My contribution to Black History Month. A question posed.

So I was thinking about what Joseph said about Barak being elected would be a big change. I had a series of thoughts. “He shouldn’t be elected because he’s black any more than he shouldn’t be elected because he’s black. It should be about who he is. But then again, being black is part of who he is and where his perspective comes from. But what would that really mean for the black community? We have had blacks in high positions of leadership in business,politics and academia, etc for a while now. What would this particular statement be if we elected a black man? I don’t think we’ve failed to elect a black person simply because of his skin colour. Barak is the first black man to run who’s been viable. I’m sorry but Allan Keyes and Jesse Jackson are viable candidates like Ron Paul is a viable candidate; Maybe some good points, but not electable.

What would it mean for the black community to have a black president? What long term impact would it make in improving the lives of black people in America? It would be an amazing statement that a nation that once literally enslaved black people now has a black man as its highest leader. (I say “literally enslaved” because black people are still living in bondage – brought on by their culture and the culture as a whole…but that’s another blog.) Beyond the overall statement, would having a black president change the lives of kids living in the ghetto and getting kicked out of school or leaving to have a baby?

This is on my mind.

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28 Responses to My contribution to Black History Month. A question posed.

  1. Papa Robbie says:

    …”because black people are still living in bondage-brought on by their culture…” ? I need some clarification on this one. What about Black culture keeps them in bondage?

  2. cheryl says:

    well, we’ve talked about this before. there are still mentalitlies in the culture at large and in the black community specifically that keep black people from rising above the poverty/education/socio-economic line that they are currently at. white people still say things like “he’s very articulate for a black man.” and black people are still bringing 70% of their children into unstable homes. etc. there’s imposed cultural slavery.

  3. Colleen says:

    This is going to be unreasonably long. I can tell already….

    So…first off…not to be the Spelling Nazi, but Senator Obama’s name is Barack. Not Barak.

    As for Papa Robbie’s comment and your response, I get where you’re coming from (and understand that your intentions are noble), but you might want to be careful how you phrase those things so that it doesn’t sound…well…racist. In hippie-activist land, we use terms like “systems of oppression” and “institutionalized discrimination” which, I think, is what you’re getting at.

    Although now that I’ve brought it up, I feel like I’m going to get lectured about being the PC police. It’s a habit. Sorry.

    And on to the actual topic of the post….

    As a white person, I don’t feel like it’s my place to take a guess at what a black president would mean to the black community (see…there I go being PC again) . But since I’m a woman and there’s also a viable female candidate in the running for a major-party nomination, I can tell you how I think the first female president will impact women who feel the way I do about sexism in this country (if/when we ever actually get a female president…personally, I’m not holding my breath). I imagine there will be some similarities.

    Having a female president won’t level the playing field. Having a female president won’t erase sexism. Having a female president won’t silence the rape culture or guarantee that women’s rights keep progressing or put an end to the myriad problems that leave women disproportionately affected by poverty.

    If you replace all the feminist buzz words with race-related ones, I think you can parallel that with the black community.

    One black (or female) president doesn’t erase hundreds of years of oppression. One black (or female) president can’t topple the institutions that keep rich, white, men on top and the poor and/or women and/or people of color on the bottom.

    But it does give hope. It wasn’t that long ago in our nation’s history when blacks and women couldn’t even vote (especially if you consider all the racist laws that prevented the majority of black citizens from voting until 1965…despite the fact the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870).

    Blacks and women have never had the opportunity to walk into a voting booth in a presidential election and cast a ballot for a person of their race and/or gender. I think that kind of act in itself can have a huge effect on a person’s psyche. There’s all this talk about opportunity in America and how everyone can succeed if they work hard, but that doesn’t seem realistic for the millions of people who are members of historically oppressed groups who don’t see positive images of themselves reflected in American history or in the leadership of the country.

    So I don’t think that’s going to stop black people from “bringing 70% of their children into unstable homes” (the solution to which you and I will never agree on). But I do think it’s a start. I think it’s a step in the right direction. And I think that while that doesn’t mean racism will end, it means that we’ll be making real progress towards a society where racial equality seems real to everyone (not just rich, white, suburbanites who are adamant that racism isn’t a problem in the US anymore).

    Unless of course, we end up with a black president who actively supports legislation that would ease some of the burden on black families. Much of that legislation I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t support (although I don’t think your disapproval has anything to do with racism), but I think it might help those important changes to come about more quickly.

