Category Archives: Racism

Acceptance

See the source image“Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you.”

| Romans 15.7, NIV

Spawned by reports of the current American president’s remarks on immigration, which included speaking of Haiti and the entire continent of Africa (i.e. some 54 countries and two de facto territories) in terms unbecoming of a human being– much less a president, the national dialogue has returned to an old argument of race theory.  Race says where we are born determines our social value, that persons are inherently worthy or worthless based on their appearance.  It is a simplistic claim: goodness on location.  Acceptance based on appearance, this is as superficially good as it gets.

Incompatible with the unconditional love of God, “who so loved the world” and inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ, still persons claim that the kingdom of God is “white” and is a single country- the United States.   Today, there are those who continue to believe that God sees the world through blue eyes.  They honestly think that God has goldilocks and only spends time with those people who are “just right.”  Clearly, they have their stories mixed up, adding in a bit of fairy tale into sacred writ.  It is obviously self- serving since only those socially colored white have the right to live happily ever after.

So proud is whiteness that it claims that God desires it, needs it, that God’s power is determined by it.  God must be white if God is to be accepted as all- powerful.

Made of earth, it has always struck me as odd that some dirt, some flesh, some people are perceived as inherently better.  “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”  Made by the same God, some persons are thought to be created “a little lower than” others.  Not surprisingly, the purpose aligns itself quite neatly with persons who espouse these views and their capitalist goals.  It also matches their will and supports the idea that they are God’s gift to the world.  Thanks but no thanks, Jesus.  What religion is this exactly?

Because the gospel of Jesus Christ will not be racialized. The kingdom of God is not segregated, color- coded, divided up into people groups.  And God is not a Person of color, the trinket of culture, to be accepted if the divine image matches our own.  God is good if God is with us– and not them.  No, God is Spirit and those who worship must worship spiritually and truthfully (John 4.24).  And the truth is, we are not accepted conditionally but gracefully.  “Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you.”

Charleston Syllabus

51Y8E43MSEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It is the title of a new book that offers readings on race, racism and racial violence.  Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain, its authors, offer this collection of writings in hopes of strengthening our conversations about race after the Charleston massacre on June 17, 2015.  On this terrible day, twenty- one year old white supremacist Dylann Roof entered Emaneul AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and murdered nine of its members, including of its pastor.  What began as a hash tag on Twitter with thousands of responses has become a publication.

I must confess that I wish that the course were not an offering.  I am still lamenting the loss of those church members and am in no way prepared to learn lessons from their bowed and bloodied heads.  It is just too soon for me.  So, if you are able to turn the pages of this book, I will give you extra credit.

Where will Chicago go from here?

extralargeThe dash cam video of the October 20, 2014 shooting of 17 year old Mr. Laquan McDonald was released last night.  While there is no record of the sound of their interactions, the results are the same.  This time, an African American male is shot 16 times.  Sixteen times…

He had a knife in his hand but he was walking away from the officers.  He had a knife in his hand but he never advanced on the officers.  He had a knife in his hand but his body was slumped over in the middle of the street when the shots continued.

The matter has been settled financially with the city and his family is calling for peace.  Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder and there have been protests in Chicago.  The mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, is suggesting that his death “can build bridges of understanding.”  But, why is the tragic loss of his life seen as good material?

I am not certain of the social and psychic impact of repeated incidents that bear a striking resemblance.  I don’t know what can be said that has been said already.  I only have questions like, “Where will Chicago go from here?”

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Trayvon Martin: Blackness and Halloween Costumes

Trayvon Martin.  Most Americans know his name and the story of his death.  But, now his name is strangely associated with Halloween.  Apparently, some persons think that it is acceptable to dress like a dead child and in blackface, no less.  I cannot even begin to describe the callousness of those who think it good fun to mock the tragic death of another and to suggest that one can represent a socially colored black person by painting their face black.

Rants on social media simply don’t cut it and a law can’t fix this.  Another conference will not make sense of it.  This is a matter for the heart and it is at the core of our humanity.  We must reconcile these truths, these choices to deeply offend.

And I don’t want to hear, “It wasn’t me.”  Or, “This was their poor decision.  We can’t blame everyone.”  No, I do blame all of  us.  What have we done or left unsaid if this is a choice?  What are we really afraid of?  And why does the taking of this child’s life not invoke fear in all of us?

And I don’t want to hear that Halloween has passed, that it’s old news now, that the matter is finished because the Facebook account has been closed and he has changed his profile picture.  This does not mean that the work is finished– because we don’t see it any more.  No.

And don’t let the fact that Trayvon Martin died three years ago imply that what happened to him is in the past.  Clearly, it is not; his life and his death now made present in the form of a costume.

Raven McGill offers words for us to reflect on at a National Poetry Slam.

 

 

Understanding Race

I am continuing to explore the varied definitions and understandings of race in hopes of getting to the root of our tensions concerning it.  I want to disprove them all.  Ultimately, it is my desire to rid the social construct of its illusions and mystery by pinning it down with concrete descriptors.  It is important to know what race is not so that we can more fully understand who we really are.

Accompanied by the wisdom of Dr. Maya Angelou and others, this video is another resource to aid in such an unpacking of history and hopefully, will aid us in carrying on in our human relationships without it.