Sunday, October 06, 2013

Congressional standoff Sunday morning redux--afternoon dialogues on race

It's October, the month for ghosts and haunting pasts; the ghost of Bonnie Ronnie has now rendered, on Capitol Hill, a haunted House in the form of piecemeal government funding bills.  Remember Reagan's call for a line-item veto power?  Voila, but it originates in the House, in its avoidance of any sort of omnibus bill under threat of both the Senate and a presidential veto.

Interesting.  But it's because Congress, not the President, is the appropriate body for engendering the equivalent of a line-item veto, the stalemate has resulted in one aspect of Congress that is functioning properly.

Ted Cruz on State of the Union was the most interesting--he's walked back a bit, but with regard to the question of how is it that this junior member has apparently taken leadership position, I proffer the observation that he's the House member that has the best grasp on the standoff position on his side and is thereby the most able to articulate its basis.  But that also makes him the only person who most thinks it's a good idea.

There's that.

And there's the matter of Netanyahu getting overshadowed by congressional shenanigans while he still pleads for the routing of all nuclear activity in Iran, down to essentially saying "let them use their oil! No nuke power!"...which doesn't play well with the global warming crowd, I'm sure. A former Iranian minister appeared on a talking head show saying that Netanyahu was saying this sort of thing for decades, that Iran was a few months away from an actual atomic bomb, and this was 20 or so years ago.

Let me say this about that: look to see which side Iranian dissidents agree with. It's true that Netanyahu has been a Johnny One Note for too long to have any credibility, but the Iranians I'm familiar with don't trust the current Iranian government either.

There's that.



As you might have guessed, the above posting was written in the morning, pretty much right after the talking head shows had aired.  Well, something significant transpired this afternoon worth mentioning, too, and that is a previously advertised appearance of Jesse Jackson at the University Place Christian Church, 2107 E. Broadway in Enid, an address I recognize as an election polling place.  Been there twice covering 2 presidential elections for HuffPo via the Off The Bus project.

Topic: dialogues about race.


If you're a regular reader of this blog, you already know that's a topic I care about, so yeah--I went.  Only Jackson didn't show.  A pastor named George Young conducted the proceedings instead, making mention of rubbing elbows with Cornell West...I guess to make up for the fact that he wasn't Jesse Jackson.

What mattered most, though, were the things that were said in this discussion, and you betcha I got the pics and vids to share of the significant points.  On the way home, it occurred to me that the people who showed up were the choir that George was preaching to, so to speak, although one doesn't preach in a dialogue...the people who really should be engaged in such a national dialogue as this one should be are the people who wouldn't go and/or won't talk about it when there's an opportunity to, either because they think they know it all already and God put them on this earth to dispense to elite audiences, or they don't think it's important enough to even discuss.  Or both.

Anyway, when the media gets processed, I'll be posting it here later, and I'll post it because I think it's important to post it to anybody else willing to listen.  We already know that part of bigotry is the inability to listen or talk about it.


Part of a handout package was the following booklet containing book recommendations, one of which carries the same title as the booklet...

Published by Pilgrim Press, OH.

The list of books it recommends:

