Ed Blum's Interview in Newsweek

Our contributing editor Ed Blum appears in Newsweek online, in a feature interview. He explains his take on Barack Obama, "the speech," and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. A brief excerpt -- but make sure to click above and read it as a whole:

[Newsweek Questioner]: So you're saying something good may have come out of Jeremiah Wright's inflammatory remarks?

[Ed]: His rhetoric is certainly problematic and troubling, but prophets, whether it be Wright or W.E.B. Du Bois, are necessary. They dream dreams, they cast visions, they challenge the world as it is. In 1904 Du Bois said that God is made of one blood, and that all men are brothers. That was absolutely treasonous talk in 1904. But of course you look back now and say his vision was right.


John G. Turner at: March 20, 2008 at 6:36 AM said...
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John G. Turner at: March 20, 2008 at 6:37 AM said...

Ed, thrilled to see you appear in Newsweek. Fantastic!

Despite my happiness at seeing the interview, I still dissent from the general view of Obama's relation to Wright that has appeared on our blog. I find Wright's statements troubling, primarily because some of them are simply vitriolic and absurd. I've gotten up and left churches when ministers and elders have said offensive things (I recall leaving a church in rural Kentucky when it was implied that a woman had had an abortion because of some hidden sin).

I guess I need to know more about Jeremiah Wright. When I read the Autob of Malcolm X, I sympathize with his anger because white people ruined his life (shot his father, etc.). White people / the American government haven't done those sorts of things to Barack Obama, so why is he associating with that sort of anger? The "chickens coming home to roost" comment directly reminded me of Malcolm X. Does anyone know much about Wright's background? What sorts of experiences did he have that would make his anger more sympathetic?

Edward J Blum at: March 20, 2008 at 7:46 AM said...
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Edward J Blum at: March 20, 2008 at 7:51 AM said...
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John G. Turner at: March 20, 2008 at 8:17 AM said...


I presume you've seen the following since you mentioned Marable:


I am looking forward to his forthcoming book on Malcolm X, but I can't assess the reliability of Haley's FBI connections. We do know that COINTELPRO was quite active in infiltrating black power groups, right?

I think it's crucial to think about race in American both in structural and individual terms. Your point is well taken, and I use the same kinds of statistics to wake up my students. That being said, it's also important to note how the structural nature of race in America has evolved in recent decades. Look at statistics for minorities and higher education, for instance. Or the growth of the black middle/upper class. I would argue that the current structures of race in America actually do quite a lot to help certain segments of minority communities succeed (point from Richard Rodriguez) while leaving behind the rest. One should justifiably be angry about it, but one still expects a different response from those left behind than from those charging ahead.

Anonymous at: March 20, 2008 at 12:17 PM said...

"Does anyone know much about Wright's background?"


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