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The Politics of Denunciation

By Mumia Abu-Jamal  Posted by Hans Bennett (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   4 comments
Message Hans Bennett
Listen to the radio-essay here. 
[col. writ. 4/30/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
    When was the last time that you saw a politician asked to denounce a religious leader with whom he or she was associated?
    For generations, we have seen a succession of presidents, from both political parties, under the wing of the Rev. Billy Graham.
    Historians have recently reported that Graham and his Oval Office acolytes have spoken in racist and xenophobic terms about both Blacks and Jews.
    The Rev. Graham recently was lionized as the personal spiritual advisor to presidents, in times of stress, pressure, war and peace.
    Neither he, nor his presidential prayer pals, have ever been damned or denounced for profoundly racist speech in the palaces of the powerful.
    Now, as a Black man begins to climb the greased pole of American political power, he is asked to either defend or denounce a man whom he has known and admired for a generation.
    Barack Obama opted for the latter.
    He has all but jettisoned the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright from the close circle to the cold periphery of the political  realm.
    Whence comes this demand for denunciation?
    If we are honest, it arises from the spectre of white fear, that demands of Black people a higher standard than that of their own.
    For what reason has Jeremiah Wright been jettisoned - if not for his proud, open Blackness?
    Rev. Wright is an advocate of Black Liberation Theology - a school of  Black religious thought that sees the hand of God in the liberation of Black people from bondage.
    White Americans are so used to hearing Blacks speak with quiet and pacific tones, that when a man expresses himself fully, as did Rev. Wright, they are, quite frankly, frightened.
    (What do they fear, that Blacks will dare remember?)
    Through the corporate media talking heads, they demanded that Obama "distance himself" from that scary, Black (uppity?) preacher - and do it fast.
    Yowza, boss.
    The politics of denunciation is, ultimately, the politics of betrayal.  It asks - no - it demands that the candidate  denounce those whom the White  Nation opposes.
    If they don't, then they are presumed to be a supporter of that person, or ideology.
    Meanwhile, white conservative preachers can say virtually anything, and calls for denunciation are swallowed into silence.
    Former presidential candidate, and Republican supporter, Rev. Pat Robertson, called for the killing of a foreign head of state! (I speak here of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.)
    Did the White House denounce this prominent religious supporter? Not to my knowledge (in fact, it would be rather difficult, given the current regime's failed coup d'etat against him).
    But Barack, the son of a continental African, cannot be seen calling for Black Liberation; for he seeks not to become leader of the Black Nations, but the world's leading White Nation.
    Once again, Blacks, and their deep indigenous concerns, are pushed to the periphery.  Their free expression ain't free, for there is a cost.
    When I saw his latest dis' of the Rev. Dr. Wright, I thought of a question posed in the Bible, in the words of Jesus of Nazareth speaking to his disciples (in Matthew 16:26): For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?...
    What would you do to get a job?
--(c) '08 maj
[Source: Holy Bible, St. Matthew (King James Version.]
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Hans Bennett is a multi-media journalist mostly focusing on the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. An archive of his work is available at and he is also co-founder of "Journalists for Mumia," (more...)
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