In the months before Barack Obama made his now-famous statement that the U.S. government cares less about majority-black New Orleans than other American cities, his longtime spiritual advisor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made similar claims in public.
The Daily Caller has obtained weekly bulletins from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Church of Christ in which Wright condemns the federal government’s Katrina policy as racist. Until now, those remarks have never been reprinted.
“The response of the United States government to the Blacks who were drowning in Louisiana because of Hurricane Katrina was a response informed by hatred,” Wright wrote in the April 2006 the church’s newsletter. “We still see hatred. Kanye West was right! If this government really cared about Black Africans, the response would be far more than the deafening silence that we hear today.”
“No one in his or her right mind could imagine the death of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel taking place without the United States sending a swift and ‘extremely prejudiced’ response to that kind of genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Blacks can die in Africa, however, and the United States does not say a word, lift a finger or send one convoy of troops to help weak and defenseless women and children who are Black,” Wright wrote. “Those of us who are not a part of the George W. Bush’s ‘have-mores’ know what it is like to be buried in a grave of debt and buried in a system that is designed to confine Blacks to the category of the ‘have-nots.’ ”
In May of that same year, Wright wrote again on the issue. “Hurricane Katrina gave us some important images that are analogous to the future that our children have to learn how to navigate. When the levees in Louisiana broke alligators, crocodiles and piranha swam freely through what used to be the streets of New Orleans. That is an analogy that we need to drum into the heads of our African American children (and indeed, all children!).”
And in January 2007 — the same month he was uninvited from giving the invocation at Obama’s Springfield, Illinois campaign announcement — Wright declared the media complicit in the government’s alleged racism:
“Excuse me! The victims of Hurricane Katrina are no longer on the radar screen of the media. Only Barack, his church, his pastor and white arrogance!” Wright wrote then.
Five months later, Senator Barack Obama would praise Rev. Wright and echo the tone of his remarks while speaking to a black audience in Hampton, Va.
“The federal response after Katrina was similar to the response we saw after the riots in LA,” Obama said then. “People in Washington, they wake up, they’re surprised: ‘There’s poverty in our midst! Folks are frustrated! Black people angry!’ Then there’s gonna be some panels, and hearings, and there are commissions and there are reports, and then there’s some aid money, although we don’t always know where it’s going — it can’t seem to get to the people who need it — and nothin’ really changes, except the news coverage quiets down and Anderson Cooper is on to something else.”
Obama told the audience that the Bush administration considered New Orleans outside “the American family” and said the federal response “[t]ells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!”