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The Wright Side of the Brain

Original post made by sue on May 1, 2008

At the NAACP meeting, Mr. Wright proudly propounded the racist contention that blacks have inherently different "learning styles," correctly citing as authority for this view Janice Hale of Wayne State University.
Pursuing a Ph.D. by logging long hours in the dusty stacks of a library, Mr. Wright announced, is "white." Blacks, by contrast, cannot sit still in class or learn from quiet study, and they have difficulty learning from "objects" — books, for example — but instead learn from "subjects," such as rap lyrics on the radio.
These differences are neurological, according to Ms. Hale and Mr. Wright: Whites use what Mr. Wright referred to as the "left-wing, logical and analytical" side of their brains, whereas blacks use their "right brain," which is "creative and intuitive."

Mr. Wright also praised the work of Geneva Smitherman of Michigan State University, who has called for the selective incorporation of Ebonics into the curriculum in order to validate the black experience.

Mr. Wright's speeches have shown how quickly academic insanity becomes incorporated into practice.

Comments (38)

Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on May 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm

And what relevance does this have to anything. Rev. Wright has apparently done some good things in his life but it appears he has gone off the tracks. As a gentleman in Indiana said on NPR yeasterday, and I paraphrase, "Wright is a jerk, now I want to hear how the candidates will deal with real problems."

I don't buy the contention that Wright has preached like this throughout his career and Sen. Obama just sucked it all up. I suspect that Wright has, over the years, gradually arrived at his present position. Like many of us, Sen. Obama probably took what he thought was good from Wright sermons and rejected, ignored, or downplayed what he thought was wrong. Ask practicing Roman Catholics deal with their disagreements with the church positions on a larger role for women in the church; on homosexuals; on pedophilia; on contraception; and a whole host of other issues.

Wright is a sideshow in this election, pumped up by those trying to inflate into something important.


Posted by ol' lady, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

So sorry, don't buy it. Anyone who was preachin' like this 5 years ago and today was preachin' like this 10 and 20 years ago.

There is no way at all anyone can convince me that the guy hasn't been this nuts his entire career, building a congregation based on hatred of whites and blaming America for everything.

Yes, well-intentioned but misguided liberal Democrat policies, fought by Republicans, did indeed destroy the black family, and it was Democrats who fought ending slavery, fought civil rights legislation and fought the ending of Jim Crow laws, but you can't blame AMERCIA for that, just Democrats.

Saying the guy has done some good stuff in his life is like saying Hamas, though they blow up people, feeds the hungry and sets up schools.


Posted by ol' lady, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Just so we are clear...I believe Wright has done more to harm Chicago blacks than anything except aid-to-dependent-children policies which encouraged black, and increasingly hispanic, girls to have babies without marriage in order to "make money".

I can only trust that the vast majority of black Christians are simply Christians, not black Christians.


Posted by Hillary Supporter, and Proud of it!!!, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Peter, come on! Barack is playing dumb like a fox, and you are buying it. Barack is not a stupid man, like you make him out to be. He knew exactly what Rev Wright was saying and thinking. Obama bought into Wright, becasue he wanted an "in" to Chicago politics. Having made a deal with the devil, he is now lying about the bargain. Only a fool would buy his current re-explanations.

No, Peter, this is not going away, because it has everything to do with Barack's judgement and trust.

I will never, ever, vote for a Republican, becasue my DNA is proud Democrat. However, I will not vote for this two-faced jerk, Barack Obama. I will either not vote for a presdiential candidate, if Barack is the Democratic candidate, or I will vote for Ralph Nader, someone I really respect.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on May 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm



At the NAACP Wright was not "preaching" but talking as a presumed expert on issues regarding blacks and education

"Wright has been a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and other educational institutions. Wright has served on the Board of Trustees of Virginia Union University, Chicago Theological Seminary and City Colleges of Chicago."

"In 1967 Wright enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's degree in English in 1969. He also earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School.[7] Wright holds a Doctor of Ministry degree (1990) from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied under Samuel DeWitt Proctor, a mentor to Martin Luther King.[15]"wikipedia

As an educator he is seriously claiming that Blacks are wired differently therefore should be taught differently and in a different language, ebonics.

"These differences are neurological, according to Ms. Hale and Mr. Wright: Whites use what Mr. Wright referred to as the "left-wing, logical and analytical" side of their brains, whereas blacks use their "right brain," which is "creative and intuitive."

Mr. Wright also praised the work of Geneva Smitherman of Michigan State University, who has called for the selective incorporation of Ebonics into the curriculum in order to validate the black experience.


