I was quite unclear what my daughter’s specific motivation was. Suddenly, she needed to cut up magazines, and sort the pieces by color. Bye bye, old, unread copies of Vanity Fair.
Then she did a couple of drawings on 8.5″ by 11″ paper, one in green, the other in blue. She added digits as though she were creating a paint-by-numbers. And she was, of a sort. She was creating a code for the different colors, and the gradation within the hues. Using the copier, she made the primary image larger.
Our church had disposed of some old hymnals a couple of years ago, and we had three or four copies. One of them died for her art, as she arranged the pages as her background. There was no musical theme involved, BTW.
The living room was quite a mess as she glued pieces on the image she had hand-drawn. Here’s the result of her collage of another Jesus portrayal. It is roughly 30″ by 40″.
Is heaven segregated?
I found an interesting interview from NPR in June 2020. The Rev. Lenny Duncan is a black preacher in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. his 2019 book is Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US.
A couple quotes: “One of the things I talk about in the book is [the symbolism of Advent] — painting blackness as always in darkness, always as evil and bad, further away from the light of God and all that kind of language we use in our worship.”
And: “I believe that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wants to be better. They just don’t know how. One of the things that we often underestimate with the power of white supremacy is that the people who are the sickest from it, often do not know that they are infected with it.”
The philosophers of the 18th and 19th century codified that notion. In Philosophy of History (Chapter 2), Voltaire argued that blacks were a separate, lesser species. Europeans felt the need to justify their discriminatory treatment of non-Europeans. So-called “empirical methods” readily allowed them to conclude that Indians and Africans were inferior people.
At some level, my daughter, who was in her confirmation class only last year, must be intuitively aware of all of this. We haven’t had specific conversations about what Jesus looked like. Her rendering of another Jesus is her truth.
But nope. It was frankly boring to me. I just didn’t give a damn about watching it.
The GWTW news reminded some of us about the indignities faced by Hattie McDaniel. She played “Mammy” in the movie, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Know that she became the FIRST African American to win an Oscar. “She and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two… The discrimination continued after the award ceremony as well as her white costars went to a ‘no-blacks’ club, where McDaniel was denied entry.”
She was philosophical about her movie roles. “Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn’t, I’d be making $7 a week being one.”
Now, this very year, I DID finally see Hattie McDaniel in the movie Song of the South (1946), in which she played Aunt Tempy. “The kindhearted storyteller Uncle Remus tells [children] stories about trickster Br’er Rabbit, who outwits Br’er Fox and slow-witted Br’er Bear.”
Its controversial history is well known. Walter Francis White, the Executive Secretary, said in 1946 that the organization “recognizes in Song of the South remarkable artistic merit in the music and in the combination of living actors and the cartoon technique. It regrets, however, that in an effort neither to offend audiences in the north or south, the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery. Making use of the beautiful Uncle Remus folklore, Song of the South, unfortunately, gives the impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship which is a distortion of the facts.”
A couple of clarifications. I never got the sense that the story took place during slavery, but rather during Reconstruction. Yes, Uncle Remus does the Magic Negro thing near the end, but it was the times. And the film itself was well done, as the NAACP chief noted, with the usual solid Disney animation and fine acting by James Baskett.
For the Greeks, “idiot” carried a precise and special meaning. The person who was only interested in private life, private gain, private advantage. Who had no conception of a public good, common wealth, shared interest. To the Greeks, the pioneers of democracy, the creators of the demos, such a person was the most contemptible of all. Because even the Greeks seemed to understand: you can’t make a functioning democracy out of…idiots.”
The Lincoln Project ads: Chyna and truth (testing to be slowed down).
Though I was not looking for it, I came across messages of people trying to explain white privilege and why All Lives Matter sucks. One thread started with a friend of mine, a woman of color, reporting about a conversation she had.
My friend: “I don’t see color when I look at you, I don’t see color when I look at anyone.” An actual quote from someone I was speaking to yesterday. But I’ve heard this my entire life. As has every person of color. If you’re guilty of saying this to us – stop it.
Color is a part of an individual. Saying you don’t see it is to deny the beauty in which we are all made. Also – claiming to not see color serves as a justification for the stance that people of color aren’t mistreated. And further allows for the normalization of inequality. See where this is going?
Be educated about the experiences of people of color. Ask questions. See color. Embrace it. It’s beautiful.
Me: OMG, all my damn life. I’ve never done it, but I’ve been sorely tempted to walk up to a white person and say, “I don’t see color when I look at you.” And it’s almost always well-meaning people.
A friend of hers: Your friend is far from woke. But I also have heard people say it as a way to spiritually bypass racism. Including the statement, we are one… I don’t see color… the list goes on and on.
“Be color brave”
Another friend of hers: Growing up I was taught in school, society and my parents NOT to see color. To treat everyone equally. I don’t think it was malicious but what people thought was best at the time. Now being a teacher in the DOE they have made the conscious effort to train staff to SEE color, appreciate the difference and struggles that come with it. They say “be color brave, not color blind”. It will take time to ‘retrain’ but to me, it’s a start.
Some of the links that were shared included these:
Jimmy Kimmel Addresses His Own White Privilege: “To me, white privilege was what Donald Trump had – a wealthy father and a silver spoon in his mouth. It wasn’t what I grew up with. So, I rejected it because I didn’t understand what white privilege meant. But I think I do now. I think I at least understand some of it and here’s what I think it is. People who are white – we don’t have to deal with negative assumptions being made about us – based on the color of our skin. It rarely happens. If ever. Whereas black people experience that every day.”
In another conversation:
Imagine your house was on fire and when the fire truck came they began spraying water on each house on your street. Because all houses matter, right? But only one of them is on fire.
Or the Jesus variation about having 100 sheep, one is lost, so he leaves the 99 to find it. Doesn’t he care about the 99? Of course, he does.
One of my pastors subsequently posted another great Biblical one:
The father was waiting there with a sign #ProdigalSonsMatter
When the older son saw it, he was angry, wouldn’t attend the party, and moped around with his own sign: #AllSonsMatter
Father: “Dude, It isn’t about you right now.”
Yet despite the efforts of a couple women, one guy kept insisting “ALL lives matter to me as a Christian.”