This here says a great deal. Click here for the story.
I know we do not have all of the facts regarding the police killing of Alton Sterling, but from what I can see, the narrative looks familiar. Then, just a day later, Philando Castile was gunned down in his own car by a cop. Black, blue, or green — it is a life. As an academic who looks at race and engages in meaningful conversations about our past, present, and future predicament, I have elected to fly (post) the NAACP flag from 1920 to1938 on my social media page. The NAACP displayed this every time a black person was lynched. I will do this for the murder/lynching of innocent black folks.
This is a very good conversation, in part, because it aims at a central argument in circulation among a number of us who constitute the black left. The black middle class abandoned the general black population after the 1960s civil rights movement. Though West points to a number of other narratives here, he does a great job encapsulating the aforementioned point.
I say yes. As I study and write some this AM, I keep going back to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court ruling that “ended” Jim Crow in schools, but gave further rise to white supremacy and the Christian right. This was the same Christian right that coalesced with the Republican Party under the guise of Christian morality. After speaking to a friend and colleague for a bit about the historiography of the Christian right yesterday, and after a great deal of reading this AM, I am more convinced that the Christian right, which today is housed within the Republican Party, emerged to justify white supremacy and to combat their growing fears of the interracial solidarity of black and white Communist, particularly after the Scottsboro Trial in 1931. In part, the USA government needed this court case to combat the Soviet Union’s argument that American democracy and capitalism were oppressive. The Christian right unified behind the election of Ronald Reagan in an attempt to elevate the racist conservative norm of states rights, and to dismantle a Soviet system that showcased the systematic realities of black and brown people. Thus, making Reagan the golden child of American racism and classism, as desired by the Christian right.
As I further my study of W.E.B. Du Bois — I am keenly forced to address his adoption of communism as a ubiquitous form of egalitarian, righteous, and progressive truth. From Marx to Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” the reality of the black mind and how black thinkers and activist reshape society dominates my study, teaching, and academic engagement. Hence I place greater value on my labor as it is me and the rest of the talented tenth who must educate other black folks on their obligation to the race — but also to remind whites of their daily actions and sense of being imprisoned by the lies of liberalism and social justice. This my friends are the things that divide us. We are not alike. I am not like you. And I will remind you of this at our next conference, in my papers, as I march across campuses, in protest, and while traveling from coast line to coast line. Ending this divide requires a level of work few are ready for.
Black folk — during the days of Harriet Tubman, shared folk tales via singing to describe Christ’s coming to save them from Egyptian bondage; it was Tubman (black Moses) who emerged in the days of the Exodus to guide the enslaved across the Red Sea into the northern region; she was guided by the northern star – the one followed by the wise me of Christ’s days. Such religious tales illustrated a “sense” of religiosity” that still exists among black folk, yet no longer carries the same fervor.
Edward Blum’s work speaks to the religiosity of Du Bois as a spiritual intellectual. Cornel West’s writings often discuss the soulful needs of faith and the church as a process of survival for black folks in a world dominated by white supremacy. In an age of reason, one that places too much attention on academics for profit, such as the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, the norm of thought is that intellectuals lack a faith in God — particularly white academics. The thought of blacks being nonbelievers used to be uncommon, however, that has shifted in the post-civil rights age.
During the age of Jim Crow, black folks congregated in the black church, as many do today. For some it is a form of spiritual “togetherness” and a show of political and economic solidarity. The church once served as the center of political and social lifer for black Americans. Though still true for some, the rise of secular culture, academic life, science, and materialism has changed that dynamic.
What is different about black theology?
According to James Cone, “it is due exclusively to the failure of white religionists to relate the gospel of Jesus to the pain of being black in a white racist society.”
For nearly three hundred years, the enslaved house worker had been listening to their owners’ prayers and Bible readings….They were able to interpret their own inexplicable situation and give themselves reasons to stay alive. This notion has transformed itself from the plantation to the political arena as seen by such actors as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
While many African-Americans seem to belong to the general segment known as Baptists, the first African Baptist church began this trend in Richmond VA, in 1838 when the pastor and members of the First Baptist Church of that city debated its growing difficulty: What to do with the growing black population in the church. Perhaps one of the reasons so many African Americans today consider themselves Baptists is because of its orthodox and conservative nature as a branch of Christianity.
It is at this point one might see a division between those of religious academic type and those of a more spiritual devotion. The religious academic types see the church as a vehicle to bring about social justice in eradicating poverty, racism, and social ills that permeate society. This type of black folk tend to be far more progressive than those rooted in the deep southern tradition of the orthodox Baptist church.