Monday, November 20, 2017
The White Man’s Burden is Not the Black Man’s Responsibility
By Jasmyne A. Cannick (Columnist)
Published March 20, 2008

Well I guess on the bright side of things, there should be no more questions about whether or not Senator Barack Obama is a Christian.

If you recall, throughout his campaign for the presidency, he’s been painted out to be an undercover Muslim who was sworn into office on the Koran. When that didn’t work, it switched to rumors that he doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance and he was the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s flunky. He’s anti-Israel, friends with terrorists…who actually want him to win. And the most absurd of them all…he’s the Anti-Christ.

Now the focus for Obama haters has turned to his former pastor Dr. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and what’s being called “controversial” comments he’s made from the pulpit regarding America’s politics.

It seems that it’s not enough that we’ve adopted their religion and most Blacks are worshiping to their White blue-eyed Jesus, but now they want to dictate the message that we receive as well. And in the process, they’ve backed Obama against a wall forcing him to publicly distance himself from his pastor in order to prove that he’s not an angry Black man in disguise.

Civil rights icon the Rev. Joseph Lowery once said, “The country’s creating a 51st state-the state of denial.

I guess if the history books favored my race against all reality, I’d be pissed off at anyone who tried to say otherwise. Too bad.

The fact is that Rev. Wright isn’t the first or the last preacher or Black to call out America for her racist history. A history that for some reason we are always being encouraged to forget because today Americans are transcending race. Is that why Black men and women are being imprisoned almost as fast their mothers can give birth to them? Is that the reason why a man who called a group of young Black women “nappy-headed ho’s” is still on the air? And were we rising above race when it was joked that Tiger Woods should be lynched? Is us transcending race to blame for the pimps and ho’s parties on university and college campuses around the country?

The belief that America is somehow transcending race because Whites voted for a Black man is dangerous thinking.

Another greatly feared Black man, Dr. Maulana Karenga, taught me that I am American by birth and African by choice and quite frankly that’s the feeling of a lot of African-American’s who are fully aware of the United State’s role in the history of not only the underdevelopment of Africa, but generations of Black Americans. And let me tell you, one Black man running for president isn’t enough to erase that history or the feelings that many Blacks harbor whether publicly or on the down low towards the United States government and White folks. We haven’t touched on the issue of reparations, which our government continues to down play.


But it’s this constant state of denial that continues to have some White folks sheets all up in a bunch to the point where they want to now go into our churches and dictate the message that the pastor delivers. And if they have their way, we’ll be singing hallelujah and thanking Jesus for slavery, Jim Crow, and the end of affirmative action because if you recall it was the Bible that justified Whites mistreatment of Blacks. But wait—-we haven’t forgotten Guyana.

The church, our church, White Jesus aside, is the one institution that carried Blacks through America’s state-sanctioned slavery, lynching, racial discrimination, oppression, disenfranchisement, and exploitation. It is not our responsibility as Blacks to sugar coat the truth to make it a easier pill for some Whites to swallow. We didn’t have a choice between the red or the blue pill, reality or make believe. We came out of the womb awake to the ways of the world.

And it’ll probably be right about now that most Whites reading this will begin to tune out.

Yes, it’s that state of denial that begins to kick in right about now whenever the words lynching, racism, and slavery are mentioned in relationship to the Black experience and the role Whites played in it that is hard for some to comprehend. Unless however it’s in the form of a primetime movie special during Black History Month, then it’s all good for about two hours and some change to remember.

So here comes the mainstream and at times divisive, media trying to take Wright’s comments out of context and making it into a bigger issue than what it should be, perhaps to make up for a slow news day and/or Clinton’s complaints of a media love affair with Obama. Either way, I thought race isn’t supposed to be a factor in this election? Maybe they’re forgetting that Wright is but one Black pastor in this country and I am willing to bet that a peek into other Black churches around the country and the message is quite the same, maybe even more controversial. And that’s just Black churches. Let’s not forget All Saints Church in Pasadena, California who had been under investigation for a guest sermon its former rector had given just before the 2004 presidential election. In it, he strongly criticized the war in Iraq but said he believed that both President Bush and his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, were good Christians. This was taken as an endorsement of Kerry over Bush and in came the IRS.

I know it’s hard to believe for some, but everyone isn’t down with America’s unwritten policy of bomb now ask questions later. I think we all know what lengths the American government will go to keep the truth from coming out.

It wasn’t that long ago when we were dealing with the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow. Then came the mysterious arrival of crack cocaine in Black neighborhoods around the country and COINTELPRO. By the late 70s, the White sheets had been replaced with business suits and phony smiles. And even though the damage had been done that didn’t stop them from giving us Reagan.

A.M.E. church founder Richard Allen said “the only place that Blacks felt they could maintain an element of self-expression was the church,” and I’ll add, but they still managed to burn down more than a few back in the day.

Fortunate for Dr. Wright, it’s not so easy to get rid of dissident voices today as it was 30 and 40 years ago.


Dr. Wright may be retired now, but thank God for us that there are still pastors and ministers like him out there who aren’t afraid tell it like it is when it comes to the United States Government and the history that was so conveniently left out of the schoolbooks.

Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it…and this ain’t no reentry in slavery. Preach on, preach on.

Jasmyne Cannick n is a social commentator and activist who is known for addressing the issues others can’t or simply won’t. Chosen as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World, at 29, Jasmyne is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and writes a popular daily blog at and She resides in Los Angeles and can be reached at

Categories: Opinion

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