Or are we even having a discussion about race?
This is a nettlesome sociological topic, coming after Reverand Wright, and questions about Senator Obama's handling of his 20-year association with his Afro-Centric Church in Chicago. The Media wants to talk about this issue in political terms, how will this affect Obama, what do the polls say, did he make a mistake, etc.
When Catherine Moy wrote at this website well over a year ago about Rev. Wright's demand that God Damn America, and the insane assertion that the American government gave black people AIDS, there wasn't a ripple in the media. But when the TAPES of Rev. Wright hollerin' from the pulpit were broadcast, suddenly there was a national furor.
I am by no means intellectually equipped to ask and answer the big questions about race relations.
But I can share some micro-level talks that I have with my black friends, including Norma Jean McKeldin, a survivor of discrimination while growing up in Chattanooga, Tenn. during the 1950's where she watched the KKK march past her home.
I grew up in the 60's attending an integrated Catholic School in Kansas City, Mo. where my African-American best friends in grade school and junior-high later rejected me because I was white.
Norma Jean and I have spent 20-years talkin', talkin' and talkin' about many issues, especially race.
The race between Hillary, Barack and John brings up this subject on my blog, sparked by an article read at FoxNews.com(More on Norma Jean and Mel in a moment.)
Radley Balko at Fox News, Senior Editor at Reason Magazine who published an article today called "We Aren't Over Race."
Bizarre as some of Rev. Wright's conspiracy theories may sound, there actually have been some pretty bizarre conspiracies against black Americans over the years.
I can't begrudge black Americans if for three hours on Sunday they want to indulge in a bit of righteous indignation within the walls of their places of worship. Even if that indignation sometimes expresses itself in hateful or nutty ways, or in ways I'll never quite understand.
America has come a long way with respect to race, but it would be foolish to say that the remnants of racism aren't still with us, or that — as I've heard some commenters suggest — that the only discrimination that matters any more is the kind of elitist reverse discrimination we sometimes see in affirmative action programs (for the record, I'm opposed to state-sanctioned affirmative action).
We aren't "over" race, nor we should pretend to be.
Mr. Balko is (W)right. We are not "over" race, in fact, we aren't even close.
Black pastors at many Churches across America are saying the same things as Reverand Wright.
Many others religous leaders are not, and find his comments offensive, but their feelings do not receive the media play except on the conservative blogs, and Fox News.
White America is scared spitless of having any meaningful discussion involving race for fear of being called 'racist' and Obama's campaign is making many more afraid of being forthcoming. Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is a way for liberal/white America to support racial reconciliation, without examining what Obama really stands for.
While both races are building friendships and partnerships, loving and marrying each other, reaching out to each other (tentatively) we still can't engage in the political dialogue.
We can only live it. Out of the media glare.
Back to Norma Jean.
Norma and I are great friends.
We have been in each others homes. My family has been in her Church. I know her children, and she knows mine. She has been doing facials for me in Marin County, Calif. since 1997, and we have been engaging in political and personal dialogue ever since. While Norma slathers goop on my face each month, she struggles to understand my conservative politics, listening to my radio show for years (no doubt with some antipathy towards the things she heard, because she supports affirmative action and I do not.)
She does not follow a strict Democrat line with her voting. She thinks and weighs the candidates and issues based on her personal experiences and as a Christian woman.
So, I was pretty shocked when she told me that she is going to send money to Obama because she felt that he has getting hit unfairly by the Media over Rev. Wright's comments.
But with the next breath, she said the black community was furious with Rev. Wright because they felt Wright was betraying Obama with his speech at the National Press Club in D.C. two weeks ago. The conclusion of her friends and fellow church members was that Rev. Wright was egotistical, and straying from God, a position with which she agreed.
Big Disconnect for me.
At the end of discussion last week, I told her that I thought the real 'sin' was that Wright's actions stopped all of us from having 'the' discussion about race, which is what BHO claims he really wants, and it was strange he built his campaign on that premise, while knowing full well that Wright's positions were lurking in the background.
Despite Obama's extremely liberal politics with which I vehemently disagree, I believed Obama opened a key-hole for race reality to sneak in.
I don't believe that is possible anymore. That's because there is much more to be learned about black separatism and Senator Obama and his wife Michelle, who wrote about supporting it in her thesis at Princeton University.
My conclusion is that the discussion has been postponed, but not indefinitely.
I firmly believe that several generations from now, the hurt and anger blacks feel towards whites over historical grievances it will diminish as the anger fades away while we continue to love, marry and make beautiful babies between the races.
At least, that is my hope.