RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Post-Racial Farce

Is it possible that a bare majority–if not the gross majority– of the words we use to convey our most intimate, intelligent and innocuous thoughts, feelings and actions may be really wrong? Then, we’re not communicating. Take an easily bandied word RACE. I heard someone refer to “the German race.” a day ago. I did not bite my tongue, but I said nothing. I won’t insult your intelligence by posting multiple dictionary definitions. Dictionaries compose themselves around how words are being used by a certain percentage of people, That is why dictionaries change regularly. My favorite dictionary is an unabridged Webster’s from 1979. I like “real words,” not acronyms that are removed from the dictionary when they are passe, while the latest all consonant “words”(sic) are inserted.  Post-racial is a recent hybrid that has been in public usage for a few years. Journalists and pundits like to say “post-racial” to indicate that, because the US has elected a president with one-half African  and one-half European heritage the nation is no longer mired in the quicksand of its history: chattel slavery, legal, de facto segregation, and discrimination against the descendants of African captives to this hemisphere.

Are you laughing, yet? One corner of my mouth is turned up, and one corner is turned down when I think “post-racial.” Russ Limbaugh, the garbage disposal that someone forgot to flick on,  is a waving flag to the fallacy of “post-racial.” He and his fellow traveling reactionaries and conservatives, who dispute the legitimacy of the president as an American citizen, redefined the word almost as quickly as it has come into use.

The most accurate definition of race is as a synonym for the species of hominids, homo sapiens sapiens, seven billion of us. Take Limbaugh’s tirade against the president’s one-half African ancestry to the entire species, or, particularly, the female one half plus. The ignorance of Limbaugh’s attack on a Georgetown law student’s reasoned comments on institutionalized prejudice/racism denies students’ health services that are not controversial to medial science, nor students’ free choice.  Post-racial becomes its polar opposite, above/beyond limitations imposed in the name of “race” in the dictionary/scientific. Now laugh, really loud.

On Whitney Houston’s “Home Going”: A Four Hour Observation

A four hour observation

 Image

What I am going to write may be seen, by some,  as sacrilegious. I do

not apologize, These are honest thoughts and feelings after being in my

house during the three hour and 45 minutes “Home Going” for Whitney

Houston. Checking channels, I think four television channels broadcast

the funeral.

The governor of New Jersey and the Mayor of the city of Newark were in

attendance. The church was filled with more than one thousand close

friends, with thousands behind a  barricades several blocks away and

millions watching world-wide. I did not watch the entire spectacle, but

a TV was “on” in the background.

Occasionally, I stopped to watch and listen, such as when Kevin Kostner

spoke, or when I heard a singing voice where I wanted to see the

singer.–for a few moments.

I do  understand, empathize with and respect  the emotions and the

experiences that brought this day to being. I do not understand the

impulse that brought about the attention, nor the time and resources that

were expended.

For the past week, the “airwaves,” and I suppose other media, have been

filled with reports on the “unexpected” death of the American popular

singer Whitney Houston.  I do not have words to adequately convey my

thoughts and feelings about the adulation. No such attention has been

given to any of the occasions that are  important to the health and

well-being of the nation and the world–no four hour directed attention

and use of resources for the deaths of citizens in this nation and

around the world, who are being killed, starved, imprisoned.  Regularly,

I see reports of starving children, the homeless, the ill, the

unemployed. No four hour coverage has been offered for the pleas of,

say, Occupy.

The Rev. Winans perturbed me. He began his sermon at three o’clock–in

a ceremony that was, then, three hours long. He performed for the next

forty minutes. I had wondered who was the cleric behind the podium in

the black garment, with the red cummerbund. I did not think he was a

Bishop or Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. They wear hats. My

determination for his contribution to the service is that this was the

biggest “ego-trip” of the day.

My early religious environment was not in the Baptist church.  My

maternal grandmother was Baptist, and on visits I attended service with

her. There was a difference between those services and the Presbyterian,

USA congregation of my immediate family–including mother, who

converted. I have attended Methodist-Episcopal-Catholic-Jewish-Hindu-

and Muslim services. My brother-in-law joined a fundamentalist

congregation; Pentecostal, I think. His “Home Going’ was interesting,

joyous and filled with song–for about one and one-half hours. He was no

celebrity, of course.

I am annoyed by the term “Black Church,” as if that is a denomination.

There are protestant churches of various denominations, Baptist, being

only one.  I’ve had whites say, “I just love Gospel Music.” I say,  “I

don’t; I did not grow up hearing Gospel Music.” Surprise!!!

Because of my religious upbringing, Presbyterian USA, I have a different

perspective. I respect the beliefs and practices of the people who were

involved in the Home Going, today–everyone.   My experience differs. I

like the Presbyterian and Unitarian Universalist; I am comfortable.  It

is a “cultural thang.”

