Stage Two: More Racialized Attacks on Senator Obama

As I have predicted for two months now, the second stage of racialized attacks on Senator Obama has now begun. Mainstream media presentations (here and here) and many bloggers (for example, here) have in the last few days critiqued, if not raged against, the views of Senator Obama’s minister and friend, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. They pick and choose Wright’s statements. often out of context, to make Wright look wild and unusual–with no attention to the fact that millions of Americans have good reason to think like he does. (They may be the vanguard for more organized Republican attacks to come soon against Senator Obama.) Reverend Wright and his church have for decades articulated a Black Liberation theology grounded in the anti-racism, civil rights movement tradition of African Americans. These commentators cared nothing about Black Liberation theology–with its strong and necessary accent on family values, self-respect, and liberation from racial oppression in this highly racist society–until there was a political campaign with a black candidate. Not one of these mainstream media commentators has shown any serious knowledge of this Black Liberation tradition, or in fact serious knowledge or understanding of the data about racial oppression in U.S. history, in the past and present.


I challenge any of these commentators to carefully read these books (here and here and here), among others on our highly racist present and past, and still argue that an anti-racism counter frame and movement, as represented by Reverend Wright and millions of other Americans of African descent, are not still reasonable for the U.S. today.


The mainstream media commentators are, for the most part, sadly illiterate on racial matters. They show no concern about racism today, and its destructive effects on this society. That is the real political and educational problem facing this country today.

Lawsuit Over White Supremacist Rampage Costs Washington State $2.25 Million

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that a lawsuit against Washington’s prison system will cost the state $2.25 million for failing to prevent a white supremacist’s murderous rampage in Los Angeles.  Here’s a snippet:

“Buford Furrow Jr., an avowed white supremacist, had been released from prison three months before the Aug. 10, 1999, rampage outside Los Angeles. The lawsuit, filed in 2006 in King County Superior Court, said the Department of Corrections failed to adequately supervise Furrow and could have prevented the shootings by inspecting his home and giving more consideration to his white supremacist ties.”

The fact that the Washington authorities did not give “more consideration to his white supremacist ties” is key here.  Even though the largest act of terrorism on domestic soil prior to 9/11 was carried out by a white supremacist, these kinds of extremists do not get taken as seriously as terrorists with darker skin and a non-U.S. passport.   Part of the reason is the white racial frame that casts “dark Others” as inherently dangerous and always more of a threat than native-born whites.   And, another part of the reason that violent extremists such as Burrows don’t get taken seriously is the more general failure to take white racism seriously.    As Tony Snow, the Fox News reporter and Bush White House Press Secretary said in 2003 (hat tip to Pam):

“Here’s the unmentionable secret: Racism isn’t that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It’s rapidly becoming an ugly memory.”

This is the prevailing white sentiment about racism today: no big deal any more.  An ugly memory.  Unfortunately, this sort of willful ignorance is not capable of taking the white supremacist ties of a guy like Furrow seriously.