Church

The Time Has Come to Recognize President Obama’s Game-Changing Liberal Legacy

Addicting Info – President Obama Gives Workers An Easier Way To Unionize

With only 18 months left in his term, President Barack Obama is making great strides at home and abroad.

President Obama spoke of the murder of 9 church members in South Carolina last week, Policy Mic reports:

“It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress,” he said. “An act that [the alleged killer] imagined would incite fear and recrimination; violence and suspicion. An act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

“Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.” From that moment on, for as long as he held the stage, Obama had become the “Reverend President.” 

via The Time Has Come to Recognize President Obama’s Game-Changing Liberal Legacy.

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Who Can I Run To?: Queer Black Kids in the Church Need Love Too

For Harriet

Most concerning is the study that suggests suicide among Black children has risen. Some argue that a decline in religious observance might make Black children more vulnerable to suicide ideation and attempts. But what if we bent that logic in the reverse? Part of me cannot help but wonder that perhaps we are doing such a terrible job of showing children, all Black children, that they are incredibly beautiful and remarkably loved. We’ve got a monumental task in front of us. We cannot decide which Black lives are worth love and support. We owe love to the child who got into all Ivy League colleges and to the kid who sits in the back of the church with piercings and pink hair. Jesus set a pretty clear example about where he spent his time and did his work.

via Who Can I Run To?: Queer Black Kids in the Church Need Love Too.

Beyoncé Explains the Inspiration for Her ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ Performance

A tribute to Selma.


In a new short video, Beyoncé explained the song’s significance in her life as well as the motivation behind the powerful performance.  Beyoncé, like many of us, grew up listening to it. “I felt like this was an opportunity to show the vulnerability and the strength of Black men,” she said.

via Beyoncé Explains the Inspiration for Her ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ Performance.

The Illipsis: on Ferguson, riots and human limits – YouTube | #OYRchallenge

Published on Nov 26, 2014

In this second installment of The Illipsis, Jay Smooth looks back at the week’s events in Ferguson and asks how we can truly apply Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s advice that “riots are the language of the unheard.”

via The Illipsis: on Ferguson, riots and human limits – YouTube.

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industial Complex – Ruthie Gilmore – YouTube | #OYRchallenge


Professor Ruthie Gilmore speaking at the The Revolution Will Not Be Funded:Beyond The Non-Profit Industrial Complex conference, which was held April 30 – May 1, 2004 at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

via The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industial Complex – Ruthie Gilmore – YouTube.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Booed Off Stage in Ferguson Missouri – YouTube | #OYRchallenge

This video brought me back to a “Black people don’t vote” meeting held in one of the most federally reliant cities in the Capital Region, NY. The message was, African Americans do not vote, therefore if you are arrested and not a registered voter or have not recently voted, – you are disregarded. Another was, African Americans do not have collective issues such as other communities and groups. One of the attendees, a young child replied that her mother, with a Master’s degree, could not find employment –  “because she is Black.” The room went silent.

The speaker moved on with his agenda, pushing forward “his” chosen candidates, which was really the point of this advertised “empowerment” meeting. Who were these candidates? One woman who the speaker noted refused to personally address African American speaking engagements – the other, a woman who personally told me, when asked two years ago, how she stood on African American issues that she was only concerned with women and seniors. I left the meeting assured that these candidates would be elected on the African American vote since they were advocated through white Democratic-manufactured Black community leaders.

None of the current local or world issues was addressed at this meeting. The audience sat fearful of offending the speaker, thus projecting animosity towards the only Black city council official who had organized this meeting. The question begs, how is a city with a dormant Affirmative Action program addressed by hiring more white women, limited access to private industry employment, currently publicized race-based physical and psychological workplace attacks, and an African American community held hostage by Black representatives to manage city-wide issues affecting their health and well-being? This video may be a start. It has been proven that churches, the old stand-by, are not the answer. Community groups throwing civil service jobs, poverty programs and bread to the hungry are not the answer. One woman stated, “The birds are getting fat,” after shouting, “bread, bread, bread.” Black history month is coming fast upon us. Are we going to dig out worn photos of historic Black firsts in American establishments and politics? Or are we finally going to hold ourselves up to the mirror? If not now, then when?

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Booed Off Stage in Ferguson Missouri – YouTube.

Cornel West, Others Arrested At Ferguson Protest – NBC News.com | #OYRchallenge


By Patrick Howell O’Neill on October 13, 2014

Activist and academic Dr. Cornel West was arrested during demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo. He was on the scene to protest police brutality against black males, including the August shooting death of Michael Brown and another incident on Saturday, another 18-year-old killed by police just miles from Ferguson.Here’s Fusion’s livestream of the protests:

via Dr. Cornel West arrested in Ferguson.

Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up | Isabel Wilkerson | Comment is free | theguardian.com | #OYRchallenge

Ferguson Lynching

At left: Ferguson, Missouri, 2014, where a body was left in the street for four hours in the August sun. At right: Paris, Texas, 1893. Photographs: JB Forbes / St Louis Post-Dispatch via AP; Wikimedia Commons

the guardian photo

Not terribly long ago in a country that many people misremember, if they knew it at all, a black person was killed in public every four days for often the most mundane of infractions, or rather accusation of infractions – for taking a hog, making boastful remarks, for stealing 75 cents. For the most banal of missteps, the penalty could be an hours-long spectacle of torture and lynching. No trial, no jury, no judge, no appeal. Now, well into a new century, as a family in Ferguson, Missouri, buries yet another American teenager killed at the hands of authorities, the rate of police killings of black Americans is nearly the same as the rate of lynchings in the early decades of the 20th century.

 

via Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up | Isabel Wilkerson | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Tragedy and Art: The Power of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ | Robert F. Darden | #OYRchallenge

This article gives background information on Sam Cooke’s motivation in creating, A Change Is Gonna Come. In the midst of the Civil Rights struggle and desegregation, our artist continued the tradition of slave hymns and field songs, ushering in hope through the darkest of times. #OYRchallenge.

On the surface, “A Change is Gonna Come” doesn’t sound particularly challenging, especially in light of the defiant freedom songs that rocked the movement in 1964, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round” or “I Got My Mind Stayed on Freedom.” The song was finally released as a single in late December of that year, shortly after Cooke’s untimely death. It quickly became one of the anthems of the movement and music historian Dave Marsh said that “A Change is Gonna Come” “ranks with Martin Luther King’s best speeches as a verbal encapsulation of the changes black perspective underwent in the Sixties.”

Despite surface appearances, African-American teenagers and movement activists knew exactly what it meant. The lyrics speak of a universally understood sense of alienation in their own land, of being treated as second-class citizens, of asking for help — and not receiving it, even from their own people. And like the great protest spirituals, even when recounting the grossest injustices, the singer continually returns to the hope, the expectation of justice: “Oh, there been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long/But now I think I’m able to carry on/It’s been a long, a long time coming/But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.”

via Tragedy and Art: The Power of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ | Robert F. Darden.

Dick Gregory|”The State of the Black Union 2008: Reclaiming Our Democracy, Deciding Our Future” took place in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Conference Auditorium in New Orleans. #OYRchallenge

The first of 4 videos featuring Dick Gregory.

The “Own Your Racist” Challenge #OYRchallenge

What is the OYR challenge?

African Americans have been at war – mentally, physically, economically, and socially ever since the first African was dragged from a slave ship onto the American shores. The volumes of histories (European and African American), movies, television series, news reports, studies, and other publications serve as qualitative evidence to support this claim. It has always been the strategy of Racist and their racist collaborators (African American pseudo-intellectuals) to present the resulting body count as isolated or individual incidents to be argued within the confines of the criminal justice system, race discussion forums, and/or the same models used to maintain White Supremacy. Truth-be-told, these systems have eroded and the people lax into comfort that the myth of Black powerlessness is firmly in place. They have secured the veil with a 21stcentury Bi-racial President of their choosing, replacing the Civil Rights icons. Every playbook must be revised. Our young are inundated with slave songs, yet no one drills them with the principals that created Black Wall Street and other past ultra-wealthy and sound communities. There are only so many times African American children can attend the funeral of a murdered/lynched family member, friend or neighbor, buried with Amazing Grace and “I Have A Dream,” before they stop listening.

21st century African American youths acknowledge that they are human and know that humans are fallible. In a 1992 televised panel discussion, The Issue is Race, Sister Souljah points to the need for Black empowerment and business. She also points out that every municipality has their game in place to crush African American businesses much more easily now than with the attack on Black Wall St. Crime in the African American community, the most readily used silencing cue in the racist toolbox, reflects that humanity and the substantive pressures placed on that humanity. Our young in 2014 Ferguson, MI reformed the messages of African American history that racist and African American collaborators use to teach them powerlessness. Yet, take a look at how school systems are now trying to formulate a methodology to discuss the current events in Ferguson and other cities. Why control the conversation? For the same reason our children in African American venues are taught slave songs instead of empowering verse? Our dialogue needs to be controlled to include silencing, powerless training. Some HBCU institutions provide tools to exude our power, along with that the history lesson. The intelligent heed the message, the fearful and mediocre cite statistics, the European face of government, and class conscious models of respectability politics to quell their cognitive dissonance. But that dissonance also creates race-collaborators. This is also human. Fear is human.

