You are currently viewing archive for June 2008
Category: General
Posted by: RBAFounderMM

This work, In Dialogue with Bearing the Image, is basically a compilation of questions that I had after listening to Thabiti Anyabwile’s session talk titled Bearing the Image at the 2008 Together 4 the Gospel (T4G) Conference.

This is not an academic or technical work that seeks to disagree or provide agreement, in whole or in part, with Thabiti’s talk. The work should be viewed as the initial response of a listener who takes advantage of the Q&A at the end of such a presentation. Therefore, my compilation is at its root an inquiry of various aspects of Thabiti’s talk and not a critical evaluation that seeks to weigh the value of the session or conclude with an overall opinion.

I care for Thabiti Anywabile as a brother in Christ and respect him as a fellow believer and minister of the Gospel. The motive for responding to this piece is based on my honest and humble desire to inquire of the views set forth by Thabiti.

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Posted on: 06/20/08:

Why Juneteenth’s Not My Thing

Category: History
Posted by: RBAFounderX

Why Juneteenth’s Not My Thing
By John McWhorter

I am John Hamilton McWhorter, the fifth. The first John Hamilton McWhorter was a slave. This Thursday is Juneteenth, when I might be inclined to celebrate the emancipation of John Hamilton McWhorter, the first.

Or not. Truth to tell, I have never quite gotten the hang of Juneteenth.

I suppose I should. What could be wrong, after all, with celebrating slaves in America being freed? Technically, Juneteenth arose to mark the day slaves in Texas were freed, but over the years it has been embraced nationwide as a
celebration of emancipation.

But at the end of the day, I just can’t wrap my head around celebrating the fact that someone else freed my ancestors. It puts too much focus on a time when we were so starkly in the down position. Juneteenth seems to be about what someone else did.

Whites had been crucial to keeping the Abolitionist movement going. Certainly blacks worked alongside them: The career of Frederick Douglass is Exhibit A. And there were more slave revolts than we are often aware of.

However, we cannot say that blacks in America made their freedom happen. Freedom happened partly as the result of whites making other whites see the error of their ways. And Abraham Lincoln’s commitment was to preserving the Union as a political arrangement, which inherently included abolishing slavery. And even then, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves, just slaves in the Confederacy, over which Lincoln had no jurisdiction.

So, yes, blacks played a part—but if for some bizarre reason blacks had not participated in the Abolitionist movement and had never revolted, it is thoroughly plausible that emancipation would have happened anyway.

Think about it: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was something that happened because we made it happen. As we have recently revisited in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s famous comment, Lyndon B. Johnson was the one who pushed it through Congress. However, he wouldn’t have done what he did absent the ferocious tenacity of Dr. King, his black comrades and the countless black people who gave their time, energy and sometimes their lives to battling Jim Crow to its knees and changing the nation’s mind on bigotry.

Juneteenth has also always left me a little cold because of what happened after slaves were freed.
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Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Hating on the Celtics: You Know How We Do
By David Aldridge

Despite the franchise's groundbreaking racial history, hating the Boston Celtics used to be the birthright of black basketball fans everywhere. Now, like so much else, that is changing, too. Green is the new black.
Among the things that have, until now, been universal truths in professional basketball:

· Someone, every three years, will be compared to Michael Jordan. It will be a fallow comparison, and the poor fellow will soon be playing in Europe, if playing at all.

· The Miami Heat, year in and year out, will have the finest dance team in the league.

· Black people will hate the Boston Celtics.

It has been a contradictory relationship between African Americans and the Cs, as they are known throughout the league. Boston was the first team to draft a black man (Chuck Cooper, in 1950). It was the first team to give a black man its head coaching job (Bill Russell, in 1968). The Celtics, who have won more titles than any team in league history (16), often did so with three and four black players on the court at the same time—when that wasn't accepted practice among the league's more racist owners, and their legendary coach and general manager, the late Red Auerbach, famously allowed his black players to walk when they refused to play in an exhibition game in Kentucky in 1961 after being refused service at a local restaurant.

Yet the Celtics have been a pariah for most of black America that pays attention to the NBA, and that's much of black America. And now, the Celtics are again in the NBA Finals, with a chance to win their 17th championship tonight at home against the Lakers. Their home court, TD Banknorth Garden, will be filled to capacity. It will be loud. It will be intense.

And there will be a lot of black people wearing Celtic green.

