Tag Archives: anablacktivist

Yahweh's Blue Yonder: SeaWorld Woes

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A new year means it’s time for a new series! For me, 2015 will be a year of environtmental theology- from an Anablacktivist perspective! As such, each month will have a different theme. For January?:

 

That’s right- we’re headed to SeaWorld! The world of adventure highly sought after by lovers of marine life. But even a cursory glance at the news lately ought to let you know that there’s trouble in paradise…

Since 2013, there’s been news report after news report of attendance sharply falling and the most recent article detailing a 5% drop in the SeWorld (SEAS) stock- pushing the current CEO to resign! (OH NO! NOT THE STOCK MARKET!!).. An article posted rather recently (Nov.) on CNN(  http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/12/investing/seaworld-stock-dip/) goes in to detail as to how this may be attributed to a drop in attendance and this corresponding drop in attendance may be attributed to an ambitious piece of documentary material entitled ‘BlackFish’.

The interesting thing about ‘Blackfish’ is that it is classified by some as a ‘psychological docudrama’-  it essentially details Tilikum ( the killer whale made famous by both his fatal attack of the SeaWorld trainer) and his gradual descent into the insanity that lead him to the attack/retaliation. I highly recommend you watch it – it’s on Netflix afterall!! I will be making quite a few references and using plenty of data and facts from the film.

Especially from an AnaBlacktivist perspective, I believe it was the great James H. Cone who stated that blackness ( as this film’s title would imply) isn’t limited to just black people- ‘blackness’ may be a universal symbol for the oppressed in the world. How does our identity, perhaps as a black person in America or any other marginalized person in society, draw from his or her own experience to empathize with Tilikum and God’s non-human created beings. In the modern day American Empire, we’ve taken Tilikum, Shamu and the like from their home land and made them our slaves , held captive- used and abused, for our own gain. This sounds so much , too much, like the narrative of colonialism and slavery. Christ who came to set the captives free- to give us fullness of life- the life, the death, the recurrection, what could this mean for Tilikum? Stay tuned!

 

 

Upcoming #AnaBlacktivism chats: #JamesConeWasRight & Bonhoeffer

Yes, that’s right, CHATS. PLURAL. Mark your calendars for two conversations on Theology and Race. Back in June, we had our first #AnaBlacktivist chat on Anti-Blackness, Liberation, and Shalom.

On Thursday night December 18th, 2014 at 8:00pm EST, over on Twitter, @AnaBlacktivism will host a conversation on #JamesConeWasRight (using this hashtag inspired by the labor of our friends Daniel and Terrence). Given the recent discussions nation- and worldwide about #Ferguson, #TamirRice, #EricGarner, racism, and police brutality, we at AnaBlacktivist Seminary wanted to highlight the prophetic words of Dr. James Hal Cone, and how his insights remain relevant to this day. Cone’s intellectual project in advancing an Anti-racist, anti-oppressive Christianity are now needed now than ever before. From his analysis of Blacks’ experiences, to his critique of pacifist theologians from the dominant culture, we hope you will join us in this important conversation about Cone’s theology. We will conclude the discussion with challenges and pushback, and a few critiques of Cone’s project.

[TO BE DETERMINED, A DATE AFTER CHRISTMAS DAY, STAY TUNED]: @AnaBlacktivism will host a discussion on Black Theology and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For many, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is more than simply a martyr. For others, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy in his writings could be seen as a possible turning point in theology in the post-Christopher Columbus ERROR Era. While many scholars acknowledge the influence of Bonhoeffer’s encounter with Black church life in Harlem, it is usually downplayed. In this discussion, we will be talking about Bonhoeffer’s views on race, Western civilization, and Protestant theology. We will also discuss whether are certain texts in Bonhoeffer’s work that are problematic, and whether or not there is a way forward in re-reading Bonhoeffer for today.

If anyone wants to get a head start in preparing for either of these conversation, we would recommend watching this video of J. Kameron Carter at Lancaster Seminary: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Failed Blackness.

Linked here

20140616-225219-82339663.jpg

the master's tools #AnaBlacktivism

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free. And, masters, do the same to them. Stop threatening them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and with him there is no partiality.-the Apostle Paul Ephesians 5:5-9(NRSV)”

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women;
those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are
poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an
academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For
the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us
temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about
genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the
master’s house as their only source of support.”- Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House

Whenever discussions of social injustice take place, I normally see a shorter version of Audre Lorde’s quote appear, with the phrase itself taken completely out of context. The bumper sticker version “The master’s tool will never dismantle the master’s house” is invoked whenever some revolutionary purist wants to score points for quoting a woman of color and sexual minority (bonus points! LEVEL UP!)

Level up scott pilgrim

In context, Audre Lorde is describing her situation, and critiquing white feminism that centers the Academy and the middle class, and straight. The event she critiqued which took place almost thirty years ago was one in which “difference was merely tolerated.” For Lorde, “Difference is that raw and powerful connection from which our
personal power is forged.” It is the exclusion of this difference by white feminism that is exactly the way that it (white feminism) reinscribes White Supremacist Kyriarchy. One of the interesting questions that Lorde asks in this essay/speech,

“Why weren’t other women of Color found to participate in this conference? Why were
two phone calls to me considered a consultation? Am I the only possible source of names
of Black feminists? And although the Black panelist’s paper ends on an important and
powerful connection of love between women, what about interracial cooperation between
feminists who don’t love each other?”

Or for in a different context, why isn’t there any discussion for People of Color who desire for racial justice at Christian conferences? One of my friends a few months ago received a few phone calls as “a consultation,” and his voice was further devalued. The problem with the bumper sticker version of “the master’s tools” is that these discussion still center “the masters,” the dominant culture with its male supremacy. Even when members of the dominant culture find themselves wanting to discuss issues of white supremacy, privilege, classism and sexism, the starting point unfortunately seems to focus on the perspective from those at the top.

Then, there is this “demand” for marginalized people to “supply” privileged persons with education to be better allies. The choice by those from the margins to take the lead and inform the dominant culture of its wrongs should be a free, noncompulsory choice, on the terms determined by the marginated. Dialogues such as the Southern Baptist Convention partaking in the LORD’S Supper with members of the LGBTQIA community is a start, but again, it was on the SBC’s homefield. The calls by the majority, those in power, for the minorities to educate them, are, as Lorde argues, diversion tactics that lead to a repetition of white supremacist kyriarchy.

The way to decenter these discussions is to #1, stay focused on the margins, #2, not stray away from the topic of structural oppressions which can get derailed by persons who wish to make it “all about the individual,” and #3, recognize that whatever our visions of liberation are, whether they are religious or political, that these transcend as “the master’s tools.”