Despite Sympathy for Barack Obama's Grandmother, He's Still Wrong on Wright

She was a trailblazer, but Obama should have beaten a path out of Wright's church.

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I like some things about Barack Obama's grandmother, the one he's jumped off the campaign trail to visit because she is ailing. Madelyn Dunham, now 85, was a trailblazer for women's rights and a woman ahead of her time, according to the Honolulu Advertiser:

While Obama's views on race relations in America were being shaped, his maternal grandmother—Madelyn Dunham, now 85—received a series of promotions at Hawaii's top bank. And in December 1970, she was named one of the first two female vice presidents at the Bank of Hawaii.

Obama's grandparents were integrally involved in raising him. But Obama also used his grandmother to defend his too-long membership in the anti-American church of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and that is wrong:

Dunham's views on race were highlighted in a March 18 speech that the Democratic presidential contender gave in Philadelphia designed to both denounce and defend his former, controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In his speech, Obama linked Wright and Dunham when he said, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother—a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

No one should excuse Madelyn Dunham or anyone else for "uttering racial stereotypes," but neither should anyone forgive Obama for failing to quit Wright's church as soon as he heard Wright make the first of his anti-American comments.