Today on Blogcritics
Home » Obama Walks on Hot Water: Addressing America on Race, Religion and Rev. Wright

Obama Walks on Hot Water: Addressing America on Race, Religion and Rev. Wright

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

We warned you there would be drama with Obama. Before he could walk on hot water today; Barack Obama had to cool down those waters. Clearly, he thinks it’s so over the top that a “major speech” (transcript) was needed to reassure the country and bring it together. The speech was scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. ET, but did not begin until 11:00 a.m. ET.

He announced his candidacy in Springfield, at the old courthouse where Abraham Lincoln served. I asked then would Obama have to free slaves? It is ironic that today he channeled and invoked the words of Abraham Lincoln to clear this huge hurdle in his campaign. I recorded audio (32 min) and it is available here.

High points (paraphrase and quotes) from today’s speech: Slavery divided this country. The answer to the slavery question was already embedded in our constitution, the ideal of equal citizenship under the law—perfected over time. Words on a parchment were not enough to deliver men from bondage. Americans protested and struggled through civil war and civil disobedience to bring about change: "I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together…"

He offered much biographical data throughout the speech: I am the son of a black African from Kenya, and a white mother from Kansas. I have gone to one of the best schools in America.

I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave-owners—an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents.

In no other country on earth is my story even possible. It has been seared into my genetic makeup…Out of many we are truly one. We won commanding victories in nearly all-white states. This is not to say that race has not been an issue. Some commentators have deemed me “too black” or “not black enough.” The pollsters have scoured the polls for the racial divide. It has been purposed that my candidacy is one of affirmative action. Then there is my Pastor Rev. Wright: I have already condemned the statements of Rev. Wright that have caused such pain. Did I know he spoke controversial statements, yes, did I sit in the pews when he spoke such statements, yes.

Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems–two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all. 

Why not separate myself from Rev. Wright completely? If all I had known of him was the snippets running endlessly on TV, then I too would have run.

He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, led a church for over thirty years…that serves the community…by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care, scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. 

The American people are hungry for my message of unity. My church embodies the PhDs. and the welfare mom, it is full of bawdy humor and dancing and shouting, it contains the kindness and cruelty, shocking ignorance, the full gamut of the black experience in America. I’ve never seen him treat anyone with disrespect, including white people. I can no more disown him than my own family, than my own grandmother. I’ve heard my [white] grandmother use racial epithets and cringe when black men passed her on the street. But this is all a part of me. We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank, as a demagogue. If we simplify, stereotype and amplify the negative we would be doing the same as Rev. Wright. This country has never really worked through this. If we walk away, retreat, we will never be able to come together to solve health care or find good jobs for every American (applause).

About Heloise

  • Dr Dreadful

    “I’d take the quote and try to twist it and manipulate it and spread it around the Internet”

    Isn’t that exactly what you’re doing?

    Doug, did you even read your namesake’s comment?

    He was using the McCain quote as an example of how it might be spun by his enemies.

  • REMF

    “The United States Government: equal opportunity enemy and defiler of its own people.”
    - Clavos

    Careful Clavvy…The radical right-wing chickenhawk talkshow hosts are tarring and feathering Rev. Wright for similar out-of-context snippets…(smile)

  • JustOneMan

    Hel…yea thats right and here are somemore deluionsional fantasies to believe in t…

    1. All of the Jews working in the WTC on 911 stayed home that day
    2. Cubans recieve better medical services than the average US citizen
    3. Al Gwhore really won the election
    4.POKEMON and Magic Cards
    Affect the Minds and Values of Children
    5. Bush lied and fooled all of those intellegent Dumbocratics into voting for the war
    6. Kerry really was a war hero
    7. Obama is really qualified and is not there just because he is black…

    Left wing fairytales….


  • REMF

    “6. Kerry really was a war hero”
    - JOM

    3 Purple Hearts, 1 Silver Star, 1 Bronze Star.

    I forgot, JOM, what was your excuse again for not serving?

  • Dr Dreadful

    “7. Obama is really qualified and is not there just because he is black…”

    Hey, REMF, why don’t you join in the fun and ask JOM who he said he was going to vote for in November?

  • Dave Nalle

    Yep, that’s pretty nutty, alright. But given that the U.S. government had conducted the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments for 40 years (1932-1972), in which 399 black men were used as human guinea pigs and left to die without being treated, one might forgive some blacks for not entirely trusting the government in such matters.

