20 January 2009

Once White gets it right. . .

Fr. Z. has up the full text of Obama's first proclamation. Here's the conclusion:

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century."

Sounds good. I'll buy it; however, maybe B.O. should show us how a day of renewal and reconciliation is done by repudiating and then apologizing for the "Reverend" he asked to give the day's benediction. DRUDGE has posted the text of Joseph Lowery's "blessing":

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around. . .when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen. . ."

Of course, we should be very glad that justice and love is still possible even when black, brown, and red do not embrace right. Or, is it that only whites fail to embrace right. . .? Or, is that justice and love is only possible when whites FINALLY come around to embracing right? Whichever.

I dunno. I'm not feeling very renewed or reconciled knowing that B.O. thinks this guy represents renewal and reconciliation.

This is an obnoxiously racist "prayer." Is this B.O.'s idea of a renewed and reconciled America?


  1. Anonymous1:29 PM

    Reconciliation was also the first goal set by President Richard M. Nixon.


  2. What else could the man have said? It's a rhyme, first of all, not moral philosophy. If he had implied that whites, too, cannot get ahead in this country, well, he'd be wrong. They can, and always have. To imply otherwise is just plain revisionist history.

    So while we are all supposed to embrace what is right, the American Anglo-Saxon, not needing to establish him- or herself, has nothing to do but work on moral improvement.

    Sounds pretty divisive and hateful.

    Robert Hamilton

  3. Robert,

    Great spin...all those classes in lit theory serve you well...

    I can think of about a dozen ways to rewrite that prayer so that everything rhymes and whitey doesn't get skewered for not doing right.

    Sorry. No Kewpie doll for you.

  4. Obama is biracial. Anybody remember which side of his family did what was right? Hint: it was not the black Muslim father who abandoned him as an infant, left the continent, and took up a new life with new wives in Africa. If anybody has done what is right in Obama's life, it's his whie mother and grandmother, and the white liberals who got him elected.

    Time to "move on", already.

  5. Jackie6:00 PM


    I dunno - my ancestors are Irish - that would be white - but I do believe that they didn't fare well around the country.

    My ancestors are Catholic - that would be the ones that couldn't live or own land, and until the 1840's, couldn't hold office in many states. Hmmmm - they were white too.

    That's just two 'white' groups that I'm related to - there are plenty of others - all classified TODAY as white, anglo-saxon. Not tell me again - who is re-writing history?

    In addition - how was this prayer gracious, helpful, or uplifting? It was not - so much for reconciliation and tolerance!

  6. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Hey, I agree that black should not be asked to get in back....wait....never mind.

  7. Going through college in the 80's and watching Political Correctness poison rational discourse, I think it would be wonderful poetic justice if this beast turns on its masters.

    I wish Lowery to go to sensitivity training and Brown to say when Lowery shall come out.

  8. Fr. Philip,

    I stand corrected. How dare these silly minorities, who fill our prisons and get all of our traffic tickets, who scrub our floors and wash our excrement out of toilets, accuse us of wrongdoing -- or even, as in this case, simply express a hope that we "embrace what is right"?

    Why don't you go somewhere where you stick out like a sore thumb, where ladies clutch their purses closer when you come around the corner, and where your job application gets rejected because of your name and *then* see if you want to play the petulant Ann Coulter "reverse racism" card over a silly rhyme.

    Maybe I have a skewed view of the world because of where I live, but here at Baylor University, I actually had a student in my class who helped incite a racial shouting match and wrote on his blog about the "restoration of white power." The tensions are very real to me, and in that context, Rev. Lowery's remark strikes me as showing an admirable restraint. The civil rights struggle isn't over; you and I aren't the victims yet.

    Robert H.

  9. "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around. . .when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen. . .(AS LONG AS WE CAN KEEP LEGALLY KILLING THE UNBORN?????)"

