My first Facebook unfriend

I noted that I would be putting my Black History discussion up on this blog, NOT the Times Union newspaper blog. And someone asked me why. I said, “It’s just not a safe place.”

thumbs-down1I expected that the first time I would bother to unfriend someone on Facebook would be because of some great, substantial, important issue. And it wasn’t. It was Because Facebook.

I wrote, on Facebook:

FACEBOOK wrote to me:
Why am I not seeing a movie?

If you aren’t seeing A Look Back movie when you visit facebook.com/lookback, it may be because you have not shared very many things on Facebook. Depending on how long you’ve been on Facebook and how much you’ve shared, you’ll see a movie, a collection of photos or a thank you card.
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13 o’clock: racism in reverse?

Americans increasingly view traditional partisan issues, such as health care and taxes, through a racial lens. To the extent that some view Obama’s positions on these issues as racially motivated, disagreements with the president may stoke fears of racial competition.

RNC1.Screen-Shot-2013-12-03-at-2_08_07-PMEvery Black History Month, I put together some recent articles about race for the adult education class in my church, and how the reason we still have Black History Month is because there’s still weird stuff going on. This year was better/worse than ever, with items like the issue of some noted cases of Shopping While Black or even Working While Black.

Hey, that Duck Dynasty guy said HE never saw any racism when he was growing up with black people, so it’s a good chance that racism never really existed at all.

But this really bowled me over: Study Finds White Americans Believe They Experience More Racism Than African Americans.
Continue reading “13 o’clock: racism in reverse?”

How come there’s no WHITE History Month?

We still need Black History Month because we still are learning about, and attempting to rectify, discrimination. Racism is NOT over; it has morphed into more devious manifestations.

Jaquandor, who continues to be western New York’s finest blogger, wrote, even before I asked him to Ask Roger Anything:
May I ask, what’s YOUR response to the question that ALWAYS gets asked in February? I’m referring, of course, to “How come there’s no WHITE History Month?” Anymore I just snort and say “That’s all the other ones. We just don’t announce it.” Problem with that response is, it doesn’t always get taken as the sarcasm it is.
He added:
I really hate hearing that question, with its pouty tone and its implication that racism is over and we need to just stop talking about it.

Let me tell you some of the things we talked about at my church in late January and February:
Continue reading “How come there’s no WHITE History Month?”

Looking forward to NEXT month

There were a lot of deaths in the families of people I know in the month of February.

It’s not the warmer weather that I’m longing for, it’s a bit of sanity. February was Black History Month and is always brutal for me at church. I try to fawn off responsibilities to others, but, like a boomerang, they keep coming back to me. Lining up speakers, getting approvals, making sure equipment is set up, putting information into the church bulletin, etc.

Sunday, February 24 was a prime example. Go to the 8:30 a.m. service to make sure the guest preacher has shown up. Afterwards, accompany him to a place for him to rest until the 10:45 service. Make sure the 9:30 adult education speakers are there, and make sure they are set. Make at least some of the choir rehearsal, which starts at 9:30, but my cloning ability is frayed. Sing in the choir at 10:45 service, and also do presentation of the ceremonial kente cloth, and read prayers of the people. Continue reading “Looking forward to NEXT month”

Black History Month and Segregation Denialism

“America struggles with ‘denialism,’ i.e., a refusal to face its grim past of racial crimes and human rights violations. ‘Other countries that have tried to recover from severe human rights problems that have lasted for decades…have always recognized that you have to commit yourself to truth and reconciliation: South Africa, Rwanda. In the United States we never did that. We had legal reforms that were imposed on some populations against their will and then we just carried on.’…

Every year for the past several, I have become the point person for the Black History Month celebration at my church. It is not a position I’ve ever sought, but it has obviously sought me. I had called a meeting of potentially interested parties in early December, so that I might offload some of the responsibility. But I was so sick, not only did I not go to church, I had forgotten that I had called the meeting until after the fact. Opportunity missed; so it goes.

At the end of the first adult education hour, which featured a guest speaker, I recommended that people view Slavery by Another Name, a new PBS documentary based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, narrated by Laurence Fishburne (pictured) before the following session. Some folks did watch, and it is interesting to note that it was a piece of American history that most in the room were oblivious to. My wife and I had seen the film at an advanced showing at UAlbany a couple weeks earlier.

From a description of the book: Continue reading “Black History Month and Segregation Denialism”