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Monday, April 28, 2008

Mainstream Media Notwithstanding Detroiters Loved Wright

Contrary to the "divisive" tactics of the mainstream media, Detroiters were provided an education on the distinction to be made between "difference" and "deficit." Dr. Wright said he is "descriptive" not "divisive" as being charged. It was his descripton of "racial" differences that do not represent a deficit. No where was this more apparent than in his style of delivery. His substance is on behalf of those who came "in the bowels of the slave ships" and his messages resonates with them. His intellect is challenging, his style is of the community and is confident and unrepentant.

That is the problem. The truth is many whites are not comfortable with definitions of the world being challenged. It is their styles only that they find acceptable. He was arguing for an acceptance of other styles, particularly that of African Americans who experience America through a different set of lens. Wright reflects the experience of the people he serves and an America that is not of empire. That was the major lesson of his speech in Detroit.

Detroiters loved it. The church loved it.

Voices from the audience

There were no explicit endorsements of any presidential candidate after the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner Sunday night, no partisan declarations or explosive statements, but there appeared to be a moment of consensus.

Most of those who came to hear the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- controversial former pastor of presidential candidate Barack Obama -- speak at Cobo Hall in Detroit did not leave disappointed.

"That was a great speech," said Khary Frazier, 25, of Detroit.

Frazier, a member of the newly formed Highland Park chapter of the NAACP, said Wright "hit the nail on the head" about the differences and similarities between various cultures.
Isaac and Donna Washington, attending the dinner with fellow members of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, have attended previous Freedom Fund dinners, but said they were interested in hearing Wright speak.

"I expect him to clarify the issues that have come up ... and to address some of the concerns of Black America," said Isaac Washington, 55, of Southfield. But Wright veered a bit to the left, and not politically speaking.

In his animated and engaging speaking style, he launched in to a mini-lecture about studies on the different learning styles and linguistics between African Americans and whites, but he said, "A change is coming because we no longer see different as being deficient."

"I thought he was amazing," said Frankie Darcell, a host on WMXD-FM (92.3) in Detroit, who sat with Wright's daughter Jeri Wright. Calling him "unabashed and unafraid," Darcell said she was "absolutely not disappointed."

Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer also was moved by Wright's speech.

"I'm delighted that I was present," Archer said. He added that he believed Wright "allowed people to see his heart ... his intellect, his brilliance."

Contact NAOMI R. PATTON at 313-223-4485 or

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