At the Crossroads of Church and Race

At the Crossroads of Church and Race
The Gateway Church in the Dallas-Forth Worth area is one of the largest churches in the country.
The Gateway Church in the Dallas-Forth Worth area is one of the largest churches in the country. Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times
Campbell Robertson

Campbell Robertson

I grew up in a little Baptist church in small-town Alabama. The Baptist part is inherited, like baldness or dimples: Both of my grandfathers and three of my uncles were Baptist preachers, and my parents met as graduate students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Genes aside, the church — plastic chairs, pilling carpet and grape juice for communion — was the organizing institution of my childhood, where I met my closest friends and most of the significant adults in my life.
Church attendance has been in generational decline. I began calling around, exploring whether people in small towns were looking for community elsewhere and, with the white nationalist rallies so often in the news, whether young white people were looking for meaning in the grim sanctuaries of the alt-right.
But I kept hearing about something different. Pastors, theologians and sociologists were talking of how black worshipers were leaving white-majority churches. They were leaving quietly and not en masse, a family here, a single person there. But it was happening everywhere, a movement large enough for some to see the unraveling of decades of efforts at racial reconciliation. Read the rest of the article HERE.

 

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How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope

Before its subversion in the Jim Crow era, the fruit symbolized black self-sufficiency.

Courtesy Brown University Library

“But the stereotype that African Americans are excessively fond of watermelon emerged for a specific historical reason and served a specific political purpose. The trope came into full force when slaves won their emancipation during the Civil War. Free black people grew, ate, and sold watermelons, and in doing so made the fruit a symbol of their freedom. Southern whites, threatened by blacks’ newfound freedom, responded by making the fruit a symbol of black people’s perceived uncleanliness, laziness, childishness, and unwanted public presence. This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure. Few Americans in 1900 would’ve guessed the stereotype was less than half a century old. ”  Read the entire article here.

28 Days, 28 Films

28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month

IT HAS BEEN ALMOST A YEAR since Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight” won the Oscar for best picture. This awards season, Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Dee Rees’s “Mudbound” have received multiple nominations and accolades, optimistic signs that black filmmakers are receiving more opportunities in the movie industry. Soon these titles will be joined by two of the most anticipated releases of the year: Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” the first Marvel superhero movie from a black director, and Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” the first movie with a $100 million budget directed by a black woman.

The critical and box-office success of “Get Out” and the very existence of big-studio productions like “Black Panther” are good reasons to revisit the remarkable, complex story of black filmmaking in America. For Black History Month, we have selected 28 essential films from the 20th century pertaining to African-American experiences. These aren’t the 28 essential black-themed films, but a calendar of suggested viewing. We imposed a chronological cutoff in an effort to look back at where we were and how we got to here.

BTW: Passing Marvel stablemate Guardians Of The Galaxy on Thursday globally, Black Panther has lifted its worldwide cumulative audience to $780.3M. The breakdown through March 1 is $435.4M domestic and $344.9M at the international box office.

Most Americans Oppose White Supremacists, But Many Share Their Views

Image result for charlottesville demonstration

Most Americans Oppose White Supremacists, But Many Share Their Views: Poll

A new poll asked Americans about racism after the violence in Charlottesville.

10 Ways White Liberals Perpetuate Racism

10 Ways White Liberals Perpetuate Racism

… Microinvalidations are momentary acts that serve to invalidate the very people of color we care about. These unconscious interactions perpetuate the hopelessness many African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and other people of color, feel in this country.Many of you may stop reading now, thinking, “Here we go with the political correctness.” You say to yourself: “I’m not perpetuating racism, and I’m certainly not invalidating people of color. Donald Trump may be, but not me.”

That’s what I used to think. But, right there, you’re committing a microinvalidation. It’s called Denial.

Racism just won’t die, because its roots are deep. Somewhere down where we don’t like to go, is a place where racism lives. It’s automatic and hidden. Binding and resistant to change. No matter how well-meaning we are, no matter how open-minded. Like the “root kit” on a computer, racism is hidden and operating without our knowledge.

 

Understanding White Privilege

Understanding White Privilege

What Is White Privilege? Privilege, particularly white or male privilege, is hard to see for those of us
who were born with access to power and resources. It is very visible for those to whom privilege was not
granted. Furthermore, the subject is extremely difficult to talk about because many white people don’t feel powerful or as if they have privileges others do not. It is sort of like asking fish to notice water or birds to discuss air.

For those who have privileges based on race or gender or class or physical ability or sexual orientation, or age, it just is- it’s normal. The Random House Dictionary (1993) defines privilege as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.” In her article, “White Privilege and Male Privilege,” Peggy McIntosh (1995) reminds us that those of us who are white usually believe that privileges are “conditions of daily experience… [that are] universally available to everybody.” Further, she says that what we are really talking about is “unearned power conferred systematically” (pp. 82-83)

Read the entire article here.

Environmental Racism Is the New Jim Crow

 7 videos   Video by The Atlantic

African Americans face disproportionate rates of lead poisoning, asthma, and environmental harm. Staff writer Vann R. Newkirk II argues that discrimination in public planning is to blame. “Pollution and the risk of disaster are assigned to black and brown communities through generations of discrimination and political neglect,” says Newkirk II. The environment is a system controlled and designed by people—“and people can be racist.”

Watch the videos here.

Evangelical Pastor Explains What He Sees As The Root Of Racism

Evangelical Pastor Explains What He Sees As The Root Of Racism

Antonia Blumberg     Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

“White people can be so defensive about this subject.”
See video in sidebar.

Evangelical pastor Carl Lentz is taking white Americans to task for getting “defensive” when it comes to addressing racism.

In a recent conversation with Oprah Winfrey on SuperSoul Sunday, the television star asked Lentz what he sees as the “root of racism.”

The pastor responded, simply: “Ignorance.”

“Ignorance is a lack of information, which creates insecurity; insecurity creates defensiveness, and defensiveness creates attack,” Lentz, the lead pastor of Hillsong Church NYC, told Oprah. “It frustrates me that people want to act like this isn’t a conversation. White people can be so defensive about this subject.”

Read more here.

The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility

The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility

Anna Kegler, a feminist writer, writes, “For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how terms like “white privilege,” “inclusion,” and “unconscious bias” all sound just…too nice. Don’t they seem a little on the pleasant side for words used to address a system of racist oppression?

Something’s definitely up. …The deliberate distortion of words is called double speak and we actually see it frequently in real-life politics. Words are powerful.  Read more here.

I, Racist

I, Racist

What follows is the beginning of the text of a congregational reflection given by John Metta at Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ on June 28 to an all white audience. The sermon was begun with a reading of the Good Samaritan story, and a quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  The text continues:

You see, I don’t talk about race to White people…It was probably about 15 years ago when a conversation took place between my aunt, who is White and lives in New York State, and my sister, who is Black and lives in North Carolina. The conversation can be distilled to a single sentence, said by my Black sister: “The only difference between people in the North and people in the South is that down here, at least people are honest about being racist.”  This perfectly illustrates why I don’t talk about race with White people.  Even – or rather, especially – my own family.

To read the entire text of this interesting sermon, click here.