Jeremiah Wright owes us an apology. This is not because black people have not been victims of enslavement, legal discrimination and bigotry - most people in history have been victims of those vices. Wright owes us an apology because the party he supports is the party of the Ku Klux Klan, the party of slavery, the party of Jim Crow and the party of all racial bigotries, black and white.
By painting people with the broad brush of color, Wright lumps good white people with bad white people and bad black people with good black people. Slavers, historically, were both black and white and their slaves were both black and white. It was the animus to enslave that was evil, not the color of the skin of the persons doing the enslaving. Likewise, the nobility of liberating people has been done by white people and by black people. The liberated have been black and they have been white.
So where can we find the intentions in the hearts of people (God, alone, knowing the color of their skin)? People do not choose their skin color but they certainly do choose which groups they choose to join. So who have Jeremiah Wright and his erstwhile protÃ©gÃ© chosen to align themselves with? The Democrat Party, the party that 150 years ago opposed the emancipation of blacks within states and supported the ghastly Dred Scott decision, which held as a matter of constitutional law that blacks could not be human beings in the eyes of the law.
The pro-slave bias of the Democrat Party is usually supposed to have been limited to Democrats in Dixie. Taney and Buchanan, who was given a copy of the decision ahead of time, were both loyal Democrats. Under Democrat Franklin Pierce, the Kansas-Nebraska Ac t was passed, which undid the anti-slavery parts of the Missouri Compromise. Nearly every Northern Democrat voted for it, as well as all the Southern Democrats.
Fernando Wood, the Democrat Mayor of New York, did all he could to help the South during the Civil War. Democrats in New York opposed emancipation, later opposed allowing freed blacks to vote, and generally treated black Americans with contempt for a century. Stephen Douglass, the "moderate" Democrat (out of three Democrats) who opposed Lincoln in 1860) owned slaves who worked his estates in the South. After the Civil War, Democrat Samuel Tilden ran for president in 1876 on a plank of denying blacks the right to vote, while Republican Rutherford B. Hayes ran supporting the black vote.
When I say "Democrat," I do not just mean white Democrats. The Ku Klux Klan was created to terrorize Republicans, not blacks per se. White Republicans in the South were flogged, denied medical care, threatened - just as black Republicans were. Black Democrats, who were called "Uncle Toms," were largely left alone. The line was which party a person in the South supported, the liberating Republicans or the enslaving Democrats. Brave and noble blacks remained Republicans in the South as long as they could, serving even in Congress until the Democrats extinguished them. But it was a long fight.
Harry Cheatem was a Republican congressman from North Carolina until 1893. Other black Republican congressmen from the South served in the late 19th Century. The only black congressman at the turn of the 20th Century was George Henry White, also from North Carolina. These black Republicans were not Uncle Toms, the black Democrats in the South were. And not just in the South. Oscar Stanton De Priest was a Republican congressman from 1929 to 1935. Who did De Priest, the black Republican represent? Chicagoans, the very blacks that Wright preaches to and that Obama represents. De Priest was vice chair of the Cook County Republican Party and served on the Chicago City Council after that - fighting for equality, not superiority, for blacks.
Democrats - white and black - owe Republicans - white and black - an apology for slavery, for the Ku Klux Klan (terrorist wing of the Democrat Party), for Jim Crow (passed by Democrat legislatures), and all the other problems of race in America today. It is not coincidence that the party of former Klansman Robert Byrd is also the party of black racist Jeremiah Wright. The party of bigots owes all those who have historically supported the party of equality and tolerance an apology for all the pain they have cause all decent Americans. But this is one apology that we will never hear.