If you only knew how much I love brother Malcolm X. Yep. I have read a great deal on Malcolm. My African American Studies students are exploring him now as many were unaware of his spiritual journey and transformation. We watched this scene today as Malcolm challenges the notion of a white Christ. Classic.
Harvard President Drew Faust unveils a portrait of The Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church, 1974 – 2011. The portrait hangs in the Faculty Room of University Hall. The Honorable Deval Patrick and The Reverend Dr. Wendel “Tad” Meyer make remarks. Deval Patrick (from left), Drew Faust, Michael Smith, Tad Meyer, and artist Yuqi Wang unveil the painting. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Read the full article here
Being in New England, I am connected to some of the most prominent schools in the nation. As I visit peer schools — I often look at the pictures on their walls as I tour different campuses. I also notice the pictures hanging on the walls here at Brooks. Yes — most are white men. I get lucky at times and find a female. That makes me happy. But never a person of color. Recently the late great Peter Gomes’s picture was displayed in Harvard’s faculty room. What does it say to the world when there are no images of people that are not white hanging from walls? What about the fact that places have not figured out how to make people of color feel welcomed? We are not aliens. New England prep schools and Harvard will argue and make excuses. Most places will. But the truth is in the numbers. Are we not part of the club? Prep schools are easy places to feel displaced. Independent schools are this way in general. And the conservative schools will make you feel like an outsider if you are not of the population norm. Harvard has made that all too clear by just now hanging a picture of a person of color. I love the late Peter Gomes. Good for Harvard. Boy it took you long enough. What does your campus look like? Why? Why are there no people of color? Why do they leave? Do you care to know.
I spent my AM visiting the English Department. Steph Holmes — a friend and colleague invited me into her III rd form English class to discuss race and religion. Her students were great. She was great as she connected my talk to their study of the “Color Purple.”
Above is a picture she shared and her thoughts on social media about my visit:
“A big thanks to Mr. Edward Carson for his lesson “Jesus was a Black Man from the Hood.” The conversation enhanced our study of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and more importantly, he challenged us to consider the relationships between religion and race, power, class, gender and sexual orientation–as well as the origins of those relationships, how they are depicted in art and literature, and the impact on contemporary American culture. You’re always welcome in my classroom, Eddie!”
Today I am preparing a lesson/presentation titled “Why Christ was a Black Man from the Hood” as I teach a class hosted by my English department friend and colleague. I am ready to challenge students’ concept regarding the color of Christ and the modern relevancy of such day-to-day notions regarding the abstract conscious that drives our racial attitudes. I might just scare the hell out of them with this meme:
Yes there are those who feel Obama aims to heighten the racial notion and benefits of black people. However — my essay points to a president who has evaded the topic of race — see The Christian Century magazine Then and Now, as I noted that
As Obama’s term comes to an end, black Americans have realized he is not the hoped-for savior. Hence the tension: between the expectations of a historically oppressed race and the ushering in of America as post racial.
You can find my article here.
Brooks GSA gathered the other night to discuss recent religious liberty bill actions and LGBTQ matters in states like North Carolina. Rebecca Binder and I focused on Constitional matters related to past issues of race and current matters of identity and the power struggle between states, individuals, and the federal government. We had a great showing of students. Binder was the real star. Her legal training and interest in LGBTQ rights made for an interesting night. It is safe to say we learned a great deal. I was pushing students out of my house at 9:00.
A must read here about Sandra Bland — a victim of racism and police brutality. My friend, colleague, and fellow social activist — Professor Phillip Sinitiere did a nice job as an ally in the work for social justice. I am joined with Sinitiere behind the Duke University chapel reminding folks that Sandy still needs us. Sinitiere’s work in bringing a voice to fight a wrong has been fantastic. Let us help him and others.