Reverend Jeremiah Wright was back in the news this week. After laying low since the controversy over his offensive and racially insensitive sermons and his relationship with presidential hopeful Barack Obama, he decided to make several appearances and interviews including one before the NAACP and The National Press Club.
If you haven’t seen some of the video clips and observed some of his theatrics (a “spectacle” is what Obama called it) or read some of his comments made at these conferences, I can say it is well worth the time. Any effort to persuade the public that Rev. Wright was being unfairly judged by a “few sound bites” on the internet can be put to rest – he validated almost every disparaging remark his critics have directed towards him.
The real shocker for me has been that as controversial as his remarks have been, the NAACP and The National Press Club asked him to speak at their events.
The NAACP invitation seems obvious until one considers the NAACP’s own mission statement:
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
Having Rev. Wright speak at a NAACP event seems to challenge the very integrity and sincerity of the organizations mission and purpose.
Consequently, The National Press Club honestly describes its history as having to deal with its own “isms”. The NPC originally was a steadfast, all white male organization that shunned women and blacks, but eventually came to terms with their own segregation practices. One would think they would be a little sensitive to controversy.
And it should be noted the Rev. Wright was going to be honored by, and receive an honorary degree from Northwestern University this week.
So what message were these organizations trying to send by asking a controversial person like Rev. Wright to speak at their events? One would think in this politically correct environment Rev. Wright would be ostracized and abandoned for his insensitive remarks, his name sending chills down the spine of event organizers. Instead, his offensive remarks and beliefs blossomed into speaking engagements and interviews.
Contrast the flexibility afforded Rev. Wright compared to that of Lawrence Summers.
Back in 2005, Harvard University president Lawrence Summers addressed a crowd of intellectuals brought together to discuss economic issues. During his speech, he made the mistake of trying to tackle the academic differences between the sexes concerning math and sciences. In an effort to find a reason for this gender gap he suggested that maybe universities should look more closely at possible genetic or biological differences between men and women since most research cannot find concrete cause and effect for this discrepancy. Summers was sincerely trying to help, not offend, but since feminist professors were present in the audience, his remarks could only be seen as insensitive, offensive, sexist, vile, and Neanderthal to name of few. One Feminist professor said Summers’ comments made her so physically ill she had to leave.
Because of his remarks, Summers eventually had to step down from his position. Although his comments were made in a sincere effort to help women, his one time slip of the tongue was weighted by feminist and academia to the conclusion that he was inherently a flawed, troubled, and backwards man.
Eventually Harvard replaced Summers with Drew G. Faust, the dean of the Radcliffe Institute, where she oversaw the study of women, gender, and society.
Today, scheduled speeches by Lawrence Summers on some university campuses have been cancelled due to protest by feminist and other “equality” groups who feel his presence on campus sends the wrong message.
The wrong message? What is the “wrong” message? Rev. Wright has tenaciously preached his controversial “message” for twenty years. Lawrence Summers had no message, just a lapse of reason.
Reverend Wright is honored, Lawrence Summers is vilified.
I’m not surprised. As a follower of gender issues it is apparent that the common thread in these controversies – that is, determining who will be condemned and who will be rewarded – depends greatly on who the malicious attacks are directed towards. If an attack is perceived to be directed at women as a whole, that person can expect to be condemned for life. If an attack is directed at men as a whole, that person will be considered an intellectual.
Rev. Wright’s “message” involved directing his anger at the government, which in societal politics is a euphemism for men. Lawrence Summers mishap was seen as an aspersion towards women – BIG mistake.
If you want to openly display hate, contempt, and discrimination in our society, and be rewarded for it, make sure your aspersions are directed towards men. When this form of gender discrimination is a part of someone’s “message”, it is guaranteed that the equality and diversity police will be present to distribute “get out of jail free” cards.
