Pope Francis and Black Catholics

I’ve been quiet thus far about the ongoing “pope-a-polooza” going on in NYC, since I wasn’t sure that I have much to say. However, I was interested in a number of articles about black Catholics that have appeared in the last week or so.

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On Liberation Theology

One of the classes I’m taking here at Boston University is called Global Ethics, which is actually more of a semester-long introduction to liberation theology. And not just the Latin American variety, but almost every kind you can think of: womanist (both African American and African), feminist, Palestinian, Korean, Native American, etc. Before starting the class, I had assumed as a result of my sojourn in the Catholic church that liberation theology was more or less dead. But no, the rumors of liberation theology’s demise are quite premature, and it’s arguably doing better than ever.

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Why don’t you write a book about racism?

Special guest post from Myristic Mystic:

When I was young, people would say things like this in response to people who seemed to like to talk about a subject that was not of immediate importance to those with whom he or she usually interacted.  Well, in this instance I can say, “yes, I already wrote a book on the subject!”  However, though less than fifteen years ago, it seems like it might as well be about a hundred years ago.  Back then, I thought what one might call obvious racism (such as was witnessed in the South during the Civil Rights era) was the realm of a few “kooks and nuts.”  What I’ve been reading since the recent spate of police shootings of unarmed “black” people has led me to reconsider not just how many “true racists” we have among us, but also how such notions have been held in check, or have they?

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On the Charleston Massacre

Back in 2001, I was a senior in high school in an institution that had a progressive pedagogy and an unusually reactionary student body. There entire school had about 120 students from three to eighteen, and there were never any more than twenty-two students in the entire high school at any given time. This meant that if you didn’t like those twenty odd people, you were pretty much SOL in terms of having a social life. One of those students was a boy I’ll call Z, who was a self-identified redneck, though he came from a well-to-do background. Z liked to  wear t-shirts from a company called Dixie Outfitters that often had the Confederate battle emblem on it. I complained about it on more than one occasion, including during the weekly class meeting when these sorts of inter-personal issues were supposed to be hashed out, but Z kept wearing them. When I complained to a (white) teacher for the umpteenth time about it, she said, “You need to stop complaining about Z and his shirts, because he knows more black people than you and they’re okay with it.” I wish I had replied with, “I don’t care if Z is besties with Nelson Mandela, he will never have to live in as a black person in a white society,” but unfortunately, I just became upset and left the room in tears. The main lesson I learned from this experience — other than the fact that my high school was peopled with horrible individuals — is that for many Southern white people, racism is not a problem, but complaining about racism is. This brings me to yesterday’s AME church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.

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