I read of black people who are confused as to what to think about J. Wright. They are confused because their own pastors say some of the things Wright says.
The church I attended in Memphis, while predominantly white, has black members, deacons, and elders. But time was, in conscious memory of some of the older members, that black people would not have been allowed to attend at all; they would have been turned away at the door. I daresay that if the black folks who now say that their pastors have said "some of" what Wright has said could have attended those services, they would have heard some familiar things from the preacher there too. It's not impossible that a church, and a pastor, can get the major things about Christianity right, and still be profoundly wrong about some pretty important stuff. Of course, one might say that racism and race relations are the most important things there are. If that's the case, then we aren't dealing with a church anymore.
Wright says that white people aren't comfortable with the styles of black churches; they are loud, the members move around. Surely he is not so stupid as to think that style is what we might find objectionable. "God damn America" is not style, it is substance, and inexcusable substance at that. His recent assertion that criticism of him is actually criticism of "the black church" is arrogance in the extreme. And his complaints about being "crucified" (while looking like he is mightily enjoying the attention) are actually blasphemous. Does he think he's Jesus?
Here is what I think is happening to Obama. I've seen it happen to some white folks a generation or two back. They spend a lot of time, a LOT of time, associating with people like them and they fall into a habit of thinking and speaking a certain way. Maybe they don't mean any harm, but they never stop and really think if they're being racist, or if they're being fair, or how others outside the group would think of what they're saying and doing. At some point they get caught out, and they are extremely embarrassed, mortified if they have the character to be, and they have to apologize and hopefully straighten up. I think Obama meant all that stuff he said about wanting to be a unifier and I think he truly never really thought about how that was not compatible with lending his supporting presence and money to a church that preached that hateful stuff. I bet he gets it now.
And I hope we get to the point that more black people in America can feel comfortable openly disagreeing with racist claptrap when it comes from people like Wright. Maybe, in the end, that will happen and it will end up being a positive thing for America.