Yesterday, Steve Stockdale, a teacher at Texas Christian University and member of the Star-Telegram Community Columnist Panel, wrote a S-T guest article But what if ...?
Calling it a “missed opportunity,” the article questions the wisdom of the March decision by the executive committee of TCU's board of trustees to ask Brite Divinity School to move the Rev. Jeremiah Wright awards dinner off campus.
“ . . .Those two weeks began with a discussion about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy and Sen. Barack Obama's speech on race in America. Then we talked about the decision of TCU and Brite Divinity School to move the March 29 portion of the Fourth Annual State of the Black Church Summit off campus. (Brite is on the TCU campus but is an independent institution.) For a year, Brite had planned the summit for the last weekend in March and had a long-standing invitation to Wright to attend and receive an award recognizing his 40 years of service to his church and ministry.”
With the twisted rhetoric that only a seasoned leftist semantics teacher could master, Stockdale called the decision “self-congratulatory” while following-up with “It was a good call – prudent if not profound.”
“With Wright's explosive emergence on the national airwaves, it would be understandable for Fort Worth and TCU to embrace in a collective, self-congratulatory sigh of relief for not letting that circus come to this town! It was a good call -- prudent if not profound.”
Stockdale was looking for something more profound. So he invited some TCU insiders to share the decision making process with his class. Stockdale’s class would focus on “the history of racism in America.” Well, not exactly the entire history of racism in America. His focus certainly didn’t include the more recent history of Black racism in America as typified by the good “Rev.” Jeremiah Wright.
“We learned something about the history of racism in America by viewing clips from Todd Larkins' documentary The N Word: Divided We Stand and segments from the PBS series on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize.
We studied the distinction between the words people use and their behavior. Is it more appropriate to examine a person's behavior within a specific context or environment rather than focus on whether this word or that word is used? Do actions speak louder than words? What if the action is nothing but words?” (emphasis added by me)
Let me interject here a quote from Obama’s infamous “Just Words” speech that he “borrowed” from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick when he was running for office two years ago:
“Don’t tell me words don’t matter,” Obama said. “‘I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words? Just speeches?”
H/T/ Fox News: Click here to watch Patrick’s Oct. 15, 2006, “Just Words?” speech.
But I digress. Here’s more of the balanced educational fare Stockdale offered to his class:
“In The N Word, rapper Chuck D recognizes this distinction between word and behavior: "Words are words, but what comes right after the word is the activity. And the activity of being treated like a nigger is always in the air."
We listened to the song You've Got to Be Carefully Taught from the musical South Pacific. We heard that children must be taught to be afraid "of people whose eyes are oddly made, and people whose skin is a different shade .... to hate all the people your relatives hate."
To conclude our discussion on the controversy surrounding this event, I invited Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders and University Christian Church's senior minister Tim Carson, one of Brite's trustees, to talk with the class. On April 3, we were fortunate to hear their unique "insider" perspectives.”
Somehow I doubt that Stockdale actually played any “in context” clips from Wright’s infamous 9/11 sermon for his class, or even provided an “in context” transcript for his rhetoric class to dissect. Wouldn’t that have been a novel idea considering that Wright’s sermon was the focus of the class study of racism in America?
Stockdale could have found the “in-context” sermon easily on the internet as early as March 22nd. See Jeremiah Wright’s 9/11 Sermon “In Context,” which includes the in-context video and transcript.
Stockdale concludes his article with an admonishment that Fort Worth and TCU gave up the opportunity for a national conversation about race . . . if only Wright had been given a receptive, respectful venue.
"But what if ...? What if the original plans for March 29 had been kept? What might these students have learned if the TCU trustees' executive committee had heeded those oft-stated calls for a national conversation about race? What if that conversation had actually begun here, in Fort Worth, on March 29?
What if Wright had been given a receptive, respectful venue at which he could respond to the public condemnations hurled at him? What might he have said then, rather than what he has pronounced after stewing in his self-imposed silence for another month? (ephasis added by me)
This community had an opportunity to go beyond talking about talking about race. We could have started the conversation. Instead, we passed to avoid the front page, content to be merely a footnote.
Those who write history will determine whether this fortnight was just another two weeks in just another year, or whether it helped usher in a new season in the great American experiment of self-governance.
Or maybe this fortnight was just another two weeks of a 400-year winter that might never graduate to spring.”
Ok, so how does the above article relate to the title of today’s blog? We have to make a few assumptions about Stockdale. First, the article makes it fairly clear that Stockdale doesn’t believe that Wright is a racist. Clearly Stockdale isn’t even remotely moderate in this thinking. Second, Stockdale believes that Wright should have received a receptive and respectful venue at TCU. Third, Stockdale totally ignores Obama’s own words about the importance of words. Fourth, Stockdale ignores Obama’s distancing himself from Wright. Fifth, if Stockdale doesn’t support Obama, what presidential candidate would Stockdale support given his far left stance?
Most conservatives, independents, and even moderates would have to conclude that if Stockdale is still ranting in support of Wright, other Obama supporters probably share his stance. Do they actually believe that Obama distanced himself from Wright? Or more to the point, don’t they really believe that Obama was just using “words” in political double-speak context to distance himself from Wright when in fact Obama may feel otherwise?
It would appear that Stockdale’s answer to his class can be easily digested by reasoned people. His spin is but the usual leftist political excrement.
“Is it more appropriate to examine a person's behavior within a specific context or environment rather than focus on whether this word or that word is used?” (emphasis added by me)
Reasoned thinkers would say “No” as they are left to wonder if Obama doesn’t actually share Stockdale’s perspective. History will determine whether Obama’s words were fortnight or merely IN CONTEXT political spin!
“Just words???” Thanks to Stockdale for reminding us!
Cross-posted from Faultline USA