years said or did not say because somehow he may have believed him. Obama is cast as a simpleton who is bathed and scrubbed by Rev Wright everyday because he is mentally retarded or else he worships the pastor .
    At the end of the day, its simply about Obama being the underdog, his audacity to be the front-runner against the established Clinton Machine.
    Only the comedian has the audacity to ask the question the fear-mongers are all alluding to but do not have the courage to ask- he asked Obama whether he was going to enslave the whole white race.
    The genuine and spontanous laughter put this issue to where it belongs-a joke!!
    But the fear-mongers have turned a joke to fear and reduced America to Rwanda where the tutsis and Hutsies are in mortal fear of each other. American shame!!
    Every 3rd world despot who rigs elections in his country now refers to Al Gore/ Bush as an excuse. Tell me what happens after Obama is not elected as POTUS. What will America tell the World about democracy!!

    April 30, 2008 at 9:20 am |
  4. DL

    I think Rev.Wright has more character than Obama on this whole controversy. The Rev. has defended for himself and his followers, has spoken consistently about his opinions.

    Unlike Sen.Obama, his speeches are inconsistent and unjustifiable. Maybe Wright is right: Obama is a politician. Wright get my sympathy on the issue

    April 30, 2008 at 7:34 am |
  5. Chris

    Since most of the comments on here are concerning the Wright incident, I might as well say a few things about it. I'm sure Obama feels like he's d*mned if he does and d*mned if he doesn't. If he doesn't denounce his pastor people are upset. If he does, people still complain. I hope he realizes that the people complaining the most about this were people who had no intentions of voting for him before the reverend wright controversy.

    I respect Obama because his message has not changed since DAY 1 last year. It was a powerful message that had America flocking to him. American were so moved by his words and motivated by them. Nobody had any question in their mind of his patriotism as they broke into tears listening to what he had to say about this country. But as he got closer to winning and the lame attacks started to fly, America has been distracted from that message. He still speaks that same message everyday out on the stump. But the American people have been misdirected by the slide of hand trick into focusing on what Wright and anybody else around Obama without coming close to piercing the armor of the candidate himself.

    I sympathize with Obama. He was making a bet on the American people that they were hungry for change in the way that politics are run in this country. While the bickering was quiet America said yes we want change. But once the politics as usual started up, America did not realize that it's not just the responsibility of the candidates to change their retoric. But the responsibility of the citizens to not get absorbed into the rhetoric.

    April 30, 2008 at 7:31 am |
  6. Chris

    As a black man, I nominate Anderson Cooper as the next black leader of America since his view tends to represent my views better than any of the other so called "black leaders."

    April 30, 2008 at 7:20 am |
  7. garychapelhill

    This is a very facile and insulting take on race. It is columns like this one that are the very roadblocks to really discussing race in this country. You are nothing but an apologist for Obama once again using race as a tool to shame otherwise decent people into second guessing themselves. Shame on you, and how dare you once again insinuate that Hillary Clinton is the one behind the very devisive racial politics which you yourself are injecting into the dialogue. Absolute trash.

    April 30, 2008 at 7:09 am |
  8. Monica in Florida

    I am annoyed by this idea that there is a "black church" and Rev. Wright speaks for it. There is no more a "black church" than there is a "white church." The idea that there is a "black church" presupposes that all black people think alike. Rev. Wright speaks for himself. He does not speak for Senator Obama. And please, let us give the man the respect that he is due given the office he holds – Senator – rather than referring to him as just “Obama.” Rev. Wright is not Senator Obama's child. He does not have legal liability for his conduct. Likewise, Senator Obama should have no political liability for Rev. Wright's conduct.
    Since there exists an overwhelming concern for accountability, let's hold Pat Buchanan accountable for his March 21, 2008, "Brief for Whitey." If Rev. Wright needs to be held accountable for his words, let's hold this former presidential speech writer and candidate accountable for his racist tirade.

