Archives

You are currently viewing archive for May 2007
Category: General
Posted by: RBAFounderMM


When Bill Cosby was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame at the 2007 NAACP Image Awards, in uncharacteristic non-comedic fashion but with brilliant story-telling ability, he launched into a narrative about Joe Black. Mr. Black, a long-time friend of Cosby, played 3rd base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the Negro League. But after a storied career, this seasoned veteran of sport and life called Cosby to tell him that he was dying. Amid his suffering, pain and impending death, Black confided in his friend, and in summation told Cosby, “I need your help on the hot corner.” The “hot corner” is a baseball term for 3rd base. 3rd base is termed the hot corner because the ball is often hit with great force and magnitude toward this base and can travel so fast that it sometimes burns the grass. After describing the loss of a close friend, which amounted to his acceptance speech, Cosby simply exited the stage.

» Read More

Posted on: 05/22/07:

The Segregated Blogosphere

Category: Culture
Posted by: RBAFounderX
The Segregated Blogosphere
By Celina De León

Chris Rabb's life as a blogger started with an e-mail. For four years, he sent out an e-newsletter to thousands of names in his address book. The newsletter eventually became his blog, Afro-Netizen, which provided Rabb's commentaries on politics and news, with a focus on Black communities. Since then, Rabb has become one of the most outspoken voices on the racial divide in the blogosphere.

"As bloggers of color, we are such a smaller number of people than our white counterparts. That makes reaching the volume of traffic much harder, and the lack of social and financial capital also makes this harder," Rabb said.

People of color make up 40 percent of bloggers, but only 26 percent of Internet users. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's "Blogger" report, which was based on findings from their February through April 2006 tracking surveys, 11 percent of bloggers are Black, 19 percent are English-speaking Hispanic and 10 percent are some other race or ethnicity.

There are no bloggers of color with the kind of exposure and influence of superstars Matt Stoller of mattstoller.com or Duncan Black of atrios.blogspot. The result, according to Rabb, has been a typical white liberal/left dialogue in the political blogosphere.

"They won't talk about the racial element of anything that's been deracialized by mainstream media. They're not going to talk about affirmative action, about the racial element of the immigration issue," Rabb said. "Whenever issues of race come up, it's seen as a distraction."

Meanwhile, people of color face more barriers to accessing web-based technologies and are less likely to have the type of jobs with the flexibility and support to, for instance, blog as part of their work. As Rabb puts it, a bus driver is probably not going to blog as much as a professor.

***

The Internet's element of anonymity has allowed both relief from racism (people of color who shop and do business online don't experience the racism they do offline) and, at the same time, emboldened racists hiding behind the mask of virtual reality.

For bloggers of color who reveal their racial identity and whose blogs tackle race and cultural politics, this has meant contending with hate mail.
To read the rest of the article, click here
Category: RBA
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Preparing Chocolate Milk

The Conversation

Black. Reformed. What do they mean? Better yet, what does it mean for the two to be integrated? Or for the two to become one? For “Blackness” and “Reformedness” to stand separately from one another in theological context is to run the risk of one dominating the other in a conversation of utmost importance. Currently, within the conversation between Reformedness (i.e. Reformed theology) and “Blackness” (i.e. Black heritage in its broadest sense), Reformed theology seems to control where the conversation should go and on a most basic level even prescribes its fundamental categories of theological formulation that determines one’s world and lifeview. And the unfortunate reality in this conversation is that those who are Black and Reformed do not realize the lopsidedness of this dialog. We are predominately sitting at the feet of Reformed theology waiting to receive all that it has to give us as though it is the ark of salvation without contributing anything to the conversation.

What makes matters worse is that we do not think we need to contribute anything or even have anything to contribute. We would rather remain at the whims of Reformed theology as it guides us to “the most blessed theologically sound life” here in America, even though it does not actually inquire about our lives as Blacks, which it seeks to lead whether we admit it or not. This is partly due to the fact that for many, Reformed theology is an idol that we do not want to change, which then leads to our passivity in conversation. If the truth be told, in idolatry we do not want our idol to change because if it does, we stand the chance of losing something that we think is valuable (e.g. a pseudo- pristine theology). But if we were to expect more from the idol, then our idol must change because it must conform to our particular situations and concerns that it did not address before. As a result, we would now be brought into the conversation as an equal and many times as a more important conversation partner with something significant to contribute for the benefit of both parties. Thus, this thing called Reformed theology that we once idolized will now become a conversational friend where there is much give and take rather than a static idol of lesser value.

» Read More

Posted on: 05/16/07:

Abortion on Balance

Category: Social
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Baby in Hand

There are several vital questions that need serious responses by Christians, especially those Christians who are pro-life. Here are a couple: how can evangelicals (including Reformed folks) take the “moral high” ground by being pro-life while also minimizing and neglecting moral socio-economic injustices that usually lead to abortions? Shouldn’t Christians be equally concerned about those issues too if they truly love their neighbor just like Jesus taught?

