By Andrea Billups
The Washington Times
March 30, 2008
The reaction to Sen. Barack Obama’s March 18 speech in Philadelphia on his firebrand pastor and race in America showsa generation gap within the black community, according to scholars and analysts.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, shown here with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, March 10, 2005. Obama on Friday March 14, 2008 denounced inflammatory remarks from his pastor, who has railed against the United States and accused the country of bringing on the Sept. 11 attacks by spreading terrorism.(AP Photo/Trinity United Church of Christ)
Despite criticism that he didn’t fully address the angry comments by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama’s youth and powerful skills as an orator continue to offer hope to many that he can bridge what he defined in his speech as a national “stalemate” — a civil rights era perception of race as an always-present threat to blacks versus the more unifying view of a younger generation that increasingly sees the world and politics as colorblind.
Charles Ellison, a senior fellow at the Center for African-American Policy and chief editor of blackpolicy.org, describes a tension among blacks and a “growing generation gap between new school versus old school.”
“The new hip-hop generation, there is a focus on economic, political and social empowerment. They look at a lot of major black elected officials who are young — D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty; in Newark, Cory Booker; and in Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who are all about the empowerment paradigm. We’ve got close to 650 black state elected officials and 43 black members of Congress, so they are used to this notion already in popular media.”
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The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama’s wedding ceremony and held a role on an Obama for President campaign committee. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans — Chicago Tribune)