    A black president would be a great role model for black children, but they need more than great role models.

  4. Papa Robbie says:

    Doesn’t sound like “black” culture…sounds like most uneducated people period. I’m just sayin’. You could go to Goose Creek and find many white families with the same issues. The less education people have, the poorer they tend to be and they get caught into a cycle of behavior that keeps them in bondage…just my opinion. Perhaps there are cultural things about us that the masses don’t “get”, but I believe it’s the culture at large that has more to do with it. Yes, there are far too many black babies being born in unstable situations, but you have to be careful when you use stats (you’re talking about 70% of a group that makes up 12% of the country.) Do the math….

    2 black guys in a room and one has the flu = 50% have the flu
    10 white guys in a room and five have the flu = 50% have the flu

    We could do the same about out of wedlock births and we could also address the cultural differences between whites & blacks as far as people getting married “to make it right” when someone gets pregnant before marriage. Blacks are far less likely to get married because “it’s the right thing to do”. We’ve seen the madness that it creates for everyone involved. Perhaps some things become “cultural” over time, but I will not accept ignorance as “culture”…it’s an insult to my ancestors.

  5. Papa Robbie says:

    Oh yeah…on the Barack question. If Barack Obama became the prez, I think that many people will assume that racism in this country has magically ended and the black people would need to “get over it”. I can already see in this campaign how much racism and the spirit of Jim Crow are very much alive. If Barack wins, I know for sure that my parents who lived through segregation and my mother who wasn’t allowed to give birth to my sister at Roper Hospital (even though she was employed there as a nurse ) because they were “Negroes” would feel like this country has progressed, but we’ve still got a LONG way to go.

  6. Joseph says:

    You won’t believe that I spent the last thirty minutes writing a comprehensive response to your post and just as I was about to click “add comment” my computer went down without saving what I’d written. I’m so frustrated right now that I’m going to go away and probably come back and attempt another post later today or tomorrow.

  7. cheryl says:

    Ok. Dear cousin, let’s get a few things straight. Not to be a spelling nazi but it’s chanGe. When you spell it with a C, it’s a totally different word.

    This is not a red blog. I’m not a republican. I have voted on both sides of the aisle. when i have voted. (yes, it’s true.)

    Slavery was and is a brutal, evil institution from hell and it smells like smoke. It is incomprehensible that humans would do that to other humans. I won’t disrespect those who died under its hand or survived it, only to be told that their “freedom” was just oppression of a different nature by PCing what we call it. But that is all semantics.

    I appreciate your comparison with feminism. i would love to sit and talk more about that issue exclusively. we haven’t had that convo yet.

    And my dearest Papa, we have had many conversations about the slavery that the black community imposes on itself. Through media, social standards and Creflo Dollar. Yes I went there. 70% of black children are born to fragmented families. And yes, those stats are staggering in other communities too. I was just giving a fast example due to the fact that I have a job now:) forgive me. But on that point, I am not saying that with a pointed, judgmental, whittie finger. It comes part in heartbreak and part in rage. I want our young black people to have every advantage that this country can offer them. I want their role models to offer them more than “You can be a rap star or in videos or an athlete.” This culture labels them from day one. Slavery. These kids believe it and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Slavery. It’s kind of like spiritual slavery. Paul tells the people in Galatians that they are free but still living like slaves. And it’s not just the black community, but this was started through a Black History Month post, so…

    Dear one, you make a good point. We have a long way to go until we realize fully the gravity and splendor of every man, woman and child made in the image of a Splendid and freedom loving Creator

    Joseph, I hate it when that happens. I can’t wait to hear the opinion from a Nigerian! Your international worldview will be valuable one.

    (as I walk off mumbling…freakin a, this is not a red blog…)

  8. tammy says:

    I love the controversy–and hearing the really good points from both sides. Each person has a different viewpoint based on how they have socially constructed the situation (doh, why do I always have to think in social science theory?). I’ve learned alot just by reading all the responses. My worldview and my understanding of situations gets shaken up when I hear how different people view a situation. We all have different beliefs on the causes/effects/solutions. Who is more right in their thinking? Can anyone even be more right than the other, and who would judge that if it were the case? We all experience things in different ways.
    I just wish that we could all be meeting in person and having a lively discussion around this. Can you imagine how much we would all learn from each other?–it would only work, though, if we were willing to learn and willing to have our beliefs challenged. No hard-headed-ness allowed.