  • All God's Children: A Biblical Critique of Racism by Steven L. McKenzie
  • Black Grief and Soul Therapy by Nicholas C. Cooper-Lewter, Ph.D
  • Breaking Barriers: An African American Family & the Methodist Story by Angella Current
  • Building Bridges: A Handbook for Cross-cultural Ministry by Kathryn Choy-Wong
  • Building King's Beloved Community: Foundations for Pastoral Care and Counseling with the Oppressed by Donald M. Chinula
  • The Color of Faith: Building Community in a Multiracial Society by Fumitaka Matsuoka
  • Coming Together: The Bible's Message in an Age of Diversity by Curtiss Paul DeYoung
  • Dismantling Privilege: An Ethics of Accountability by Mary Elizabeth Hobgood
  • Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America by Joseph Barndt
  • Ending Racism in the Church --Susan E. Davies and Sister Paul Teresa Hennessee, S. A., editors
  • Fulfilling the Dream: Confronting the Challenge of Racism by Ronice Branding
  • Inclusion: Making Room for Grace by Eric H. F. Law
  • Liberating Visions by Robert M. Franklin
  • King Among the Theologians by Noel Leo Erskine
  • Many Cultures, One in Christ from the Covenant Bible Studies series
  • The Measure of a Man by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Moving Mountains: The Principles and Purposes of Leon Sullivan by Leon Sullivan
  • O Lord, Move This Mountain: Racism and Christian Ethics by E. Hammond Oglesby
  • One Aryan Nation Under God: Exposing the New Racial Extremists by Jerome Walters
  • Police/Community Dialogue: Study Guide by Una Ratmeyer
  • Preaching Justice: Ethnic and Cultural Perspectives --Christine Marie Smith, editor
  • Reconciliation: Our Greatest Challenge--Our Only Hope by Curtiss Paul DeYoung
  • Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu by Michael Battle
  • Relational Refugees: Alienation and Reincorporation in African American Churches and Communities by Edward P. Wimberly
  • Roots of Resistance: The Nonviolent Ethic of Martin Luther King Jr. by William D. Watley
  • Say It Loud: Middle-Class lacks Talk about Racism and What to Do about It by Annie S. Barnes
  • Search for the Beloved Community: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kenneth L. Smith and Ira G. Zepp Jr.
  • Shattering the Myth of Race: Genetic Realities and Biblical Truths by Dave Unander, Ph.D. 
  • Show No Partiality from the Faith Crossings series
  • Soul among Lions: Musings of a Bootleg Preacher by Will D. Campbell
  • Strength to Love by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • There is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King Jr. by Lewis V. Baldwin
  • To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by Lewis V. Baldwin
  • Uncovering Racism from the Covenant Bible Studies series
  • The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community by Eric H.  F. Law
Two books for the kids:
  • Children Together: Teaching Girls and Boys to Value Themselves and Each Other by Kathryn Goering Reid and Ken Hawkley
  • Hand in Hand: Helping Children Celebrate Diversity by Ella Kikuno Campbell et al
Before beginning discussions, establishment of the meaning of terminology was done:

I know it's odd for an atheist to be posting stuff with such religious overtones, but this was all part of the program--can't separate that out. Now--whitefolk who are still scratching their heads over the Department of Justice's walking back of federal drug charges because of sentencing disparities, scratch your heads no more.  Here's the explanation:

video
The next clip makes a point about prejudice with power, but not before a point was made about how careful blackfolk have to be about what they say.  There is another clip that I will post later that addresses this, too, so before I present that, keep in mind this first bit and keep in mind how much harder it was for blacks to manage to say the right thing that wouldn't put them at risk for life/limb in the early 1900s.

I'll be bringing up (yet again) the bugbear regarding how Bert Williams' genius continually gets shoved under a rug while Mark Twain and Will Rogers get all the credit for wordsmithing in that era.  Neither Twain nor Rogers had to deal with what Williams had to, on pain of possible death, and it's part of the reason why I think he's a genius for becoming the success that he was as he kept dancing on the edge of that particular cliff at the turn of the last century, nevermind a teen in a hoodie in TODAY's age, losing his life for just looking wrong with Skittles and tea...

video


....now, then--I'm typing in your name for your attention to the next clip, Ilene, because of the size and the scope of the mistake you made in passing off Bert Williams as nothing more than a mere minstrel.  Listen to this man, and keep in mind he's talking about Memphis TN in the 1960s and not a nation that had just barely put Reconstruction in its rear view mirror when Williams was mouthing off in the Follies.
.

video

One form of prejudice is stereotyping, and when it comes to Bert Williams, certain "historians" (and I use that term loosely) are prejudiced in spades, so to speak.  Such "experts"won't listen to facts at all.  So listen to this man, not me, if that's how you are. Facts remain facts regardless of the source.

As for me, I know better when it comes to Bert Williams--as I've said before, he was a genius. And so is Roc even though he'll go down in the annals of history as a pugilist, not an outstanding TV dramatist.  May he never suffer the same fate by a future scholar that Bert Williams has suffered by the hands of experts though they above all should know better.
It's the fact that black history isn't pretty that makes what Bert Williams did, even as a minstrel, even in the Follies, that shows his genius. And it's what makes any effort to pretty it up disingenuous.  This is the kind of stuff that's too important to play that kind of game with.
12 Years a Slave (movie)


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