I heard somewhere, “I like the quiet church.”

I am, deeply, concerned with the attention to a very talented,

accomplished woman of color, who brought pleasure to many people, and

lots of money to some.   I do not deny the experience. I simply wonder.

The Reverend Winans spoke on the theme of “priorities.” I did not

listen, carefully; I was not drawn-in by his demeanor, nor remarks. I do

comprehend PRIORITIES.

Gwendoline Y. Fortune

Author; Growing Up Nigger Rich and Family Lines

Smart or Dumb? Howard Schweber: The Catholicization of the American Right

Smart OR Dumb?

Image

I refer to the issue in the article, Howard Schweber: The Catholicization of the American Right which indicates a sorely misunderstood issue in American life–that of  what RELIGION is and its role and influence in personal, and corporate/communal) life.

Religion is the ground-of-being from which human actions  are conceived and from which thoughts and actions proceed.

Religion–as I understand it–is the crux of a value system for individuals and communities, tribal to  national, to global, to COSMIC. its root is re-align, to re-connect with what is, presumed lost.

What one believes to be true in its essence, as in “Where did I come from?” What is my purpose here?” and “Where am I going?” are the bases for religion. Religion/re-align can be pantheistic, belief in many manifestations of existence as cause and effect called Gods,. We have pre and historical examples of this,   recently being the Greek and Roman pantheon.–and the wee-Celtic folk. This approach to ALl That Is exists in ongoing cultures, such as Hinduism. The embodiment of one source of All That Is, as  God/Allah, even, Buddha, who was not a God, but an enlightened being-teacher, and others named Supreme Being, Essence/Energy and words that may be designed to move beyond the limitations of personification.

It is innately inherent in the human animal to accept–or seek–answers to profound questions whether the questions are grounded as spiritual, scientific, philosophical or metaphysical… The pursuit of the unknown–and efforts to make “it” known–is similar. “What the H—is this thing called me, and everything?” A closely following  question often seems to be, “What can I do to escape its wrath and gain favor for me and mine?”

Throughout history, humans have concocted answers-results-beliefs in  facsimiles, usually forgetting (not knowing) internal sources of the questions.. Fear is often the driving force–fear of punishment, as the fear of the disposal of  books of the Koran in Afghanistan demonstrate. Within this re-action is a sense of loss of respect for self and the self’s world that must be retained by deification of objects/relics/customs/dress–name on, and antagonism-war toward the “other.”

Today, humans on planet, Earth,  continue, as ever, to express diverse varieties of spiritual-religious concepts.  Today, instantaneous communication makes possible the bombing of “The World Trade Center” and symbols of power by those who resent–rightly so–those symbols. Why do I say, “rightly”? Because “right” is in the eye of the beholder. The history of hegemony, domination and discrimination make for “right.” The same, oppositionally, make for “wrong.” Both views are relative, conditional, and perceptual in “reality.” We are witness to torturous antagonism between three of the Deist–One God–traditions, with two being popularly prominent, Christianity and Islam. Ironically, all spring form the identical source.

I won’t digress into that history, today. I refer to the issue in the article, Howard Schweber: The Catholicization of the American Right

At the national level, Catholic politicians have emerged as leading figures in the GOP… and evangelical Protestants are flocking to follow their lead. Why?

I hope you can retrieve it. It is in today’s HuffPost Daily Brief.

I have been aware of this issue as the Republican candidates, Santorum and Gingrich dominate the political landscape–with hush-hush-on the Mormanism of Romney. The recent fire around Christian fundamentalism, that is primarily Protestant, has been the focus of the rise in religious conservatism–labeled “social issues- a red herring.

People say, never discuss religion and politics. These are the only–and linked issues– to be discussed. All else can be subsumed under this linkage.

I itch to be in my old class, “Th Individual in Modern Society” where students engaged the study of the role of religion, in personal and social aspects, as social science.

Not having that, I am pleased for this article, and hope that the matter can be plumbed as it is needed.

For me, the confusion, and lack of knowledge of why the USA is as it is, a secular society born of the flaws of religious-monarchal Europe, (The Enlightenment) that, supposedly, respects religion, but is not dominated by religion–especially one– is generally–and essentially–unknown.

My favorite observer and commentators have shied from the topic. This is the first engagement I have read.

It is vital to the life and health–and death–of society. this discussion requires deep, honest, thoughtful, awareness and discussion. Oh heck, when has this nation ever engaged in meaningful dialogue on anything important?  The one on slavery endures. other forms of slavery continue.

I do not “believe,” I “think.”

Gwen.

Author; Growing Up Nigger Rich and Family Lines