Diving Into the Wreck

Catherine

Dr. Catherine Meeks recording the audiobook version of Passionate For Justice, a book she co-authored with Rev. Nibs Stroupe.

A word from Dr. Catherine Meeks (originally posted to social media on May 17, 2020).

These days for me are just like yours, some of them are far better than others. Today is a better day. So I want to share out of that space with you this morning.

I have been thinking about Dr. Vincent Harding, historian, speechwriter for Dr. King and all around holy man and his vision of us  “building up a new world in this country.” These thoughts have been accompanied by my writing and thinking about reparations and all of these thoughts are contextualized by this Covid-19 era and what seems to be a new wave of white violence against African Americans. Continue reading

A Spiritual Pandemic

Lansing, April 30

Lansing, Michigan (April 30, 2020)

By Tommy Airey

*Note: I submitted this op-ed to The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Oregonian. None of them printed it. So I submit it to you.

The white Christians marching with their flags and firearms on state capitals and main streets make it clear: they have neither a care nor a clue about how COVID-19 is disproportionately killing non-white populations. While they protest, Black residents in Detroit shelter-in with water taps shut-off, Indigenous peoples attempt to contain outbreaks on reservations with limited access to health care and Immigrants around the country work the front-lines at unsafe meat processing plants mandated to stay open by an executive order. Unfortunately, the spectacle of the fascist few takes the focus off the rest of us white folk—the silent, enabling masses—also careless and clueless. The coronavirus may be novel, but the overwhelming disregard for Black and Brown life is not. Continue reading

Racism is a Demonic Possession

billFrom yesterday’s Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice press conference (Detroit, MI) in response to the white Christian “protest” at the Capitol in Lansing.

My name is Bill Wylie-Kellermann. I’m a United Methodist pastor in Detroit, recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal Church, and a member of Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

I speak as a white male Christian outraged at the public display of white supremacy in these demonstrations against the health requirements of Michigan under COVID 19. Continue reading

Interrogation of Everything

D18_185_015Sheldon C. Good, executive director of The Mennonite, Inc., interviewed Ibram X. Kendi about antiracism and the church by email Sept. 3. The interview, edited for clarity, appears below. The editorial in the October issue of The Mennoniteavailable here, includes part of the interview.

Kendi is author of How to Be an Antiracist. He won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction for his book Stamped from the Beginning. He is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University in Washington, D.C.

1. You make the case in How to Be an Antiracist that the word “racist” has been removed from its proper usage. How did that happen?

The most virulent racists define racist as anyone who uses the r-words, race or racism. They say, racist is a pejorative term, it is the equivalent of saying I don’t like you, as Richard Spencer once said. Anyone who categorizes people by race, who calls someone racist, is the real racist, they say. Obviously, they are deeply defensive, and deeply in denial. As such, they don’t want to be called racist. They shut down and close up when they do. Some racial reformers have agreed and view “racist” as an attack. So they don’t use the term either. But racist is a descriptive term, not an attack. It describes when a person is saying there is something wrong or right with a racial group. It describes when a person is supporting racist policy with their action or inaction. Continue reading

A Kind of Consciousness

anzalduaGloria Anzaldúa describing “the new Mestiza” in her book Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987).

She puts history through a sieve, winnows out the lies, looks at the forces that we as a race, as women, have been a part of. . . She reinterprets history and, using new symbols, she shapes new myths. She adopts new perspectives toward the dark-skinned, women and queers. She strengthens her tolerance (and intolerance) for ambiguity. She is willing to share, to make herself vulnerable to foreign ways of seeing and thinking. She surrenders all notions of safety, of the familiar. Deconstruct, construct. She becomes a nahual, able to transform herself into a tree, a coyote, into another person. She learns to transform the small “I” into the total self.

**In an interview in 1991, Anzaldúa elaborated:

Typically, for me, the “new Mestiza” is a kind of border woman who is able to negotiate between different cultures and cross over from one to the other and therefore has a perspective of all those different worlds that someone who is mono-cultural cannot have. And because she has that kind of perspective, tiene conocimiento: she has an understanding of what’s going on in all these different terrains. And so her interpretation is based on perceiving more about the different realities in this world than someone who is just mono-cultural…The new Mestiza for me is a feminist, is definitely a feminist, whether she calls herself that or not. And she’s different from the old mestiza because it’s no longer just a question of blood, it’s no longer a matter of one being Indian or black or Asian or Spanish; you may have those bloods and be raised in a white, middle-class world, or you may be a white woman but be raised in a Chicano community. So it goes beyond just the biological mestiza… there’s such a thing as a cultural mestiza. It’s a kind of consciousness.

Simply Saying “Racism” Without Context is Harmful

jyarlandBy Jyarland Daniels, executive director of Harriet Speaks, an organization doing diversity differently providing a Black voice and perspective in diversity, equity, & inclusion

I write this because I teach and talk about race, diversity, and equity for a living, so there aren’t too many topics in this space that I am silent on. However, I prefer to “think fast, and speak slow” and try to offer thoughtful insights (vs regurgitation) where/if I can. I’m not here to be right or wrong — just to think.

The facts speak for themselves. There is a disparity between not only who contracts this virus, but also in the death rate. Black people are most likely to experience both. But just touting this data (as is too often being done) and attaching the word “racism” to this situation is incomplete, alarming, and confusing. And, I find some of it paralyzing; discussing race without steps to take can have that effect. Continue reading

We are not at War

RubyFrom the front porch of Ruby Sales (March 24, 2020).

We are not at war. Rather we are facing a humanitarian crisis. Our lives and futures depend on knowing the difference

My friends this is a long read , but I believe that it is worthy of your time and consideration.

It is important to understand that we are not at war as Trump and others declared. Rather, we are facing a humanitarian crisis. You might wonder what difference does it make how we call it. In my estimation it makes a difference between life and death- who lives and who dies – as well as how we treat and value each other. Our answers to these questions determine our approach and solutions. Continue reading