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After Abolition, successive generations of blacks grew up in a lingering atmosphere of subservience, injustice and inequality.
It has taken generations for black folk to overcome their anger and acquire an Obama-like sense of calm self-confidence. Not everyone is there yet. It’s a pretty tall order to think that blacks should just “get over it” and stop making excuses.
Amid all the white outrage over Dr. Wright, a lot of Americans missed the important message that America still hasn’t healed the wounds created by slavery.
“There is a paradox for this country and a contradiction of this country, and we still haven’t resolved it,” Condoleezza Rice told the Washington Times shortly after Mr. Obama’s speech in Philadelphia. “But what I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn’t love and have faith in them, and that’s our legacy.”
Rice spoke of the “terrible humiliations” endured by her father, grandmother and great-grandmother, then contrasted it to the can-do, by-the-bootstraps mentality instilled in those whose ancestors voluntarily immigrated to America. The descendants of slaves, she said, “don’t mimic the immigrant story” because they didn’t come here as immigrants. They were forced to come here as cargo-a distinction some white folk seem quick to forget.
In no way do I condone Dr. Wright’s anti-American sentiment. I found his speech divisive and his actions narcissistic. But at the core of the controversy, when blacks lash out at America the way Dr. Wright did, it’s not that we don’t love this country. If anything our love for this country and its ideals uproot the suppressed pain-the deep wounds have not healed-because only a handful of whites understand and acknowledge why things aren’t right.
Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “America has given the Negro people a bad check-a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check-a check that will give us, upon demand, the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” (MORE)