Banal Liberal Calls to Unity

An excerpt from a 2016 interview with professor, author and organizer Dylan Rodriguez, re-posted from

The following interview was conducted by Casey Goonan, an editor with True Leap Press. It originally appeared in the independent, open-access journal Propter Nos

Casey Goonan: The US white-supremacist state operates today through a different set of discourses and cultural structures than in previous epochs. Your work interrogates such shifts at a level of depth and nuance that is of particular importance for emergent struggles against racist state violence. “Multiculturalist white supremacy,” “post-racial liberal optimism,” “white academic raciality”—such terms are utilized throughout your work to interrogate a myriad of theoretical and historical conundrums that define the post-Civil Rights era, particularly in regards to racial violence and subjectivity. Can you, in very broad strokes, lay out what you are trying to accomplish with these interventions in the discourses, practices, and forms of embodiment that so violently delimit the possibilities for radical social change in the United States?

Dylan Rodríguez: The aftermath of American apartheid’s formal abolition has been overwhelmed by a grand national-cultural vindication of “Civil Rights” as the vessel of fully actualized gendered-racial citizenship. This fraud has, in various ways, facilitated rather than interrupted the full, horrific exercise of a domestic war-waging regime. For the sake of momentary simplicity, we can think about it along these lines: the half-century narrative of Civil Rights victory rests on an always-fragile but persistent common sense—the idea that national political culture (“America”) and the spirit of law and statecraft (let’s call this “The Dream”) endorse formal racial equality. Bound by this narrative-political context, the racist state’s mechanics shift and multiply to rearticulate a condition of normalized racist violence that is condoned or even applauded by the institutionalized regimes of Civil Rights. (It is not difficult to see how the NAACP, JACL, LULAC, Lambda, NOW, Urban League and other like-minded organizations condone or applaud domestic racial war, so long as it is directed at the correct targets: gang members, drug dealers, “violent criminals,” terrorists, etc.). In other words, the contemporary crisis of racist state violence is not reducible to “police brutality” and homicidal policing, or even the structuring asymmetries of incarceration: it is also a primary derivative of the Civil Rights regime.

Continue reading “Banal Liberal Calls to Unity”


By Ric Hudgens, re-posted with permission from social media

Sometimes we choose transition. Sometimes it’s thrust upon us. Either way it’s disorienting. But, as the great Walter Brueggemann reminds us, disorientation is one stage on the way to re-orientation. I’m feeling that on-the-way-in-betweenness.

Divorce, a stroke, a resulting move to a new place, and then of course the pandemic left me a bit traumatized. It’s not dramatic (not like some), but it’s substantial. I find unfamiliar fears and anxiety showing up in unfamiliar places.

I’ve also known “post-traumatic growth” which was the subject and the fruit of a recently completed doctoral project. So I’m still “growing” and have much to be thankful for, and I’m also disoriented – like when I was a teenager and every year outgrew my clothes.

I need God/Spirit/Meaning in new ways. The old pathways bore me. Familiar methods leave me feeling confused, curious, cautious, and a bit cranky. I’m walking like someone with new shoes that are not yet broken in. I think my heels are blistering a bit.

Continue reading “Re-tired.”

Unrepresented and Overlooked

From author and activist Rebecca Solnit, re-posted from social media.

Memo to my fellow white people ostentatiously complaining about how they didn’t like Everything Everywhere All At Once. I loved the film but if I didn’t I’d be aware how meaningful it is to other people–notably Asian and Asian American viewers– and not dump on their joy. It’s a huge breakthrough film in a white-dominated industry, and some of you are sounding pretty….checked-out…in your grousing.

[There are lots of other works of art where it’s very clear how meaningful it is to someone else, often because they have long gone unrepresented and overlooked, and if it’s not resonating the same way for me, it’s my goal to be attuned to why it resonates for them, not foreground my grumpy limitations and my luxury of already having films/ music/ stories/ songs enough about people like me. But there’s also always the question of why something doesn’t resonate. Can you not identify with characters of another race/sexual orientation/background or enjoy spending time watching their lives unfold? If not, you might want to explore that. A lot of young and queer people also loved the film. I’m not saying everyone must like it; but I am saying that thinking about the why or why not could be useful and also that a lot of the complaining sounds pretty close-minded and mean-spirited and very middle-aged. Black journalist Eugene Robinson wrote today: “That is a level of Asian representation we have never seen before at the Oscars. In the past, the message from Hollywood to Asian actors and creators has ranged from, effectively, “squeeze yourself into this stereotyped pigeonhole” to “just stay the hell away.”’]

Badass Biblical Women

Check out the new gear designed by Rianna Isaak-Krauss, co-pastor at Frankfurt Mennonite Church in Germany! Order your own HERE. Adult sizes too!!!