» Read More

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
I thought this might be relevant since we are in the NBA playoff season: New academic study, "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees" shows, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.
Abstract:

The NBA provides an intriguing place to test for taste-based discrimination: referees and players are involved in repeated interactions in a high-pressure setting with referees making the type of split-second decisions that might allow implicit racial biases to become evident. Moreover, the referees receive constant monitoring, and feedback on their performance. (Commissioner Stern has claimed that NBA referees “are the most ranked, rated, reviewed, statistically analyzed and mentored group of employees of any company in any place in the world.”) The essentially arbitrary assignment of refereeing crews to basketball games, and the number of repeated interactions allow us to convincingly test for own-race preferences. We find that—even conditioning on player and referee fixed effects (and specific game fixed effects)—that more personal fouls are
awarded against players when they are officiated by an opposite-race officiating crew than when officiated by an own-race refereeing crew. These biases are sufficiently large that we find appreciable differences in whether predominantly black teams are more likely to win or lose, according to the racial composition of the refereeing crew.
To read the entire study, click here
Category: Theology
Posted by: RBAFounderMM


I will begin with a few basic perspectives. Perhaps we could approach this way: Theology is concerned with the existence of everything. (In this sense, doing theology is the exercise of the human’s concern for all things.) Everything exists by the hand of God. Therefore, theology is concerned with the person of Christ and the work of God. (In this sense, theology is the exercise of the human’s concern for God.)

» Read More

Posted on: 05/11/07:

Green Card Negative

Category: Politics
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Green Card Negative
By Jeneen Interlandi


We haven't been able to keep out immigrants based on their HIV status. But should we worry about it?
It's 1992. Lou Dobbs is still just a CNN business-news honcho. He hasn't gone off to launch space.com or made his re-entry to Ted Turner's network for his populist anti-immigration phase. But even then, 15 years ago, Dobbs might have gone ballistic if he'd seen what Michelle Lopez was up to.

She was an illegal immigrant committing a crime.

It was after dark, and the office at the Bronx homeless shelter Lopez was breaking into was empty. Lopez had an accessory—a security guard who agreed to look the other way in exchange for promised sexual favors. While he stood lookout, Lopez picked the lock on a door, entered the office, turned on a small desk lamp, and then quickly rummaged through a pile of papers on a desk and searched a filing cabinet.

She found the folder she was looking for, copied down a name and phone number on a scrap of paper, glanced around to make sure she hadn't left a mess, and hurried back out of the office to her own room in the shelter.

Then she braced herself, waiting for the security guard to show up and demand his promised night of sex.

Lopez had broken into the supervisor's office at the shelter where she had been living for nearly a year, because she believed it was her best, and only, way to find an apartment for herself and her 20-month-old daughter, Raven.

Her case manager at the shelter had not had any luck finding her an apartment, in part because of her immigration status—she was ineligible for a green card.
To read the rest of the article, click here
Category: Social
Posted by: RBAFounderX
By David Segal

Here are a couple of clips of the history of racist spokescharacters.

Aunt Jemima

"Aunt Jemima"
Such virulence didn't last for long in the realm of commerce, but the image of the servile African-American soon became a popular motif in American marketing, one that's proved remarkably enduring. You're looking at the most successful example of them all. Aunt Jemima was dreamed up in 1889 by a white businessman who was inspired by a character at a minstrel show. Looking for a way to sell a self-rising pancake mix, Chris L. Rutt conceived a jolly ex-slave who lived on a Louisiana plantation and made legendary flapjacks in the days "befo' de wah." Eventually, she'd be boycotted by the NAACP, attacked by Langston Hughes, and belittled by Public Enemy. But this quintessential "mammy"—a black woman who lives to nurture, clean, and cook for whites—was a marketing phenomenon from the start, mythologized in ads painted by N.C. Wyeth and impersonated by actors who toured around the country. One had a permanent residency at "Aunt Jemima's Pancake House" in Disneyland.


The Tom

The "Tom"
Aunt Jemima's male counterpart was the Tom, a simple, cheerful, and ambition-free butler and cook. In the South, the mammy and the Tom reflected a nostalgia for the days of slavery and served as an implicit argument for segregation: If it's so bad, why are these people so happy, huh? In the North, these characters were presented as the epitome of hospitality and were designed to make potential buyers feel pampered and privileged. It was a sales pitch that advertisers apparently couldn't resist. One study of national magazines in the '20s—the beginning of the Tom's heyday—found that fully half of all ads that featured a black man depicted him as a servant. Like Ben, many were given the honorific "Uncle," a word favored by Southerners who wanted to express respect in a society where calling a black man "Mister" was out of the question.
To view the entire slideshow, click here

What do you think? Will you purchase Uncle Ben's (now Chairman Ben) rice or Aunt Jemima syrup knowing this? If so, why?

Note: On April 30, a former Pepsi ad man who broke color barriers with one of the first corporate marketing campaigns to portray African Americans in a positive light died. Edward Boyd was 92 at his death and was one of the first black executives at a major US corporation. Thank you, Edward F. Boyd!
Posted on: 05/07/07:

Katrina Blues

Category: Social
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
Katrina

In an excerpt from the poem The Weary Blues, Langston Hughes wrote: “Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, I heard a Negro play. Down on Lenox Avenue the other night, by the pale dull pallor of an old gas light, he did a lazy sway…, he did a lazy sway…to the tune o’ those Weary Blues. With his ebony hands on each ivory key, he made that poor piano moan with melody. O Blues! Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool, he played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool. Sweet Blues!”