If you think I’m exaggerating, here are some disparaging, humiliating, and gender de-valuing remarks directed towards the male gender by men and women who are highly respected and/or influential in their profession:
– “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it he’s just incapable of it” (Barbara Jordan, US Congress, from a speech given in Austin, Texas, The Houston Chronicle, 09/28/91).
– “As is our wont, we commenced work on a series of projects that stunk everything up and made a mess of our world. Women? They deserve none of the blame. They continued to bring life into this world; we continued to destroy it whenever we could. We can’t pin any of this on women . . . every bit of plunder and pillage, every attack on the environment, everything that has brought horror and destruction to all that was once pure and good has come from hands that, well, when they aren’t busy bringing pleasure to one-self, are working overtime to wipe out this beautiful, wonderful home we were given” (Michael Moore, Stupid White Men).
– “Men have a perfect right to be insecure. They’re doomed, poor darlings. It won’t be next Thursday or anything but men, says Bryan Sykes, a leading British researcher on sex chromosomes, ‘are now on notice’. . . . Are men necessary? I ask Dr Sykes. ‘Clearly not,’ he replies. Are men necessary? I ask British geneticist Steve Jones. ‘You don’t even need the sex slaves,’ Dr Jones assures me. ‘You just need their cells in a freezer.’ He fantasizes about ‘a world without men’, a version of the mythological ‘cult of Diana’ hunter-gatherer societies where women were in charge and men were just there for entertainment, where there would be ‘no Y chromosomes to enslave the feminine, the destructive spiral of greed and ambition fuelled by sexual ambition diminishes and, as a direct result, the sickness of our planet eases. The world no longer reverberates to the sound of men’s clashing antlers and the grim repercussions of private and public warfare.’” (Maureen Dowd, Are Men Necessary?, “Male free zone,” 01/22/06, Sydney Morning Herald)
– “The truly terrifying thing is that it could happen. The technology of asexual female reproduction in the human species really isn’t that far off. If suitably dedicated women overcame any ethical objections and applied themselves to the task they could be cloned within a decade. Those women see males for what they are, biological parasites on the parental care of females.” (John Gribbin, The Redundant Male)
– “To create and preserve a less violent world. I) Every culture must affirm a female future. II) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. III) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10 percent of the human race.” (Sally Miller Gearhart, University of San Francisco, “The Future—If There Is One—Is Female,” MasMystique).
– “One can know everything and still be unable to accept the fact that sex and murder are fused in the male consciousness, so that the one without the imminent possibly of the other is unthinkable and impossible.” (Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, Lawrence Hill Books; Reprint 1993, p. 21).
– “Nature blundered badly in designing males . . . because of neurochemical stuff like testosterone; males are not naturally suited to civilization.” (Columnist George F. Will, “Nature and the Male Sex,” Newsweek, 06/17/91).
– “If there were more women in positions of power, not just in Congress, but across the United States and around the world, lots of things would be better. Not perfect. But better.” (Dee Dee Myers’s from her book, Why Women Should Rule the World)
– “I think women are too valuable to be in combat.” (U.S. Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, MOMP, p. 126).
– “Testosterone won’t help if you’re married to a schmuck,” (Sheryl Kingsberg, chief of behavioral medicine at Case Medical Center in Cleveland when discussing testosterone supplements for women with low sex drives, Chicago Tribune 02/27/08).
Not one of these individuals was exposed to the imminent fear of losing their jobs, their status, or their professional respectability for their derogatory, humiliating, and hateful remarks towards men. Reverse the genders and ask yourself if their remarks would have gone unnoticed or unchallenged.
As of this writing, Barack Obama has cut all ties with Rev. Wright. This has angered some in the African-American community. I’m sure Obama was aware of the consequences, but at least I give him credit, he is finally an advocate of equality practicing what he preaches. Sadly, I can’t say that about the majority of other advocates for equality.
I hope this is a shifting of the paradigm – the right message being sent.
Quotes courtesy of Tim Goldich