Evidently he believes many VTP students in PAUSD as well as black students at Stanford should be taught this way.

I wonder how he thinks mixed race students should be taught consistent with his claims, 50/50 25/75 etc ?

How come no black academics have denounced his claims? or any academics for that matter?


Posted by Melanine, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 1, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Where does Wright get the notion he knows anything about black people?


Posted by PAMD, a resident of Stanford
on May 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm


Wright surrounded himself with some of the most divisive figures in black America: Marion Barry, Washington's disgraced former mayor, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party, Cornel West of Princeton University and a posse of security guards supplied by the Nation of Islam. And he hurled a succession of rhetorical bombs.

How come Cornel West of Princeton University has not come out and challenged Wrights views on blacks and education?

His silence implies agreement, as an alumna of Princeton and a financial contributor I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT WESTS SILENCE on this matter and I ask all Princeton alumni to do THE SAME

Seems to me then got a clown from Harvard not an academic-- this dog dont hunt


Posted by astonished, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm

It is sad that someone so stupid is given so much media attention. He is grandstanding. It does a big disservice to youth. It also is unsettling that Barack Obama has paid so much attention to this guy, since he is Harvard educated, after all.


Posted by Call it like it is, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 1, 2008 at 5:25 pm

"It is sad that someone so stupid is given so much media attention"

Astonished, it is not sad at all. It really is liberating that such a smart black leader, as Wright, has been called out! He is an unadulterated racist and bigot, and Barack bought into him. You see, Wright is smart, and he knows how to play the race game. This is hardly a new thing in America. The truly sad thing is that Barack has bought into him. It is too late for Barack to make amends.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Trinity needs to reconsider the $1.6 million they are spending on a 10,000 sq.ft. home for Jeremiah Wright. Even if he had not become a demagogue (like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and so many others), this is hardly in keeping with the church's mission.

The Rev. Wright is certainly flunking biology, as well as ethics, but the church needs to look to the needs of its community, and let the Rev. Wright raise his own funds.

Certainly, he's not the first preacher to lose his senses at the sight of a large audience.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 1, 2008 at 7:17 pm

It's really very clear at this point. Barack has shown poor judgment and should not be the next President of the United States.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 1, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Let's see: we have a fuddled old man whose only political achievement is his myth, a woman whose 35 years of fighting political battles have resulted only in losses, who is running on her record as a wife, and a brilliant young man of unknown potential.

Who will the American people choose this time?

What judgment have we shown as an electorate? Eight years of the Clinton soap box, followed by eight years of the Bush horror show.....

Clinton the last Democrat out of Iraq; McCain wants to be buried there.
What a nightmare election that would be.


Posted by ol' lady, a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2008 at 10:23 pm

I repeat, for those of you who continue to repeat that 8 years of Bush have been a horror show...no more terrorist attacks, people earning more in real dollars today than in all of the 90s, the poorest 20% are still richer than in the 90s, the education level of our country is finally turning around, albeit slowly, 2 more democracies with 50,000,000 more people living with the right to vote for the first time in history, ( 1/2 of them women, to remind feminists), in places that racists thought were impossible to have democracies, the fastest decrease in CO2 output since 2000, ever, which would have put us 3rd on the list of countries who signed the Kyoto, cleaner air and water than in the 90s, violent crime down over the 90s, gradually demolishing racism by abolishing affirmative action, gradually restoring property rights back into the country from the pre-Roberts horror of a Supreme Court removing them, moving slowly toward reliable ID to vote so that our elections return to a semblance of valid, increasing pressure on businesses to hire legal people instead of exploiting illegal people, affordable health care insurance ( check out Kaiser and compare the premiums to what you spend per month on lattes and fast food) ...what horror?

In spite of the continual shock for the last 7 years in the papers that the economy is doing "better than predicted", believe it or not, we haven't even begun to experience a down turn. I recall being in a REAL recession, with an actual DOWNTURN for 6 months, which is an official recession, in the last 6 months of Clinton..and the media was full of news about how "great the economy" was, trying desperately to convince the American public that we needed Gore to keep that economy great. In spite of inheriting a real recession then being attacked by 9/11, Bush and his admin managed to keep our economy growing at at phenomenal rate.

The template of the "horror of Bush" is there, but the facts don't support it. The media now is busy trying to brainwash the public that the economy is horrible, and the sky is falling, but the amazing thing is that most Americans, 80%, report satisfaction with their lives and optimism for their future. What other country can report that? We are the happiest people on the face of the earth!