    April 30, 2008 at 6:09 am |
  9. Marie

    i am a female Cameroonian and i have been following the elections up very seriously, considering they are never clear in my own country.

    it was always exciting for me from the beginning to think a woman could be the president of the most important nation in the world..oh yes, thats the United States but that doesnt mean there are uneducated people there, criminals and racist. this simply means we are all human beings. if i immigrate to the US i ùay end up at "black church" but that doesnt mean i am racist its just a sort of culturals comfort

    i begin to wonder if the Rev Wright as elloquent and educated as he is, if he isnt trying to set up Obama. believe me Americans i am just a foreigner who follows up your electiosn: if Obama doesnt winthe nomination the demacratic party is in for lots of probs bc i beleive Mrs Clinton fights so mean she might lead u guys to war one day

    just my humble opinion

    April 30, 2008 at 5:20 am |
  10. Renee

    We all (or those of us that attend church) go to churches where we may not agree with what our pastor's are saying sometimes. That is reality. No person sees eye to eye ALL the time with any person. Obama, most likely, really loves his pastor and is probably at this point very hurt that he has to distance himself, but that does not mean he agrees with those particular comments. I attend a large church in Houston, and sometimes I go to church, enjoy church, love my pastor but may not agree with something he said on that particular day that. That does not mean he's a bad person or that his comments are unwarranted. His comments are a based on his experience and I may not understand that experience. It's the same with Rev. Wright. Barack can totally have attended a church for 20 years and NOT agree with those particular comments. To help you understand I'll give this example – if you are married, you don't always agree with everything your spouse says but that does not mean you leave (at least you don't if you're wise). Barack is doing more to distance himself now because he thought this story would die down in time, but it was revived with pastor Wright's recent speeches. Barack is not being fickle. He's just doing the best he can to stay afloat in a nation where ALL odds are still, sadly to say, against him.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:19 am |
  11. Mike

    The problem Obama has is that it appears that he was a member of this church and stuck with it for so long to curry political favor with his constituency in Chicago...to 'prove' he is black enough. Now, it appears he is denouncing his pastor for political reasons, in order to be acceptable to his (hoped for) new constituency...to 'prove' he is not racist.

    But, he *does* appear to be political. And one of his main appeals was that he was different, a change from the usual politicians we have all grown so tired of. Now, he just looks like another one of those politicians, willing to do or say whatever gets him elected. Doesn't make him any worse than the alternative white candidates, but the problem is, many people hoped he was better than that.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:12 am |
  12. Edith

    It is not true to say Black are this frustrated. I am a Black woman and I do not allow myself to be a victim. Blacks should stop using anger and the past as an excuse for anything but positive movements to improving themselves in the US and the wider world.

    America is NOT the only country in the world. What about the image and plight of Blacks living in places like Europe (where I am based now after living in America most of my life), Africa and other places. Being Black is not just about skin colour but character, faith and integrity.

    Black Americans need to stop the "I was wronged tape"....and start fresh. Find positive ways to impact society.

    I refused to put the fate of my life in the hands of anyone and my destiny is not tied to Whites, Blacks or any one person or thing. It is my faith the transcends me and what I hope everyone into ONE race....human.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:52 am |
  13. HP

    I perplexed as to how the media became the issue when it's Rev. Wright's comments that bubbled the issue to the surface. Why is there no outcry from others besides Obama in the black community over Rev. Wright's against whites and America in general? Is this what they truly believe?

    April 30, 2008 at 4:40 am |
  14. Richard Kahn

    I grew up in the inner city and respect people of all race and color. I always thought that the Federals Union white Civil War soldiers who fought and died to free the black slaves, provided a tangible loss of life behind the gift of freedom. More whites died in that war than ALL wars combined. Of the 2.7 million Union fighters, a HUGE percentage of the population in the 1860's, over 360,000 lost their lives for the cause. In 4 major battles alone, some 10-17,000 Federals were killed in EACH. Not to mention the enormous wounded. And in those days, they just cut off limbs of wounded. I would think that in honor of those who lost their lives, and the myriad of families whose loss was a tremendous sacrifice, that mention of this historic fact whenever any descendent of any slave makes accusations of inequity... should be a requirement of thankfullness. Those white sacrifices earned their recognition in the blood of death, dimemberment and familial loss. As We deserve some credit for that, and at least "honorable mention".

    April 30, 2008 at 4:39 am |
  15. stepehn yong

    Subject Obama's speech to a lie detector test because I don't think he is being truthful re Rev Wright. He has known him for over 20 maybe 30 years and doesn't know "him"??

    April 30, 2008 at 4:24 am |
  16. Adam C

    speaking as a white, working class male, with all the privilege that i automatically am given in this country can i just use that privilege for a second to say that its about time someone in the mainstream media actually had something intelligent to say about the current racial divisions in our country. bravo.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:53 am |
  17. Betty

    For Obama ti think that we believe what he has to say now is a joke in its self. YOU will never convince me that he has been taught this for 20 years and BELIEVES and stands for Rev. Wrights beliefs!
    He is just trying to look good now that the truth has come to light about his religion and beliefs. For anyone to over look this and believe otherwire is BLIND and DEAF because they want to be!