  9. Joseph says:

    Okay Cheryl, here goes one more attempt at answering this. Let me give the usual disclaimer that I don’t speak for every African or black man. I am simply expressing my conviction from the ‘light’ that I have received, which naturally, shapes my world view.

    You asked some penetrating questions about the differences it would make to the black community if Barack was elected president. My initial thought is, while I agree with you that he might be the first viable black man to run for the office of President, I’m not sure that I necessarily agree that his tenure would provide any change to the psyche and well being of the black man in general, and the poor and underprivileged in particular. I have always believed in the well-worn cliché that societal change is not legislated from the White House or Capitol Hill, but effected at the grass roots level. In other words, laws about change don’t create change; they simply make something legal or illegal as the case may be. The unpalatable truth is that this is a white man’s world! The “glass ceiling” that seems to suggest one set of rules for the urban white male and another for minorities is alive and well in our society. This is endemic and ingrained in the culture.

    Slavery is more than just an attitude or a lifestyle; it is a deep seated mentality. Papa Robbie said it well when he indicated that this mind set is not the exclusive domain of black people but is rampant among the uneducated. Since, however, we are speaking about the black man; I will reserve my comments to the slavery mindset in the black community. Blacks are not the same universally. I was raised in a cultural mindset that placed no limitations on me because of my color. I had the same opportunities everyone else around me had. I grew up in the most populous black nation on earth. We were wealthy, we were well educated, and we were privileged. This mindset is what has allowed me to travel the globe and integrate into whatever culture I find myself a part of regardless of their skin color. The black American on the other hand has generally not been raised with the same mindset as me. Quota systems and affirmative actions don’t resolve the issues; they just make them more glaring. A handout or a leg-up isn’t what’s needed to change a deep seated mentality.

    A black man in America who desires to improve his lot and move into suburbia through hard work, education and dedication, is seen as an “Oreo” (meaning black on the outside but white on the inside. Forgive my redundancy but I don’t want to assume this is universally known). The implication is that progress, development and a good lifestyle is the exclusive domain of the white man. The mindset suggests that I can’t get out of the pit I’m in but I don’t want to let you out either. This is why black Africans, in many instances, are rather despised by black Americans. We are considered arrogant, cocky, loud, over confident… and the list goes on. We refuse to sit in the pit and join the pity party that reminisces on all the ills that the white man has perpetrated against us since slavery. We continue to be vocal about the need for societal change and true equality, but it really is no more of an issue (at that level at least) than the fight for women’s suffrage. What we won’t and don’t do as Africans, is sit in the pit in protest until society decides to hear our pleas for justice. That would be tantamount to holding your breath in protest until your voice is heard. All that does is make you dizzy.

    Colleen is correct in her assertion that “One black (or female) president doesn’t erase hundreds of years of oppression. One black (or female) president can’t topple the institutions that keep rich, white, men on top and the poor and/or women and/or people of color on the bottom.” (By people of color I assume she means black people) I would simply add that whether a president is black or white, these systemic changes must come at the grassroots level through education.

    You must destroy the mindset that keeps people from being progressive, not dress it up in a suit and tie and provide it with an office on Wall Street! This is where the Church comes in (or should come in). We are the change agents. We are the ones that Jesus said should make a difference in the lives of people. It is the love of God that changes lives not legislation. Abortion or teenage births are not prevented by providing condoms; they are prevented by teaching people that their value is far greater than the next guy (or gal) that wants to jump into bed with them. But I’m beginning to preach. The bottom line is that the ubiquitous effect of the media on our black culture is far greater than the effect of the Church on said culture. This must change! Will a black president be the instrument of such change? I have my reservations. However, you and I can be. Colleen, how’s this for unreasonably long? 

  10. Joseph says:

    As an aside, I disagree with Colleen on the fact that blacks don’t have positive role models reflected in American history. Frederick Douglass is a prime example of a slave who ultimately became the US Minister to Haiti. To my mind the ability to go from slave to US Minister speaks volumes more than a “free” man becoming president of the USA (at least in terms of hurdles and obstacles to overcome in achieving a dream). There are many historical black role models like him that present positive historical images in US history for black people to proudly look up to.

  11. cheryl says:

    There are amazing role models for minority kids today. they just don’t have the mic in most cases.

  12. Colleen says:

    Sigh…it is just so like me to correct your spelling and then spell something wrong myself. I apologize for my hypocrisy.

