Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's benediction preacher forgets that it is no longer 1963

Talk about being stuck in the past and expressing it in a most racist and cynical fashion. The Reverend Doctor Joseph Lowery ended today's inaugural benediction with an embarassing, cringe-worthy ode to identity politics, and he uttered it in a way that would make you believe that since the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, we haven't made one iota of progress at all.

In the name of context, I have linked the entire 5-and-a-half minute benediction, but the embarrassing part comes right at 5:00:

... and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back; when brown can stick around; when yella can be mella; when the red man can get ahead man; and when white will embrace what is right....
OK, I get it; he was trying to inject a little levity. However, I have two problems with what Lowery said. First was his use of future tense - he was talking about a day that has yet to arrive, where the minorities of this country are still being held down by the evil white man who has yet to "embrace what is right." And he is saying this at the inauguration of this country's first black president for crying out loud! Talk about anachronistic! Second was Lowery's obvious slam against whites. Could he have been any more racist - assigning nefarious intentions to an entire race? Perhaps the good reverend should remember that this country's electorate is still 70% white. For Obama to win, quite a few of us palefaces had to have voted for him.

For all the talk of a "post-racial" America in light of Obama's arrival in the White House, I see race relations in this country becoming paradoxically more sensitive and more vicious in the coming four years. Joseph Lowery's race-baiting benediction served as a frightening harbinger of things to come.

Good Day to You, Sir


Darren said...

I'm glad you wrote this. Now I don't have to. Great minds must think alike!

Rachelle said...

My family was appaled that the last words of this infamous inauguration were a slanderous swipe toward white people. What would have happened if Bush would have ended his inauguration slandering the black race? I'm sure it wouldn't have been ignored by the media!