    April 30, 2008 at 3:00 am |
  18. michelle

    The chickens have come home to roost! Sen. Obama sold Rev. Wright out, this in his own words, when he stated that he did not speak with him before his Philadelphia press conference and now he want to say he feels disrespected. Grow Up!!!!! This man has no character, no back bone. He is the one that stated the Rev. Wright is my spiritual advisor, etc. He is now learning about the media and sound bites and not liking this side of the political game and it is only going to get worst. Because the more you hide and denounce your former pastor, the more the media is going to research your past with him. The truth will come out and prove that he is not the man that your want to portray to the ordinary Joe.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:57 am |
  19. sc in sc

    Am I the only one who heard Mr.Obama say today during his press conference that " as of today" Rev. Wright nolonger speaks for me or this campaign. So I take it that until today the Rev. Wright has the blessing of Mr. Obama and his campaign. Now I have watched the Rev. Wright and I find that he said the same thing that one of Mr. Obamas senior economic adviser said to a Canadian government official that Mr. Obamas anti-NAFTA retoric should be taken with a grain of salt because he is trying to take a political positioning than his true stance. Funny how a man who has know Mr. Obama for 20 years, the same man who married him and baptized his two children seems to be saying the same thing, don't believe what he is saying he is a politician, he really does not mean what he is saying.. Hello

    April 30, 2008 at 2:47 am |
  20. James Cee

    Mr kevin Jezts shows how narrow minded and ignorant he is. I am a black man and i know that what most black people desire is a better racially integrated America. We should be looking into the future and stop blaming our lack of purpose and direction on whites. Obama and numerous other blacks have shown that hard work and deligence can break any boundary. If Obama had n't raised himself from the mind set of people like Kevin, he would not be where he is today. America should learn from its past. The world is filled with evil people! everywhere including America, Whites, Blacks.... But we should overcome evil with good.
    Obama represents this new focus to the future! The new HOPE, the new PAGE. The time to continue in the old ways are gone. CHANGE is the word. Went OBama came with this message it inspired us. Let this inspiration grow to fruition.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:37 am |
  21. Mike White

    The poster Kevin Jetz is the kind of blatant idiot that the black community doesn't need on its side. Bringing up what a country did 50, 100, 200, 400 years ago doesn't solve a damned thing! Every country that ever was and will ever be will have those dark, and unmentionable periods in their history–periods of genocide, periods of hate, and periods of exclusion. Justifying your own hatred and violence of America, the white community, and the goverment on the back of what evils our country did in its past is both destructive and ignorant. While we should never forget such atrocities in our Nation's past, it's vermin like Rev. (and I use that term very loosely) Wright and Louis Farrakhan who continue to needle their blind masses with thoughts of hate, revenge, conspiracy, and distrust. And then they say they believe in God...in Jesus...wow. Oh Black Community, will you ever wake up and fight your oppressors with the light of truth, whether they be your black oppressors or your white oppressors? Will you forever wallow in self pity and destruction? Have you the courage to stand together and bury the ghettos of this country-to stop the slaughter of your people by their own hand? Raise up!

    April 30, 2008 at 2:35 am |
  22. clarity

    Truth– Obama's candidacy was an uphill struggle against racial tensions in this country. So all of this back and forth questioning about race not being an issue today and then again tomorrow is so untruthful. This is a country built on the backs of black people provided free labor that was the bedrock of the properous southern lifestyle. We wish we didn't have to look back– but we still have to deal with all of our flaws as a country. No one can truthfully say everyone is treated equally in this country, never was never will be. So a man by the name of Wright comes along and tells us different does not equate being less of a person and the xenophobes are upset– the ones who walk on eggshell and don't want to upset the status quo- only because you do not want to deal with the realities of pain and guilt which continues to fester in America. Jeremiah forced us to look at ourselves bared down to our collective American conciousness-He simply provide the mirror for us to see our reflections– and we are offended because we don't like what we see. It isn't his fault or problem– it's ours.

    Simple look at how some undeveloped minds in America are reacting to the REV WRIGHT'S WORDS.
    Why are so many people upset with what Wright spoke?
    truth: "He defended his earlier comparison of U.S. Marines to the Roman soldiers who killed Jesus, saying the "notion of imperialism" is the same. Killing is wrong– period. Look how many innocent lives we destroyed in Iraq– American and Iraqi– wrong is wrong. Apologize for slavery? Clinton did it once, why not again– America apologized for putting Japanese in camps.
    Truth to power is dangerous- only if we choose to associate Wright with Obama. Wright was speaking on Wright- not for anyone else.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:32 am |
  23. Jonathan

    I was happy and content, delighted that the Democratic Party had two wonderful candidates, one a woman and the other an African-American. I was leaning toward Hillary because she studies the issues, because of her maturity, and because she is always prepared with an answer. But I was impressed with Obama's ability to lead and inspire people and his remarkable growth demonstrated from beginning to present of his campaign. I was excited that America had taken such a dramatic step forward over our ingrained racism.

