Barack Obama told Chris Wallace during their Fox News interview that his former pastor was “a legitimate political issue,” and hours later, Jeremiah Wright proved him prophetic. Later that evening in Detroit, Wright gave a strange speech to the NAACP, providing more fodder for those who wonder how Obama could have sat in his church for 20 years and not understood how large a liability Wright could be. He suggested that differences in brain structure accounted for differences between blacks and whites, a speech that turned around would have generated shrieks of racism from the same audience:
The bulk of his remarks addressed, however, different groups seeing each other as deficient. He acted out the differences between marching bands at predominantly black and predominantly white colleges. “Africans have a different meter, and Africans have a different tonality,” he said. Europeans have seven tones, Africans have five. White people clap differently than black people. “Africans and African-Americans are right-brained, subject-oriented in their learning style,” he said. “They have a different way of learning.” And so on.
After jokingly mocking the Boston accents of former Presidents John F. and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Wright said, “nobody says to a Kennedy, ‘You speak bad English,’ only to a black child was that said.”
Wright said that he believes “a change is going to come, ’cause many of us are committed to change how we see others who are different.”
Earlier in the day, Wright delivered two sermons at the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, referring to his “public crucifixion,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Wright will address the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Monday morning.
Nobody says it to a Kennedy because the Kennedys speak English correctly, but plenty of white kids speak English badly, too. A language doesn’t have different rules for different ethnicities, although it certainly can have different dialects; American English is a different dialect than British English, but it still has rules of grammar, syntax, and spelling. Those rules don’t rest on the color of the skin of the speaker — and to claim that they do is racist in and of itself.
The marching-band explanation is particularly laughable. When people join marching bands, they don’t bring their own style into the group, as anyone who has ever participated in a marching band knows. They learn the discipline from whomever leads the band. The individuality gets drummed out of the players in all marching bands, and each member has to do what the entire unit does. That’s true in marching bands at predominantly African-American colleges just as it is at other schools, which also have black students well represented in their ranks. The stylistic differences come from the band’s leadership, not from physiological differences between the races.
The same can be said for the harebrained right/left brain explanation Wright gave as an organic difference between blacks and whites. The only physiological difference between blacks and whites come from the melanin content of their skin. All of the other differences are strictly cultural. Claiming that brain structures differ between the two feeds into every racist notion over the last four hundred years in this country, especially when it’s offered by a racial demagogue like Wright. Where did he learn his neurology? What papers has he published about brain structure?
This racial demagoguery can easily be seen in his choice of “European” for whites in the US. We’re not European; we’re American. My family stopped being European when my great-great-great grandfather stepped off the ship about 160 years ago. “European” didn’t really describe us even then; my family came from Ireland, Italy, and what is now Poland over a period of 60 years. Nobody I know considers themselves “European”, and the only time I hear this applied is when racial divisionists use the term.
Wright just made himself an even bigger political liability to Obama. Not only does he come across as someone who hates America, but now he sounds like a typical racist, conjuring up supposed physiological differences where none exist in order to explain his latent hatred. Team Obama has to be beating its head against the wall today, wondering how they can keep Jeremiah Wright retired.