Were you bothered by Lowery's comments about white people?

My friend didn't waste any time calling me after the Rev. Joseph Lowery finished his benediction at Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday.

She was upset because she felt that the longtime civil rights leader had taken a shot at white people in the final words of his speech. In a riff many in the black community are familiar with, the Rev. Lowery ended his comments with this: "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right."

My longtime friend, who is white, said jokingly that she had freed all her slaves at least 10 years ago. She believed that the Rev. Lowery's remarks were inappropriate for the occasion, especially one for a new president who embraces racial unity.

It seems others agree as some online chats have criticized the reverend's remarks. Here's a rant e-mailed to the Chronicle: "The dig at White People by “Rev” Lowry at Obama’s Inauguration was uncalled for. If not for the White vote, Obama would have just been another Jesse Jackson."

I've heard the riff the Rev. Lowery used on a number of occasions by various speakers, primarily as a reminder to the audience -- most of times black but sometimes white -- that there still is work to be done before we achieve racial equality in this country. The line invariably draws smiles and chuckles from the audience, just like it did on Tuesday.

However, I must admit that I was somewhat taken aback when the Rev. Lowery used it Tuesday, and believe that it was out of place for this occasion. What do you think?

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Austin Rhodes
2866
Points
Austin Rhodes 01/21/09 - 06:55 pm
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It was a totally worthless

It was a totally worthless comment that was about as appropriate as a fart at the dinnertable. Had Rick Warren made such a hideous comment he would have been booed back to Texas.

Mike Wynn
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Mike Wynn 01/21/09 - 07:00 pm
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I knew I could count on you,

I knew I could count on you, Austin.

APiratesLife4Me
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APiratesLife4Me 01/21/09 - 07:37 pm
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If the colors were reversed

If the colors were reversed and a white person made that comment, sharpton and jackson would be calling for the decapitation of said person.

Austin Rhodes
2866
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Austin Rhodes 01/21/09 - 08:34 pm
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No prob Mike...I got your

No prob Mike...I got your back...

jamesj
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jamesj 01/21/09 - 08:35 pm
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After hearing for the last

After hearing for the last couple of months about the first black president I must ask how black is he? One white parent, raised in white neighborhood by white grandmother and attended elite colleges. Does he have the same experiences as a blacks in Augusta? If he lived in Augusta would he feel more confortable around MLK blvd or out in Westlake?

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 01/21/09 - 09:54 pm
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I thought it was about in

I thought it was about in line with President Obama impugning former President Bush's honor and integrity in his inaugural speech. Candidates say things during campaigns that will help get them elected; that's the game. However, go back to January of 2001 for just a moment, and imagine former President Bush saying (based on Rwanda) that "we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders." He would have been (rightly) criticized for belittling fmr. Pres. Clinton's decision to make what he believed to be the best choice he had at the time. Saying "But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed." is, again, a not-very-thinly veiled dig at Bush, as if he had spent the last 8 yrs with his head in the sand, or who knows what, I guess that "Bush protected the oilmen" or something (I'm guessing they want their $ back, w/oil at $32). I know that some in the Democratic party believe that; does President Obama? If so, then that's too bad. He won't have much moral authority to defend himself against similar charges, when they are inevitably leveled at him as his tenure progresses. "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. (...) we are ready to lead once more." Again, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to "puzzle out" what President Obama is talking about, here. However, since every court that has heard the "warrantless wiretap" case has declared it legal (most recently the FISA court, under which Democrats insisted it must be heard), and since Pelosi, Reid, et al. were all briefed on, and approved, everything that took place at Guantanamo (before they disapproved of it), it's hard to know what specifics President Obama is hanging his hat on, here... In sum, I am a conservative who did not vote for McCain, so Obama was clearly not my choice. However, I thought he was a better option than Clinton, I thought (and think) that he is a smart and honorable man, as near as I can tell by reading about him and seeing him speak. His 2004 keynote at the DNC was outstanding, his acceptance speech at the 2008 even more so, and so I guess that I was expecting something gracious from him yesterday. Given that he took the opportunity to dig at fmr. Pres. Bush repeatedly, no, I was no more surprised at, or disappointed with, Mr. Lowery, than I was with President Obama. Mr. Lowery chose to dig at the white race as some sort of monolithic whole, that somehow wants blacks in the back, brown not around, and red not ahead. Yes, it's insulting. Of course it's insulting. Is it not INTENDED to be insulting? Are we not simply racist and hateful and every other awful thing (that based on the fact that we oppose the same political philosophy whether the proponent is John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama), but also so stupid that we can't figure out when somebody is calling us names?

