Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?” (For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.) As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The Governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!” – Matthew 27:17-26
The populace of Pilate’s district had a choice to make, to take Barabbas back into their community or to take Jesus the Christ. Guided by people with political status and power to protect, the people made the choice to take Barabbas and Jesus, the man we learned had developed a reputation for teaching and helping all who came to him to develop their own personal spirituality and not be swayed by the materialism and wickedness of the world, was abandoned by the community. More black people should see the similarities between this bible story and the modern political happenings between Barack Obama and Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Before people get their panties in a wad let me say the intent of this essay is not to say in any way, shape, or form that Mr. Wright is a modern version of Jesus or Mr. Obama is a sinner on par with the notorious Barabbas or that this is to say that Mr. Wright is being crucified. Please refrain from the comments that refuse to accept the following analogy as it is intended, nothing more than an analogy.
For years, Reverend Wright has been using his church as a force for change in the black community. It is my understanding that Mr. Wright has developed a series of programs designed to help alleviate poverty in the black community. Trinity United Christian Church has grown into a very successful force of change for black people. But it is just one church against a national policy of black community neglect and institutionalized despair. Like the Christian messiah, there is only so much a single entity can do when the established culture promotes an environment of disparity and separation that creates a distinct difference between the people who have and the people who have not.
Reverend Wright has years of experience working for the betterment of the black community in the racially charged environment of the American culture. While many people insist that there is absolutely nothing to keep the black population in its perpetual state of subjugation, it is hard to deny the reality of the black community’s condition that manifest itself with each and every social measure. Black people have to suffer with higher rates of incarceration while simultaneously dealing with higher rates of crime. Black people have to deal with a lack of opportunities for employment as well as a lack of educational opportunities. The black community is usually neglected at all levels of government while white communities are supported and impeccably maintained.
After generations of such abandonment, the hopelessness of the traditionally urban black community manifest itself with black people who are programmed to become the very caricatures of black behavior that are constantly being pumped into the black community through various media sources. What’s the point? The national government of this country would rather twiddle its thumbs and sit on its ass then do anything to pick black people out of the water after a hurricane. If that’s not enough to drive home the point that the black community is not a priority for this country then what is? God damn a country that does not protect its own people.
But we sit on the edge of history where a black man will become the leader of a country that has such a strong history of neglecting and abusing its own black population. Barack Obama had an affiliation with Reverend Wright who has a history of calling attention to America’s disparity. People in search of status and with power to protect will manipulate the public and stoke the fears of people who have a vested interest of keeping the white privilege status quo. Look at who Mr. Obama associates with! Look at what Mr. Obama’s pastor has to say about us, the good people who have done nothing against the black community! Anything that was done to create the disparity that has the black community in its current condition was done so long ago that no one alive is responsible so therefore no one has any social responsibility to undo the disparity and black people need to lift themselves by their boot strap!
With the writing on the wall Mr. Obama finds it more advantageous to kick his affiliation with the black community crusader to the curb. Mr. Obama dismisses his former pastor as a bitter old man who grew up in a bygone era. Mr. Obama is intent to embrace the rather naïve notion that all we need is a dialogue in order to heal racial the racial conflict that continues to plague America. All we need to do is talk and we can stop police beating and killing unarmed black people because the police, in a rather imperfect and deadly impersonation of Don Knots as Deputy Barney Fife, are in fear of their lives.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Obama feels that it is more important to keep certain components of the black community at arms length as well. Mr. Obama cannot find the time in his hectic campaign schedule to visit the State of the Black Union program in New Orleans, Louisiana given annually by Tavis Smily and Tom Joyner. Mr. Obama could not make it to the annual remembrance of Doctor King’s murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. It is interesting to see that Hillary Clinton made time to appear at both events. It should be noted that even John McCain, the Republican nominee, made an appearance to appease black voters and make an appearance in Memphis. But Barack Obama can respond to a last minute call to give the commencement address at Wesleyan University for his good friend Ted Kennedy who was struck with a seizure that was later diagnosed as a malignant brain tumor.
And to add further insult to injury, many people in the black community have chomped onto the bitter bit given to us by the dominant community and have joined the bandwagon to express our anger and resentment at Mr. Wright for his attempt to hijack Mr. Obama’s campaign for the White House as some kind of narcissistic opportunity for personal attention. Reverend Wright has worked unselfishly for years to help the black community. Mr. Wright has been trying to educate people for years to the disparity of the black community. But now that Mr. Obama’s opponents can use Mr. Wright’s sermons as a weapon against Mr. Obama, black people now want to condemn the black man that has always manifested an interest for the welfare of the black community.
To many black people, if Reverend Wright is banished to the furthest corner of the Earth to live the rest of his life in obscurity then all the better. Mr. Wright should have stopped being the man he is and doing what he does in order to make it easier for Mr. Obama win the presidency. It is far more important that the black community have a black man in the White House that is more than happy to minimize the problems of the black community with the standard rhetoric that black people need to help themselves as some kind of sign that we have arrived rather than stand with the black advocate who truly has the welfare of the black community at heart.
In all honestly, it does not have to be an either or proposition. It just happened to have developed that way. As someone who is of the opinion that Barack Obama was wrong for not being more supportive of the man that was obviously supportive of Mr. Obama and the black community, I am often described as having little understanding of what it takes to win the office of the presidency.
But the office of the presidency is not the end all, be all for the black community. I have said before and I will repeat, like many black people, I look forward to the day that the oval office belongs to a black person. However, in all honesty any black man will not simply do. The black community should look forward to the day that there is a black man in the oval office that has the welfare of the black community truly at heart. For example, having a black Supreme Court justice that is truly disconnected from the black community is a serious detriment to black people. The generic idea of having a black man on the Supreme Court is truly attractive. The reality of having someone like Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court is a black community nightmare.
This is not to say that Barack Obama in the office of the President of the United States is the equivalent of having Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Heaven forbid that thought. This is not to say that Mr. Obama is not the best presidential candidate of whoever remains in the running. The point is that the black community should not be so gung ho to help a black man gain the presidential office without having that black man clearly express his devotion, connection, and affiliation to the black community that we will join the bandwagon to condemn an advocate of the black community, a man that truly demonstrates his love of the black community, to oblivion.
If we continue to believe that the black community is better off having a black President so much so that we don’t need advocates of the black community then we choose to trust government with the black community’s welfare, the very same government that supported institutionalized slavery, syphilis experimentation, and other manifestations of black subjugation and racial disparity. In all honesty, we choose Barabbas and we stand complacent as the true salvation of the black community is hung out in the open to die.