Here is the problem for Obie: he can't reject being black and he cannot fully embrace it and celebrate it if it includes the comments made by his preacher. Unless he's willing to pay the political price, that is.
The most telling quote from his famous race speech? "I can no more disown [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community." He cannot disown the black community. Not from where he sits. (Whether he cannot for political reasons or for other-than-political reasons is a different question.) Disowning the black community simply is not an option.
A quote that keeps coming back to me was made by a black guy who called into a radio show right after the Rev. Wright story broke. This fella said that Rev. Wright, in saying what he did, was just "being black". And, asked this caller, "what's wrong with that? You can't condemn the reverend simply for being black."
A few questions. . .
First, is what Rev. Wright said really a part of the black identity? Are those comments what being black is all about?
Second, will it be perceived as such by the voters in the general election? That is, will voters in the general election say to themselves, "what Rev. Wright said is what being black is all about. Obama is black. Therefore, what Rev. Wright said is what Obama is about."
Many folks out there, especially white folks, consider the YouTube comments by the reverend to be anti-American. Are the comments anti-American? Is part of blackness inherently anti-American?
If the choice on election day comes down to the choice between a black candidate who cannot disown this preacher any more than he could disown the black community and a white candidate who in no way could ever be labeled as anti-American, does it come down to choice between Blackness and Americanness?
It will be interesting to see--to see if that's what it will come down to. And if so, to see how America will vote.