    I also apologize for calling this a red blog. I suppose I’m projecting the politics of the Wood family at large onto you. Totally unfair. Sorry.

    Joseph–I used the phrase “people of color” because I think it’s important that we remember how many racial minorities have never had a member of their group elected president. Right now, we’re looking at the possibility of a black president, but someday we need to see an Asian president and a Latino president and a middle eastern president and on and on and on and on. This is another reason why having a black president won’t change racism in America.

    I also agree with you that these changes have to happen at the grassroots level. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a non-white president.

    I do think Papa Robbie is probably right that if Obama gets elected a lot of people will start talking about how racism doesn’t exist anymore. Just like they said sexism was over after Title IX and Roe v. Wade.

    Cheryl,

    There are absolutely amazing role models for minority kids today. The problem is that these role models will be forgotten in 30 years when someone is writing a history book. Most people, no matter how much they accomplish in their lifetimes don’t make it into the history textbooks that children are given. Many important figures who do make it are watered-down so that they don’t seem controversial. So while there are definitely good role models, future generations will probably never know about them. And that’s a shame….

    Oh, and we can totally talk feminism anytime you want.

  13. cheryl says:

    It’s cool colleen! I could resist the jab:) And it’s good that you recognize that just because Grandpa has a life size picture of Ronnie Ray-gun beside the family pictures doesn’t mean that we are all hard core republicans. and i think if you sat down with us, my reasons would probably be different from donna’s for not being Red through and through and so on and so forth.

    But leave it to me to spiritualize this…since everything has a spiritual element. I think that as long as people are involved, there will be hate. we may pretty it up with sociological babbly (sorry, TB) but at the end of the day, we don’t take care of our brothers and sisters of all colours and we will answer for it one day. I don’t think grass roots social and educational changes will fix anything. it has to be heart changes.

    And your comments about the silencing of good role models is probably right on target. but i wish you were wrong about that. it is a tragedy.

  14. Colleen says:

    In response to this comment:

    “I don’t think grass roots social and educational changes will fix anything. it has to be heart changes.”

    I only disagree with you on one word you used. Anything. Because I think that grassroots social movements and educational changes can change some things. I don’t they’ll change everything. There will always be hate in the world, and I certainly don’t anticipate that we’ll arrive at some sort of Utopian society where all people live in harmony.

    But, we can do the best with what we have to work with. People are certainly flawed, but that doesn’t mean people can’t be changed. Some people think those need to be spiritual, faith-based changes. Some people think they can be fixed solely by raising awareness of issues. Whatever. We all have the freedom to disagree on how we should make the world a better place.

    But I think a lot of people take their belief that these changes need to be made by believing in Christ and use that to justify what amounts to indifference. You can believe we live in a fallen world and that Christ is the only answer, but I don’t think that means no one should be working to fight the many ills of society (even if we all know we’ll never achieve perfection).

    I’m not saying that you do that, Cheryl (you’re a lot of things, but I certainly wouldn’t call you indifferent). However, in my experience, that line of thought is prevalent in the mainstream evangelical Christian community and I don’t think it’s particularly Christ-like mentality.

  15. cheryl says:

    You’re absolutely right. I shouldn’t have said “anything.” I think that there are more people giving their lives to the suffering and they would not claim Christ at all, but their work does help. There is NOTHING indifferent about Christ. He called us all to give our lives away for others to show His glory. And mainstream Christianity is more about “If we build a mega church, they will come.”

    I guess what I was thinking, and poorly conveying, is that we can try to cover the ills of the world with social change all we want. at the end of the day, people still have a heart problem.

    As Shawn would say, if Christians would do what Christ modeled and called us to do, these social issues would not have to be handled by the govenment. Churches would be doing them. Christ’s true character would be seen and hearts would be different.

  16. Papa Robbie says:

    Joseph, there is a lot more depth to the relationship between American Blacks and African Blacks (there are White ones too) than American Blacks just thinking that Nigerians are cocky and that the tension exists because of some Africans’ refusal to take part in a “pity party”. There are several layers that go back to the slave trade itself and the cultural barriers that came into play once the displaced Africans came face-to-face with the post colonized Africans. Black South Africans would probably have more in common in regards to social injustice with Black Americans than Nigerians would in many ways….but that’s another discussion.

  17. Joseph says:

    Papa Robbie, the problem with painting with broad brush strokes (as I have done in my initial response) is that innocent bystanders get splashed with paint. I wouldn’t be so brash as to attempt to simplify the relationship between black Americans and Africans with a few trite statements.

