Thursday, March 20, 2008
(4:38 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
OMG OMG Crazy Black Preacher!!!!This controversy about Jeremiah Wright is increasingly pissing me off. I find the overall tenor of his remarks to be completely correct, though I have been following our pathetic American public discourse enough to know that forthrightly pointing out the truth is a surefire way to be labelled a dangerous lunatic. So far, the only concrete falsehood he is supposed to have perpetrated is the notion that the government introduced HIV in an effort to exterminate African Americans. Surely we must denounce such slanderous lunacy!
Assuming this is actually false, I have to say that if I were part of a community that had been subjected to brutal medical testing in the past and that had been generally victimized by unprovoked terrorist acts by angry white mobs (including cases where the whites would go and burn down an entire black neighborhood or city, sometimes also killing every black person they could find) and that was by and large the victim of a continued program of de facto segregation, deprivation, and police brutality -- well then it might not be such a huge fucking stretch to think that a plague that is so disproportionately affecting blacks might have something purposeful about it.
The basic point I extracted from Obama's speech is simple: black resentment (including that of Jeremiah Wright) is based in reality, whereas white resentment is based in misrecognition (and even willful ignorance) of the real source of their problems. In terms of this basic rubric, I think that it's fair to say that even the conspiracy theories of the black community point to an actual historical grievance. It is absolutely impossible to line them up as equivalent to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, JFK assassination theories, 9/11 truthers, etc., etc., just as it is absolutely impossible to claim that black resentment toward whites is equivalent to white racism against blacks.
What's more, white preachers obviously believe all kinds of crazy things -- for instance, that political events in the Middle East should be manipulated so as to conform to some kind of magical heavenly code that will set off the end of the world. I don't think that Republicans are actually basing their foreign policy agenda on these idiotic theories, any more than anyone believes that Obama's first act in office will be to find and shut down the HIV Division of the Office for the Extermination of Negroes. But even here, we can see that there is no real equivalency. If someone actually were to act in line with the crazy evangelical preachers' theories, then we'd be starting World Wars III, IV, and V -- whereas if someone were to act in line with Wright's theory about HIV, we would be ... trying to halt the spread of HIV in the black community. It's the difference between pointless willful destruction and doing what we should be doing anyway.
The fact that anyone is fooled by this obvious double standard along the axis black/white (not to mention the axis left/right) is disgusting and shameful. Perhaps Clinton really is the better candidate than Obama -- but if this fucking idiocy is what makes the difference, then I don't know what else to do but to give up on any possibility of rational discourse in this country.