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Continuing the Race Relations Conversation

By       Message Daphne McBryde     Permalink
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It seems to me that in spite of Senator Obama's eloquent delivery on race, relationships and the Church many folks continue to miss the point. Yesterday, Obama presented America with a gaze into the complex intricacies of relationships, particularly as it relates to an African American's relationship with their respective church families. The peep inside and subsequent dialogue as presented should not be taken out of its context and reduced to a point for condemnation but more so received as a lens into the social journey and pedagogy of ones experience as an African American. Unfortunately, some desire to continue to harp on the disbelieve and aghast of the pastor/parishioner relationship as oppose to incorporate this insight as a new found intimate understanding of the culture, which in my view should no more be condemn than ones introduction to a foreign country. It's most unlikely that a first venture into a foreign culture and custom that intelligent persons would later condemn new foreign acquaintances lifestyles on the bases of its distinction from ones personal way of living. My long held thoughts of Americans were that we were bigger than that.

I respect Senator Obama's candor as well as his loyalty to a friend. I believe that aspect is unique in a political culture where individuals readily abandon old friends, acquaintances and past colleagues at the drop of a hat when threaten with the possibility of losing an election. As an African American I know that ones affiliation to a church is not exclusive to ones relationship with the pastor but more broadly with the fellowship of the flock and the works/ministry thereof. Indeed, fellow church members often times become much closer, sometimes more so than family, particularly when family ties are often distant. And as is true with family one never agrees 100% with every positions or perspectives held but you certainly in love allow generously their ability to express freely their views. In my family that's how we grow and analyze issues as well as embrace the wonderful bases of this democracy.

I can never excuse or agree with the words expressed by Reverend Wright but I absolutely respect his right to say them It aids us in thinking critically about issues, advance a deeper dialogue, and guides out introspective examination of America's behavior in the open world. Perhaps it is painful to hear in some cases the flip side of America, because some folks want to applaud/defend America's poor actions in the broader world community without apology, without regard to its implication to the other communities. In the words of my Harvard Professor "it's the story that makes them feel good about themselves" "it's the thing that helps them get up in the morning". Moreover, it justifies America's imperial standing and dominance among world leaders, even if it means maligning others. Such justifications over the centuries allowed the perpetuation of slavery, the destruction of Native American civilization, and the Jim Crow policies that Rev. Wright came of age under. Plausibly no other American can best be America's critic more so than Black men of his generation and before. Rev. Wright and his generational cohorts' unique experience and encounters in the heated decades behind us shaped their perspective and contain the ugly truths of the past. Sadly, they are haunted with these bitter stories of old and may carry this baggage for the rest of their lives. However, the true measure of America is --will we allow his history paint the future of America during this historic moment?


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Daphne McBryde is a management consultant with over 15 years experience managing and reforming complex organizations in both the government and not-for-profit sectors. Over the years, Ms. McBryde has been appointed to several executive level (more...)

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Continuing the Race Relations Conversation