Thursday, January 24, 2008

Obama Speaks The Truth About Homophobia, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in the African American Community

When comedian Bill Cosby made what were considered "controversial" comments in 2004 about the state of parenting in the African American community, much of the mainstream media couldn't wait to cover the story.  To the media Cosby's comments reflected a divide in the thinking within the African American community which might be interesting viewing (or listening) by their audiences.   More recently, Mr. Cosby's contributions to the book Come on, People!: On the Path from Victims to Victors have also been widely discussed.  They were even guests on CNN's Larry King Live Show.

So how did the media miss the following comments by Barack Obama on the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day?   This question is made even more poignant given the fact that on the day after these comments, the Congressional Black Caucus sponsored a Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate and the subject of illegal immigration and same-sex marriage were hardly mentioned. 

Now, this is just a small segment of the speech that Obama made that day but his words reflect a truth that many in the African American community don't want to hear and don't want to discuss.   And apparently the mainstream media is still hesitant to cover. 

By the way, this is an excellent speech and worth listening to in it's entirety.

excerpt from:
AlterNet: Blogs: Video: Obama Takes on Homophobia, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia at MLK's Church

Today Barack Obama zeroed in on equal opportunity bigotry -- and why everyone should strive to not only elevate the political discourse, but to be honest about the base instincts, words and deeds that divide, not unite.

He delivered this message at the house of worship where Dr. Martin Luther King preached, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. It was a pointed statement to black parishioners in the pews -- people well-aware of racial politics being played in this political cycle -- but who are also are part of a faith community that has long had a blind spot toward other oppressed groups. He did not hold back:

For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays - on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.
And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.
We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.
Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation .

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