    Along came Jeremiah Wright. I know that there are many, like Jeremiah Wright, who are hopelessly mired in their prejudiced thoughts. I accept that. I am saddened by it. But I know it is still reality in the USA today. I believe that nearly all Americans are racists. Race has far too great an impact in all our thinking. We need to all recognize that and begin to deal with it.

    But my disappointment is not with Jeremiah Wright, rather with Barack Obama. I was really beginning to believe that a young man had come forth who could help to bridge our racial gap. But that's not him. He is the guy who said (1) Jeremiah Wright was like a crazy uncle, (2) h

    April 30, 2008 at 2:29 am |
  24. Kiesha

    you are the reason I watch CNN!

    April 30, 2008 at 2:28 am |
  25. Tadashi Davis

    Barack Obama is being held to a higher standard. Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain have aquaintences that would make Rev. Wright look like an innocent schoolboy. Why are white peole so quick to dismiss Obama over something another man said? It is scary to see that white america is so quick to "move acroos the street" on Barack Obama. This past week has spoken volumes of race relations in America.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:24 am |
  26. Dave

    to steve:
    Having lived in some other countries, I've got to say it's largely for the money. If they could receive the same wage and/or education (also for the money) in their home country, many would stay. For evidence of this, consider that people who formerly emigrated to the UK from Eastern Europe are heading back after the EU expansion since economic conditions are rapidly improving.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:14 am |
  27. Rhonda

    What Rev Wright said was wrong. This is the reason I do not have faith in the churches. Rev Wright is a pastor a servant of God, a person who is suppose to bring people into the church not run them away. Its a sad day when a man you trusted for 20 years betray you the way this man has betrayed Obama. What Rev Wright said was said out of anger and people who judge Obama based on what Rev Wright has stated is wrong. All I can say is a true servant of God would have never took the road Rev Wright took.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:10 am |
  28. Jim

    Media pundits are brought on to your show as though they need to tell us what to think. Your viewers when presented with objective reporting can think for themselves. The pundits brought on are not objective but have political agendas.

    Reverend Wright spoke the truth. People are different not deficient. That is not racist. The government of this great country has and is making many mistakes. It is patriotic to point them out, learn from them and not repeat them. It is ignorant not patriotic to believe everything our country does is right. Help make the country greater by electing a president who believes this is a country of all the people by all the people and for all the people not just the wealthy minority.

    Obama was given bad advice to throw Rev. Wright under the bus. Reverend Wright should have been advised to avoid the event. Obama explained himself in Philadelphia he should have moved on to other questions and not take the bait.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:56 am |
  29. Tom Justice

    Wright has positioned himself as our the number two ego maniacal narcissist constitutionally incapable of being honest with himself, falling just behind Ralph "Don Quixote" Nader, who edges him out for the top spot only because of his repeated ventures into the depths of the hellhole known as blind self-righteousness.

    Obama is the brightest light that many of us has seen on the political horizon in our lifetimes. Just as principled as Gene McCarthy in the 60's, or George McGovern in the 70's, yet probably brighter than either of them, but most importantly, gifted with a savvy not fueled by ambition as much as by some kind of natural instinct for doing the right thing, even when he's wronged.

    Hopefully, Americans will be wise enough to see his candidacy as a once in a lifetime chance to break the mold of the plasticized poll-driven politicos who inevitably seem to forget why they got into public service in the first place by the time they are mature enough succeed in a major election.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:49 am |
  30. Niliad

    Twenty Years and now he is denouncing WRight, his insperational leader, his friend, uncle and mentor !?Talk about saying anything to win.
    I believe this is a conspiracy that OBama, Axelrod and Wright has
    come up with...Why all of a sudden does Wright come out?
    These people will do anything for the presidency!