“I was on Etsy looking for fun clothing for babies, as millennial parents do, and found really terrible Christian T-shirts for girls [with phrases] like, ‘Wait like Hannah’ and ‘Serve like Martha. The only images that capitalism has for women [are] doing laundry and waiting around, and I thought that sucked.” – Rianna Isaak-Krauss

“Let’s keep telling these stories of badass biblical women,” Isaak-Krauss says. “And let’s keep using strong, active verbs so that we’re not always forming girls to be passive.”

Read more about the inspiration behind Rianna’s work here.

Entering the Womb Again: A Sermon for Straight Males (and Everyone Else)

By Jim Perkinson, a sermon for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan (March 5, 2023)

Last week Carvan asked me “What’re you gonna preach on!”  I said something like, “I don’t know yet—we’ll see.”  Only partially truthful—but human “knowing” is always a work in progress and for a 71-year old man, more like a bird flitting “now here, now gone,” than a rock sitting hard and fast on the ground.  But the response was also a way of keeping the door open, letting the wind in, as the gospel today retorts, making womb-space for new seeds to plant themselves and grow.  And sure enough, a new seed showed its face on the very morning of my beginning to sprout whatever it was I was going to say.  And contrary to our modern dried up relations with the plant world, seeds do have faces.  So, I will start there.

The New York Times this past Friday had a feature on the most recent museum display of Wangechi Mutu, Kenya artist straddling the Atlantic like her people have been made to do for 500 years now, crafting pain into vision, trauma into beauty, haunting and clairvoyant.  She sees the past and future all in one glimpse.  And opens the sight for any who would dare look.  But only, as John enjoins, if you are willing to be “born again.”               Am I?  Are you?  Hmmmm . . .

Continue reading “Entering the Womb Again: A Sermon for Straight Males (and Everyone Else)”

The Reflexes of Racism

An excerpt from Wendell Berry’s The Hidden Wound (1970).

I am trying to establish the outlines of an understanding of myself in regard to what was fated to be the continuing crisis in my life, the crisis of racial awareness—the sense of being doomed by my history to be, if not always a racist, then a man always limited by the inheritance of racism, condemned to be always conscious of the necessity not to be a racist, to be always dealing deliberately with the reflexes of racism that are embedded in my mind as deeply at least as the language I speak.

Take Action on Immigration

An appeal from Guillermo Torres of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.

After four years of horrific immigration policies of the previous administration, I was somewhat hopeful (I say that because with politicians you never know) that things were going to change when the new Biden administration took over. But to my dismay, but not surprise, this administration had some major hick-ups right from the start. 

It started with the process of detaining unaccompanied minors and locking them up in a detention center in Texas that was previously used by the former Trump administration, located near toxic grounds. 

Then, after that, came horrific images of Custom Border Patrol agents in Texas pursuing and hurling their horses at Haitian asylees to detain them and deport them back to Haiti, this in the midst of a country that was experiencing horrific violence and reeling from an earthquake. 

Continue reading “Take Action on Immigration”

God’s Competition with Race, Gender and Nationalism

By Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler

“O say can you see,” stood in the place where God should be, and it didn’t wave but passively stood, planted, and seemingly unmovable across from the Christian flag, that is also red, white and blue. This is the scene in so many Christian houses of worship across the country. It serves as a reminder to the congregants that they are not only in America, but quietly and effectively offers the assertion that America is a Christian country, founded on Christian principles, and in order to be a good American necessitates being a Christian. Or, in the synagogue, on the Bimah, often stands two flags, an American one and the Star of David, that confirms not only American loyalty, but loyalty to another country, and to another political ideology. These symbols are not too subtle, and the implied message is God and country, and country or countries on the same level as God.

According to the theologies of the Judeo-Christian traditions there is no god greater than God, and there is this timeless struggle against idol worship in all its manifestations. We caution against worshipping money and riches, against pride and arrogance, we call for humility and the extension of love to our neighbors down the street and across the globe. We pray to keep God before us and above us, and seek to be accountable to that God. We strive to create a synthesis between our daily living and our worship, and seek to allow nothing to supplant the prominence of God in our lives. Yet, on these altars, these places that are set high and represents the loftiness and sacredness of God, stands symbols of nationalistic pride. They are placed in the place where the spirit and concept of God should reside, and we are therefore declaring that God must share sacred space with nationalistic symbols of pride, arrogance and militarism. Some would suggest that this is simply patriotism, but patriotism placed on the altar alongside the conceptional sacredness of God is the height of idolatry, and in Christian text we are taught,

Continue reading “God’s Competition with Race, Gender and Nationalism”