    Let’s just set the record straight on this. None of those men were infected with Syphilis for the experiment. They all contracted it on their own. There was no reliable cure for the disease at the time the study was initiated and the purpose of the study was to use them as a control group to assess the effectiveness of experimental treatments relative to no treatment at all. This is similar to what is done in double-blind studies today.

    The crimes at Tuskegee were that they chose only black soldiers for the experiment, that they did not adequately inform them of how the experiment was being conducted to get truly informed consent, and ultiamtely that they continued the study beyond the point where it was useful for any purpose other than just studying the pathology of the disease once a viable cure was available – a clear excess of scientific research zeal.

    Keep in mind that when the experiment started no care at all was not appreciably worse than whatever experimental treatments white soldiers might be getting at the same time and in some cases considerably LESS dangerous as some of the early treatments could be harmful or fatal beyond even the risk posed by the disease itself. For example, one popular treatment for syphilis was to inhale hot vaporized mercury. Another treatment was to infect the subject with malaria because the fevers it produced slowed the progress of syphilis.


  • JustOneMan

    Dave…Dave…”They all contracted it on their own.” Cant you see it was because of the white man that they were forced not use a condom (yes they did have them back then) and due to years of oppresion their immunity systems were so weak…

  • Dan

    Yep, the real story of the Tuskegee study.

  • JustOneMan

    Mulitple Choice Question

    Whic medal did John Kerry recieve for getting hit in the ass with a grain of rice…

    a.Purple Heart
    b.Silver Star, or
    C.Bronze Star.

  • Dr Dreadful

    JOM, I can help you make a fool of yourself all day.

    See comment #3.

  • REMF

    “Mulitple Choice Question
    Whic medal did John Kerry recieve for getting hit in the ass with a grain of rice…
    a.Purple Heart
    b.Silver Star, or
    C.Bronze Star.”
    - JOM

    Multiple Choice Question:
    Which is JOM’s excuse for avoiding service?

    1) I have asthma and am extremely near-sighted. I was going to try and join the Marines at 17, but my daddy talked me out of it;

    2) I had other obligations, besides what difference would one guy make?;

    3) I have a pilonidal cyst, but if I had served, I would’ve been the captain of a ship.

  • Pablo

    The good reverend Wright certainly has my vote as a write in candidate. I love seeing all the racists squirm for cover, that this man (Wright) actually had the audacity to call a spade a spade as it were.

    Is it just me or do any of you others see a correlation between those ignoramuses that would deny a person the right to choose a different raced person for their spouse? Leading up to denying a person the right to wed someone of the same sex. Frequently these same sorts of people also are the first to actively promote capital punishment, yet want to deny a woman the right to choose. It just goes to show me that hate and intolerance is alive and well in the land of the free.

    Do I care if someone is a fudge-packer and finds love in that dark alley of expression? NOPE I do not. Do I care if an asian loves a caucasian? Nope I do not. I hope that both find happiness with their respective spouses, and wish them the best including such things as tax benefits for couples, and dignity and respect from their communities.

    Why is it that the haters-racists always want to dictate their will on other human beings? Nose into others private affairs. As if God could give a damned about where someone finds love.

  • Pablo

    Just One Man

    I really got a kick out of your rastaman post. I can just picture you with your McCain sign and your dreadlocks. Your about as Irie as George Wallace bucko.

  • Zedd


    “7. Obama is really qualified and is not there just because he is black…”

    This is the stupidest thing that is being suggested.

    Considering that ALL of Americas Presidents have been White AND that there has NEVER been a viable Black candidate, why would anyone think that Barak Obama’s Blackness is what is propelling his chances of being President of THESE united states?

    Logic. Gotta love it.

  • Pablo

    I got to thinkin about the Rev Wright’s preachin on HIV/AIDS. I then googled google,
    (hey I like that :), hell I may have even coined it, a future google search will settle that.)wondering what the aids count was in Africa, it came back with some 22,500,000 human beings currently living with this virus there. Also there’s about a billion people. These are people that currently are carrying the disease, not the millions that have already died from it.

    Suppose for a second that you the reader are from a particular geo/ethnic culture. That many in your culture in the past had been kidnapped, enslaved, then denied anything even closely resembling equality for several more centuries.