» Read More

Category: Black
Posted by: RBAFounderX


I wonder how many Black boys were/are influenced by the White superhero narrative that predominately portrayed Blacks as mere sidekicks and/or virtually powerless heroes, which probably led many Black boys to revere fictitious White superheroes more than the heroism of real, flesh and blood Black men, such as David Walker, Fredrick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., W. E. B. DuBois, Carter G. Woodson, Malcolm X? Could there also be a current correlation between Black (Reformed) men looking up and deferring almost always to White (Reformed) theologians/heroes?

Category: Black
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Did you know?
In a University of Colorado at Boulder physics lab recently, Martha-Elizabeth "Marty" Baylor popped a pair of rose-colored goggles over her eyes and lowered her head under the glass of a laser system she uses to conduct optical research.

Among other challenges, Baylor, a JILA research assistant and graduate student, is working on a riddle scientists call the "cocktail party problem."

The question: How does the human brain zero in on one conversation while filtering out others? While some researchers have tackled the problem through mathematical equations or computer science, Baylor said, "We are the only ones with an optical solution, which is faster than anything out there."

Under the guidance of her adviser, physics Professor Dana Z. Anderson, Baylor is conducting National Science Foundation-funded research. One day, the team's work could lead to new applications in biomedicine, telecommunications and space exploration. Scientists already are building on clues garnered from this field to create powerful new signal-processing tools, Baylor said.

Later this year, Baylor, 30, will reach an academic milestone when she becomes the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in physics from CU-Boulder and one of only a handful of black women to do so in the United States. It's an achievement that is not going unnoticed.
To read the rest of the article, click here
Category: Social
Posted by: RBAFounderX
By Adam Elkus


Madonna's Adoption

Are the efforts of well-meaning celebrities to alleviate Africa's poverty and disease the continent's salvation or a recipe for disaster?


Celebrities have always identified with underdogs. Playing a victim or otherwise disadvantaged character is a sure route to an Oscar, and everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Eminem has celebrated the underdog in song.

It's not surprising that models, actors, and popular musicians have focused on impoverished Africa, raising money and awareness for debt relief and famine. However, these efforts have done relatively little to address the structural causes of African misery. There is also an uncomfortable element of colonialism that runs through celebrities' interactions with Africans and current interest in African culture.

Is the celebrity fascination with Africa genuine or shallow? Are the efforts of well-meaning celebrities to alleviate Africa's poverty and disease the continent's salvation or a recipe for disaster?

The recent spate of celebrity adoptions, Angelina Jolie's much-hyped birth in Namibia, and Kate Moss's infamous blackface modeling in the Independent reveal cultural colonialism masquerading as liberal multiculturalism. And despite their good intentions, Bob Geldof and Bono are being led around by the nose by technocrats and multinational corporations who bear responsibility for much of Africa's problems.

Madonna's "adoption" of a Malawian baby epitomizes the worst of the celebrity adoption trend. Malawi's stringent adoption laws force foreigners to stay 18 months in the country to be assessed as prospective parents. After concerted lobbying, a Malawian court issued an interim order allowing Madonna to take the child out of the country for a year, triggering court challenges from human rights groups and charities who felt Madonna had "bought" the ruling through her extravagant patronage of Malawian orphanages.

Unwilling to wait, the pop singer deployed a team to spirit the child back to England. Madonna follows a celebrity trend started by Angelina Jolie, who adopted children from Cambodia and Ethiopia. A naysayer might point out that the babies will lead better lives in the West. However, growing up in an alien culture separated from one's own ethnic traditions is a recipe for psychological problems. It has disturbing echoes of the Spanish, American, and Australian colonial practice of kidnapping aboriginal children in order to raise them with white Christian values; such kidnappings were justified by a similar desire to rescue the children from what was perceived as a poverty both literal and spiritual.

These issues are compounded by the objectification of celebrity adoptees by the media, which publicize them as exotic objects rather than human beings. There is no doubt that Jolie and Madonna love their children, but they inevitably become exotic props and grist for the likes of Us Weekly.

To read the rest of the article, click here

Is this really colonialism all over again? Rich White Hope? Although, this is probably the least of Africa's problems, what's your take?
Posted on: 05/01/07:

Haggai's House Calls

Category: RBA
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
Prophet

The rebuilding of God’s Kingdom is going on now and God uses the lives of His people in diverse and distinct ways. RBA is particularly focused on building the Kingdom with a distinct focus on the Black Community. While we seek the support and fellowship of any and all believers, our goals necessarily place us at the center of the Black experience, thought and life. It is evident that the growth and content of the American Reformation is not equally proportionate or influenced by various communities. We are seeking indigenous reformation from this community in order that the American Reformation among all communities may increase and profit.

» Read More