The Corner

Wright and Obama: An Email

Reader B. W. writes in:

Here’s the basic thing: Wright and Obama’s interests are at odds here. They’ve each gotten what they wanted from the other—”authenticity” for Obama, and prestige for Wright from having Obama in his pews—but at this point, each needs the other one to be discredited. Obama needs to get the millstone of black nationalism off his neck, and Wright needs Obama to lose the campaign to prove the truth of his black nationalism. They may not think in exactly these terms, as doubtless there is or was personal affection between the two, but as long as Obama wants to be president of all America, Wright’s bigotry is poison; and as long as Wright wants to preach the evils of the white man, Obama’s success discredits him.

Jonah made the same point, and I think there is a lot to it. With this caveat: African-Americans’ success does not necessarily weaken black nationalism (and related isms) even if it should logically weaken it (and them). My impression–and I’d like to see some survey data on point–is that more blacks believe that the government is engaged in a conspiracy against them now than believed it when it was true.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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