Former Teacher
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Former Teacher 01/21/09 - 10:01 pm
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Wait a minute

Wait a minute

Former Teacher
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Former Teacher 01/21/09 - 10:00 pm
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Are you implying that there

Are you implying that there are no blacks that live in West Lake or no whites near MLK? Or better yet does a persons financial status and where they live make them good? Or is it the way we live our lives by loving each other as God intended us to? Where a person lives or doesnt lives or thier financial status or skin complexion shouldnt matter!

kjb27
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kjb27 01/21/09 - 10:00 pm
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I am offended. When I first

I am offended. When I first watched and listened as Rev. Lowery said we're hoping for the day when white will embrace what is right, I wondered, what does he mean by that? None of the media seemed to have picked up on it. We know the press/journalists are merciless about any gaffes and their m o is to beat the story (and the person) like a dead horse. But not so in this case. But I think it is because the press is uncritical meaning they don't know how to think. I think a good test is to hypothetically reverse the situation and if so, if a white reverend said he was hoping for the day when blacks will embrace what is right, well, he'd be one sorry reverend, wouldn't he? I think it is unfortunate that this comment was allowed to be made at this auspicious time in our country and that no one was called on it--no one on the Inaugural Team nor the Rev. Lowery himself. Someone out there--do you here us? I despise divisiveness whenever it rears its ugly head--whether it is from the lips of Rush Limbaugh or the jocular witty lips of the Reverend Lowery. I am already worried about the circumstances we as a people, as a nation, are in currently. The last thing I want is for little piddling things to start disaffecting and alienating segments of the populace. Thank you for making room for people to post their concerns about this incident.

fred1217
4
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fred1217 01/21/09 - 10:21 pm
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While I would not have made

While I would not have made those comments, in my opinion, Rev. Lowery has earned the right to make them. Mr. Wynn to help you understand why an 87 year old Rev. Lowery would make those comments I would invite you to do a WEB search for images of Emmett Till. If you still don't get it try researching the 16th St. Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham that killed 4 little girls. Just for fun and light reading, you might also Google the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Rev. Lowery probably still carries memories of his friend Dr. Martin Luther King's tragic death with him. Knowing only a fraction of the senseless violence, cruelty and tragedy that Rev. Lowery witnessed and the indignation that he must have personally faced on a daily basis, the inauguration no doubt represented a culmination of these events to him. A lot has been said about the extravagant cost of this year's inauguration. If a full accounting is ever made you'd see that the Inauguration of President Obama was paid for in full by the blood, sweat and tears of many people including Rev. Lowery.

Phish
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Phish 01/21/09 - 10:53 pm
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I never have and never will

I never have and never will send anyone to the back of the bus or turned them away from a lunch counter. I've slept in open bay barracks even tents with fellow soldiers who were black. I've peed in the stall right next to black men and ate in the same cafeteria. I never have or will blow up any churches or lynch anybody or burn anything that looks like a cross. I realize that there are some that are still fighting a war that was lost 140 yrs ago due to pride and ignorance by flying a flag from that war in the name of heritage.(If it is veiwed by some as hate then to them it is hate!!!) I cannot go back to the 50's and 60's and undo the wrongs done, neither did I have anything to do with them! I am alive today because of two very special black men that are more skilled in their profession than I am in mine. I am saved and going to Heaven when I die because of a God that loved me no matter what the color of my skin and forgave me when I was more than hateful against him and his children! My President who I did not vote for, but he is still my President, impressed upon me that we should and must put each other differences aside for the good of all those who wil come in the future and have nothing to do with what we do in the next four years and can't do anything about it !!!

deadbroke98
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deadbroke98 01/21/09 - 11:26 pm
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right on Fred1217

right on Fred1217

0
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01/21/09 - 11:28 pm
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Thanks, Fred 1217, for

Thanks, Fred 1217, for providing some perspective. I got a kick out of Rev. Lowery's benediction. I like this gentleman precisely because he is incapable of being a phony. He sees political correctness for the posturing pomposity that it is.

deadbroke98
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deadbroke98 01/21/09 - 11:33 pm
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How much suffering has Mr.

