Category Archives: Race and Politics

The Rise of Hatred

hate-header-01This recent report reads like a prayer list for me.  The Washington Post has described 2015 as the year of ‘enormous rage’ and there seems to be hatred to go around.  The rhetoric of this political cycle’s presidential candidates has only added to the tension and division.  So, we hate for racial, religious, economic and political reasons.  There seems to be hatred for most if not all things along with fear and hate crimes to go with it.

But, the social construct of race continues to take the cake.  The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported that chapters of the Ku Klux Klan rose from 72 to 190.  In a similar vein, black separatist groups also increased from 113 to 180.  With anti- confederate flag messages, the increased instances of police brutality which created the Black Lives Matter movement, I do not foresee a decline on the horizon. And the report does not account for anonymous hate groups that meet online (in country clubs or at the dinner table for that matter).

While the SPLC’s definition of hate has been questioned and rightly so as it seems to reflect their personal interpretations and leanings, the numbers are important.  The growth of hatred for people is something that we should pray against, whatever its form and wherever we find it.  Hatred does not heal our relationships and the rise of it only speaks to our wounds.

Perhaps, we should tone down the rhetoric.  Lower the stakes of this next presidential election.  Lower our expectations of what she or he may be able to do for I assure you, it will take more than 4 years or 8 to “save our country” if that is your hope.  And maybe we should lower our voices and listen to what we are saying because hate is such a strong word.

To read the article which discusses the full report, click here.

Bridges

050304_selmamarch_ss09.grid-8x2Today, persons will remember the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge that occurred fifty years ago on Sunday, March 7, 1965. Already a movie, Selma will be a buzzword and a hash tag.  It will be a trending topic today and perhaps for a couple more after that.

We will wear t- shirts and other memorabilia to capitalize on the event, standing in materialistic support.  We will impress ourselves with catch phrases and slogans that recapture the spirit of the movement.  We will praise the work of history and curse the fate of the next generation’s future less we do something quickly.  We must do it now while we have the momentum and the minds of the people.

Discussion panels will rehash the event and draw comparisons between Selma and Ferguson.  They, along with the viewing audience, will resolve to fight social injustice, to change the laws that oppress us, to change the tenor of the conversation on race.  We will remind ourselves of history’s threat of repetition and vow to do things differently.

Networks will replay the black and white footage in two- hour specials.  Surviving participants will be interviewed.  We will sponsor and attend dinners, give awards and medals and speeches.  President Obama will visit the bridge and make a speech.  Persons will listen and write about it, critique and quote him.

The day will be reenacted and the story redacted as persons put themselves in the shoes of those who were actually there, having still not taken “the inward journey,” to use the words of the mystical preacher Howard Thurman, needed to make the trek. Many people will be talking about that “Bloody Sunday” when Alabama state troopers attacked protesters as they marched peacefully for civil rights.

The bridge will attract a crowd and will receive the red carpet treatment as celebrities will flock to it, wanting to be a part of the celebratory memory, hoping to be upfront and arms locked with those who were there, singing the songs sung, remembering the iconic preacher who paved the way, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  They will want to be apart of remembering a moment that has already passed.

Which makes me wonder about the present moments that we don’t show up for?  What are the Edmund Pettus bridges of today for which leadership is marked absent?  Where should we be marching and for what causes should our foot prayers be offered?  Or, does time have to tell us that this was the bridge that we should have walked across?

And what of our lives?  What ways are we making for others?  How do our lives move people?  What passage does our life provide to others?  Are we bridges or are we standing in the way?

“How long? Not Long!”

“How long will we waver between two opinions?”

~ First Kings 18.21

Delivered on the steps of Montgomery, Alabama’s State Capitol, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech after a successful march from Selma to Montgomery on March 25, 1965.  I was reminded of his words after hearing someone say, “We’ve come a long way but we’ve got so far to go.”

I wanted to ask, “How do you know?  Where is the finish line? What kind of race is it?  When and where and why do we say, “Go”?

Who has counted the steps, measured the distance?  How do you know how close we are?  What is the goal so that we will know that we have made it?  Where is the X that marks the spot of this treasured position?

And who can see whether there is another hole, trap  or a great leap ahead of us?   How do we know that we are not closer than we’ve ever been, that we take two steps back when we question our progress?

I was reminded of King’s speech because he reminds us of who holds tomorrow, of who holds the future, of who orders our steps (Psalm 37.23).  He reminds us that “no lie can live forever” because only Truth is eternal.  “How long?  Not long!”  For what is time in the presence of Eternity?

We must keep moving, walk faster, less we left behind.  We must love quicker as our unforgiveness and bitterness only slows us down.  We must forgive sooner as our habit of hatred does nothing more than waste time.  It is not productive.

“How long?  Not long! because:

Our God is marching on.  Glory!  Hallelujah!”

Additional Resource

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our God is marching on,” (Montgomery, Alabama, March 25, 1965).

 

 

Peggy McIntosh at Tedx

Famed author of “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack,” Peggy McIntosh talks privilege and unpacks the meaning of social privilege, positive projections and unearned social disadvantages.  She dispels the myth of meritocracy, the oppression of male privilege, privilege systems and so much more at Tedin Timberlane.

New Revised Version: Profiling guidance is released again

Arizona Activists Hold Vigil To Protest New Immigration Law At White House

No indictment again and more cases involving European American police officers and African American men and children.  Persons are in city streets protesting again.  Attorney General Eric Holder has revised the 2003 racial profiling guidelines and has expanded them to include gender, gender identity, national origin, religion and sexual orientation.  But, do we need to revise our guidelines? Or, does this painful reality of police brutality, of excessive force, of conflict between the police departments and persons within the African American community require more?  More than revisions, than updates of what we should do, could do?  Perhaps, we need to start all over, scrap our race relations and build our relationships from scratch.

In an age of lawlessness, when we no longer bend the rules but create our own, when we do not respect authority and the authority of the law has been discredited, perhaps newness is needed.  A fresh start. The new not simply revised version of our humanity in Christ, that is without profile and is beyond comparison.