Speaking at the 100th anniversary of a Washington, D.C. church, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright knocked President Barack Obama and accused America’s elite academic institutions of instilling racism.
Wright opened up his sermon at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church Sunday by reading from the Book of Isaiah and speaking of the importance of foundational stones. Using that as a metaphor, Wright proceeded to list dozens of names that he suggested were foundational stones for the black community, from Nat Turner to Emmett Till to W.E.B Du Bois.
He then seemingly took a shot at his former parishioner, President Obama.
“They are the foundation,” he said of the names he listed. “These stones of memory shall serve as a sign among you so that in the future when your children, who only know Oprah and Obama, when our children who speak the language of Nas, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne (Weezy) and Ludacris. When your children ask you who are these people and what do these stones mean, these stones mean, you can tell them what it is that God did to get us from where we were to where we are.”
“This is how God brought us out,” he continued. “This is how God brought us over, this is how God brought us through.”
Notably absent from Wright’s list of names was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wright later went on to suggest that America’s elite universities infect African Americans with “white racist DNA.”
“Take a baby born an African, as an African in the oven,” he said, using Malcolm X’s saying “just because a cat has kittens in the oven, that doesn’t make them biscuits” as a reference point for his riff.
“Take that baby him or her away from the African mother, away from the African community, away from the African experience … and put them Africans at the breasts of Yale, Harvard, University of Chicago, those trinity schools, UCLA or U.C. Berkley. Turn them into biscuits then they’ll get that alien DNA all up inside their brain and they will turn on their own people in defense of the ones who are keeping their own people under oppression.”
“There is white racist DNA running through the synapses of their under-brain tissue,” he continued.
“They will kill their own kind, defend the enemies of their kind or anyone who is perceived to be the enemy of the milky white way of life.”
A major theme of Wright’s sermon was the importance of teaching the African American story — both the good and the bad — so it remembered and not bastardized by what he referred to as “enemies.”
“When all you know is his story, not history, you end up being a biscuit,” he said at one point during the sermon.
“We got to tell our story to our children,” he implored later.
“As African-Americans we have a lot of good to remember,” he added. “We also have a lot of bad to remember.”
Wright also obliquely suggested that the tea party was some sort of threat to the African-American community.
“This is not a time to romanticize because we have the first African-descended president in the White House,” he said. “You see what the tea party is trying to do. This not the time to romanticize or fantasize.”
During the nearly hour-long sermon, Wright made clear that he was acutely aware of the controversy that surrounds him. Saying that African-Americans had much to celebrate as well as lament on July 4, Wright quoted from Frederick Douglass’ scathing 1852 speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth to the Negro.”
“Frederick Douglass’ words sound curiously like a controversial preacher preaching 150 years after Douglass,” he said before reading the text.
After reading the passage, he quipped, “Somebody ought to send that to Fox News.”