Over the last year, many of us thought that the problems (pandemic, lynching, police brutality, persistent inequality, insurrection, etc.) in our country would some how change the structural logic of white supremacy. Instead it exposed just how foundational and deep racism is.
Prof. Derrick Bell was right: there is a permanence to racism, white supremacy, and anti-blackness in America. Whatever wins we accomplished was followed up by performative justice and racist backlash.
One of the deep problems we face in this country is how much people evade justice, how quickly people move on from suffering, and how triumphal people talk about the story of change.
Liberation and justice is quickly reframed as diversity and inclusion. Instead of change in power and policy, many believe it’s about change of heart and mindset.
Race, gendered, economic, and sexual violence is explained as individual symptoms rather than institutional structures. We have been led to believe that such violence is normal and natural rather than demonic and oppressive.
Change is centered on the comfort and timetable of the powerful and privileged rather than humanity and equality of the marginalized and oppressed. The story of our country is still held captive to a story of innocence rather than inhumanity.
So when I look back over this year, it is so hard for me to celebrate and rejoice in the sea of hope when I know we’re still dealing with an ocean of hate.
I guess I’m holding on to James Baldwin’s quote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” I hope that in our collective facing, we can all be free.

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More from @stewartdantec

18 Jul
Audre Lorde preaching to us this morning: “We know what it is to be lied to, and we know how important it is not to lie to ourselves. We are powerful because we have survived, and that is what it is all about — survival and growth.” Image
“We who are Black are at an extraordinary point of choice within our lives,” she writes. “To refuse to participate in the shaping of our future is to give it up. Do not be misled into passivity either by false security or by despair. Each of us must find our work and do it.”
This reminds me so much of Jesus’s opening sermon. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.”

Wherever people work for a more loving and just world, a place of love and not shame, embracing hope and dismantling despair, the Spirit is there.
Read 7 tweets
9 Jul
There is a picture that always makes my momma smile. Her afro is well-sheened. Her lips are covered in red, her neck is adorned by one gold necklace, and then another, and then another. My daddy’s thick, hairy, brown hands grabs her by the waist.
He is behind her. His afro is well-sheened, almost as perfect as a picture can capture a moment that is in time but transcends it. His blue suit, as blue as the sky, is tight on his arms, and his white shirt is open at his chest, showing a bit of chest hair. He smiles.
My mother smiles back at him. I can hardly imagine how happy they must have been.

My mother’s hands are on top of my father’s. I think they are headed to prom, somewhere to dance, somewhere to get lost and be close. His thick, hairy, brown hands are at her waist. She smiles.
Read 12 tweets
9 Jul
What many people call "orthodoxy" and "biblical values" is just a way to maintain power and to mask to their insecurities, arrogance, limitations, and fears. James Baldwin is right: the passion with which many love the Lord "was a measure of how deeply we feared and distrusted".
And anytime our faith is rooted in fear, we will use God and theology as a justification for our love of power and control. Such a faith, Baldwin writes, hates "almost all strangers, always, and avoided and despised ourselves." Jesus has nothing to do with theologies of hate.
"There was in the life I fled," he writes, "a zest and a joy and a capacity for facing and surviving disaster that are very moving and very rare." Baldwin didn't run from the church because he hated Jesus. Baldwin left the church because those who claimed Jesus failed at love.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jul
I keep thinking about this Ta-Nehisi Coates quote about his time at Howard University: “The black world was expanding before me, and I could see now that that world was more than a photonegative of that of the people who believe they are white.”
It reminds me so much of Kevin Quashie’s question, “what would it mean to consider black aliveness?” “To behold such aliveness,” he writes, “we have to imagine a black world…we have to imagine a black world so as to surpass the everywhere and everyway of black death.”
Both Quashie and Coates remind me that we Black people are so much more than what has happened to us and what other’s think of us. Our world, the Black world, is a real world. It is full of beauty, and complexity, and tragedy, and poems, and beats, and balls, and bodies in dance.
Read 8 tweets
8 Jul
Christian faith would be much healthier if we liberated ourselves from theologies that are about power and control rather than liberation and love.
I often wonder what would happen if we saw Jesus and our faith as less about fighting others and winning battles and more about healing others and freeing others.
For many, we have learned faith is a weapon to wield over others, life is an academic endeavor, and the world is something to be exploited rather than seeing all as a gift from God to be embraced and explored.
Read 7 tweets
28 Jun
The resistance to critical race theory is connected to a long standing history of anti-literacies laws that expanded white supremacy and devalue Black humanity and liberation. Controlling and criminalizing curriculum has always been a device to protect white power.
At the heart is white people’s long standing fear that an educated and empowered Black person is a dangerous Black person. Don’t be fooled, just as anti-black practices and policies were happening back then, they are happening right now. It is about one thing: white power.
If they could have their way, reading, writing, and teaching for freedom would be illegal and suppressed (as they are trying to make it today). White resistance to Black education and liberation is not an aberration. It is the American norm.
Read 4 tweets

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