To get you through this challenge, we need to revisit and establish in our lives how we accommodate, participate, and sometimes instigate our own demise. Here is the catch, if your town has no industry that will support your degree as well as your Africanism, there are always government positions available. And those who become a part of the machine (thinking they can make change from within), soon become THE MACHINE, despite their good intentions. Get over them … but do not give them a pass. Racist tactics are methodical complete with literature and verbal cues that African Americans are trained to absorb and respond to appropriately. Within this context, we must not forget that on an individual level, racist are confident that whatever their mistakes, there is a cue (crazy toolbox) to combat African American claims to racist attack and the victim will disregard their rights within that transaction. Add an insecure, incompetent collaborator and you have a cocktail for a now seemingly powerless victim.

I want to give you an example of using your power effectively within this context. The necessary back story is that in our region, African Americans rarely challenge the most minute situations, so racist have an exceptional comfort zone (no visible support for Trayvon Martin in public view). As the city fell into economic decline, the mayor initiated a campaign to bring a specific immigrant ethnicity to the area from New York City (I will not name the specific population; it is not about them) to purchase property and strengthen the communities. The specific ethnicity bought into the American slovenly African American stereotype for their benefit, and similar to Rwandan (Hutu/Tutsi) conflict, they assumed a position in our communities as a buffer and caste between the racist White population and the African American community. This actually occurred right after the 1994 Rwandan genocideand subsequent literature highlighting the European strategy that set the immigrant against the indigenous population (Mamdani, 2001)

While in college, I cashed my student loan checks at a local branch of the University’s banking institution, as I had done many semester previously. I approached the teller window, and handed her the check, along with my driver’s photo ID. The teller, immigrant woman, scowled at ID, turned it over, scowled again, then asked for a second form of ID. I then gave her my University photo ID bearing the same name and insignia as on the check. Her reaction was the same as with my driver’s license. She sighed and continued to scowl, leaning on her elbow on the counter, with no movement to either decline or process my transaction. I then grew impatient and asked for the bank manager. The teller was aghast. Apparently, she felt a stool in the bank afforded her power that I had no right to challenge. I reiterated, “I have no more to say to you.  It is obvious that you are not familiar with US identifications and should not hold this position. Please call the manager.” When the bank manager arrived, I informed her of the teller’s inability to read legal documents and that such deficiencies should have been addressed at her job interview. Furthermore, her behaviors may open the bank up to future lawsuits and other damages. The red-faced bank manager “shoved” the teller aside and promptly completed my transaction. By the way, said teller is now working at McDonalds. A brightly smiling young black male has taken her place on the stool.

So here is your challenge. There are two parts.

Part I: At least once per day, approach your racial encounters with power. Inner power. Victories, no matter how small, are the key to this challenge – no hubris, retaliations, pettiness, or abuses exude power or is the aim of this challenge (put away your crazy toolbox; not needed here). This can only be done if you follow principles that we ourselves will create during this adventure. There are a few listed to get you started.

  • We are human.
  • In our humanity, we fail, but as humans we are resilient and rise stronger.
  • Remember, racist gain their power in OUR acceptance of dehumanizing media, literature, slurs, and behaviors on their part.
  • We must know the laws and devices used to counter those laws that work in our benefit, during ANY transaction.
  • We must examine, in any situation, where and how we must exude our power effectively, and when racist malaise will cause them to empower YOU.
  • Recognize oppressive methodology, no matter who attempts it – these 4 indicators may help: Insult, Deny, Threaten, and Attack (these are all a part of the verbal cues). Find them in yourself first, and then you will recognize these tactics in others.
  • Act with a sound, still mind. If you become flustered, BREATHE, SING, or whatever you have to do to get back on track. It may seem crazy to the offender or allow them to feel momentarily “uber” empowered, but the whopper you will deliver will soon change that.
  • Most importantly, never, ever take your failure to control any situation as defeat. Remember, you were trained how to be powerless (regardless of how much Black literature you read or education). Regroup and fortify yourself for the next encounter, and you will recognize more of them as you learn to live as a citizen, instead of props in someone else’s theater.

Part II: You MUST develop your own strategies through these contacts and expand on these few lines with posts using the hashtag, #OYRchallenge. Your stories are important as they energize those too weak to accept this challenge. Start with the meager crumbs I have put before you and together we will create a banquet.

The alternative to this challenge is this – continue doing what you are doing expecting different results. Hence, buy a scooter to carry your crazy toolbox. It will only get heavier.

Mahmood Mamdani. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.