  10. Wow...and I was going to try not to get angry about anything today...being historic and all (no tongue in cheek here) but that is just plain, well, silly really. Why even mention all the colors...can't we all just be American's?

    Perhaps I'm asking too much...

  11. Robert,

    I taught English in Communist China where I was called a "white devil" every time I out on the street.

    I went to public schools in rural Mississippi where I witnessed REAL racism in action...not your fake racism of pampered academics who need something to get feel self-righteous about kinda racism.

    Spare me the whining about "those people who clean our toilets, etc"...I've cleaned toilets, changed adult diapers, washed copious amounts of shit off hospital walls, floors, clothes; I've done ton of laundry; dug ditches, moved tons of gravel, cleared land...pretty much anything you can think of...

    My point in this post is simple. BO claims it's all about Change and Hope and Renewal and he allows some Professionally Aggrieved Race-Hack hijack the benediction to take a safe swipe at whitey's unwillingness to embrace what's right. That's not forward-looking or reconciling nor does it represent change. It also doesn't reflect the reality that BO wouldn't be in the W.H. right now if whites had gone with McCain.

    So, not only is this "prayer" racist, backward-looking, and cowardly, it also completely ignored reality,,,of course, this is what most leftist identity politics is all about.

  12. Scott,

    Thank you...you are exactly right. Identity politics, feminism, Marxism, all those vacuous pseudo-intellectual word games of the 80's ruined rational discourse in the public square.

    Now, it seems all one must do to get a gov't salve and a sympathetic ear at the New York Slimes is claim you have been offended.

    Unless, of course, you belong to one of the groups that can still be offended with consequence.

  13. Jackie,

    Thank you...the voice of sense amidst the pampered whining.

    My family is Native American (Choctaw) and Protestant Northern Irish...my grandparents were dirt poor Mississippi delta cotton farmers. My great-grandparents on the Dad's side were migrant workers from N. Alabama. On my mom's side they weren't even sharecroppers...sharecroppers were considered a higher class...this included the black sharecroppers and land owners in the area.

  14. Daddio,

    Thanks for reminding us of those inconvenient truths...

    Of course, the Professional Aggrieved Race Baiter is going to point out that B.O.'s father abandoned him for a set of pretty new wives b/c the White Man did something or another 400 years ago...

  15. Anonymous11:32 PM

    While, I'm sure we can find faults with everyone, the reference here to oppression in the past (black in back) or present (brown out of town) done by white people seems appropriate, seeing as how this is our first election of a black president, and the reason why a black person hasn't been president up to now is largely due to oppression by white people. And praying for, and asking for an end to any current oppression of one race by another is laudable. It accomplishes little in the struggle against injustice for white people to cry "We're not the only unjust ones! Why do we have to admit to and fix our problems when others are unjust too?" whenever someone points out where white people were or are acting injustly. Yes, if others are acting unjustly, they need to fix that, but their injustice doesn't absolve white people from theirs.
    Whatever your political views, today was an important day in ending racial injustice. As Obama pointed out, our nation has come a long way 60 years: from a black man went from not being to eat lunch at the same counter as a white man, to being president of our country. This is a great accomplishment, even if you don't like Obama. The Rev. Lowery was simply reminding us that even with this great accomplishment, our work in race relations isn't done.


  16. Sarah1:23 AM

    Father Philip,

    You have seen racism while growing up in Mississippi - so surely you have seen the enormous strides we have made as a country in correcting these atrocious attitudes over the past few decades. I know you have serious anxieties about this presidency, but can't we even admit that these strides in civil rights are good and worth celebrating? And in my mind, that is all that Rev. Lowery was doing. It used to be that black had to sit in the back, now they don't, etc. And it used to be that whites as a whole did not "embrace what was right" and acknowledge the equality of persons, but over the past years we have started to do that in monumental leaps. I believe that Rev. Lowery was applauding these trends and hoping that they continue. I am proud of all the races in this country and do not resent this preacher's wishes that the relatively new spirit of acceptance will continue.