    Then suddenly an epidemic occurs, but mostly to your particular subculture, I wonder how many of you the reader, if you were in those shoes, would not suspect that your racist adversaries with their fancy medical shit, were up to no good.

    Try puttin yourself in another’s shoes sometimes, and see how it fits.

  • Dr Dreadful

    4. Drege…”I was for Obama befor I was against him”

    Well, JOM – all I can say is don’t let me catch you griping about anyone flip-flopping.

    You slagged off Obama pretty much constantly before announcing – quite enthusiastically, I might add – that you were going to vote for him, and then instantly reverted to your 24/7 anti-Obama rants.

  • Dave Nalle

    Pablo, you’d fit right in with the current president of South Africa who apparently thinks AIDS is spread by magic pixies and/or may not exist at all.


  • Dr Dreadful

    I then googled google, (hey I like that :)

    Out of curiosity, I just went to Google and typed in ‘Google’.

    Over two billion results.

    That’s even more than for the word ‘thing’. (Actually, Google didn’t much seem to like me Googling ‘thing’. It wanted me to search for ‘thong’ instead…

    Only 70 million results for ‘Pablo’. Don’t be too downcast, though. I’m sure it’s nothing personal.

  • Pablo

    What is was referring to was “googled google”, the exact phrase which has some 5000 hits.

    I am so glad however that out of that particular post that is what you chose salient to right about.
    Spot On Dread!

    You must be takin lessons from Clavy baby.

  • Zedd


    Why is it implausible that AIDS came about as a result of contaminated needles?

    The theory is that the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) was accidentally introduced to humans by scientists who used chimp tissue to cultivate polio vaccines.

    Now the question is, if at least 1/5 of the bush meat (monkey meat.. yuck) that is sold in markets in certain parts of West Africa has SIV, why are the rates of HIV not greater and why did the virus not spread sooner.

    Not saying that these are my beliefs but that is the theory. Doesn’t sound that pixie-fide does it.

  • Zedd

    Didn’t mean to say needles. The benadryl is kicking in…

  • Pat the Expat

    “Now, how does Imus’ remarks measure in comparison to a man that is supposed to be “of the cloth”?”

    Imus was on the public airwaves. Wright was in a church.

    “I forgot, JOM, what was your excuse again for not serving?”

    From the comments in this thread, it is likely because he was too stupid to be let in. I wouldn’t have wanted him beside me in the thick of it.

    It’s funny to hear white guys complain how tough they have it. They want to blame other minorities for their limited status in the world, but in a one race world, a more capable white person passing these morons by.

  • JustOneMan

    Fat the Exfat

    “I wouldn’t have wanted him beside me in the thick of it.” Hey…I was a great Patrol leader and Eagle scout…you would have wanted me in the “thick of it” who would show you how to pitch a tent, start a fire or make smores?

    Speaking of fire…as a volunteer fire fighter I like your address. If your house is on fire I want be sure that either no one shows up or they take their time…

    It’s funny to hear minorities complain how tough they have it. They want to blame whites for their limited status in the world.

    JOM “On my honor…”

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Hey JOM!

    Think you could hit the side of a mosque barn with an M1 – an M16? How about the side of a circus tent? How about the side of a dirigible? I mean a dirigible tied down with ropes: I wouldn’t want to overburden a hardworking firefighter like you with a moving target.

    I’ll think about what a competent partner you’d make when I’m on patrol with the police Sunday night and sitting guard for the village Tuesday morning.

    I can use the laughs….

    You can sink back into swampy sleaze you call New Jersey now. You have my permission.


    Oh yeah – where you’re concerned, I AM a condescending SOB. It’s hard to be anything else….

    JOM “sliding down the fireman’s pole of truth – into the muck of sleaze”

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Imus was on the public airwaves. Wright was in a church.

    Oh Yea, I forgot… So as long as people in a power position project their racist, fascist & anti-American ideology only on those people behind closed doors that makes it okay?

    Sorry, but people have done far more damage to this nation from a pulpit than from any radio station!

  • handyguy

    Disingenuous Dave’s all-too-typical attempt to provide a “liberals-are-so-stupid” rationalization of Tuskegee glosses over a few [thousand] things. The Tuskegee case was a horror, and no purpose is served by “setting the facts straight” in a smug tone designed to make the case sound more minor and less awful than it was.

    From a 2002 NPR piece:

    The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Nearly 400 poor black men with syphilis from Macon County, Ala., were enrolled in the study. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.