Posted by ol' lady, a resident of Midtown
on May 2, 2008 at 9:56 am

Oh, no...more bad news for Democrats..the Dow just went back over 13,000, unemployment is going back down, the rate of mortgage failures is decreasing.


Posted by a, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 2, 2008 at 10:04 am

"I will not vote for this two-faced jerk, Barack Obama."

That is soooooo Hillary-esque. Basher in chief!

Sorry, I don't want a President who goes around bashing and booing all her competitors. It's bad form. You're better off voting for Nader, at least he's more respectful.


Posted by Don't vote for the adulterer, a resident of Los Altos
on May 2, 2008 at 10:34 am

You could elect the adulterer, John McCain. According the some Bill Clinton should have been thrown out of office for his affairs, but if the perp is a Republican than it is okay.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 2, 2008 at 10:50 am

Bill Clinton was not in trouble because of the affair . . . He was in trouble because he LIED UNDER OATH about the affair. There's a big difference between the two that some just refuse to understand.


Posted by a, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 2, 2008 at 11:23 am

Ha, ha, ha LOL
"Bill Clinton was not in trouble because of the affair . . . He was in trouble because he LIED UNDER OATH about the affair. There's a big difference between the two that some just refuse to understand."

You can cheat just don't get caught!!!


Posted by b, a resident of Barron Park
on May 2, 2008 at 1:39 pm

"You can cheat just don't get caught!!!"

Almost. You can cheat just don't lie if you get caught.


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on May 2, 2008 at 3:00 pm

"Bill Clinton was not in trouble because of the affair . . . He was in trouble because he LIED UNDER OATH about the affair."

Nonsense! George W Bush's coddling of Scooter Libby after his conviction for lying under oath illustrates the Republican regard for truth under oath.

The focus in the Monica affair was only on the affair. Especially the details. Who did what and where. Details and more details. The House Republicans gave Larry Flynt real competition, which is why he got mad and put out that megabuck reward for exposing philandering politicians that snared some of their own. But I digress.

The impeachment itself was a cover and a sham. Like a local Citizens' Decency Committee "researching" Linda Lovelace.


Posted by get it right, no fuzzy thinking allowed, a resident of Midtown
on May 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Uh, excuse me, please research the facts about Libby and "lying under oath".

He stated something happened at a time differently from when it happened, from memory, then freely offered his diaries for review..then the judge refused to allow any memory experts in to the courtroom to defend his memory.

I would hate to be accused of lying every time I was off a couple weeks on when something happened.

He did not lie, he made a mistake, and was steamrolled because of politics.

A little different from stating something DID NOT HAPPEN that actually did, obstructing the justice of what the trial was for..


Posted by get it right, no fuzzy thinking allowed, a resident of Midtown
on May 2, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Common technique, by the way, of hostile courts, to keep asking questions until catching someone in a mistake, then hang 'em for it.

Reminds me of dictatorship techniques


Posted by get it right, no fuzzy thinking allowed, a resident of Midtown
on May 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm

But, I am not surprised at this canard still being tossed around.

It is the same as the constant repetition of Wright being the same for Obama as Hagee is for McCain, though Obama went to Wright's church for 20 years and supported him finanacially and physically, and McCain just got endorsed by Hagee. Can't help who endorses you, or at least that is what Dems say when yet another dictator or known terrorist endorses a Democrat for president.


Posted by get it right, no fuzzy thinking allowed, a resident of Midtown
on May 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm

But, I am not surprised at this canard still being tossed around.

It is the same as the constant repetition of Wright being the same for Obama as Hagee is for McCain, though Obama went to Wright's church for 20 years and supported him finanacially and physically, and McCain just got endorsed by Hagee. Can't help who endorses you, or at least that is what Dems say when yet another dictator or known terrorist endorses a Democrat for president.


Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on May 2, 2008 at 7:10 pm

McCain asked for and gloried in Hagee's endorsement. Obama rejected Wright's endorsement.

Get it straight. Look into the coverage. There are a lot of nuances that seem to elude the rightwingers on this forum.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2008 at 7:24 pm

What we think of this will reflect who we are, what our own experiences have been. It can affect people who had not decided who to choose - and speaking from my experience growing up as a white Southern woman during the time of the Jim Crow laws, a lot of those people still can't stand the idea of having either a black man or a white woman for President. They will support McCain, even if he seems senile. Even (especially) if they voted for Clinton in the Democratic primary.

