Different Does Not Mean Deficient
When I was growing up, I was told that everything had to be a certain way. Everything was supposed to be uniform and nothing that was good varied. Life was predictable and dependable. Over the years, I learned that I had lived inside of a lie; a carefully concocted idea that all was well because it was somehow under perfect control. Any variance from the norms of life was somehow freakish and unacceptable. During the national prosperity toward the middle of the last century, I lived the lie that many Americans grew up with. I learned to be controlled in a “white man’s world” and to ply that control on others until I discovered the lie that I was living.
Finally, we have a man that speaks his mind and the truth that I discovered, “Different, but not deficient.” As a white guy, Linda Ronstadt’s song “Different Drum” comes to mind. Dr. Wright is a man, like MLK that doesn’t fear of being different. Millions, just like him, are different too. Undoubtedly, many African-Americans have learned the hard way what it was like to be on the outside; to be different, enforced by the color of their skin.
Jeremiah Wright has been maligned and misunderstood by the media as well as misunderstood by highly sensitized and self-protective people that are still trying to live the lie that they have learned from the past, the delusion of social control that they learned as children. Old national habits and attitudes die hard.
Dr. Wright has not troubled himself with the need to be politically correct. In fact, his lineage makes him the opposite of correctness. He is a man, like many that has been educated by his circumstances. Like MLK, he is a preacher, not a politician. Study what MLK said and strip away what everyone else says about what he ever said. You will find that he spoke as a preacher, not as someone’s political mouthpiece for political advantage. Some of MLK’s words have been strangely twisted into someone else’s dreams for political advantage to work for the political needs of this country. That period of history, led by my cousin LBJ was the beginning of a forced and uneasy national alliance.
Jeremiah Wright doesn’t make the claim to be a perfect man. He sometimes speaks over the top to make a point and he doesn’t worry about being misunderstood. He doesn’t ask you to agree with him. People of like mind understand what he says. Like many Americans, he already knows that making a difference, let alone making a change isn’t comfortable for everyone. While speaking to the NAACP, Dr. Wright was talking about the kind of change that visionaries see. Like MLK, Dr. Wright and millions of other Americans long for a change, a new generation of renewal for this country outside of the constraints of the old national social hierarchy that has been thrust upon us. He isn’t referring to unconstitutional actions, yet the idea of any kind of change, even for the better, makes plenty of people uncomfortable, especially when they don’t want to accept the truth. In the mind of Jeremiah Wright, he is running for Jesus and isn’t tired yet. He is speaking to everyone that will listen because, like it or not, people are different.
He understands that speaking about reality doesn’t divide the country. He is simply showing the polarity that already exists, while America tries to pretend the divisions aren’t in place. That is the old way of thinking that I was born into.
The idea that the country brought the attacks of September 11 on itself is not new. Just ask the millions of people living outside the United States. According to a retired African-American psychologist and world traveler I know, the U.S. is known for taking from others as it sees fit by untold numbers of world citizens overseas. From years of contact with foreigners overseas, this psychologist came to understand that not only are some people fiercely jealous of the United States, but that most people do not hold the United States out as an innocent. This is not treasonous talk, but the reality seen by many people outside of this country and some that live here. Since plenty of people are adverse or at least question the methodology and politics of the United States, it stands to reason that many people consider the U.S. as responsible for what it receives. Since this country stands today as a largely secular nation and not a religious one, many Christians in this nation reluctantly agree that the United States must reap what it sows. That is exactly the mindset that Jeremiah Wright is talking about.
Jeremiah Wright said, “It’s not about man’s acceptance. It’s about God’s approval.” He is thinking on a different level than politicians and most of the mainstream media does. He is speaking his mind, not spouting out what is popular to the political and social mainstream. Jeremiah Wright is planting the seeds of a national future.