    You yourself recently said to a poster: "I have no control over how you choose to read my remarks. If you choose to be alienated by my post, not my problem. [...] you are choosing to read my posts in the worst possible light [...] Your defensiveness, unfounded accusations, and freakish leaps of logic are laughable."
    I wonder if Rev. Lowery might say similar words to you if he saw this post.

    -Sarah H.

  17. Fr Philip,

    Sorry but I just had to start laughing uproariously when I read "but here at Baylor University where I teach..."

    Yes, I thought that smelled familiar. The BAYLOR BUBBLE. I remember it well. Racial tensions so high...cuz they were instigated to stay high...at least on campus.

    I went to Baylor, on financial aid (ie loans I'm STILL paying off) and I worked the whole time I was there in the community. (5 years--at the local Wal Mart no less)

    Funnily enough....out in the community, there isn't much racial tension. The tension is all financial...the Baylor-ite haves and the town-folk have nots.

    I mean...let's stick a bunch of primarily rich students and insanely wealthy faculty in the middle of a poor little town that would otherwise be nothing more than a pit stop between Dallas and San Antonio...then see how they fare.

    But white guilt is easy to feed, especially because there's nothing you can do about it...whereas, taking a salary cut to foster community outreach programs would just hurt too much.

    I'm sorry Mr H. but get off your ivory tower.

    OH, and for the record. I grew up in South Dallas. I've been followed home by a group of 6th grade black boys cuz I was a white 3rd grader, slapped on the school bus in 6th grade cuz I was white, endured cat calls and names too numerous to remember cuz I was white, had parents of my "school friends" refuse to have me over to play cuz I was white. Been baited into getting caught for someone else's misbehavior cuz I was white.

    there's more but you get the point.

    Do. Not. Feed. Me. The. Utter. Crap. That. "Black people can't be racist". Nor. The. Crap. That. "they've suffered so much". Nor. The. Crap. That. "whitey deserves it".

    we are all Americans and should start acting as such, this racist @#$$%^%^&#$@$$^%^^&%@#@ should never have been allowed to be said, PERIOD.

  18. Sarah,

    Very good try...I mean that, I'm not being sarcastic!

    Here's the problem...the prayer doesn't pray in thanksgiving that "white got it right." The prayer is future sense, praying for some time in the future "when white WILL get it right." There is only one implication for praying for something using the future tense: you do not believe that you have it yet. And even if you could make this say what you want it to say in terms of tense, you still have the insurmountable problem of explaining why good race relations seems to fall exclusively on whites?

    No, this little prayer is nothing more than a loudmouth race baiter using the international stage to take a swipe at whitey.

    B.O. needs to apologize.

  19. Haley,

    You are not reading my comments very carefully. This is leading you to project onto my comments things I am not saying.

    For example, I have NEVER said in any of these comments that whites are innocent of racial injustice. I know better. I also know that racial minorities are perfectly capable of committing racial injustices. Whites do not have a corner on racial hatred.

    If B.O.'s election is supposed to be about how we have overcome racial barriers, then why didn't the prayer acknowledge that BO wouldn't be president w/o whitey?

    Easy-cheesy, here it is: "and white got it right!" Does everything BO wants his election to do....but no...that's not what the prayer says.

    BO's reverend got the spotlight on him and decided to poke the president's achievement in the eye.

    Lowery is a racist and he needs to apologize and so does BO.

  20. I was thinking how he might want to move up to the 70's just based on the "get in back" comment.


    And I might be more forgiving if it was offered as poetry instead of a prayer. It was definitely better than the horrible, worst-delivery-ever poem that lady read. Ick.

    On the other hand, the girls and I sat and watched the entire thing, discussing how utterly momentous it was that a black man was president. How very far our country as a whole has come. It's just too bad that some people can't let go of the race thing. To me, President Obama is first just a man, and then I think, "Oh, yeah, he's black. Whatever."