    Obama, Wright and Axelrod have made this about race since Iowa!
    Obama and his preacher of twenty years are two of a kind!
    TWENTY YEARS!!! how can he tell us that he did not know!
    By the way where is Michelle, the one who thought America was a mean America, first time she was proud of America and lets not forget her theseis..She has also demonstrated the same under currents mentality as Wright only with with caution.. Wake Up America and read betwenn the lines!Rread the under current of his last speech, which Obama brought out race to divert Americans from the real reason His Mentor's hatred towards America and his radical racisim.
    Why would someone stay with an Anti-America radical racist for TWenty Years and now for Political purpose he comes out and denounces. his mentor, friend, uncle like???.Does Obama think Americans are mindless?
    To Little To Late...Lie with dogs you get up with flees, tell me who your friends are , I'll tell who you are...all these saying from the olden days
    are oh so true....Lets not forget them!!!

    April 30, 2008 at 1:49 am |
  31. John Sanchez


    I'm embarassed to say I was a Obama supporter. Now, Obama speaks out against Rev. Wright when he's losing ground against Clinton and polls show him unable to defeat McCain. This has raised a red flag with me...an obvious one!

    He speaks so often, almost daily, about McCain and Clinton saying that they say whatever they need to say to get elected, "playing the old game of politics." It's funny how now he's seems to be doing it. If you ask me...I think he's been playing us all along.

    I am glad to see him speak out against the Reverend and his hatred but why so late in the game B?

    Does this mean that after 20 years of close ties to the Reverend and his church that you never saw things so clearly until now???

    I doubt it. I'm glad I for one can at least see things clearly now.

    People don't change who they are over night. I certainly don't expect to believe Obama has suddenly, miraculously, seen the light now! Not without any self serving reason, like becoming President of the United States for example.

    He's invested too much time, energy, effort and money to not try and save himself now. Even other peoples financial investments of this candidate are on the line....Again, how suddenly convenient!

    He should have just answered the questions more honestly and quickly seperated himself from Rev. Wright when asked at the Pennsylvania debate, when he had the chance....but no!

    Does this mean he will be straight with the American people now and say. "I, Barack Obama, was wrong." I am no longer associating myself with this man ever again."

    Don't hold your breath. After 20 years of friendship, mentorship even, I doubt we will ever hear those words. Obama is not one to quickly offer up an "I was wrong." I mean come on! I know about 20 people whose marriages have lasted only a year. 20 years he befriended this man! 20!!!

    Even when pressed in the Pennsylvania debate about Wright he skirted around the issue. He even complained about the questioning. The American people have a right to know!!! So...Why now?? Why speak against him now B? Suddenly you're so forthcoming.

    Why else people? But to win!!!! It sickens me!

    Don't be snowed people. This man is no better than everyone else he's accused of lying and playing the political game. He is after all a politician. In fact, he's worse! He tried to pass himself off as one way and now come soff as another. I feel I should maybe thank Reverend Wright for showing us Obama's true colors.

    Extremely disapointed former supporter,

    J. Sanchez

    April 30, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  32. ObamaSupporter238

    Im going with Hillary now. For sure. No doubt about it. I was very interested in Obama but he has turned out to be a real guessing game. His friend Rev Wright is a nutt and I dont think this is news to Obama after twenty years of friendship. At least Hillary owned up to her mistakes... Obama is still blaming others.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:42 am |
  33. Ken

    Reading these comments just goes to show how little we have moved forward on race. When I heard the speech Obama gave in Philadelphia I thought in some way it would bring race to the forefront and there could be a positive dialogue. I'm half black and hispanic and I'm so disgusted in reading some of the comments, society continues to keep the US divided. The media does not help when they continue to give this Wright character the stage. Here we are in a recession are economy is in shambles, are jobs are going overseas and health care for Americans is a joke. For the first time we can nominate a black or a female for president and all the media knows how to do is to divide America even more!

    April 30, 2008 at 1:42 am |
  34. John - IL

    Racism will exist forever at the rate we are going. It not only exist in America but overseas as well. Not particularly against a certain race but also religion or region. People have instilled throughout history beliefs. Beliefs have carried from generation to generation and so on. I am fortunate enough to have an open mind and except people for who they are not what they appear to be. Stereotypes are far to common and to most very hard to overcome. I am white and my sisters all had with relationships interacially leading to marriage. There are differences between people as I have learned over years. This country stands for all ethnic and religious groups. Most people I have been in contact with other then white people feel as if this country devides them. The politcal campaign for one is seperating votes. Why? This is about the people of America. This isn't about black, white, hispanic, asian and other races including gender. This is about American votes for two American people working, not working, high class, middle or low. The media continues to play out the race and along with class. Who care about the polls or white working class people or non educated blacks or high class income or hispanic vote. If you are American your vote counts and it shouldn't towards a catagory. Stop, it's easy stop seperating and just use words wisely. Obama got 55% of the vote Hillary received 45%. That way your not specifying who's who and it's about the vote.

