Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Meaning of a "Black Value System"

This is related to my post about A Black Theology of Liberation from yesterday. In addition to the overview link I posted, I had also looked at a PDF that went into detail about what is meant by a Black Value System. This part stood out to me, and I think I heard it echoed when listening to Barack Obama speaking at an event in Selma commemorating the voting rights march that took place there 42 years ago.

Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"

Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must keep the captive ignorant educationally, but trained sufficiently well to serve the system. Also, the captors must be able to identify the "talented tenth" of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor's control.

Those so identified as separated from the rest of the people by:

Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.

Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.

Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of "we" and "they" instead of "us".

So, while it is permissible to chase "middle-incomeness" with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method-the psychological entrapment of Black "middleclassness": If we avoid the snare, we will also diminish our "voluntary" contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright, the leadership, resourcefulness, and example of their own talented persons.

Anyway, I thought that excerpt was worthy of some reflection. In yesterday's post, I linked to the lively exchange between Sean Hannity and Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, about whether Trinity United Church of Christ espoused a "radical separatist" agenda. What I failed to mention at the time is that I do "get" why many White people are uncomfortable with the wording Hannity referred to from the church's web site--commitment to the Black family, the Black community, etc. Hannity asked, wouldn't it sound racist if you substituted the word White--if there was a church that openly stated it was all about supporting and strengthening the White community.

And I can't judge him for asking that. I've wondered the same thing in the past. Wright responded that churches have been that way for ages--White by default. White is "generic" to many of us, so we don't even use the word as a descriptor when we are describing a new person we met, for example. But that's not an easy concept to "get". It's going to take some serious thoughtful discussion among people of good will. Which means, and this is just a guess, it will likely be taking place somewhere other than Sean Hannity's television program.

2 comments:

skippy said...

hey renee, send me an invite for the blogspot blog.

Mary said...

hmm, trying out a posting. I seem to be logged in..

OK -- how is a black family different from any sub-grouping? e.g., Asian family, Italian family? (well, ask Ghouliani) but seems to be an easy concept. Rudy's using "blended" family -- except some of it is unwilling blending, I guess. Just semantics.