Defining Blackness Down

Most of the coverage surrounding the Rachel Dolezal controversy stems from the perceived notion that she was engaged in a 24/7 blackface routine or that she was misappropriating blackness out of some kind of deep-seated sense of confusion or emotional inadequacy. Frankly, none of that interests me. What’s incredible to me is that no one is asking how American racial politics enabled Dolezal to pull off her scheme, because in no other country would she consider her to be black, whether in her youthful Caucasian phase or in her current racially ambiguous disguise.

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What the University of Oklahoma Scandal Means

I’m going to take a short break from my series on the uses and misuses of the Middle Ages in modern discourse to comment on the situation at the University of Oklahoma. Like many black people, I wasn’t shocked that a group of white college students would use racial epithets and sing about lynching black people behind closed doors. That this episode was “caught on tape,” so to speak, simply illustrates what many civil rights activists have been saying for a long time, namely that the United States is far from being post-racial (whatever that means) and that the kind of old school “naked aggression against the Other” style of racism that we usually associate with the elderly is alive and well among millenials. As is usual in these sorts of situations, I feel like the media isn’t asking the right questions.

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And Someday, Together, We’ll Shine: MLK, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Escaping From Religion

Note: contains spoilers for the”Revolutionary Girl Utena.” For more information see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Girl_Utena

http://ohtori.nu/

The ending to the anime series “Revolutionary Girl Utena” usually leaves viewers confused and somewhat frustrated, because it’s unclear what happened to the titular character and, on the surface, it appears like nothing has changed for the supporting characters. This was the impression I got when I first saw Utena back in 2004 when I was a junior in college, but after my religious misadventures and some repeated viewings of the series, I now view the ending in a very different way.

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Cop Killers in Black and White

Since the killings of the two Brooklyn police officers by a deranged cop-hater on Saturday, there has been a rush to link the event with the nascent anti-police brutality movement that has arisen since the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Thompson, Jr., and Tamir Rice. The New York City Police Union has been very vocal about linking the protests with this violent act, even going so far as to say that NYC mayor Bill de Blasio has “blood on his hands” for his past criticisms of some of the actions of the police.

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Taking My Stand Against a Neo-Confederate Nation: Why the Lost Cause Ideology and the South Agrarian Tradition Must Die

This is another unpublished essay that I thought needed to see the light of day, rather than be hidden away on my hard drive. It’s not about religion in the institutional sense, but about various aspects of Southern identity, which tends to function as a civic religion anyway. This essay goes with my previous posts on Southern Agrarianism and racism, but tackles the issue from a more personal perspective and includes a few suggestions for future action.

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