    My observation about the black American response to Nigerians was exactly that, an observation based on personal experience and knowlege. The slave trade certainly has its place in the perceived animosity that exists, but as you say… that’s another discussion for another day. As to your point about black South Africans, I couldn’t agree more, except that in South Africa, the general black population doesn’t seem to make it a calling to remain repressed while blaming the poison of apartheid for their inability to make progress.

  18. Papa Robbie says:

    Joseph, are you saying that the general Black population of American Blacks make it a “calling” to remain repressed while blaming the poison of racism and discrimination for their inability to make progress?

  19. cheryl says:

    Let’s all remember one important thing. this is a complicated, multi-facetted issue. Colleen, did i spell “facetted” right?

  20. Papa Robbie says:

    Here are some lyrics from the greatest group in hip-hop history….The legendary Public Enemy. The song is “Can’t Truss It”. It addresses what we’ve been discussing here.

    ….Goin, goin, gettin to the roots
    Aint givin it up
    So turn me loose
    But then again I got a story
    Thats harder than the hardcore
    Cost of the holocaust
    Im talkin bout the one still goin on
    I know
    Where Im from, not dum diddie dum
    From the base motherland
    The place of the drum
    Invaded by the wack diddie wack
    Fooled the black, and left us faded
    King and chief probably had a big beef
    Because of thaat now I grit my teeth
    So heres a song to the strong
    bout a shake of a snake
    And the smile went along wit that
    Cant truss it
    Kickin wicked rhymes
    Like a fortune teller
    cause the wickedness done by jack
    Where everybody at
    Divided and sold
    For liquor and the gold
    Smacked in the back
    For the other man to mack
    Now the story that Im kickin is gory
    Little rock where they be
    Dockin this boat
    No hope Im shackled
    Plus gang tackled
    By the other hand swingin the rope
    Wearin red, white and blue jack and his crew
    The guys authorized beat down for the brown
    Man to the man, each one so it teach one
    Born to terrorize sisters and every brother
    One love who said it
    I know whodini sang it
    But the hater taught hate
    Thats why we gang bang it
    Beware of the hand
    When its comin from the left
    I aint trippin just watch ya step
    Cant truss it
    An I judge everyone, one by the one
    Look here come the judge
    Watch it here he come now
    I can only guess whats happnin
    Years ago he woulda been
    The ships captain
    Gettin me bruised on a cruise
    What I got to lose, lost all contact
    Got me layin on my back
    Rollin in my own leftover
    When I roll over, I roll over in somebody elses
    90 f–kin days on a slave ship
    Count em fallin off 2, 3, 4 huned at a time
    Blood in the wood and its mine
    Im chokin on spit feelin pain
    Like my brain bein chained
    Still gotta give it what I got
    But its hot in the day, cold in the night
    But I thrive to survive, I pray to God to stay alive
    Attitude boils up inside
    And that aint it (think Ill every quit)
    Still I pray to get my hands round
    The neck of the man wit the whip
    3 months pass, they brand a label on my ass
    To signify
    Owned
    Im on the microphone
    Sayin 1555
    How Im livin
    We been livin here
    Livin aint the word
    I been givin
    Havent got
    Classify us in the have-nots
    Fightin haves
    cause its all about money
    When it comes to armageddon
    Mean Im getting mine
    Here I am turn it over sam
    427 to the year….
    Do you understand
    Thats why its hard
    For the black to love the land

  21. Joseph says:

    Papa Robbie, the lyrics of the song you posted bear out my point exactly. Has the person who wrote the lyrics of this song any remote idea of what it feels like to be a slave? His ancestors do but clearly he doesn’t. You can hold onto whatever “history” you choose to in order to justify your lifestyle choice. I choose Jesus. I choose forgiveness. I choose to make the kind of life for myself that my children can be proud of. I choose to provide them with a platform that isn’t labeled with bigotry and reverse racism. As Cheryl said, this is a complicated and multifaceted issue. I choose to say no more!

  22. John Henderson says:

    That gets you nowhere. It wasn’t your choice to be wounded but letting it fester and kill you is your fault.
    There’s this gotta get revenge gotta get mine mentality that kills all hope of being free. The slave master wasn’t free either, do you think you can bring pure evil into your house and get off the hook? That shit (slavery) is radioactive cancerous evil. Anyone who hangs on to it suffers. Let it go, get it behind you, and praise God for his deliverance. That’s the model that works. The Israelites were told to remember Egypt and how God delivered them from slavery but if they had tried to turn around and get what Egypt got they would have felt the repercussions.

