Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Black Preacher Confronts America About War

"God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place. .............And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."

Who is this 'unpatriotic' person that DARES to invoke God this way against the United States?

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968.

CONTEXT, people.

Not only CONTEXT within a sermon, but CONTEXT culturally.

Important, isn't it?

The EJ Dionne column from which this quote was taken can be found HERE.


Andrea said...

That's what I was saying over at Skeptical Brotha's when NuPolitico refuted. I just sat quiet the past few days because I have been doing duty here at the job with White People that all of a sudden want to talk about race when I have always been coaxing and prodding them to talk about it before THE SPEECH. I'm serious.

I left work late Tuesday and Wednesday tired. One night I left with a head ache because the last discussion I was stressing that Dr. King was rebellious in this line:

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed."

Well, my co-worker who is a University of Chicago, worked for Senator Kennedy and Fannie Mae corporate executive who thinks she is OPEN because she works on urban issues and such, contested that that line was not radical. So I told her my families story and for any White being implicated by a Black Person who was not authorized to speak said such a thing in implying that Whites were wrong and further calling them the "oppressor", it was the equivalent to starting a fight with your master.

She discounted my sentiment about that line because she read the Letters from the Birmingham Jail to feel she KNOWS Dr. King and I told her she knew a commercialized, sanitized version. I said the only difference from him and Rev. Wright's sentiments is was in how the messages were produced for the ears and for whom to hear.

Again, she discounted that I was being sensitive. And then this article came out today and I emailed it to her.

But I wanted you to read these excerpts of Cornel West in an interview:

"So when you fuse critical intelligence with empathy - and that's Martin - Socratic and prophetic with a democratic end, which is to say that you respect each and every person as one made in the image of God, equal before the law, but an everyday person, and in your exchange, you respect them enough to listen and then, in your utterance, you take them serious enough to challenge them.

You see, brother Martin was really about the fusion of the Socratic and the prophetic with democratic ends. So that particular legacy, I think, is found in a variety of different contexts, but when it comes to a market-driven mass media, it's a rare thing to find that kind of Socratic questioning and the active listening which is an example of a certain kind of empathy...

I mean, I think it's very important because you see a lot of chit-chat about Martin every year and Martin has been so domesticated and tamed and defamed, you know, what we call the Santa Clausification of the brother...

He just becomes a nice little old man with a smile with toys in his bag, not a threat to anybody, as if his fundamental commitment to unconditional love and unarmed truth does not bring to bear certain kinds of pressure to a status quo. So the status quo feels so comfortable as though it's a convenient thing to do rather than acknowledge him as to what he was, what the FBI said, "The most dangerous man in America." Why? Because of his fundamental commitment to love and to justice and trying to keep track of the humanity of each and every one of us...

I talked about the Santa Clausification of Nelson Mandela. What happens is, again, in the market-driven world in which celebrity status operates in such a way that it tries to diffuse all of the threat and to sugarcoat and deodorize what actually is rather funky...

Of course, Jesus is a grand example; I'll speak as a Christian. And, of course, we've seen Jesus being Santa Clausified the last two thousand years...

Oh, Lord. Deodorized, manicured, sterilized and yet there's the blood constituting major threats. Why? Because love and justice is a serious thing in a world that's obsessed with fear, hatred and greed, and that's very much what we're talking about. I think for you and I, though, Tavis, brother Martin, of course, we dedicate our lives to making the world safe for his legacy...

It's just a question of what does it really mean to be a free human being and specifically what does it mean to be a free Black man who mustered the courage to both love beginning with himself and others who look like him and others who don't look like him? He's a human, but he also knows that he must confront America...

One way of characterizing Martin is he's a free Negro who resists niggerization because a nigger is an American invention to make sure these human beings are intimidated, scared, divided, distrustful of one another, feeling powerless, feeling impotent, feeling that they can never fundamentally make a difference. That's what a nigger is. It was invented in America. Abe Lincoln himself has this little line in his journal of February 1859, his lecture on the invention of the Negro, fifteenth century."

rikyrah said...


You always know how to drop a serious dime of intelligence on us. It's something how so many people have never read Martin Luther King, Jr. Read his writings. I had a class in which I had to, it shattered all the little myths that I swallowed about him. Reading him made me even more in awe of him because of his absolute commitment to what is right in the WORLD, not just in America. Where did it come from, that kind of courage? That kind of knowledge? That kind of wisdom?

I still don't know, but King was so radical - folks just couldn't handle him - at all.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed."[/quote]


Rev Wright wore the UNIFORM of the "oppressor". Had the "oppressor" told him who his enemy was at the time - he would have obliged and shot his government issued rifle toward this individual.

It is nice to be a "Drum Major for Justice" and all of that stuff. When do you reach the point where you make note that as an INSIDER who is CONSUMING all that the "oppressor" has "stolen" that you are a CO-CONSPIRATOR and your very proximity within the system makes you both unwilling to depart but also abstracted from your own consumption?