Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My two cents about Rev. Lowery's benediction

This started as a comment on Pam's note on Facebook about Rev. Lowery's benediction at the Inauguration, but then FB wouldn't let me finish what I wanted to say, so I decided to respond here.

I don't really get the "racist" part. Is it because he mentioned skin colors (black, brown, yellow, red, white)?

Race is a fact. It would be lovely if we could all be color blind, but we are not. Refusing to acknowledge that there are different skin pigments is not a step toward "color-blindness," it's just being silly. It's like saying men and women are THE SAME. No, we are not. Women can make babies, men cannot. See? They are different. (PS - there are other differences, too, but I won't bore you with them here.) Nobody said different was BAD -- if you made that assumption, that's your fault. Calling him He Who Must Not Be Named didn't make Voldemort go away, either; yes, we come in different colors. Why are we so afraid to point out the obvious?

Perhaps people took offense to what he said about each race/color?

Then you need to chill. Take that nasty chip on your shoulder, and put it somewhere safe. It makes you angry, and angry doesn't become you. (Or anyone, really.) He was making a reference to the song (see Pam's note for links to it), and then made up a couple more. If you didn't get the light tone of his delivery, then you're too uptight. Not everything has to be pompous. Relax. Enjoy life every once in a while -- smile. Don't take things so literally, your head will explode if you insist on being that literal.

Since I don't get the issue (seriously. Maybe I'm too dense? No, I must just be that racist, huh?), I'm responding to the comments left here:

Yes, we did just elect a black President. (And, I'm no election expert, but I'm pretty sure non-whites voted in the election as well. It wasn't "white people" who elected him, it was everybody.) That is one HUGE step in the right direction. But it it ONE step. We have a ton yet to take.

*EDIT: I like analogies, and this morning one hit me. Thirty years ago, we landed on the moon. That did not mean we established lunar colonies the next day (or, even, 30 years later). Again, ONE step in the right direction, but we are far from being done walking.*

Such as, the students who made a point to comment on the NaNo boards about "the black kids" (no, not in a nice way) the day after the election. Or, the guy who had an American flag flying upside down on his house on Inauguration Day (yes, a sign of distress. For the country). So, sure, a black man was sworn in as President. But that doesn't mean we "fixed" racism -- rich schools are still predominatly white, poor schools are still predominantly minorities. So, sadly, black still has to "get back."

Now, all the people up in arms about white embracing right... seriously? How overly defensive are you?

Have you never heard a prayer? Maybe I have immunity to this because I grew up Catholic so I heard this so often I just take it as a given. When you pray, you pray for help correcting the things that you're not doing well. It doesn't mean that everything you've ever done up to that point has been complete and utter evil; it means you are asking for guidance to continue on the right path (because, admit it, we all stray. Often). During the invocation, the other guy said, "Forgive us our trespasses." Are we all up in arms that he called us all trespassers??? No, because that would be silly. Yes, I know that some will point out the difference between "we" and "they;" perhaps that's what this is all about. It's a poem. He was following a pattern, a rhythm. Don't be so painfully literal.

And, no, he was not saying that whites are the only ones who need to embrace right. The same way he was not advocating that the red man get ahead, and the rest of us stay behind. If you got the spirit of what he was saying, what he said to/for each of the groups applied to all of the groups.

It's a poem... saying "and that white, and everybody else, embrace right, because although we have made great strides so far we need to make sure we continue moving in the right direction" kind of kills the rhythm. And, again, his choice of words goes back to the song he was referencing.

Stop being so literal. Stop looking for a fight. Rev. Lowery was playing with words. Smile and enjoy the wordplay.

And let's all get over the chips we like to stack on our shoulders.

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