Sunday, May 11, 2008

Keeping It Real # 7 by Levy Lee Simon

Levy Lee Simon is a playwright in LA (and occasionally New York), who does not blog himself. Instead, he sends out emails which could essentially be blog entries, like the following.

He'd probably like me to mention that his workshop for screenwriters, playwrights and actors will begin in early June and run through August - contact him at jazzlion05 -AT-

(for those of you that don't know me, I am a Black man from Harlem USA)

OK, it's been a while since I wrote my last commentary and many people have wondered why. Besides being extremely busy in the early part of the year with Same Train and The Guest at Central Park West productions in NYC, I have been in a bit of awe at the history happening right before our eyes in the form of the democratic primary.

However, with the recent developments surrounding Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it's time I speak out. I for one am appalled by Rev. Wright's actions. Yes, he is a very dynamic person in his own right. He pastored a thriving church in a vital Black community for over thirty years and that is not an easy plight. He has been out-spoken about the condition of the Black community in white America and has not held back on what some have cited as ridiculous claims, but claims none of us can ignore. The possibilities are real in everything he says no matter how outlandish some of his accusations may sound. He is articulate, courageous, fearless, militant, and highly intelligent. He is everything white America fears in a Black person. So why am I appalled?

Why would a man of the cloth, a man with a deep understanding of Black America, a deep understanding of America's attempts to ruin the chances of the first legitimate Black candidate in the tumultuous history of this country? Barack Obama's campaign is beyond historic, it's evolutionary. Barack's candidacy and potential presidency can change the world at a time when the world's perception of its very own identity is in a quagmire. After four hundred years of American slavery and another hundred years of fighting for civil and human rights, we have reached a point where a Black man is winning primaries in places like Idaho, Utah, Iowa and South Carolina. I don't know about any of you, but Barack's candidacy speaks volumes regarding the present state of mind of our country. By no means does his candidacy proclaim that issues of racism and hatred no longer exist, but you have to admit it's a far cry from the days of Rosa Parks, ML King, and Malcolm.

So why would a man of Rev. Wright's understanding take the chance to ruin what promises to be one of the most historic moments in American history? And please, I don't want to hear the bull about how he had to stand up for himself and that his legacy was relegated to a sound bite which he needed to clarify; that is not nearly enough of a reason. That reasoning only points to a self-serving egomaniac.

Rev. Wright has been preaching the same diatribe that most Blacks have heard before. It may have been a shock for certain white conservatives to hear it publicly, but I am sure that the majority of white liberals have heard the claims about the government creation of AIDS, of government responsibility, guilt and influence in the Middle-East situation, and planned genocide of the Black community through educational and judicial means. In today's world many whites and Blacks have developed strong relationships as friends, lovers, and spouses; so no one can make me believe that whites have not heard the claims that Rev. Wright aired in his demonstrative speeches that were deemed so shocking by both conservatives and Hillary Clinton.

Rev. Wright's comments were not that shocking. I know I speak freely among my white friends about my feelings and concerns about the world that definitely includes racism.

It seems that there's certain percentage of the population that will stop at nothing to stop Obama. Hillary Clinton's campaign is that of a desperate person that will stop at nothing to derail Barack. Her accusations that Barack is elitist are laughable. However, her strategy was and is clever. The poor and working class whites in Pennsylvania were not going to vote for Obama anyway. So she used a ploy that people bought into as to why they didn't vote for him by reversing something he said that was very real. People are bitter. And during tough times, people do resort to the Bible or the gun. It's as clear as American history. During slavery when we Blacks had nowhere else to look, we looked to God; and when whites had no where else to look when trying to maintain the system of slavery, they looked to the gun; resulting in a civil war. You can't get more plain than that. It's historical. Yet Hillary cleverly turned it around. The thing is, I feel Obama is holding back. I am not smarter than he is but it's easier for me to point to these realities that it is from him because people are waiting for more stuff to use against him.

Back to Rev. Wright: what did the world gain by Rev. Wright's performances, as Barack so aptly coined them? Barack gained nothing. The only person that may have gained anything from Rev. Wright 's speeches was Rev. Wright. And who cares, other than Rev. Wright? I thought a man of the cloth was supposed to be blessed with insight, knowledge, perseverance, and resiliency. You mean to tell me that he couldn't have waited to make his statements, knowing that his statements would hurt Barack, a man who refused to throw him under the bus initially, and is now being criticized because he didn't? Rev. Wright suffers from a huge ego and what's worse, jealousy and envy. He is the epitome of the crab in the barrel. It's a damn shame but African and African American history is littered with similar cases. Toussaint L'Overture was met with treason from his own backers in 1802, so was Dessalines and Henri Christophe during the Haitian Revolution and Independence. Nat Turner, Gabriel Prossor and Denmark Vessey were all turned in by their own. And let us not forget Malcolm! What is it about us that is to ominously spiteful?

I know there will be many that will disagree with me but look at the facts. Some white liberal wrote "at least Rev. Wright stood up for himself" but where does that get us? He put himself before his congregation, his community and his people. He is a small man who will come to see how small in the very near future. I just hope that Barack's candidacy is not the price we have to pay for him to see how small he is. But then again, people like Rev. Wright really don't care. He could care less than a flying you know what. For all of his parishioners, I sincerely hope you can see the light because if he doesn't care about Barack what in the hell does he care about you getting into heaven? Did you tithe this month? But then again, with the proceeds from his book sales and speaking engagements tithes will get you nowhere with Rev. Wright (who, by the way, is so WRONG).

All of us need to denounce Rev. Jeremiah White. When I say "all," that is what I mean: Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and Asians who do not want to see the evolutionary process dismantled by a crab in a barrel.

~~ Levy Lee Simon

No comments: