Welcome to Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. is a Pan-African Blog with an acronym that stands for Building Leadership Awareness and Cultural Knowledge.

The goal of this blog is to become a "Blog of Black Thought" focusing on matters of social, economic and political awareness through education (re-education), self-affirmation and cultural expression. Above all, this blog will DEMAND respect and appreciation for one another as black men and women.

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(Opinions, Observations, and Commentary)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some Thoughts on the Wright Controversy . . .

On Race, Politics and White Comfort:

I'd like to thank the creator of the above image, Oren neu dag. Unfortunately, some may find such an image controversial. It might make some uncomfortable. But, for myself as a black man, this is an image of beauty. Which leads me to my topic.

When Katrina hit, Jesse Jackson lamented that this country has a high tolerance for black pain. Ain't that the truth.

Things like this Wright controversy tell me that my pain does not matter. Why? Because it never has anything to do with what I say . . . no, it has everything to do with how I say it.

Issues like the Wright controversy send the warning that I better keep my place . . . watch my tone. Because black anger is never afforded the opportunity at discussion and/or redemption.

As a black man, I don't have the right to get angry or show emotion. And if I should make a mistake and say something untoward, then I'm not allowed the opportunity to simply apologize. For some reason my fate must be far worse than that given to everyone else.

It proves that my struggles and frustrations must be silenced if it makes mainstream ("white") America uncomfortable.

I, and many other black folk, have NEVER been so privileged so as to think that we could dictate policy or control someone else's life based on how comfortable or uncomfortable something made us feel. Sometimes we get lucky and white guilt throws us a bone. But even that usually comes after some tragedy in the black community.

We know the drill. We're uncomfortable almost every day. It's just that we've learned to live with it and move on.

But now . . . despite everything Obama has done to make white folk feel as comfortable as possible. After an entire year of denying a part of himself and distancing himself from anything remotely "black" just to make white America comfortable . . . you've got the media trying to kill his chances at being president.

NOT because of anything that Obama said. NOT because Obama is an "angry black man." But solely because he has a relationship with a black man whom the media can portray in such a stereotype!!

Let me be honest. Barack Obama is about as "safe" a black man as you're going to see. I've watched in amazement as I've seen him deflect attacks from all sides. . . to have his blackness questioned one day and then be accused of being TOO black the next . . . to avoid race like the plague just to give white America the chance to vote for a black person without being made to feel guilty for the transgressions of past generations. Even now, Obama still speaks of unity and understanding.

As I said before, it's not the comment so much as the IMAGE that makes people uncomfortable. The IMAGE of a defiant, strong black preacher dressed in foreign African robes leading a congregation of equally defiant passionate black people. That's scary to a lot of white America.

THAT is a fear of black aggression and black power. And it don't matter whether your as fiery as Jeremiah Wright or as accommodating as Barack Obama. You ain't gonna get anywhere unless you master the ability to make white America comfortable. And now people say they can't vote for him because they're UNcomfortable.

You know what, black folk have been uncomfortable for over 400 years. There's not a day that goes by where black folk don't bite their tongue and grit their teeth just to keep the peace.

WHEN are we gonna ask white folk to be a little uncomfortable for a change? I don't mean that in a racist way. I'm just asking.

Is that not the definition of a pluralistic society? Let me check out Webster's dictionary . ..

"pluralism" - "a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization."

If we are truly a pluralistic society, then we must allow everyone, INCLUDING black folk, the opportunity and right of self-definition and self-determination (props to fellow blogger, ronnie b, for pointing that out).

All I know is this . . . White politicians go to the black community all the time and ask for our trust, tolerance and understanding. We always give it to them.

Blacks vote for a white candidate every four years - regardless of his shortcomings; despite OUR OWN DOUBTS AND QUESTIONS (that never get answered); despite OUR OWN DISCOMFORT, we trust that everything's gonna be alright and we'll make it through somehow.

Well, this black man is asking white America to return the favor for once. I don't want to dismiss your concerns. I know it's different. I know we've never seen this before. I know white America has it's questions.

But Barack has done all he can to ask for white America's trust and understanding. He deserves to be judged as being self-autonomous. He deserves to be judged by his own reputation.

He deserves the same chance black folk have been giving white politicians ever since we got the right to vote.

Be Somebody,



  • Rhonda says:
    March 19, 2008 at 9:01 PM

    You see B-Serious,

    This is how I feel. I am happy that this whole thing has opened up discourse. We have been closed off from one another.
    Well at least, they have been closed off from us. I am quite aware of their thinking because I have to deal with them on a regular basis. They never want to hear the truth ever because they are not ok with being uncomfortable. That is the privilege that they have that we don’t. We can’t get away from it. My sister's friend didn’t understand what Rev Wright was talking about when he kept discussing privilege. She claims that he's crazy because a lot of whites aren’t rich and how Obama has more money than a lot of whites. It became aware to me that she had no idea of what white privilege is. I had to school her and she still didn’t get it. Many don’t understand the need for an “unabashedly black” church. They say if we replaced white with black then it would be racist. This makes me realize that they just don’t get it. Then they say imagine if we were talking about how rich black people were the reason for our downfall, you wouldn’t be offended. They don’t get it. Then I heard one say that he should loose his tax exempt for talking about politics in church. If you want to see politics turn on CNN. They don’t get it. We have been stripped of our history and taught to love and worship them and everything that they do and have while condemning ourselves and hating ourselves. We have to accept their culture, their way of thinking, their standards of beauty, their perspectives and their history. I mean how comfortable. How fair is that. You know we don’t have access to public space were we can promote our perspectives, culture and way of thinking. What affects so many of us are not discussed on “CNN”. The black church for over 200 years has been the center of the black community. Many of the movements in this country have been a result of this institution. Many people don’t understand that. Many don’t understand institutionalized racism.

    Secondly, whites are scared of blacks. Period. They have been since we landed in this country. The only way that they feel unthreatened is if they are able to control us, exclude us and contain us. Period. They hate resistance. You must be safe. To them we are always conspiring. Our thoughts and feelings are suppressed. If Rev. Wright was preaching about prosperity and money (like Creflo Dollar) or had a big picture of a white Jesus on his website other than having the words “unabashedly black …” nobody would be talking. Of course not, they are scared of what is different from them.

    I was not shocked by anything Jeremiah Wright had to say because I have heard it all before. Hardly anyone in the media has tried to take a part what the man had said. They are acting like Wright's feelings are so far off the edge.
    They are acting like the man is a terrorist. Calling a black person un-patriotic or un-American is so old and has been used for years and years and years. "They call his thinking bizarre, sick and twisted" and that he's mental. Rev. Wright is brazen and upfront. That’s the point. He is not afraid to make capitalism and the status quo in this country go unchecked. I don’t agree with some of his wording because maybe if he said it differently, people may be more open to listen. However like you say, I am annoyed by the fact that people in this country, people are so afraid and unwilling and just too closed minded to engage in discourse. It makes me go crazy.

    Sorry for the long comment.

  • Kieya says:
    March 26, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    Its so true. God forbid they feel a little discomforted. They prefer the image of the stereotypical negro.

    And of course other people can lament & voice their issues (Kramer, Don, Pat, O'Reilly) all day, everyday. Sure they might be reprimanded but even after such, people will easily forget, the media will push it aside and life will go on. But for Wright? Everywhere he goes, best believe it will be brought up in some way/shape/form.

    I guess thats what happens when we don't know our place huh?



Video: Perspective Piece