"The anger is real. It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races." - Barack Obama
I'm still getting calls and e-mails about the Obama race speech. I've taken my time on this one. It's important. I mean, it might just define me for the rest of my career right? That's deep.
Here is my official response: Barack Obama doesn't give a hot damn about the "audacity of hope." Let’s talk about the audacity of anger. Let’s legitimize anger. Let’s make excuses for it. Is that where true hope comes from? Does it come from elevating the emotion of anger? I don’t think so…
With his race speech, Obama became the latest in a long line of race peddlers who specialize in angst, resentment and despair. (And of course, anger.) He is just far more polished and smooth than the previous versions we’ve witnessed. Obama's speech failed to tell the truth in love, ala Martin Luther King Jr. What Obama did was justify anger by explaining, blaming and claiming it – instead of absorbing, resolving and absolving it. (There's a little Jesse Jackson lingo for ya.)
In effect, what Barack Obama was saying was this: Black people have a right to be angry. We have suffered so many injustices over time that we are entitled to do, say and feel anything in return. We’ve earned it. Deal with it, America.
Huh? Is that the Gospel according to Jeremiah Wright?! – ‘cause it’s sure not the Gospel of Christianity.
I’ll tell you where hope comes from: Forgiveness. There is a Love so wide and deep and high that you can’t help but be overcome by gratitude that transforms individuals and entire communities. I’m talking about a profound kindness that leads people to repentance. Anger only leads to more anger. But forgiveness, love and Christ-centered kindness lead to hope. True hope. And true transformation.
My grandmother used to hate white people – and with good reason. When I say hate, I mean HATE. She told me stories that would curl your toes. She told me that I had better NEVER bring a white girl into her house. A few years later, my cousin married a white man (an Italian), and we were all invited to a big family feast.
I didn't want to go. What was my cousin thinking?
When I asked my grandma about how she felt about the interracial marriage, she looked up at me with a perplexed expression; "What's the matter with you?" she asked. I reminded her of what she had told me a few years back. Her response was: "James, people change. That was a long time ago.” She was in her late 80's.
Now that's the audacity of hope.