Posts Tagged racism

A Day of Repentance – Mayor John Tecklenburg

“Sometimes I think that we should have a day of repentance in Charleston for all the bad in our past, especially racism.” Mayor John Tecklenburg said while speaking at the fourth and final Lenten Series for 2017 held at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

“After repentance, then what? How do we make amends for the past?

”Perhaps better education for everyone or affordable housing or more equity in our law enforcement, these would be good ways to start. I was in the eighth grade in Orangeburg when the Orangeburg Massacre occurred and I was running for the Office of Mayor of Charleston when the massacre happened at Mother Emanuel Church.  The dialogue instantly changed from how will our city survive after Joe Riley leaves office to what is next for our city. The response of the people at Mother Emmanuel set an example for our city and Charleston set an example for the whole world.

The music for the program was outstanding. Following the message there was a time for laying on of hands for blessing and healing conducted by the ministers from the cooperating churches: St. John’s Lutheran, First Baptist, First Scots Presbyterian and St. Michael’s Episcopal.

St. John’s provided a lunch for all attendees after the service. I was torn but opted for lunch at the Variety Store.

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As American as Apple Pie? – Reverend Susan Sparks

What a perfectly baked dessert can teach us about race in America

Last week, the New York Times published an article that noted the irony of identifying apple pie as a uniquely American symbol. In fact, most of the key ingredients in an apple pie are from far-off, exotic places. For example, apple seeds came to the US via European travelers who acquired them from Kazakhstan – the fruit’s genetic birthplace. Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, and nutmeg, brought to Europe by the Dutch around 1600, comes from Indonesia.

The article suggests that Americans should use the phrase, “as American as pumpkin pie,” instead of, “as American as apple pie,” as pumpkins are actually native to North America. But I’m not willing to go that far.

When you think about the nature of America as a melting pot of peoples from all over the world, an apple pie is really the perfect metaphor for this country, or at least the country as it should be: a finely-tuned balance of ingredients and flavors that all come together to make a thing of beauty.

Sadly today, however, this balance is off; much like the apple pie I once made, which, due to the top to the cinnamon shaker falling off, was overly full with cinnamon. I was left with a cinnamon pie that included a few apples.

Today, America is like a pie in which one ingredient overpowers the other, where the balance is off, and where the thing of beauty is ruined. This is true in relation to a wide array of issues in our country from immigration to domestic violence, yet given the news this week from Ferguson, Missouri, I want to talk about imbalance in terms of race.

Like the cinnamon in my pie, the privilege of white citizens in the US overpowers all others, especially those of color.

The statistics are nothing but tragic:

In 2011, the median white household income was 72% higher than the median black household income. Black citizens also have a significantlyhigher poverty rate than whites and are incarcerated nearly six times the rate of whites. In fact, studies of New York City show that in 2013, 86% of the people pulled over due to the stop-and-frisk law were black and Latino, whereas 11% of whites were stopped.

The balance is off. And when one ingredient overpowers the others, a thing of beauty is ruined.

When you marginalize an entire sector of the population — when you take away access to opportunity and the means to build a better life, then things start to unravel. Unemployment and crime begin to rise and we start to see what some have termed “the criminalization of race.”

And this takes a toll on all of us. When people are excluded from opportunity, we all lose that opportunity. Our society loses individuals who are posed to grow into our artists, our scientists, our poets, our painters, our thinkers and our builders. A thing of beauty is ruined.

If only we would follow the recipe; a simple recipe of just five words: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But don’t let the simplicity of these words fool you. While this is a short commandment that demands justice and equal sharing of privilege and power, it is one that we mess up every day. For you can’t love your neighbor if you constantly hold them in fear and suspicion; you can’t love your neighbor if you pretend to respect them, but in your heart revile them; you can’t love your neighbor if you take away his or her access toeducation, opportunity, and freedom.

As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “It is cruel to say to a bootless man that he should pull himself up by the bootstraps. It is even worse to tell him to lift himself up by his bootstraps while someone is standing on his boot.”

Racism is an ugly reality in our country, but luckily we have a recipe to make a difference. True, we’ve messed it up: one ingredient overpowers the others. But I say, let’s start again. Let’s bake a new pie. Let’s create in ourselves a new heart and then, over time, a new world.

As the writer and priest Tom Ehrich wrote, “We must stand on the battlefield itself — the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, the hiring line when a job opens, a health clinic when battered and raped women show up for help, a voting station when the brown and black are turned away by clever stratagems – [we must stand] on that battlefield to see the wounded.”  Amen to that.


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Reflections on Racism – Dr. Molly Marshall

Trinitarian Soundings

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 03:10 PM PDTI have been hesitant to write about the events in Ferguson, MO, over the past couple of weeks because of fear of insensitive or simplistic response to this human tragedy.  I have feared that one more ponderous white voice, which hardly can plumb the depths of black umbrage in the face of white privilege, would not be helpful.  I am, at heart, an academic, who tends to prolong thinking at the expense of action.  Keeping silent, however, gives the impression of lack of care or negligence in the face of ongoing racism in our neighboring city, St. Louis, or our own Kansas City, which has its own racial dividing lines.  I cannot fathom the despair of black parents who do all they can to prepare their children for the disparity in educational, financial, and social dimensions of 2014 American life.I am a child of the pre-segregation South/Southwest, albeit Oklahoma did not fit neatly into the protracted civil rights journey of Alabama and Mississippi, and other states of the Deep South.  Yet, the bigotry of Jim Crow shaped my educational experience, also.  We had two high schools in my hometown of Muskogee—Central High School and Manual Training—the former white, the latter black.  Even the name of the black high school indicated a prejudice about academic promise.

I remember when my home church took a vote on whether to admit black members of the congregation.  It was not a placid business meeting in the late 60’s, and I wondered about the ferocity of the argument.  It seemed at odds with our understanding of the Gospel, yet parochial tradition retained a strong voice. The stain of racism has blemished many a Baptist church, my own included.  Hence, it would be only fair to describe myself as a “recovering racist.”

ey might be one.” Yet, we cannot spiritualize the real acts of violence that are based in racial prejudice.Central strives to be a school that “flattens” educational privilege.  This means that we are intentional about whom we will scholarship and how we will build diverse cohorts.  We are learning that white churches and black churches and immigrant churches need one another to live into the dream of Jesus’ prayer—“that th

Several of Central’s alums have been close to the bloodstained drama unfolding in Ferguson.  Ministering in neighboring communities, they have drawn near to the need for pastoral care, thoughtful interpretation of what they have observed on the ground, and relevant advocacy for justice. The Director of Social Media for Central, Francisco Miguel Litardo, felt drawn to be present to the critical events in Ferguson, especially the ways in which pastoral care has been offered to the suffering.  I give thanks for his presence and willingness to provide images of what has been transpiring.

Central is aware that we are still viewed as a “white” institution, even thought we are not majority white.  While that is our historic identity, the presence of many others, all a part of the family of God, is transforming us toward the goal of racial equity.  For this, we are grateful.

            Molly T. Marshall Dr. Marshall is president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. She has spoken twice at the Hamrick Lectureship at Fist Baptist Church of Charleston, SC.

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