How much suffering has Mr. Wynn endured in his lifetime as a black man in america? Your article strikes me as playing up to master. Your buddies at the chronicle know that even with a person of color in the white house the true rationale for the civil rights movement was equality for all people. This article shows great indifference to the great sacrafices made. Please try writing something uplifting for a change.

riptide
0
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riptide 01/21/09 - 11:40 pm
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when black leaders throw

when black leaders throw away their color crutch and stand on their own abilities and stop ryhming and jiving, maybe the white, average american white will do more than elect a black president. it is apparent to me that most black leaders continue to stir the so called black and white issue to justfy their postions. without the negative atmosphere they develop and promote among their race, they would nothave a so called job or postion. they and they alone continue to stir the pot of racism and hate among the races in this country. i truly beleive that they use this crutch to keep the race issue alive to fool and ignite the negatives between our races.

ponytailfnp
21
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ponytailfnp 01/22/09 - 12:56 am
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How about everyone else do

How about everyone else do what is "right" too. How about come to this country legally and work legally? How about go to school, study, be respectfull, get a job and quite counting on the government pay you for the rest of your life for injustices that occurred with your great,great, great grandparents if not farther back in the generation pool. The only people I know who still focus on the injustice of slavery and lack of civil equality are those who want to blame everyone else for their problems. All others are willing to continue working to create an equal work and home environment and truly be judged on their ability, education, work ethic, loyalty, trustworthiness and not the color of their skin - be it black, brown, yellow, red or white. I was EXTREMELY offended.

junket83
0
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junket83 01/22/09 - 01:35 am
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You are correct Mike, the

You are correct Mike, the comment was totally inappropriate for the occasion and only serves to play to his (Lowery's) base. His comments only serve to prove that many people from the older generation have a huge disconnect from the younger generation, without regard to ones racial identity. The younger generation is very tired of the racial politics and desperately wants to move beyond these polarizing comments. The election of President Obama signals the end of that era, but it will probably take many years for some people to realize it, if they ever will.

Waymore
103
Points
Waymore 01/22/09 - 07:58 am
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If he's waiting on "white to

If he's waiting on "white to do right", who can he thank for electing BO?

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 01/22/09 - 08:30 am
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Race pimping is what Rev

Race pimping is what Rev Lowery is all about and has always been all about. I guess we should make some allowances for his probably senility, but his message has always been consistent. Racial strife is his goal. Typical Obama supporter.

owensjef2
0
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owensjef2 01/22/09 - 08:52 am
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Move on people

Move on people

augustasangel012
0
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augustasangel012 01/22/09 - 09:22 am
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Some people take the simple

Some people take the simple stuff way too far. The man was just trying to speak what was right and I'm going to defend him because the writer of this article was just trying to target black people like most always are. Instead of worrying about what the REVEREND said, you should focus on your young white people using the N word like its just another word in the dictionary. Black people are trying to avoid using the word as much as they possibly can, and now the WHITE people are saying it! Give me a break and all of you haters on his speech have too much time on your hands. Besides, it's not like George Bush, the one YOU ALL voted for, left him much choice in words because of how messed up the world is. I'm glad he made that comment. Now everyone will finally see that the WHITES aren't running the country! GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 01/22/09 - 12:19 pm
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Ok, fred, so just to

Ok, fred, so just to clarify: if there is any white person in the reading audience who has lost a child at the hands of a black murderer, then that white person would be justified in saying, in a public forum, that he is waiting for the day when "blacks will do what's right"? Is that really the terrain you want to stake out, here? See, I think that our putative white overgeneralizer would be in the wrong; and, being a (generally) consistent and rational person who does not interpret every single event ever through one single lens, I consistently apply that standard to Lowery, who is certainly no "reverend," and say that this is simply an example of the sort of ridiculous, hateful free speech that we have to tolerate in order to receive the benefit of the greater good that our society experiences by tolerating all nonviolent speech. So, Lowery certainly has a right to say it, just as Obama's pastor had a right to say that the government invented AIDS to kill black people. They are both wrong to exercise that right, though, and it was an error on Obama's part to showcase a race pimp the day he was inaugurated. See? I get free speech, too.