Only something new and more startling will change the meaning they take from any of Wright's ranting. Should it turn out to be someone in the McCain campaign who gave the Youtube videos to Fox News, that would change the meaning for the media, but perhaps even then not for McCain supporters. For Clinton supporters, they have to get around the frankly racist commentary of Bill Clinton.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 2, 2008 at 7:59 pm

I have family in Pittsburgh and near Philadelphia. They were very unhappy about the right-wing support for Clinton.

It wasn't just Rush Limbaugh pushing Clinton. And not just Mellon Scaife. No telling, until they break down the zip codes, how effective, but it did seem to have an effect from the polling.

I think what bothers the far right is the prospect of all those young people getting political. They don't just want them to stay home for the Presidential campaigns. They want them to drop out of state and local politics.

Clinton's followers are, she said, mostly old, mostly poor, mostly Catholic. They're no threat to any politician. They don't expect much. And they'll die soon. Young people are unpredictable, and they aren't yet cynical. They'll push government to do things for them.


Posted by Guess what helps the poor the most?, a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2008 at 6:21 am

Carol, you are hilarious.

The youth in our country brought us Carter, I was one of them.

Look what good he did. The best president we ever had! Gosh, I want a repeat of such great youthful judgement!

I have no worries about our youth, they are smarter than we were, and will wake up faster.

But, they are still like youth always have been, far left in politics from the goodness of their hearts not tempered yet with the knowledge that conservative policies help people much more in the long run than liberal.

Unfortunately we have the 50-65 year old crowd which never grew up and left its brainwashing by Cronkite, and the 18-30 crowd which hasn't grown up yet and thinks Jon Stewart is a reliable source of news, voting far left, against everyone else who has grown up, so we are probably going to go through one last far left gasp in this country.

Maybe we just have to learn it every generation.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 3, 2008 at 7:19 am

Guess, you're entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts. The Democratic Party has been the war party since Woodrow Wilson's time. The Republicans are late to the cause of endless war, but they're making up for lost time.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 3, 2008 at 7:37 am

We should all consider the military leaders who have been fired for admitting that we're heading for a return of the draft.

Guess' left-right hooey comes from the PR community. It has nothing to do with the real causes and consequences of endless war.

Fumbling old McCain, if elected, will run into the shortage of troops, just as would Barack Obama.

The party structures are only interested in their own short term benefit. They picked Clinton as heir presumptive because they thought she'd do them damage if they didn't. Now she'll do them damage either way.

Ordinary voters are welcome only at election time. If Congress and the President could fire the voters, they would.


Posted by guess, a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Carol, what are you talking about? War party? What does this have to do with anything?

The "war party", and rightly so, for WW2 was the Democrat party. Do you think that was wrong? I don't. I think it is a stain on the Republican party that it fought it. I think it is a stain on the Democrat party about Vietnam and now.

As for fired for admitting we are heading for a draft? You gotta be kidding. The only 2 Senators who ever bring it up, and it fails every time, are Democrats Biden and Schumer. And they bring it up to try to scare people, pure politickin' with our military. THAT is shameful.

We are not heading for a draft, no military people want the draft..none. They don't want people who don't want to be there and are unskilled and unmotivated. They would rather have 10 volunteers they can count on being professional, brave and skilled, then 90 extras who were forced into the military and are at a higher risk of sabotage, incompetency and screwing up fellow military people.

I am sure you can find an ex-military guy here and there to support your agenda, but with all the veterans in our country, around 27 million of them, don't you find it strange that only one of them pops up every once in a while to agree with your template?


Posted by guess, a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Carol, endless war? What are you talking about? Do you think we are still part of the endless war in Germany because we still have bases there? How long is a war supposed to be before it is "endless"? Is it on day number 1,000 that it is endless? How many people killed per day by suicide=homicide bombers and sniper fire qualifies as "war" versus terrorism? If the number of deaths is decreasing, does it still count as war? If it goes down to one death per year, is it still war?

Honestly, the "endless war" mantra is so retro to the 60s. And if you are going to use it, at least qualify it. And if you are going to use the McCain thing, try listening to the whole paragraph he stated to understand what he said. If you think he meant war, then we are still at war with Germany and Japan.


Posted by Carol Mullen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Guess, you clearly didn't major in history. Nor do you read conservatives like Chalmers Johnson, or Edward Luttwack.
The United States has had combat troops fighting somewhere in the world, since I was eight years old.

Do Africa, South America, Central America, simply not exist for you?

I suppose you think our bases in Germany are a problem for Vladimir Putin? Our golf courses on Okinawa? Or don't you know they exist?

Do you have any idea why the MIA families despise and detest John McCain?


