Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of talk from talking heads who are decidedly not working class telling me that white working class people have a problem with Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Apparently, as a group, we’re all going to ditch Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign because we don’t have the finesse, education and social grace of our middle- and upper-class brothers and sisters. Sometimes the opposite is said, that we reject Wright because we’re “more real” than the middle class, white community. Both statements are nonsense.
I grew up in a decidedly working-class family in Upper Darby. When I was a kid, we drove a car we called the “Flintstonemobile” because a large hole had rusted out of the driver’s seat floor. Kids at school poked fun at me for my parents’ jobs – my father was an assistant manager at Pathmark and my mother a secretary at Upper Darby School District. I didn’t get any respect from kids whose parents designed aircraft carriers or spoke three languages.
All these working-class credentials don’t alienate me from what Wright has to say, they make me feel for his words more strongly. Wright has worked for decades to question the – ahem – bombastic nature of U.S. foreign policy, and – ahem – the inflammatory disregard our society shows to the poor, women, people of color and homosexuals.
I challenge anyone who thinks my words are crazy to listen to several of Wright’s speeches in full, starting with his lecture to the press a few days ago.
Class of 2008