    For participating in the study, the men were given free medical exams, free meals and free burial insurance.

    At the start of the study, there was no proven treatment for syphilis. But even after penicillin became a standard cure for the disease in 1947, the medicine was withheld from the men. The Tuskegee scientists wanted to continue to study how the disease spreads and kills. The experiment lasted four decades, until public health workers leaked the story to the media.

    By then, dozens of the men had died, and many wives and children had been infected. In 1973, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a class-action lawsuit. A $9 million settlement was divided among the study’s participants. Free health care was given to the men who were still living, and to infected wives, widows and children.

    And a presidential apology. Just more dumb liberal piety, I guess.

  • Dave Nalle

    Handy, I acknowledged every one of the points made in the article you quoted in my comment on Tuskegee, except that I wasn’t aware of the wives and children issue. You’re looking for a fight where there isn’t one. I don’t disagree that Tuskegee was unacceptable, but it wasn’t some sort of racially based death camp. It did have a legitimate medical purpose and wasn’t that different at its inception from the way other medical studies are conducted.

    Zedd, you might want to read up on Mbeki’s beliefs about AIDS. He doesn’t think it’s caused by HIV, thinks condoms are evil, and thinks that better nutrition and herbal remedies can cure it. He thinks that AIDS is a western conspiracy to oppress black Africans and even though offered free treatment drugs he refused to distribute them until recently and may resume that policy having fired his health minister who supported AID treatment and replaced her with someone who is essentially a witch doctor.


  • JustOneMan


    Please stay on topic…we are not bashing racist and bigoted jews…we however bashing racist and bogoted negros. And due to the BC Affirmative Action Bashing quoata please step to the rear of the line or back of the bus please. Your turn will come!

    Thank you for your cooperation


  • handyguy

    Agreed, Dave, your post was merely condescending, making a “correction” where one was not required.

    It did not stoop to the very low level of Dan’s #34: Quoting approvingly at length from Ann Coulter’s quite remarkably hateful comments on the Obama speech merely demonstrates again the actual depth of Dan’s thinking – ’bout an inch and a half, though wrapped up in totally fake ‘reasonableness.’

  • Zedd


    Don’t you think I read up on Mbeki’s comments the day he made them? He made them a billion years ago by the way… At that time some studies had come out stating that a lot of Africans who were thought to have died of AIDS had actually died of other illnesses but because of the AIDS wave internationally, many people were being lumped into the AIDS category, especially in poor nations and not being treated or even treating themselves for other less “striking” diseases, dying needlessly…. Combine that with a new nation that was to serve 5x it’s previous constituency creating the most basic of services with warnings that he current infrastructure could not sustain the numbers that would be entering the grid. Now a major costly diseases enters the picture, there is massive crime and a hysteria is looming. While it was a dumb statement couched in the situation of the moment. He then went on to say that the biggest killer in Africa is poverty. He made an appeal to the world to forgive the debt of AIDS stricken nations so that they may better address the issue and attack all of the other poverty related matters which are affecting mortality. Not quite the voodoo medicine that you’d hoped was being suggested. Sorry.

    What I was commenting on earlier was your statement about Wright. The HIV controversy is such as I stated it. It is not founded on mambo jumbo as you suggested.

  • Dan

    Handyguy demonstrates the willfully ignorant mindset of those wanting to vilify American whites.

    He seems to think that by reiterating a deceptive, omission laced account of history, he can overcome the truth.

    Syphilus in the latent stages, as these men were, is not contagious. Someone please tell NPR.

  • handyguy

    Since I am an American white, and a Southern one at that, Dan’s comment makes little sense. His method is to seize upon one phrase or bit of logic and cynically generalize that an entire argument, or the entire mindset of a commenter, is beneath contempt.

    Yet I have never seen Dan make any comment on this site that is not steeped in cynicism, negativism, in fact, hate. He won’t admit to actual bigotry toward gays, blacks or anyone left of Rush Limbaugh; yet nothing in his ‘oeuvre’ would suggest otherwise. If I am off base here, I challenge him to prove he’s really a thinker and not just a creepy hate-spewer.