Trust me, this is new. Having been to Boston a couple dozen times over the past two decades, one thing you never used to see at Celtics games was many black folk. But last week, I watched in amazement as the Jumbotron scoreboard above the floor showed picture after picture of black fans rooting alongside their white counterparts for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the rest of the Celtics' stars.

I saw black women, lots of black women, cheering and laughing. I don't recall ever seeing a black woman at the Garden before that didn't have a mop or a ladle in her hand. I wish I were making that up.
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Posted on: 06/16/08:

Reporting Africa

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
From NewAfrican:
How many times, as an African, have you watched a Western TV report about your country, shaken your head in disgust and exclaimed: “But my country is definitely more than that, it’s not just slums! Why can’t they show the positive side as well?” How many times have you had the same feeling after reading about your country in a Western newspaper or magazine? Well, there are many reasons explaining why the Western media chose to report Africa in such negative tones. This month our extended cover story is devoted to examining some of the reasons. So please sit back and be prepared to challenge your opinion. Whatever you thought about Africa, you must think again. This lead piece is by our editor, Baffour Ankomah.

The negative reporting of Africa by the Western media is a subject very dear to the hearts of discerning Africans. It is a subject that New African has covered extensively before (in our July/August 2000 issue). But not much has changed in the eight years since we last tackled it, and the recent hyperbolic reporting of the Kenyan and Zimbabwean elections gives us even more cause to revisit the subject. Why was the Western media so interested in the Zimbabwean elections but just gave a passing glance to both the Nigerian and Sierra Leonean elections held last year? More so when 200 people died in pre- and post-election violence in Nigeria? Why, as they claim to be “the paragons of objectivity and balance”, do they rarely extend this to Africa in their coverage of the continent?
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Posted on: 06/13/08:

Wrapped Around the Waist of God

Category: General
Posted by: RBAFounderMM

The illustrations and metaphors of Scripture are utterly astounding, revealing, illuminating and evocative. On a recent day during my readings through Jeremiah, I found myself at Jeremiah 13.

As I was feeling particularly discouraged and weak on this morning, I wondered whether I should break from my regular readings in Jeremiah to take in a Psalm or select from the list of texts about “hope” and “encouragement” in the New Testament. It seemed they were by in large a better prescription for the day than the prophet Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet. Could I emotionally and spiritually take in and process Jeremiah this morning? Would he not simply add to my frustration and burden by reminding me of the continued transgressions of God’s children Israel? Nonetheless, I decided to take the leap into Jeremiah anyway, mainly because I find safety in visible (or even artificial) progression and perceived order.

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Posted on: 06/12/08:

Boondocks vs. BET, Round II

Category: Culture
Posted by: RBAFounderX

Boondocks vs. BET, Round II
By Greg Braxton

The battle between “The Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder and Black Entertainment Television is about to get a lot more animated.

Two second-season episodes of the biting cartoon series that attack the black-themed network but were never aired, possibly because of corporate pressure, are slated for DVD release today. The pair of shows take aim at BET’s top executives and lampoon what it views as the cable network’s harmful negative imagery and stereotypes that work as a “destructive” force within African-American culture.

The episodes amplify a familiar chord struck by McGruder, who has regularly targeted BET, first in his politically and culturally charged comic strip and subsequently in the TV adaptation on Cartoon Network’s edgy late-night programming block, Adult Swim.

But these particular installments, which like many in the animated series feature violence, foul language and frequent use of the N-word, apparently went too far in mocking BET’s top brass. In “The Hunger Strike,” a main character refuses to eat until BET is off the air and its executives commit hara-kiri.

And in “The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show,” a foul-mouthed black man who hates African-Americans gets a show on BET. When BET executives learned of the shows, they complained to Turner-owned Cartoon Network and Sony Pictures Television, which produces “The Boondocks,” and urged that they be blocked from broadcast, according to sources close to the program who requested anonymity for fear of network reprisal.
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Category: Politics
Posted by: minruth
Obama's victory

"This is our moment; this is our time.” With those fateful words before a ruckus crowd in Minnesota Barrack Obama made history. I suppose had he escaped assassination Martin Luther King, Jr. would have risen to the Presidency in the same manner as Nelson Mandela in South Africa perhaps instead of Carter in 77’ but certainly he would have been considered instead of Jackson in 84’ and 88’; Colin Powell was favored to win the 1996 elections before voluntarily bowing out; George Bush was pressured in 04' by the Republican elite to replace the embattled Cheney with Condoleezza Rice. But Obama is the first African American* to be the nominee of a major political party in America: the epic consequence of a vexing cry for presidential statesmanship not the vexing guilt of a supremacist legacy.

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