  23. Papa Robbie says:

    It’s always annoying as hell when people say “let it go”. Does anyone ever tell the Jewish people to “let it go”? Joseph, to assume that slavery is something that is isolated to the past and has NO effect on people today is pretty shortsighted. The person who wrote the song wasn’t a slave but his great-great grandparents were and that pain doesn’t disappear when those people die. Do you think that slavery in this country was pleasant? Chuck D was expressing the pain that was expressed to him through his people and explaining how the behavior of everyone involved hasn’t changed very much. Same s**t, different century.Slavery definitely isn’t over and it’s not just because the descendants can’t “let it go”. Our own experiences definitely shape our world view and Joseph our respective world views are very different. I respect your choice to say no more…that’s always productive isn’t it? And the cycle continues.

  24. Shawn says:

    I think it is naive to think that having a black president won’t inspire some black children to think that more is possible than they ever imagined. It is the most powerful and revered position in the world, for crying out loud! Yet, it won’t change the fabric of our societal ills anymore than seeing Tiger dominate the golf world, Michael dominate the basketball world, or Oprah become an industry all her own.

    Great men change the lives of children and cultures. What black and white children need is great men involved in their lives. Most don’t even have their father around. I didn’t. I looked up to Ronald Reagan, not because I was white, right-wing, capitalist, religious, or Republican. But because I had four different “dads” before I finished kindergarten and Reagan was president when I was in elementary school. He was in office longer than any “father” I ever had and therefore was the most stable man in my life. What black and white (and red and brown) children need is not their own color in the White House, but their own father in their own house.

    But if looking to public figures for further inspiration and as role models is the context of the question, for some reason, promises to the poor from the penthouse lifestyles of politicians (and the likes of Jesse Jackson) seem hollow to me. Jesus told us to use worldly wealth to establish heavenly friendships (Luke 16), but you could almost fund the health care system being proposed from the money being spent on campaigns, publicity appearances, and self-promotion.

    I say what America needs is another Martin Luther King, Jr. He wasn’t hosting charity dinners at $250-$2000 a plate. He wasn’t staying in expensive hotels, flying first class, funding his comfort with donations to the cause. He stayed in private homes and often a jail cell in order to maximize the message at his own expense. He also spoke practical truth instead of empty rhetoric.

    Consider these great words of substance, not sound-bytes, regarding Capitalist America from a great American. They are not just words of optimism, but pragmatism rooted in righteousness. I hope my “white” children look up to and admire this “black” man one day—because of the character with which he lived out his convictions.

    “I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity.

    The misuse of Capitalism can also lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe “enough and to spare” for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between abject poverty and superfluous wealth.” —excerpt from Paul’s Letter to American Christians by Martin Luther King, Jr.

  25. Papa Robbie says:

    I smell what you’re cookin’ Shawn…

  26. Colleen says:

    I think in discussing slavery’s effect (real or perceived) on black Americans, it’s important to remember how long that kind of oppression can stay in our cultural consciousness. Sure, a long time has passed since the slaves were freed, but the racial tensions and attitudes were passed down to the next generation and the next one and the next one and on and on forever. It doesn’t just go away.

    And slavery wasn’t the only oppression that blacks faced in this country. Jim Crow. Segregation. Those things were going on in the not-so-distant past and there are people who were effected by those racist policies who are still alive today. And they’re probably still sharing their stories and telling their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. And then those grandchildren or great-grandchildren go out in the world thankful that they’re growing up in a new, improved, less racist America than the one previous generations lived in only to get pulled over by the cops for driving-while-black or discover that they have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition of their white peers. And then they remember what their grandparents told them about the America they grew up in and it starts to feel pretty hopeless.

    And while most people try to conceal their overt racism, let’s not forget that white privilege is still alive and well.

    It’s not just slavery that has led to these problems in the black community. It’s a whole history of oppression. Maybe if reconstruction had been all harmonious and full of equal opportunity then we, as a nation, could have put slavery behind us. But when it became illegal to actively enslave people, we found that poverty was almost as effective.

    So the whole idea that people should just get over it is kind of insulting. It’s really not that simple.

  27. Papa Robbie says:

    Colleen, I’d like to have coffee with you someday. lol

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