a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
Pictured above: Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally
Last week we talked about the divide in American society right now. That problem can be summed as a largely media-driven Earth I || Earth II divide. Kansas senators are failing to lead. It isn’t helpful. It’s a moral failing. It’s dangerous. Shibboleth questions I’ve found: Do you support, or refute, DJT’s “stolen election” story? and Do you affirm, or deny, Senator McConnell’s statement?
My senators here in Kansas wish these questions would simply go away. They will not. Failure to address the questions creates a space for delusion to exist.
Presently, America has a problem of extremism opportunistically leveraging/exploiting our dramatic polarization and cloaking itself, largely, in the Republican Party.
Fareed Zakaria’s, “Take,” last Sunday [2/21/2021], reinforces deep concern for the gravity of our times.
“I’m making the argument that when parties lose the ability to police their extremists, bad things happen, not just to the party, but to democracy itself.” —FZ
Fareed’s Take video:
Marshall Curry produced/directed an academy award nominated short documentary recalling American extremism [WARNING: Mature Adult Content].
Black History Month
Today is the last day of our 2021 Black History Month [BHM]. There is so much Black history that too many Americans were never taught in school. It ought to be a standard feature of American history. We weren’t really taught the White history above, either. So, of course, “White history,” even, as dark as it can be at times, is American history.
So, my reflection on BHM 2021.
A must read article is: Red Summer: When Racist Mobs Ruled: How a pandemic of racial terror led to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. It describes events of a hundred years ago that, sadly, in too many ways echo our racially charged context of today. Deneen L. Brown writes:
During “Red Summer,” thousands of Black people were fatally shot, lynched and burned alive. Hundreds of Black-owned businesses and homes in Black communities were obliterated in fires fueled by racism and hatred. Millions of dollars of Black businesses and generational wealth were stolen.
The part that “echoes” is the presence of the underlying White fear that something that is ‘theirs’ is being given to, or taken by, different looking others.
In the conversation on a friend’s The-facebook page that led me to the article, Dr. Kimberly Marshall, Associate Professor of Anthropology/ University of Oklahoma, wisely remarked:
“It was so helpful to me when I finally realized that when historians talk about ‘race riots’ what they really mean is ‘racist riots.’” —KM
Of, course, sadly, the church is front and center in the dynamics we’re talking about here. Another interesting read is: “The Real Origins of the Religious Right: They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.” Randall Balmer writes:
“In May 1969, a group of African-American parents in Holmes County, Mississippi, sued the Treasury Department to prevent three new whites-only K-12 private academies from securing full tax-exempt status, arguing that their discriminatory policies prevented them from being considered “charitable” institutions. The schools had been founded in the mid-1960s in response to the desegregation of public schools set in motion by the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. In 1969, the first year of desegregation, the number of white students enrolled in public schools in Holmes County dropped from 771 to 28; the following year, that number fell to zero.”
Balmer goes on to explain how this issue adversely effected southern white evangelicals (because they were segregationist) and so became the early animating energy of the “Christian right.”
An American quilt
Threads converge forming a quilt of Black/White/American history. “Religious affiliation may be as important as political affiliation in explaining this new extremism in America.” NPR, A ‘Scary’ Survey Finding: 4 In 10 Republicans Say Political Violence May Be Necessary:
Tulsa Massacre (1921)
I’ll end with a piece of history related in the “Red Summer…” article linked above. It surely reinforces Dr. Kimberly Marshall’s insight above.
The Tulsa Massacre left as many as 300 Black people dead ….
Elderly Black people were shot as they kneeled in prayer. Black women and children were killed in the streets. Black men, with their hands held up in surrender, were shot dead by whites.
Please find time to watch these two PBS videos. A good deal of history that you were probably not taught is presented in a very appropriate and engaging manner that will likely draw you in. Heads-up, some of it is pretty startling/shocking. ….
Episode I and Episode II – “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song”
Next week: No idea. Come and see.
[this post approx. 800 words (3 min. read)]
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?