by Ari Rutenberg
Just after noon today I saw a segment on MSNBC in which The Hill's A.B. Stoddard was interviewed about Reverend Wright. She was appalling. As has been previously reported on The Daily Banter, she is a hack
. Her palpably false indignation about the nature of Wright's comments over the last few days was the archetypal example for all of the punditocracy to follow. The fact that she, a wealthy white woman who lives in a rarefied world, responds to Wright this way shows that she is either simply pretending not to know about this type of powerful. grandiose oratory and deeply and justifiably angry sermons in the black community (like so many in Washington are) or she genuinely does not know about it and is frightened of this.
It is difficult to believe that an educated woman like A.B. Stoddard does not know about this type of thing. What is much easier to believe is that she is pretending in order to justify sweeping this very serious issue under the table. This neglect of the race issue by the predominantly white establishment has existed since the early 80's when people stopped paying attention to how racist our government was (and is) in order to justify stopping the discussion on race due to their increasing level of discomfort with the increasingly visible anger from the black community. A.B. Stoddard's comments today only serve to further that neglect.
However, like so many in the media A.B. Stoddard is only a symptom
of the true problem. In this case that is the level of discomfort in
the white community in general. I have seen it among my own friends
and family. People who are generally on the left of every issue, even
many who supported civil rights 40 years ago, seem to have a lot of
fear regarding this Black Liberation Theology and other traditions in
the black church. It is truly shocking to me that they seem to have
lost so much of the empathy once expressed towards the suffering of the
minority in this nation. As a wealthy, white, Jewish man, I have no
problem understanding why there is anger and suspicion in regards to
the government, especially this one.
The relationship between black and white America is not the same as
other minorities. It is a much deeper and more difficult issue than
simple racism or xenophobia, and it will not disappear within a few
generation on its own as many other race problems in America have. The
arguments normally thrown out by those who cannot deal with black anger
are that other countries also had slaves and that it has been too long
and people need to solve their own problems. The first is irrelevant
(we must deal with our issues, not other countries') and the second is
not useful or accurate. 400 years of slavery and oppression have left
their mark and cannot be blithely dismissed by those with no experience
being black in America.
It is dismaying to see that so few give consideration to what we
need as a nation, and so much to what they need to satisfy their souls
that what they are doing is the only thing, and not some vapid, corrupt
shadow of the true role of media in the democratic process.