Well it’s officially the end of Black History Month, a contrived attempt at helping white folk realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. I doubt we were any more successful at it this past year than when they got rid of slavery.
I’m a fan of Black History Month, because I’m a fan of being intentional. I say this a lot in the community we live in, that we need to intentionally carve out time and space for things to occur, until they become a natural part of what we do. Until the integration and celebration of Black History is as much a part of the education of every student as any sort of euro-centric history, until that is true, there will be a need for Black History Month.
It was suggested on a podcast I was listening to recently that Black History Month should serve as an assessment time, as a chance to give our society a report card on how we’ve done in the past year as it relates to racial integration and race relations, in our current and historical context.
So, on this years annual report card (for the year 2006), I’m giving our society a big fat D-. If you want more of the details, the best place to get them would be Racalicious’ great posts on Race and Pop Culture Trends of 2006: (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Let’s see if we can do better next year people.
note: originally posted in January 2005 in the student newspaper at Wheaton College…
It’s Friday now, five days after the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, and like many of us, besides rejoicing that it’s only a four day week, you have not given his legacy a second thought. If upon reflecting on King and his legacy, you only naively rejoiced that his “dream” has been accomplished, but did not weep at the complacency of, We, the Church in carrying out the work that Dr. King, in Christ, called us to; to bring Justice for the poor and oppressed, you are deceived.
The more I have learned about Dr. King the more I am shocked and disappointed at the lack of attention we give to this great hero of the Christian faith. Wheaton College, a school founded by abolitionists should know well the importance of standing up against injustice and for freedom. Dr. King stood bold as a Christian against the injustice of his day and we need to be challenged by this modern prophet of Christ to do the same.
It’s a wonderful thing to see that every year hundreds of students at Wheaton participate in ministries through CSC and their churches. Many of the ministries involve working with youth anywhere from near by Carol Stream to the city of Chicago. These sorts of ministries are tangible ways many students find to share the love of Christ with others. But this alone is inefficient and insufficient. We must not forget King’s example and stand against the systems that are persisting
You might have heard this story before. There was a community that built a school on the edge of a cliff. Upon discovering that a number of students where injured seriously from falling off the cliff, the community decided to build a emergency room at the bottom of the cliff. Though this did help care for the situation, it was reactive toward the outcome of the problem and did not deal with the root. Why did they not build a fence?!
Dr. King stood against the injustice of the Jim Crow laws and the segregated education system because he was compelled by the love of Christ. We too must stand against those structural sins in our society. I challenge every student involved in ministries to youth to become aware of the structural evils that we are a part of in our society. When a child receives an unequal education simply due to their location in an impoverished neighborhood, this is a structural evil. When your attempt to explain to that child the victories of Brown vs. Board in desegregation are in vain because every child in his classroom is of similar complexion, this is a structural evil. King once said, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” Please deepen your understanding and act.
We are called to love our neighbor as ourself. This command requires far more then the few hours or minutes we tend to give it each day, indeed, in the words of King, “The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”
UPDATE: This is from 2006, but I figure it would be worth reposting.
It’s a few weeks after MLK Day, but Zach and I took a little time last weekend to respond to some of the things we heard from others in response to MLK Day.
We’d love to hear your reaction to our thoughts and the things we’ve heard from others. Be sure to email us.
This is NOT the Trying to Follow Podcast. These are links to OTHER websites audio recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
-I’ve Been To The Mountain Top (Real Player)
-Pride by U2 (Real Player)
-Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence (Real Player)
-Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech (Real Player)
-Robert F. Kennedy Speech On The Assassination Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Real Player)
-NPR audio about Dr. King (link)
-The King Center (link)
-MLK Memorial (link)
If your a Bush fan try and ignore the first part, I really enjoy the second part of the guy giving a Speech on MLK Day.
Today, a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I wrote another article for Relevant Magazine concerning King’s legacy and it’s impact today. Read it here.
If upon reflecting on King and his legacy, you only naively rejoiced that his “dream” has been accomplished, but did not weep at the complacency of we the Church in carrying out the work that King, in Christ, called us to, you are deceived.
If you’ve come by this site after reading the article, please post a comment below just to say hi, I’d appreciate it.
I mentioned this last week, but my readers jumped off on a discussion about other things in the post, which was great and enjoyable, but made me want to mention this again.
Something that troubles me in dicussing race and racism is that we are often (like in many other areas) poor listeners. We tend to have a lot to say regardless of how important it really is or how much it affects us. Like you learn in any basic communication class sharing your feelings is perfectly okay and important. It’s also important to listen to one another. The typical statement you’ll here suggested is the famous, “I Feel…When You…” It allows you to share what your feeling based on the others action and focuses on your feeling rather then just yelling or pointing out their action (the “You ALWAYS do this…” types of statements).
Martin Luther King day is just around the corner and I thought it would be neat to have a site dedicated to sharing our feelings about Race and Racism in a constructive way. The site IfeelWhenYou has been up for less then a week now and the traffic to it is slowly increasing. Traffic doubled yesterday and there looks to be even more today. Many people are coming back and browsing through the confessions to read what people have written. The statements are anonymous, so there is no way to react you just listen. You can post your own statements to and I’d encourage you to do so.