  21. If this racist bit of theatre had been a poem, well, I would have never even thought to mention it...

  22. Fr. Philip,

    Fine, you've suffered! And you're white! Okay. I'm not going to engage in a silly "nobody knows the trouble I've seen" tournament with you OR "Mighty Mom." Your life is clearly interesting, and I think it would make a good memoir (I'm not being sarcastic here either) but alas, it does not win an argument any more than the fact that Will Smith is wealthy proves that African-Americans have entered the demographic upper crust.

    Your second point at least contains an argument. I see what you mean -- but honestly, I think you should look to Obama's own words if you want to know his feelings on the racial situation. Rev. Lowery is obviously from an earlier generation than Barack, and was selected for honorary reasons ... and if you watch the news coverage, you'll see Barack look amused and a bit ironic at that moment.

    All of that said, it's still just a simple "jingle" and Sarah's point, that black does NOT have to get in the back anymore, is actually a valid one. The whole thing is probably referring (if we must parse it so pedantically) to the ongoing struggle, not some future demanded utopia.


  23. Daddio,

    Mr. Obama, Sr.'s actions are no more relevant here than any of our personal sufferings. And the disdain with which you paint a picture of this "Black Muslim" makes you look about as enlightened as Mr. Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness." Way to go.

    Robert Hamilton

  24. Robert,

    You win this year's award for Most Clueless and Pretentious Literary Allusion in Reference to a Real World Situation Ever....

    Congrats...Fr. Philip, OP

  25. Robert,

    Barak Hussein Obama is now the President of the United States of America...everyone he appoints, invites, employs, looks at funny in the afternoon, represents HIM and the US. Just like it was with "W," Bill, GHWB, Reagan and so on. He is no longer immunized from criticism b/c he is just a senator or just a law prof. He is the POUSA. And, just like CNN, NYT, MSNBC have been telling us for the last eight years, every breath, every blink of the eye is directly his responsibility.

    He needs to apologize. Period. He has allowed a racist hack, a mean-spirited race baiter and bitter old leftist doof to sully the beginning of his term by insulting the single largest tax paying base of the US economy.

    He is not a reconciler or a bridge builder so long as he believes that "white WILL embrace right" someday.

    This is offensive, a lie, and slap in the face of hardworking American people all over the country.

  26. Haha, thanks Father. What can I say. I find it difficult to separate business and pleasure ...

    But you have to admit it. What an otherizing, Orientalist denigration of the culture of the margin!


  27. Are we entering an age of intolerance where no criticism can and could ever be directed to BO without being called "racist". This means to me that even though there is a president of african ancestry in the White House, the collective consciousness of the US has not yet abandoned racial stigmas and continues to think in racial terms.
    Are the only ones allowed to make a racial coment like this and get away with it, and be prasied for it, "black" people? How would this have sound coming out of anybody else's mouth? That person would have been hunted down relentlessly to force him to apologize.
    What gives us the right, to anybody, regardless of your ethnic background to launch generalizations such as these? So broad and so inaccurate that they don't mean anything. Who is the black, who is the white, who is the brown, red or yellow? For criying out loud! How can you reduce the whole of the human race and spirit, created in the image of God to 5 or 4 basic colors? And then, adscribe quasi-moral injunctions to each based on this fallacious and inaccurate genera?That is not only illogical but is simple-minded and infantile. When are we going to move on?
    Can everybody please stop thinking in terms of "race" as if an ontological distinction existed?

    No ethnic group in the history of the world is free of injustices comited, and to keep binding the sons for the sins of the fathers is not only unjust but is also unfruitful and down-right vindictive regardles of the flowery speech one might use to express it.
    To do what is "right" is a moral imperative that falls on the entire human race and not just on "white" as this gentleman says.

    Robert: Vanity of vanities, Robert.