augustasangel012
0
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augustasangel012 01/22/09 - 09:31 am
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Why does the race thing

Why does the race thing always have to come up? Ok we all know that he is not COMPLETELY black but what does that have to do with anything? You people are so full of it. Even though he has some white in him, he doesn't go around with his nose stuck in the air and a stick up his behind like most of the wealthier caucasians. Right now it doesn't matter where he's from but where he's going with America. You people really need something to do because this is just rediculous. And may I ask--did all of you COMPLAINERS even vote? Remember, Obama got more white votes than black:)

augustasangel012
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augustasangel012 01/22/09 - 09:34 am
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well if I may comment on

well if I may comment on that, blacks can play the race card because they have been the target of many conflicts. when was the last time you saw a white slave being beaten by his black master? here's a tip, take a look at the history books and maybe your igonrance will go away:)

augustasangel012
0
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augustasangel012 01/22/09 - 09:36 am
0
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what is "typical Obama

what is "typical Obama supporter" supposed to mean? think before you speak

722
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Barry Paschal 01/22/09 - 09:37 am
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I find Lowery's remarks sad,

I find Lowery's remarks sad, because the things he wishes for (if we tried to read something literal into his phrases) - no forced segregation for black people, assimilation for Hispanics and Asians, equal rights for American Indians - long ago occurred precisely because white people have, in fact, "embrace(d) what is right." It's unfortunate, on a day that should have been viewed as a celebration of that achievement, Lowery made it clear that he is unable or unwilling to recognize it. It's as if his team won the game and carried the quarterback off the field, and he's still on the sidelines protesting a bad call in the first quarter. I suppose it's too much to ask that he be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

augustasangel012
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augustasangel012 01/22/09 - 09:37 am
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yea i posted the same

yea i posted the same message 4 times and it should have been 5 because people will have to get over the fact that we have a black president. it was bound to happen sometime! live in the present and for the future, do not dwell on the past.

kmcc91
24
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kmcc91 01/22/09 - 09:55 am
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Everyone needs to remember,

Everyone needs to remember, that although President Obama is identified and recognized as an African American, he is actually half white. So please everyone, lets put the race cards away and see ourselves as God sees us. I didn't vote for him, nor will I when he runs for re-election since there are some platform issues that I don't agree with. However, I hope and believe that he has the potential to be one of the best presidents that we have ever had. He sure has the opportunity!

aaa
2
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aaa 01/22/09 - 09:55 am
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I found his comment about

I found his comment about white folks particularly offensive. However, the entire invocation was offensive to anyone of any color who has red stuff circulating in their veins and considers themself an American. I am old enough to remember my friends in elementary school being discriminated against because their skin was black and mine was white. But, honestly, Dr. Lowery, when was the last time a black man was not allowed to eat at the same counter as a white man or forced to sit in the back of the bus or theater? And the Red Man can't get ahead, man? Holy smoke! I wish I had just a small investment in just one Indian (Native American) casino! Dr. Lowery's invocation was outdated, somewhat biggoted, and definitely racial. Not appropriate for the Inauguration of a President who claims he wants to be a unifier.

voltage
0
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voltage 01/22/09 - 10:13 am
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Why does the race thing have

Why does the race thing have to always come up? That's a completely appropriate question. Look at "his historical" ascension to the presidency as an example. It has always been about color of skin. It's hilarious to see how blacks respond to this notion now that the shoe is on the other foot. As far as the remark the speaker made, see the crucified white public speakers remarks as a reference. Can anyone recall, " you people, " by Ross Perot or " people want a black quarterback to succeed, " by Rush Limbaugh or about a thousand other sound bites as such that were taken too far. And for as augustaangel is concerned how does he/she know if wealthy caucasians walk around with their noses in the air. That is about the most bigoted statement I have heard and prejudiced. And also about his/her claim that Obama doesn't walk around with his nose in the air...think about this, he said people who are struggling cling to their guns and their bibles. Enough said!

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