Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Race and Obama's minister

I honestly cannot believe the todo going on about that minister's sermon. The big open-mouthed "shock!" being expressed throughout the media. Honestly, it has me wondering how/if some white folks honestly don't realize how angry black people are at the past and current atrocities inflicted by the United States on minority peoples outside and inside our borders.

Do they honestly think this kind of sermon is unusual and over-the-top? Of course, they're trying to make it appear as if we Black Christians don't love the country as much as white Christians do. And they're trying to isolate Blacks and Black Christians ...as if we are the only minority that even thinks this way. Is this a kind of national white self-delusion.

And the Christian community! For heaven's sake! If one talks about this issue among Christians, there is this: "peace, we must all love each other." But the problem is that we have been peaceful all along and that meant accepting their idea of what should and should not be discussed. And what did that do to us? They --many Christian whites-- continue to believe that they can get to heaven and be racist.

When I wrote my book Wind Follower, so many of my fellow Christians got stressed out about me showing the imperialism of the United States...and the way religion and imperialism have worked together. They said, "well, all that is passed." Aren't we a religion dedicated to truth? Not in the united states where to tell your truth is to ask to be treated as if you've said something totally weird and flaky and extreme.

There has always been a weird concept in American elections: that of hijacking the country. It's not subtle at all and the idea behind it is that a Catholic president, a fundamentalist Christian president, a Muslim president, a Black president will somehow "hijack" the country. Add the country's continuing belief that black folks are emotional and that we "hate" the country and you can see what tends to happen: pics of Obama in Kenyan clothing, darkening of his pics, questions about the extremity of his faith, etc. I don't think many white Americans can understand that when Blacks say we are angry with the United States, or with racist white Americans, or American history, that we do NOT dislike America. Because they identify America as a white nation, they can't picture Black Americans as loving a country and at the same time being upset at that country's history.

Now poor Obama in order to pass white muster must behave as if what his minister says is an anomaly....as if his minister is the ONLY person who says stuff like that. Luckily, we black Christians know the game and will forgive him if he has to speak gingerly about his faith as a Christian, his race, or his being both. Obama, my friend, do what you gotta do. We understand.
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