    My comments towards Rev. Wright are simple. He can say what he wants and the 1st ammendment gives him that right. Everyone who's posted here can make their own minds up if his statements are right or wrong. To what this has to do with a presidential campaign means nothing to me. I voted Obama and still support him.

    This is about Obama not about Rev. Wright nor Bill Clinton. By the way Barack is half black not 100% to everyone who keeps characterizing him as black. That there is a racist filing also. He has a black father and a white mother. We have someone who understands both sides and each race are trying to take a side from him. He is not someone who was considered part of the first black presidency (Clinton) and does not use working for poor folks as a reel and bait move to get votes (hillary). He was raised in a white household and worked for all groups on the Chicago's southside. Maybe we should pay more attention and we can progress under someone who better understands. Stop seperating it's only making racism existant and makes all of us ignorant.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  35. Chris Foreman

    Please stop showing Rev. Wright every 5 minutes of the day. I am tired of this whole process. Tell me something that matters to my life. Tell me how to get a cheaper gallon of gas. Tell me how to keep American jobs from going over seas. Tell me how to keep China from shipping millions of goods to the USA everyday while we ship the empty boxes back for more crap!!! Tell me where Osama Bin Laden is. Tell me how the troops are going to come home and stay longer than two weeks. These issues matter to me ... Blacks and Whites ... Latinos and Asians we all have children that are going to suffer if we don't start getting our acts together SOON!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 at 1:33 am |
  36. Darla

    The whole controversay re Obama vs Reverand Wright is real affirmation as to why politics and religion don't mix! If Mr. Wright wants to be a politician ... he needs to get out of the business of religion. If Mr. Wright wants to get into politics ... fine, run for public office as a citizen. Don't use your pulpit as a 'bully pulpit'.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  37. Laura

    April 29th, 2008 10:32 pm ET

    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 p

    When someone is preaching hate and you sit in the pews every Sunday, you must agree with what they are preaching. I know of people who are haters and will not attend a peaceful loving church. I know people who do not believe in heaven, you will not see them in church. When someone is running to be president of the US. They better not be racist or anti american. do you understand what the president of the United States supposed to mean? Grow up and come back 15 years from now, and you will understand.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:29 am |
  38. Gunnar

    Again, a fault of honesty for those that are claiming that Barack is being less than genuine.

    Guys, this was the pastor of his Church. He was not is live-in lover, as Pat Buchanan would have you believe when he keeps repeating that they had been intimate for 20 years.

    It was also the pastor of the church of many, many movers and shakers – and regular folks – in the Chicago area, and it was also the pastor that President Clinton called upon when he had to ask for forgiveness for committing adultery with a young WH intern in the Oval Office, while HIllary stood by and did nothing. Hillary has been associating her whole adult life with a man, in fact she is married to him, who has repeatedly, admittedly committed adultery.

    Also, as I understand it is not a "Black Church," as some have said but is a church that has substantial participation from white and other communities.

    But, hey, that's OK because one time in our life Hillary said we should have universal health care but totally blew any chance to achieve it because she was so egocentric that she refused to seek any help in really making this happen. She and Bill did not stand up for us, they just laid down and the let the special interests, well... we won't go there.

    People, if you want another Clinton to represent you – fine.

    If you want to continue the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynasty, then vote Hillary.

    Let's just hope that she approves cheap meds from Canada.

    Of course, it is clear that the majority are ready to move on.

    Let's move on.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:26 am |
  39. Rob

    Obama maintains the character and qualities to transcend race and unite our country. To unite us regardless of race, religous belief, gender, sexual orientation, etc.. The consequences of this struggle can result in a discussion that can help us with accepting and appreciating all of our differences while uniting us all to be better to each other. Senator Obama has inspired me, a 36 year old white independent from small town Iowa. I have seen the inspiration spread. These detours provide opportunities for us to address at our core many of the struggles that have faced many in our country for generations and bring us together. That is exactly what his campaign has been about. Please don't let these become instead a barrier. He is not a win at all costs politician. He is a caring, outstanding individidual from a diverse background that truly understands what our country is made of. It is how me manage conflict that we will improve. We can choose seperatist, or we can be inspired by a leader that is on message of transcending our differences and making us want to be better people.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:19 am |
  40. suzhanna elam

    What are we all talking about? While the media's responsibilities are numerous and increasingly demanding, I am preplexed by the obvious omission of the of the complexity Wright-Obama relationship. It is, and is not , about race and politics. Are we Americans really so shallow that we cannot have a more sophisiticated discussion? This is not so simple.

