Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Black Nationalism is Still Nationalism

There has been quite a bit of controversy recently over the statements of Obama’s pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright has, among other things, said that blacks should not sing “God bless America” but rather “God damn America,” has referred to the U.S. as the “U.S. of KKK-A,” has said that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus as a genocidal weapon against blacks. When questioned about his religious beliefs on the Hannity and Colmes television program, Wright responded by indignantly asking Sean Hannity how many books by James Cone Hannity had read. To which the honest response would have been: who is James Cone?

James Cone, it turns out, is one of the leading intellectual lights of black liberation theology, which Wright claims as the basis for his church’s doctrines. He is also apparently the author of such charming statements as the following:

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community … Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

It would be difficult to find a clearer statement of the nationalist urge to subjugate God to the interests of a particular ethnic or cultural group. Whatever one thinks of the merits of Wright’s criticisms of America (and on at least some points, such as his repeated condemnation of the Hiroshima bombing, I am in substantial agreement), they are not expressions of anti-nationalism, but of a different nationalism that is no less pernicious for being associated with a historically persecuted group.

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April 4, 2008 Posted by | Nationalism, Race | 6 Comments