As a teacher in a predominately African American school I can offer a somewhat unique perspective on the controversy surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obviously I do not condone his comments, nor is it wise to say such things when you are associated with a presidential campaign. However, then amount of press accorded these statements and the outrage in the blogosphere is a direct result of white people's ignorance.
Without regular contact with black people or viewing The Original Kings of Comedy most white people remain blissfully ignorant of the stereotypes and prejudices that African Americans have for us crackers. It just seems that everyone is astounded that someone might hate them because of the color of their skin. I've even seen the words "reverse racism" thrown about. As if pure racism can only be by whites against blacks.
White Guy #1: How dare they take our pastime of hatred. Isn't bad enough that they take our jobs with their affirmative action?
White Guy #2: Man I knew this was coming ever since Wesley Snipes insisted that, "White men can't jump." So what if I can't dunk. I can stand in one place and shoot three-pointers all day long.
In the interest of education I want to let all white people know that certain segments of the population think that we smell like wet dog. This is especially true after we have been jogging in our shorts in January.
We are too passive with our children and let them walk all over us.
There are more just ask a black person if you know one.
The thing that amazes me is that not only do white people seem to be unaware of these stereotypes, but they actually are offended by them. For the most part these are empty threats. They don't affect our ability to get a job or get an education. We are not denied loans because we don't have rhythm. We aren't excluded from any social clubs or neighborhoods because we wear crocs. It just doesn't matter.
The statements made by Rev. Wright say more about our society than they do about white people or the government. Rev. Wright and others like him live in a society where the government and authority figures are inherently white and untrustworthy. The idea that hard work will lead to the American dream is just a flat out lie. It is no wonder that conspiracy theories abound in oppressed minorities.
All this outrage just tells me one thing. Nobody is listening. Nobody is talking. And it seems like nobody cares. The recent shooting in Kirkwood, MO is further evidence of the breakdown in communication. We could write off this event and Rev. Wright's comments as products of the fringe, but I think they indicate a much deeper systemic breakdown in communication.