Tag Archives: interracial

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

(The following essay contains excerpts from a presentation given at this year’s Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference in Cleveland, OH)

“Can’t we all just get along?” These are the famous words from police brutality victim Rodney King that sparked the 1992 L.A. uprisings, some call “riots.”  What exactly does it mean for two people groups “to get along” in the context of White supremacist violence and domination? In July of 1967, there was another set of uprisings in the city of Detroit, Michigan. In the aftermath of the rioting,  President Lyndon Baines Johnson commissioned a report to investigate the cause of the riot and ways to prevent it in the future. The infamous Detroit Riot of 1967 led to the federal investigation into social unrest in what would be published in the Kerner Report.

Nearly fifty years later America is still haunted by the ghosts of the Kerner Report. In particular, the major findings of the report still ring true. The continued impact of hundreds of years of systematic oppression has created a deep rift between the experiences of many black Americans and white Americans, which led to the report’s conclusion:  “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, and one white- separate and unequal.” Although this report was published in 1968, it described a reality not unlike today.

The lack of political power was a major frustration of many of the participants in the riots. The report reads: “What the rioters appeared to be seeking was fuller participation in the social order and material benefits enjoyed by the majority of American citizens.” (NACCD, 1967)  The lack of political representation in local government only further angered the residents. The demographics of the Detroit had transformed so that African Americans were the majority by 1967. However, this change in demographic was not evident in political representation.

Minority political under representation continues to be a problem today in many places. In Ferguson, where Michael Brown was shot, the overall population of the city is over sixty percent African American. However, they only make up around fifteen percent of local legislators. According to Karen Shanton, approximately 1.2 million African Americans across 175 different communities do not have proportionate representation in their cities (Shanton, 2016). She goes on to describe how groups that are not descriptively represented are less like to participate in the political process or have someone advocate for their interests. Political disengagement and inattention simply helped to perpetuate a system of mistrust between civic leaders and the community. In a country where a revolution was sparked by the words, “No taxation without representation,” it would seem as if representative democracy in this republic strictly favors the dominant culture. The vast majority of whites continue to believe that everyone receives equal opportunities in America, while minorities on the other hand see great disparities. In other words, our nation continues to “move towards two societies, one black, and one white- separate and unequal.”


A New Blog Carnival Idea

According to Blog Carnival, generally most or all blog carnivals that were dedicated to eradicating racism and/or promoting racial reconciliation are now defunct.

For a while now, I had been considering starting a unique blog carnival but I could not decide what issue or topic to place at the center of a blog carnival.  A blog carnival is:

“Welcome to Blog Carnival! We love the idea of blog carnivals where someone takes the time to find really good blog posts on a given topic, and then puts all those posts together in a blog post called a “carnival”.”

Today, I would like to introduce the Racial Recon Carnival.

Recon stands for the three major concerns for this carnival:

Recon as in reconnaissance, or collected or gathered information and data about the devastating effects of all forms of racism (interpersonal, institutional, etc). Every approach to anti-racist efforts is acceptable; there is no one right or wrong way of doing anti-racist work.  Racial Recon, as in information, includes stories, statistics, and reports on racist institutions, behaviors, habits, and individuals.

Recon as in reconstruction.  Race is a social construct, fostered by fallible human beings. Ultimately, it is up to Christians to resist depraved categorizations of any human being, which we believe to be made in the image of the transcendent and infinite God.  Each individual is created as a unique and invaluable person with infinite worth in God’s sight.  No form of racial essentialism, stereotypes, or pigeonholing can stand under the doctrine of the imago Dei.  Therefore, bloggers are also invited to deconstruct cultural representations and performances of race relations as well as reconstruct visions more in line with the commonwealth of God.

Recon as in reconciliation.  Lastly, bloggers are invited to highly and submit stories and reports as well as review books or essays on all efforts focused on racial reconciliation.

This carnival shall take place the last week of every four months, with submissions being due on the 22nd of the fourth month.  In addition, special editions of the Racial Recon Carnival shall hereby take place during the month of April dealing with in particular the differences between Southern History and the history of the Confederate States of America until those differences are recognized and we start appreciating the history of the US American South and mourning the history of the Confederacy.

The Racial Recon Carnival was founded upon a Christian theological basis but is open to submissions from persons of different religious (including “secular” and “nonreligious”) backgrounds as long as the submissions deal with anti-racism efforts.

Due to the fact that we are already in the 10th day of April, I would like to extend the deadline for this month’s edition (the first).  All submissions will be due April 26th, 2010.

Please email all submissions to either racialrecon [at] yahoo.com or the blog carnival listing and the carnival edition information.

Thank you for your time.

Azusa Street and Racial Reconciliation

I had heard of the Azusa Street revival and the story of Bishop C H Mason and his role within Pentecostalism and a movement towards racial reconciliation that eventually failed, and I had heard of William J. Seymour but never had I encountered as much detail as Ekaputra Tupamahu gave in one of his latest posts. I was not aware of the racist theology that was being advanced by many folks in the South (of course I know of their segregationist interpretation of Scripture) but not the anti-Judaic, white supremacist theology known as Anglo-British-Israelism. This theology represents the worst of all pseudo-sciences and part of the back of 19th century Western imperialism. It is remarkable that God could take a person, such as Mason, educated in that context, and preach and practice an anti-racist  Christianity.

Thank you, Ekaputra, and please keep blogging, brother!

A few thoughts: perhaps it would be best if someone looked at the history of Dispensationalist theology, which developed during the late 1800s as a reaction to the cultural religion in the United Kingdom. Although some of its proponents today among are the largest enthusiasts of war, what if, and I am just thinking what if, Dispensationalism was a response to British Israelism, as an anticolonial, anti-racist corrective? It would explain Israel’s high place in Dispensational theology but not its modern popularity within the Bible Belt where British Israelism once held sway.

For man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

Truth and Peace,