Blast from the past: Obama and "quiet riots" Posted by: McQ
on Sunday, March 23, 2008
You know, perhaps we should have payed a little more attention along the way as Barack Obama was speaking in certain venues. This from an article written in June of last year is particularly interesting and revealing:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a "quiet riot" among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.
The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.
Note the cleaned up rhetoric ripe with familiar implications - any wonder where that came from?
Obama's criticism of Bush prompted ovation after ovation from the nearly 8,000 people gathered in Hampton University's Convocation Center, particularly when he denounced the Iraq war and noted that he had opposed it from the outset.
Repeatedly, he referred to the riots that erupted in Los Angeles after a jury acquitted four police officers of assault charges in the 1991 beating of Rodney King, a black motorist, after a high speed chase. Fifty-five people died and 2,000 were injured in several days of riots in the city's black neighborhoods.
"Those 'quiet riots' that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths," Obama said. "They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better."
No politics of fear to be found in those paragraphs, is there?
If you were wondering, Hampton Institute is a historically and predominantly black college. If you're still wondering about the rhetoric:
He introduced his own pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago's Trinity United as "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian." He credited Wright with introducing him to Christ, and peppered his speech with scriptural references, at one point invoking the opening lines of the Lord's Prayer.
Obama doesn't regularly focus on racial themes in his standard campaign speeches.
So one assumes this isn't a 'standard campaign speech' a 'typical white person' might hear, but one he reserves for black audiences?
I wonder how much more of the Obama’s reported half a million dollars a year income they plan to donate to Katrina victims? Oh, I guess that’s not a priority as the kids need to go to summer camp soon and it’s just soo hard for Michelle to make ends meet.
I know I don’t make that much in two years, but I did get my notice that my economic stimulus might be curtailed. If you’re gonna tax me more, you can at least give me the same benefits as everybody else. I want my economic justice.
Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing."
Ladies and gentlemen, these people set — they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.
Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.
I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?
The church is only open on Sunday. And you can’t keep asking Jesus to ask doing things for you. You can’t keep asking that God will find a way. God is tired of you . God was there when they won all those cases. 50 in a row. That’s where God was because these people were doing something. And God said, “I’m going to find a way.” I wasn’t there when God said it — I’m making this up. But it sounds like what God would do.
We cannot blame white people. White people — white people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well — they stay open 24 hours.
—Bill Cosby’s Address at the NAACP’s Gala to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education - 17 May 2004
In an attempt to rinse my mind of the vicious and insipid hate-mongering of James Cone’s books (which I’ve been reading most of the past week) I started reading Clarence Thomas’s memoir "My Grandfather’s Son."
In a way, it’s an undeclared "theology" of living above racism, and the central theologian is "Daddy," the diamond hard grandfather who raised Thomas and his brother.
Though there is sentimentality in the book, in the form of Thomas’s love for Daddy and his wife, who Thomas called Aunt Tina, there is nothing sentimental in the portrait of racism in Savannah in the ’50s and ’60s when Thomas was growing up there.
It’s a story about blacks who loved America in spite of her sins against them, and who were determined not to be carried off into the insanity of men like Wright and Cone.
I think that this is an especially valuable book now.