Benediction at Obama's inaugural: all white people are racists, all non-white are oppressed (Rev. Joseph Lowery)
At the inauguration, the speech from Barack Obama was preceded by Pastor Rick Warren, and followed by a benediction from civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery. The latter welcomed us to Barack Obama's "post-racial" America, saying among other things:
"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen"
There's no way of reading that other than that all white people are racists, and all non-whites are being oppressed by white people. Although, of course, you'll hear it "explained" differently by others.
Note also that "brown" sticking around might be a reference to an amnesty for illegal aliens.
Rev. Joseph Lowery was back on stage with a president, but on Tuesday the civil-rights pioneer used his wry rhymes to welcome the U.S. leader, not skewer him as he did three years ago... Lowery prayed for healing from a era of “greed and corruption,” and asked, in verse, for divine help toward a new beginning of racial harmony: ...“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right,” Lowery said to laughter from the vast audience.
And, an unnamed Associated Press writer offers "Lowery gives sole inaugural note of racial caution" (link). That's the AP's own title, and after looking at over a dozen reprints I was unable to find out who wrote it; if someone can find a byline somewhere please leave it in comments:
Amid the outpouring of inaugural joy over the racial progress represented by President Barack Obama, there was a single, humorous mention of work still to be done... After the first black president had been sworn in, Rev. Joseph Lowery' ended his benediction with a rhyme familiar to black churchgoers... [black, brown part of quote]... There was laughter from the enormous crowd... [remainder of quote]... The crowd thundered, "Amen!"
And, Cathy Lynn Grossman, religion writer for USA Today, offers "Rev. Joseph Lowery's impassioned benediction" (link), preceding Lowery's quite with "[Lowery] also brought a smile to the president with a recitation he's used before..."
I don't know whether the video above syncs up with what Lowery was saying, but Obama does seem to be smiling, but a slight frown forms when Lowry accuses all whites of being racist.
12/23/11 UPDATE: The Youtube account associated with the video that was here was terminated; the previous video ID was xutPh51NI-A. I've attached another video of the benediction.