    I would be very interested in a discussion of what it means for a black man born into two different and divided racial cultures to untangle this oversimplified drama in a public forum.

    How does a man love and cherish a father figure who has radically different views? Where are these questions for the panelists, commentators, bloggers? It would be wonderful to hear from other mixed race people about what it is like to struggle between two cultures.Most of us have had influential mentor, parents, siblings, friends who we love deeply but who do not share our beliefs. This is the nature of important and lasting relationships.
    Why are we expecting perfection?

    On a psychological level, I see a "father" figure who is enraged at a "son" for achieving something great without him. On a racial and political level, I see a "father" figure who is incredulous and deeply envious to think that this mixed race-black man can navigate the challenges of a racially polarized society. How inadequate Rev Wright must feel.
    Let's hear about the reality of human relationships.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  41. Matt Norris

    I think I have had about enough of the Indirect character assassination of Barack Obama.

    Please put this to rest immediately. Let's not fool each other, most of us know this is ludicrous. This is ONE story that has very little impact, yet its blown up to where it seems like the biggest thing since Bill Clinton cheated on his wife.

    I think Im going to try a test. Im going to shut my TV off and not watch the news for the next week and hope that when I turn the TV back on you guys will finally have MOVED on.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:15 am |
  42. Shawn in SAC

    I don't make a ton of money, but I just gave Obama $100. I think he's honest, good, smart man. I want a President that will work hard for the country and I see that in him.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:14 am |
  43. Edward Kelly

    Rev. Wright has fed the racial divide and lent aide to haters, just as Obama said today. I watched Obama finally sadly but unequivocally disown Wright, and although I don't support Obama I believe he was being honest and my respect for him has grown. The problem is partially the national media's fault – not for bringing up Rev. Wright (he put himself out front and center the last four days), but for not doing it sooner when it might not have been so deadly. We find out now that Rev. Wright in an interview with the New York Times a year ago suggested that Obama might have to distance himself – so at least Wright knew that some of his positions were too radical. Obama was being treated with kid gloves by the media until recently and getting a free pass. Be honest, the media and much of the Democratic Party establishment supports Obama, and they have actually been falling over themselves trying to explain away Rev. Wright's statements as just being misunderstood or taken "out of context." It will be interesting if these same apologists now fall in line with Obama and discover that Wright was wrong all along.

    Yes, Black culture and church is more emotional and demonstrative, and that is part of what is so jarring to Whites (and part of where Wright was right). Yes Blacks have suffered discrimination, and in the past much worse. But the fact is that Rev. Wright's theology and his radical political views are not even accepted by a large majority of Black churchgoers. And most Blacks do not believe that the U.S. government invented and planted AIDS, is a terrorist nation with no more moral stature than Al Queda, that homosexuality should be celebrated, or that Jesus was only a prophet and Islam is equal to Christianity. Rev. Wright is indeed intelligent and probably in many ways a good man, but he was grandstanding and putting his own smart-alecky selfish interest above that of the first serious Black presidential candidate and exposing his own cockeyed ideas too blatantly. Obama finally got it. Now many of his supporters are in a quandry – do they cling to their defense of Wright or their loyalty to Obama. That will be interesting to watch.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:14 am |
  44. jathke

    Kevin Jetz >> If I lived in a country where I felt as you do, I'd consider leaving for a better place to live and raise my kids. Why would I want to stay in a place where I feel I'm hated and where I am already dead?

    This is 2008, access to other parts of the world is easier now than ever before. Why not take advantage of it if it means you'll be happier and better off?

    I just can't see why some people both black and white who trash America as if they were held here against their will. Why remain in an environment where you are consumed with hate as you seem to be?

    Life is too short to live with hate or fear. You have to be responsible for you and your family. No one is going to hand anything to you on a silver platter – not that you are asking for that. Your life is your choice, you can live it however you decide.

    But if it were up to me, I'd give serious thought into moving away from America, especially if I felt as you stated you do. You need to evaluate what you gain by staying in America and feeling as you do with moving to another country and starting a new and hopefully better life.

    Some people become so used to their environment, no matter how bad it is, they feel as though they can never escape. I read in the news all the time where women are abused by their boyfriend or husband repeatedly but never leave. It's almost like they loved being abused, although, I don't think that is the case.

    I think they are mentally stuck in their situation and getting over the hurdle of the fear of change and starting all over out weighs an easier choice of remaining with a life they know and are accustom too.

    Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to help them open their eyes and see there's nothing to fear about beginning a new life. However, more often than not, the fear becomes stronger than any prison ever built.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:08 am |
  45. Jules

    Is it so hard to believe that the government or people in government could do some bad things? When will we wake up and smell the coffee? I know that Rev. Wright seemed upset but doesn’t he have the right to be? Think for a second. What if you were on vacation out of the country and came back to the U.S. to find your face all over the news because the media has a good story with sound bites that will score huge ratings; how would you feel? Dr. Wright did not ask for this to happen to him, his church or his family. He was thrusted into this media induced controversy, not asking for the attention at all. He has been made to look like a fool while both his family and church have received threats by the true “wackos,” of the world. Yes, in the good ole’ U.S. of A. our first amendment rights are not protected from the “wackos.” We cannot say what we believe even if there is proof of neglect or misconduct by our own government. Why are we so afraid to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and apologize for slavery and injustice to the descendants of slaves? It is easier to make Rev. Wright the scapegoat because we do not want to believe that some of what he is saying is true. It is easier to condemn a man that has lived through Jim Crow, the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of Medger Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John and Robert Kennedy without understanding that these experiences shape who he is. I guess it is not easy to understand that someone can criticize this country and still love it. It is possible for Dr. Wright to speak passionately about America because he cares and wants to make it a better place for not only Black Americas but for all citizens. How else can you explain his 6 year voluntary service in the United States Marine Corps? He was serving our country when many of our elected officials were dodging the opportunity to do so. He is a man who has earned the right to criticize our government. That’s right; he criticized our government NOT the American people.
    Does anyone remember how long it took for this country to aid the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? Does anyone know about the Port Chicago situation or the Tuskegee Experiment? Long after the headlines from these events fade from topics at your dinner table and from the forefront of your minds, people of color remember and internalize them. The real issue here is America’s inability to understand the Black experience in this country. African-American people understood terrorism long before 911. We survived lynching in the South and Jim Crow in the North, substandard housing and education. We fought for civil rights and continue to fight discrimination today, even though we are told (by those who don’t experience it) to get over it….that it’s a thing of the past and that we shouldn’t “hold on” to the past. Yet, the reality of the situation stops us driving while Black. And so we want to get bent out of shape because Rev. Wright says things that don’t make us feel like we “should all just get along”. Maybe his words should make us uncomfortable enough to address the past, have honest dialogue with resolution and move on from it. We should not have to disown, denounce or reject Dr. Wright just because we don’t feel all warm and fuzzy when he speaks. If White America was genuine in wanting to have the ‘race conversation’, now would be the time to come together, analyze the preaching of Dr. Wright and several others while beginning to bring closure to the wrongs that have never been addressed by leadership in this country. Yet, I see his comments reduced to bullying Barrack Obama into disowning him. Well, the media got their demand, as well as all you cool-aid drinkers; however I predict that it won’t be enough to satisfy the bloodlust. I predict that more demands will be made on the candidate to reject and denounce others he knows. Like none of us have ever strongly disagreed with people we know yet continued to associate with them. Think people, if we only associated with people we agreed with we’d be really narrow minded people. But that’s how prejudice continues to exist anyhow. So all you pen-heads continue to associate in you small little groups, with only people you know, like and agree with you.
    Those of us that really want a change will continue to support Barrack Obama. For as much as I see wrong with this country, I am still hopeful that we can come together to make this country and the world the best that it can be.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:03 am |
  46. Marcus

    I was a strong supporter for Obama but now I can't even believe what he has to say because when my friends lie to me, I just cut them loose and find really friends. I find it hard to believe he doesn't feel the same as the Rev. Sorry my support is starting to go toward Hillary because she has not assoicate herself with anybody that is a bad person.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:03 am |
  47. Alaskan Native

    It's about time. Wake up America, wake up.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:03 am |
  48. RLR

    forgive him for he knows not what he does....sad way to exit the ministry and sell books and hit the late nite circuit....no Semper Fidelis coming his way from fellow Marines...he has been written off as a human being and i don't mean a God-like figure!

    April 30, 2008 at 1:01 am |
  49. Eric-PA

    I don't believe anything Obama says. His speech today was to save his own butt. I bet he truly agrees with everything Wright has said in the past. Nothing Wright said in the past few days was any different from what we've heard from the so called snippets. In Philadelphia he couldn't disown Wright, but he can. Yeah, because his poll numbers are dropping.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:01 am |
  50. Mischae Locke

    With that said, I believe that Rev. Wright is the least of our problems. There are greater issues to confront in our society and playing his sermons time after time will do no good for this election or any future efforts to unite a divided country.

    April 30, 2008 at 12:58 am |
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