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on May 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm



Wright on the issue of education from original post

"Pursuing a Ph.D. by logging long hours in the dusty stacks of a library, Mr. Wright announced, is "white." Blacks, by contrast, cannot sit still in class or learn from quiet study, and they have difficulty learning from "objects" — books, for example — but instead learn from "subjects," such as rap lyrics on the radio.

These differences are neurological, according to Ms. Hale and Mr. Wright: Whites use what Mr. Wright referred to as the "left-wing, logical and analytical" side of their brains, whereas blacks use their "right brain," which is "creative and intuitive."

Mr. Wright also praised the work of Geneva Smitherman of Michigan State University, who has called for the selective incorporation of Ebonics into the curriculum in order to validate the black experience."

Why have no academics denounced these ideas, do they agree with them?

Their silence implies agreement.

What are the implications for teaching black students in PAUSD and at Stanford?

Obama sent his daughters to hear these kind of messages about black education from Wright, he and his wife listened to this stuff for years and neither of them has said anything about his speech last Sunday to the NAACP about black education.
It seems the thing that bothered Obama was Wright saying on Monday that Obama agreed with him about his sermons and speeches but was distancing himself for political reason to get elected and that he would return to Wrights fold after that.


Posted by jr, a resident of Professorville
on May 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm


Obamas supporters privately they acknowledge:

—that their candidate made a devil's bargain with a racist to create an authentic black persona in order to jump start a political career in Chicago;

—that their candidate was so inured to de rigueur anti-American speech from his church days, black-liberationist friends, assorted reverends, and former radicals like Ayers, that he never really thought things that Wright said were all that big a deal — hence his deer-in-the-headlights approach to the initial scandal and serial hedging. After all, in Obama's adopted world, his church really isn't "particularly controversial;"

—that their Obama messiah is hardly a new politician, but instead a very gifted and charismatic actor, who, in skillful fashion, can talk about utopian politics but then backstep, hedge, and get away with more than anyone since Bill Clinton in his prime in 1992 (one of the reasons that those two dislike each other so is that they are so much alike) — and that is not such a bad thing after all.


Posted by guess, a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2008 at 2:47 pm

sorry, didn't mean to be party to hijacking the thread. I just responded to a distraction, which wasn't fair to the thread. Carol, we are going to have to let this drop or take it to another thread, so I can't even respond to explain how we are writing at completely cross purposes.


Posted by sally, a resident of Ohlone School
on May 3, 2008 at 3:01 pm

One of the main reasons for Obama's unequivocal split from Wright had nothing to do with the reverend's hateful ideology. You see, Wright had the temerity to suggest that Barack Obama is just another pol.
"What I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciations of his remarks were somehow political posturing," Obama said.
This only confirms Obama's reputation for being thin-skinned and self-absorbed.

Go ahead and count the "I"s and "my"s in this passage from his news conference:

"In some ways, what Reverend Wright said yesterday directly contradicts everything that I've done during my life. It contradicts how I was raised and the setting in which I was raised. It contradicts my decisions to pursue
a career of public service. It contradicts the issues that I've worked on politically. It contradicts what I've said in my books. It contradicts what I said in my convention speech in 2004. It contradicts my announcement. It contradicts everything that I've been saying on the campaign trail."

Obama is doing whatever it takes to appeal to 51 percent of the population in any given place at any given time.
Early on in Chicago, an association with Wright gave Obama cachet in the community.
Now that association is undermining his presidential candidacy. Therefore it must end.


Posted by mike w b, a resident of Gunn High School
on May 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm

The Barack Obama campaign is desperately hoping that most Americans are dumb hicks with the memory retention of soap dishes; because if they start to compare what he said in that Philadelphia "race" speech last March with what he said last Tuesday, he's sunk:

The 'Race' Speech Revisited.

"I can no more disown him [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother."

— Barack Obama, Philadelphia, March 18

Guess it's time to disown Granny, if Obama's famous Philadelphia "race" speech is to be believed. Of course, the speech was not just believed. It was hailed, celebrated, canonized as the greatest pronouncement on race in America since Lincoln at Cooper Union. A New York Times columnist said it "should be required reading in classrooms across the country." College seniors and first-graders, suggested the excitable Chris Matthews.

Apparently there's been a curriculum change. On Tuesday, the good senator begged to extend and revise his previous remarks on race.
Moral equivalence between Grandma and Wright is now, as the Nixon administration used to say, inoperative.
Poor Geraldine Ferraro, thrice lashed by Obama in Philadelphia as the white equivalent of Wright's raving racism, is off the hook.


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