Tag Archives: booker t washington

God Made Another Super Patriotic Truck Ad For the #SuperBowl!

Today, I found myself in the middle of some serious, if not heated discussions via text message and facebook and twitter (what’s new?) about the Dodge “God Made A Farmer” ad during the Super Bowl. Apparently, asking one simple question about the commercial apparently is enough to offend some people to “unfriend” me or whatever. I care not. Here’s what I do care about. First things first, if you enjoyed the ad, no I don’t think you’re racist or whatever. More power to you. Second, if a multinational corporation makes a claim about God in public, as a Christian intellectual, it is my duty to ask questions. No claim about God is ever innocent or objective. None. Ever. This is coming from a Jesus-following, bible-believing, creed-affirming Christian. Just because it looks like a company is saying good things about “god” or people does not mean they are about reproach or criticism.

1st, So I ask Dodge Ram, which “god” made the farmer you are referring to in this ad? Which “god” are you talking about?

2nd, simply put, how did the farmers get their land? How did “god” provide land for these farmers? Was it perhaps the Homestead Act that Abraham Lincoln signed in 1862 so that whites could be squatters and “settlers” on First Nations Peoples’ land? Was it Manifest Destiny? The Trail of Tears? A Plantation? I want to know, just how did “god” provide land for his ELECT White American male farmer?

The 2nd question gets folks tongue-tied, cuz they don’t want to answer the question. Look, I am sick of revisionist history. I have had to deal with this BS all of my life, ever since third grade. I had to educate myself on the history of African Americans and Native Americans starting then. Social studies classes for elementary schools are sugar-coated and dishonest all in the name of nationalism.

The Super Bowl is a favorite national past-time. Football many claim is a religion. This claim, as I stated above is not an innocent truth claim. Football is part of a nationalistic religion, starting from junior high, pep rallies prepare the young to be subservient patriots not willing to criticize their country, for the good of the team! I like to watch football and the Super Bowl like everyone else, but I refuse to stay quiet when I see blatant nationalism prancing around as innocent agrarian nostalgia.

Here’s the transcript for Paul Harvey’s Future Farmers of America speech in 1978

Booker T Washington as the Negro Christ

As my concluding post on Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, I thought I would share thoughts from the political elite from his day on Washington’s importance.

BTW’s one goal in life was to run a school for Negro woman and men that was worthy enough for the President of the United States to visit. That day came one December day in 1898 when President McKinley and members of his staff stopped by in order to ask questions about the race problem in the South (that’s code for there had been a number of race riots in the South that year, and a political opportunity appeared to match up with Booker’s ambition).  McKinley’s Secretary of the Navy had this to say about Washington’s labor, and it was quite messianic:

“God bless the orator, philanthropist, and disciple of the Great Master–who if he were here on earth, would be doing the same work –Booker T. Washington.”

John Long had basically compared Washington to Jesus, and in a way, Washington was seen as a Savior of the White and Black race. Christologically, this brings to my mind the theology of the Church Mothers and Fathers, that of the image of Jesus as God’s Logos teaching us throughout the cosmos in the here and now. Like Jesus, Booker is viewed as a great teacher.  Not only that, Washington’s racial politics offers forgiveness and grace, never directly confronting Whites for the injustices done to the Negro race. Booker approves of poll taxes and literacy tests as barriers to uneducated masses who desired to vote, whether they were white or black.

The question is: Would Jesus, the Jew who died for the salvation of the Gentiles, to create a new race we call the New Humanity, ever endorse such discrimination? Or silence against lynch mobs?  I think its suffice to say that he would not, given Christian tradition and my Christian experience.

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Booker T Washington as the Negro Moses

Just How Do Southern Whites Look at Black Conservatives? Or How Do White Audiences look at Black Male Leaders?

I find it interesting that as I finished Booker T Washington, not looking for theology or the Bible, I kept stumbling upon it. He, like other narratives written in his time, allows for scriptural imagery to interact with his real world experiences.

From the New York World, September 18th, 1895:

“a Negro Moses stood before an audience of white people and delivered an oration that marks a new epoch in the history of the South; and a body of Negro troops marched in a procession with the citizen soldiery of Georgia and Louisiana.”

The article goes on to say that Washington “electrified the audience,” “his face lit with the fire of prophecy,” as the Atlanta Exposition Address was deemed as “the beginning of a moral revolution in America.”

It is quite interesting to think about and compare Washington with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., and even today, President Barack Obama and Herman Cain, a candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination and business man. What is the compliment given to all of these gentlemen of African descent? That they are good speakers. They can electrify white crowds, tell them what they want to hear, yes?

But when they say something, ya know, a little controversial, they can be demonized. Take MLK Jr and his stance against the Vietnam War, or Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments that we have been “cowards” when it comes to racial issues.

Representation in the public square is nice; now, the question I seem to ask myself nowadays, just what type of representation do I recognize? Do I appreciate progressive black anti-racist thinkers over black conservatives? Or do I hold them equally? I would say I have always sought the latter right position.