Jim Wallis is all over this:
There is a deep well of both frustration and anger in the African American community in the U.S. And those feelings are borne of the concrete experience of real oppression, discrimination, and blocked opportunities that most of America’s white citizens take for granted. African Americans across the spectrum of income and success will speak personally to those feelings of frustration and anger, when white people are willing to listen. But usually we are not. In 2008, to still not comprehend or seek to understand the reality of black frustration and anger is to be in a state of white denial which, very sadly, is where many white Americans are.
The black church pulpit has historically been a place of prophetic truth-telling about the realities that black people experience in their own country. Indeed, the black church has often been the only place where such truths are ever told. And, black preachers have had the pastoral task of nurturing the spirits of people who feel beaten down week after week. Strong and prophetic words from black church pulpits are often a source of comfort and affirmation for black congregations. The truth is that many white Americans would indeed feel uncomfortable with the rhetoric of many black preachers from many black churches all across the country.
But if you look beyond the grainy black and white clips of the dashiki clad Rev. Wright and the angry black male voice (all designed to provoke stereotypes and fear), and actually listen to what the words are saying about the U.S. being run by “rich white people” while blacks have cabs speeding by them, and about the U.S.’s misdeeds around the world, it’s hard to disagree with many of the facts presented. It’s rather the angry tone of Wright’s comments that provides the offense and the controversy.