As this is a political year, it is understandable that many of us are caught up in the political implications of Senator Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright.
But there is another issue here. Wright shows us that there are indeed two Americas. One America that believes that America is fundamentally good, albeit flawed, and another that believes that America is basically bad, and needs wholesale change in order to become good. Mrs. Obama seems to share that view.
The Wright controversey, along with the polling data which shows the great differences between blacks and whites in America about such things as the origin of AIDS, the guilt of O.J. Simpson, and other things, that many black citizens of America live in a parallel culture.
For quite some time liberal whites have pushed affirmative action and other such remedies. But these have only reinforced the separation of the races by making race the first question whites ask when they interview a man for a job or for admission to college. Meanwhile, conservatives, disliking these programs, have hoped that the problem would die of its own weight. It has not done so.
Some of the support of Senator Obama has come from his ability to suggest that he wishes to end that racial separation. The trouble is he needs to bring the black community along with him. That won’t be an easy task.
Perhaps the Wright controversy should remind us all that race is still a real problem in America. The only solution seems to be to attack the idea of race in America (an idea that has become important to the black community, no less than if formerly had been to the white) and move to a nation in which categorization by race is regarded as absurd. There are many entrenched interests who will fight that tooth and nail. But there probably is no other solution.