Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another POV on the Wright Thing

People send me things and sometimes I repost them (after first researching them) and sometimes I forget to repost them.

This was sent to me via email a little bit ago this morning, and while it's sort of an "explosive" subject, I'm all about "fair reporting" and "sharing knowledge" when I think something is important. And this is important.

This subject in particular, the contents of Reverend Wrights speeches, is something I've been mulling over. But a coupla things... I don't intend to be a "political" blogger or a person who has only one point of view... I'm not aiming for a particular audience. This blog is very much like my design portfolio and very much like my life and ethnic make up. Sort of all-over-the-place... a big bowl of spaghetti. When I was finishing Pratt and working on my portfolio, I agonized over what to include and what to chuck, and was often told by my advisers "You don't have a 'look'. You need a 'look'; ADs/CD's won't know where to put you or how to use you if you don't stick to a theme".

Huh. You should know, if you're a frequent reader or know me in real life how that just rankled the hackles, right?

Ultimately, after spending money on a special case and mounting boards and carefully printed things tastefully mounted, my current portfolio is a plastic file box of actual things I've done that have been printed; post cards, newspaper ads, business cards. Fuck it, if I don't fit into a slot. I can't be what I'm not. I'm NOT focused. I do what you ask me... and if you need a "look" and show it to me, I'll make it look exactly like what you want. Afterall, isn't that the whole point of what I do?

And with this blog, well, I confess I don't do anything halfway... and ultimately it would be nice if someone reads something and offers me a (freelance) gig writing about something... but I write about whatever's tangled up in my head. So I don't only post one point of view.

But the Wright Flap has been bugging me on a profound level, and I'm not into "polarizing" and I wasn't going to tackle it without careful research, and it was too overwhelming to me right now to take that one on.

You see, the bottom line is, while I disagree with some of what the Pastor has said, I completely understand where he's coming from, and it's why I completely understood why Obama didn't throw the man under the bus, like people wanted him to.

Luckily, someone else did the research, came up with the examples, and wrote the piece. And so I'm going to repost part of it, and link you to the original source. It's not nessesarily my opinion, but it's a very well-written piece from another point of view.

I hope you'll read it.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and the Audacity of Truth
By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 22 March 2008

Over the past week or so, mainstream media have turned much of their attention to the fiery sermons of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Dr. Wright is pastor to Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and his family. He was also, until recently, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago.

Most of the discussion and commentary about Dr. Wright's sermons have come from a predominantly white media. The points of discussion have centered on what they consider to be the 'vile, racist and un-American things' said by Dr. Wright. Very few, if any, of the discussions have focused on the historical basis and accuracy of what Dr. Wright actually said.

The major problem with the discussions is they have been largely one-sided. The media have used the imagery of Dr. Wright, clad in African garb, shouting in the cadence of an old-time fire and brimstone minister and playing to the camera as a scare tactic. Has this become the 'Willie Hortonization' of Senator Barack Obama? The reporting and commentary on Dr. Wright's words have been presented from the perspective of people who either have no appreciation for the African-American historical experience or a personal agenda when it comes to presenting these issues.

Dr. Wright is under attack for saying such things as '... the government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, and then wants us (African-Americans) to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no; not 'God Bless America,' God damn America ... for killing innocent people; God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human....' These are very strong words, delivered at what many are calling a possible turning point in American history with regard to America's willingness to elect an African-American candidate. While the mainstream media have found no merit in any of Dr. Wright's statements, let's examine their merit from a historical basis.

When people read the Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, they see the oldest governing constitution in the world. They see a great document that has articulated the precepts of life, liberty and happiness that all in this country try to follow. What is often overlooked are the parts of the Constitution that laid the foundation for hundreds of years of slavery and oppression for African-Americans; the constitutional framework for human beings to be treated as less than human. It's these sections of the Constitution that America has never truly atoned for and still refuses to make right.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution stated, 'Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.' This was known as the Three-Fifths Compromise and laid the groundwork for African slaves brought into America as forced labor to be defined as non-persons.

Article I, Section 9 allowed the importation of slaves to continue in America for twenty-one years after ratification of the Constitution by declaring: 'The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.' This section only outlawed the importation of slaves once the domestic stock of slaves could be replenished by natural birthrates and importation would no longer be needed; again, treating its citizens as less than human.

Article IV, Section 2 stated, 'No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.' This was enforced by Congress on September 18, 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, allowing Southern states to reclaim slaves that had escaped to the North.

To read the entire article, click here.
To visit Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III's site click here.
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