    On the issue at hand, I was objecting to Dave’s post about Tuskegee, which, whatever its intention, had the very real effect of implying, “It wasn’t as bad as all that. Blacks and white liberals have blown it out of proportion.” And Dan’s chiming-in “yeah” was quite offensive to me. But I didn’t then and don’t now blame “all American whites” for that execrable crime. It’s just one example of the poisonous racism that used to be routine in this country and that still exists in some people, often just below the surface.

    If Dan can’t see that Obama’s speech was remarkably, unusually honest and even-handed, and that Ann Coulter’s reaction to it was ludicrous and dripping with contempt for…what, exactly? — well, then, it’s hard for us to have a conversation. He has no interest in a real exchange of ideas, anyway. In his mind, any minority group or sympathetic majority-group member who suggests that prejudice is real and pernicious and deserves our attention is just a whiner who should be attacked, the more viciously the better.

    I choose my targets rather carefully on here. Only the most objectionable words and commenters get this kind of response from me. You don’t care? Fine. But don’t expect me not to react to this stuff.

  • Dan

    “Since I am an American white, and a Southern one at that, Dan’s comment makes little sense. His method is to seize upon one phrase or bit of logic and cynically generalize that an entire argument, or the entire mindset of a commenter, is beneath contempt.”

    logically I would simply ask what being “an American white, and a Southern one at that” has to do with the sensibility of my comment.

    I’m guessing though that Handyguy has some bigoted assumptions about Southern whites. Although I reckon he’s somehow overcome whatever it is that afflicts them.

    “To seize” upon logic or fact that demonstrates the dishonesty of anothers argument is something I’m not ashamed of doing. I’m not the one attempting to dehumanize here.

    “I challenge him to prove he’s really a thinker and not just a creepy hate-spewer.”

    It’s a challenge for me to figure out what causes handy to engage in such ugly, childish name calling, when he doesn’t articulate any example to draw conclusions from.

    To my thinking, If the Tuskegee myth is a lie, then exposing it would be a crucial step in bringing the races together.

    Only a “creepy hate spewer” would want to perpetuate a false myth to dehumanize 1930′s whites, and encourage resentment, and grievance in todays blacks.

    Handyguys ugliness toward me is probably just easier for him than adjusting his view to conform with reality.

  • Heloise

    News flash: Obama’s race speech has been tagged as appealing to or done for “the elitist” meaning the superdelegates, not us simple folks.


  • Heloise

    Pablo add this to your count: the form of AIDS that Africans have is MUCH more virulent, i.e., deadly than the form contracted here in the states. Why, because it was made and bred in Africa. There are different DNA strains of AIDS.

    Everyone does not get the exact same AIDS or HIV virus. Therefore, the argument should be why don’t those with the most virulent form get greater treatment?

    Well the leaders in Africa are denying there is a problem…oh well.


  • bliffle

    I hate to break into the BC “All Race News All The Time” format, but did anyone notice that the Bush administration bailed out Bear Stearns last week?

    This, after they let 1 million USA families lose their homes to repossession?

    After all that brave talk about “Free Markets”?

    After all the provisos about “consequences”?

    And 2 million more USA families may lose their homes this year?

    Did anyone notice that the Bush Administration has opened the national piggy bank to almost anything that calls itself a financial institution?

    Even if it’s never paid a cent in premiums?

    Even if it’s NOT regulated by federal law as ordinary banks are?

    Oh well. Go back to sleep. Sheep.

  • Clavos

    Answers to some of your questions, bliffle, can be found in this article in The Economist, which says, in part:

    “Rescuing Bear Stearns and its kind from their own folly may strike many people as overly charitable. For years Wall Street minted billions without showing much compassion. Yet the Fed put $30 billion of public money at risk for the best reason of all: the public interest. Bear is a counterparty to some $10 trillion of over-the-counter swaps. With the broker’s collapse, the fear that these and other contracts would no longer be honoured would have infected the world’s derivatives markets. Imagine those doubts raging in all the securities Bear traded and from there spreading across the financial system; then imagine what would happen to the economy in the financial nuclear winter that would follow. Bear Stearns may not have been too big to fail, but it was too entangled.”

    I suppose you would have preferred the administration remain true to its “…brave talk about ‘Free Markets’,” and allowed the chips to fall where they may?

  • Heloise

    Yes, I watch the markets. I should have bought BSC when it was 5 dollars a share. After the welfare for Wall Street went through it is now up to 12 dollars a share. So I paid more for it. But now the stock will go up from the 2 bucks it fell to.

    I could write articles on markets but no one would read it.