Today I want to talk about what the media’s been all up in arms about these past few days, and that is the statements made by the ex-pastor of the church that Barack Obama attends, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (the new pastor is the Rev. Otis Moss III, son of of the civil rights leader Otis Moss Jr. He replaced Rev. Wright who retired on February 10, 2008).
Let me ask you something; do you folks who go to church listen to and/or believe EVERY WORD your pastor says? Do you agree with him or her? If he or she said something that disturbed you, would you say approach him or her?
I heard something on NPR coming home Wednesday night; a woman said she’d love to go to a black church to experience a sermon there but that she was afraid to go, thinking she wouldn’t be accepted.
Back in the late 1980s, I lived with a man named Michael who happened to be black; he was from a small town in North Carolina. He joined the Air Force (as an officer) and was stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts (I worked there as a civilian and met him at the Officer’s Club one Friday night; for me, it was love at first sight). When his mother and father found out he was headed up north, they were afraid for him. Afraid for his safety away from a predominantly black town, afraid for him being stationed in a town that is predominately white.
I often wondered what it was like for him, being in the minority up here. Luckily, I got the chance to find out.
We usually drove to NC for Easter, which was close to his birthday (ironically, today) and his nephew’s birthday. We’d stay at his Mom’s house (separate rooms, of course) and there’d generally be a big feast with all the relatives. Man, his Mom made the BEST coconut cake!!! His uncles all had fun getting me to try chitlins and other things they didn’t think a northern white girl would like…with the exception of chitlins, boy were THEY wrong!
Anyway, the year Jason, his nephew, was born, we all went to Michael’s Mom’s for Jason’s baptism. Two funny things happened to me that weekend. Firstly, Michael and I were walking down the street to the church (it was close to his Mom’s house); he was all dressed up in his blues (Air Force dress uniform). Two little boys road past on their bikes and as they did one of them exclaimed, “Look! There’s a white lady!” Not, “Look! There’s a guy all dressed up in an Air Force uniform.” which is what I’d be thinking. We all smiled and laughed and kept walking.
We got to church, all the older ladies that had known Michael all his life, clucked and patted and generally made him feel at home; and they made ME feel at home, too, as did every single one of the other folks AND the pastor. He welcomed me, and yes, I was the only white person there. I didn’t feel in the least uncomfortable, but it did strike me that finally I was in the same situation Michael had been in up in MA many times.
Oh and while I’m talking about it, I want to quote something I saw over at Snope’s, regarding Trinity Church:
As for the (subjective) issue of whether a church with an 8,600-member black congregation that espouses a “Black Value System” and urges commitment to the “Black Community,” the “Black Family,” and “the Black Work Ethic” is a church that is dutifully attending to the needs of its congregation, or one that is advocating a form of separatism or racism, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Monroe Anderson tackled that subject in a piece about TUCC back in March 2007:
If a white presidential candidate’s church had a similar statement and “you substitute the word white for black, there would be an outrage in this country,” [Sean] Hannity preached. “There would be cries of racism in this country.”
True and Catch-22. If a white church plainly and proudly pronounced its whiteness, Hannity, [Tucker] Carlson and company would be right. But if it was the Holy Trinity Polish Church on Chicago’s North Side, proclaiming its Polishness, who’d care? [EXACTLY!!!] This is how African Americans find ourselves in a trick bag. We’re defined racially even when we’re acting like any other of this nation’s ethnic groups. Issues knee-jerkily become black and white when in reality they may be African American and Irish American. Or Serbian American and African American.
Yes!!! So very true and so very well put.
Did you happen to read or hear Barack Obama’s speech on race? If not, you can read the transcript here; amazing.
Since I’m in the mood to share, here are some pictures:
Michael, Diane, Betsy (thank GOD they don’t read my blog LMAO!)
Michael, after we broke up and he was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in OH; we remained friends until he married
Michael’s nephew, Jason, with our cat, Cameo; she was a terror!