Jeremiah Wright and Rush Limbaugh quotes regarding race were used in efforts to thwart a presidential campaign and the purchase of an NFL team.  Responses to the Wright and Limbaugh quotes reveal the fact that Blacks and Whites are miles apart with regard to racial understanding.  Blacks and Whites often live in the same neighborhoods, work on the same jobs, sometimes go to the same churches and schools, and their children play on the same teams- we really don’t know, understand or fully appreciate each other beyond a surface level.  Therefore, we need to get together in an   organized and orchestrated fashion and seriously talk about the pink elephant in the room-race.

When Blacks have a discussion about race, usually there are no Whites present, so an important perspective is missing and the reverse is also true.  Consequently, when the discussion spills over to our television sets and newspapers surrounding some major incident such as the recent presidential campaign and Limbaugh’s attempted NFL purchase bid, we discover that Blacks and Whites are often miles apart when it comes to agreeing on the legitimacy of racist statements or incidents.  We vicariously talk to each other through quotes and sound bites, but not with each other in honest and sincere dialogue.

The recent highly publicized Limbaugh quotes surrounding his failed NFL purchase bid and the Wright quotes surrounding Obama’s presidential campaign, demonstrate that racial quotes can be damaging, divisive and detrimental to effective communication.  Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity used Rev. Wright’s words toward an effort to convince the American public that they should not elect Barack Obama as president.  Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson used Limbaugh’s words to convince the NFL that Limbaugh should not be allowed to be an owner of an NFL team.  What do the Wright and Limbaugh incidents have in common?

Wright and Limbaugh are not viewed as racist, extremist or polarizing figures in their communities and among their constituencies, but obviously, they are viewed in this manner among outsiders. Limbaugh and Wright supporters believe that their quotes were exploited, taken out of context, unfairly politicized, or if they were allowed to explain themselves to an objective audience their comments would not be viewed as offensive.

In Limbaugh’s and Wright’s worlds their remarks would be rationale, reasonable, justifiable, factual and non-racist.  Anybody who would think otherwise would simply be mistaken.  The problem is Limbaugh and Wright, live, function and communicate in different worlds that are miles apart.  Therefore, if America is to avoid a race war, Wright and Limbaugh’s two worlds must come together and dialogue.

Perhaps, out of their shared pain, Limbaugh and Wright can host or spawn a series of dialogues across the country under the banner, RACIAL REASONING AND HEALING IN THE AGE OF OBAMA. Both men know what it’s like to be fairly or unfairly quoted or misquoted, depending upon one’s politics, perspectives or process reasoning. Obviously, an open, honest conversation about race is perhaps the most difficult conversation to hold, but it is one that America desperately needs to have. Black people and White people are still to distant from one another.  We need to come together and dialogue.  “Come, let us reason, together.”