"I can no more disown [Rev. Jeremiah Wright] than I can my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. " -- Barack Obama, defending his association with the Rev. Wright in his so-called "Speech on Race," March 18, 2008
Barack Obama's mother had very little to do with raising him and his father nothing at all. It was his maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 85, who was always there for him, supplying (and then some) the great deficiencies of his parents, whom he has idealized at her expense. Obama's father was a drunk and serial bigamist whose only achievement in life was to have acquired a Harvard Ph.D. for which he never found any practical application. He called himself the "smartest man in Kenya" but never advanced beyond a middle-level civil servant. Frustrated with himself and the world's indifference to him, Obama Sr. crashed his car five or six times while under the influence; the penultimate time he lost both legs and the final time his life. His mother was a typical 1960s hippie who never quite "found herself" but never tired of looking at the expense of other responsibilities, especially toward her children. Her son accused her of suffering from "jungle fever" in his autobiography, for which, at least, he should be grateful. Stanley Ann Dunham, who was as good at feeling the world's pain as she was at ignoring that of those closest to her, was a hedonist more than an atheist or Marxist (Obama acknowledges the former more readily than the latter). Her name, politics and irreligion she acquired from her father. Her mother was the steadying influence in the lives of both Stanley and Stanley Ann. From the secretarial pool she worked her way up to bank vice-president, which in Hawaii at that time was a $20,000 job. She and her husband moved into a two-room apartment so that they could afford to pay Barack's tuition at the most expensive prep school in Hawaii, where the scions of the Doles attended school.
Grandma "Toot," as Barack called her, was an extraordinary woman for her time or any time. This is the woman that Barack Obama compared to Rev. Jeremiah Wright in an effort to excuse his racism while condemning hers. The first is public knowledge; the latter, if it can be said to exist at all, was not something that ever touched Barack himself or anybody else in Madelyn Dunham's multiracial family. This woman from Kansas is everything that a racist wouldn't be, couldn't conceivably be. And yet her ungrateful grandson dares to accuse her of harboring racial and ethnic notions that "make him cringe." Barack Obama, I confess, harbors notions that make me cringe. Does that make him a racist? His poor grandmother's great racial sin is to be afraid of blacks who follow her on the street. Guess what? Most old women who are afraid of black men are old black women. Rosa Parks was never assaulted on that bus but she was savaged by a black youth who mugged her in the housing project in Chicago where she lived. Perhaps community organizer Barack should have remonstrated with her about her "irrational fear" of a clear and present danger.
Barack Obama has flown to his sick grandmother's bedside. If I could ever find one reason to hope that Barack Obama would be elected, it would for her sake. Only for her sake. I also hope that this amoral and hypercritical man, who uses one who has loved him so well as a political prop and byword for what is most hateful in society, can get on his knees and find the words to ask her forgiveness. Maybe somebody can write the words on a teleprompter.
From the Honolulu Advertiser: "Obama's Tutu a Female Pioneer in Hawaii Banking" [And No 'Racist,' Her Colleagues Say]