Strange Fruit & Black Theology w/ Video

I got sick watching Anderson Cooper last night.  White Folks sat there, because I guess White Folks know better, bashing the Jeremiah Wright.  So, I want to take a tour of Black Theology. This Diary is not about Barack Obama. But, Where these comments come from is a long way from the country most of us know.  A country that has a 100% batting average from White Male Presidents - and I am White and Male.  A country whose memory is short, but hardships are long.  So, take a moment... rather your crying righteous indignation against Wright, or a piece of you says maybe his on to something.  I mean people on DailyKos and MyDD were condemning Wright on the very same day this diary:

Missing Daughter... and You Can Help!: was on the rec.  Heaven knows if Elizabeth Smart goes missing the power-holders in this country would have stepped up, because she looks like them.  Who Cares?  Its just another Black Girl.  Lets have a conversation about what Theology looks like if you are "just another," or not even an other... If people lock their doors rather than open them when your around.  Is it such a bad thing if we have a President who knows what it is like? I love Kos and MyDD, I got booted off of RedState for defending Wright, and I think folks at Kos and MyDD are open (if not already well versed in Black Theology)... So, Lets Start:

With Some Billie Holiday, listen to the words,

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

It is from Strange Fruit the Black Theology arises.  I was raised in S.E. Texas climbing on the court house "Hanging Tree," where my folks said outlaws were hung.  There is a big difference for the kids on the other side of the tracks who called it the "Lynching Tree." God looks a lot different when you need God's help, rather than thinking your doings "God's Work." When your religion is telling you your one thing, and the folks in power are saying another - When;

So From here, meet (or be reintroduced too) James H. Cone the nations most prominent Black Theologian:

Check Out Cone with Bill Moyers
Check Out Cone with Bill Moyers

And Speaking on the "Cross and the Lynching Tree" at Harvard in 2006.
"Cross and the Lynching Tree"

To Be a Theologian and be Black is to be Prophetic.  God isn't some idea to be debated and apologized for.  God is the drive to speak truth to Power.  And, I hear people say that this language is not helpful... Wright shouldn't be saying things "as is." Well, "Know The Truth And The Truth Shall Set You Free." Ignoring the facts is a sorry kind of reason.  Wright, and a lot of people, whose Brothers were lynched and Sisters were raped have a right to be who they are.  They have  right to feel pain, and everything that goes with it.  And, to all those who say something akin to "Well, I'm not responsible!" Well, it ain't about you.  Just because it is something your granddaddy did doesn't mean it should be ignored.  Maybe when Kanye West Says:

It is coming from a History a lot different than those in the MSM... A different Language, a different Place... A place we would rather not look at.
But, We have Come so Far?  70 years ago we were laughing at people in Black Face, and turns out we still do!  

Not to mention what is eternal to the add!

So, Bill O'Rielly, Lou Dobbs, Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity and this list of rich white folks on TV goes on in on... Rich White folks running over their self-righteous ego's to bemoan being black in America... And, to make sure they keep up their batting average with PUSA #44.

Cross Posted On Kos

Tags: Black Theology, Jeremiah Wright (all tags)

Comments

30 Comments

No.

I'm sorry, but Martin Luther King Jr. was different. He did not use this hateful rhetoric to gain civil rights. I say this as an African American. This might have been okay during slavery times, but it is  no longer okay.

The attack on Hillary and Bill was completely graceless. He could have made a sermon without mentioning them. I know a lot of black churches and I know they don't use this type of stuff.

by HillaryKnight08 2008-03-15 12:34PM | 0 recs
Martin only was got traction because he

was palpable to White People, who were frankly scared of Malcolm... The White MSM has been sacred of angry black men since Nat Turner

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Martin only was got traction because he

That's basically saying that Gandhi only go traction because he was palpable to white people as well. It only shows that terrorism never works, so why embrace it?

You might be interested to know that towards the end of his life, Malcolm changed is anti-white views when he figured out he had been lied to.

by HillaryKnight08 2008-03-15 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Martin only was got traction because he

This is a pretty well-researched statement, that Martin and Malcolm were co-dependent.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Martin only was got traction because he

Perhaps, but I know for certain that Malcolm and Martin disagreed on a log of things.

by HillaryKnight08 2008-03-15 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Martin only was got traction because he

Oh, they did not get along personally at all - Cone talks about this a bit in the posted vid.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Martin only was got traction because he

its class not race.

and the same "folk" who support a "Harvard" black never would have supported a "John Lewis" black for President.

and look what "your people" have done to him since NH.

those who attacked ht actual great man better HOPE  that Jesus is just a storybook character, cause if not, I bet he's PISSED about that!

by John Wesley Hardin was a Friend to the Poor 2008-03-15 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Martin only was got traction because he

I've spent a couple days with John Lewis, on one occasion we talked about Him and the others gathered together in Selma reading Bonhoeffer in the days leading up to the march... I think it was the first time he's recounted those evening with Bonhoeffer in some time - that is one of the most blessed moments in my life.

I'm not sure what you mean by a Harvard Black and a John Lewis Black...I'm sure Harvard would be glad to have John Lewis join them... Just as American has Julian Bond.  Lewis, and King for that matter, would flat reject this is about Class not Race.  Signs over fountains didn't read "poor people only" they said "Niggers Only"

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: No.

Aaaand besides, we as black Christians must strive to live by the golden rule set by Christ. He was brutalized, stomped, spat upon, humiliated, despised and you name it and crucified. He forgave all those that did the unthinkable to him. How long must we bear grudges?

Man's inhumanity against fellow man abounds throughout history and yet for those of us who believe, it is His love that makes us triumph. Hate and Christianity are incompatible!

by Actright 2008-03-15 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: No.

Why are people calling this Hate?  Wright never said to Hate anybody...he talked about existence as he knows it...and, crossed some lines.  But saying "God Damn American" Is more of a cry than a condemnation if you listen to it in context.  He is saying I'm American and We've done wrong.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 12:52PM | 0 recs
There is a difference

See how it is done:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=KlM87dwYPjg

I understand some of the anger and frustration but Wright and others who speak in damnation of the US and the way they do it are only alienating others who might agree with them.

Words Do Matter when they are filled with substance and that substance is hate or comes across as hate.

by kevin22262 2008-03-15 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: There is a difference

I think there is a difference, and if you listen to King's church sermons there is a difference, between speaking in the pulpit to an audience of mostly black church members...and speaking, like the King clips you've cited, to a broader audience.

King was palpable to White People, but a lot of Black Folks really thought he was too moderate... Cone Speaks, in the clip, on King and Malcolm.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 01:08PM | 0 recs
But

King never spoke in the way that Wright does. Yes he had more fire from the pulpit but not like that.

I need to ask, do you think MLK was to moderate? Extremism from any side is usually distasteful to many, even to some of the people who may support ones ideals and actions.

by kevin22262 2008-03-15 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: But

Well, the 'Moderate' is defined by the extremes around him... Not at the fault of King, but I think White People got use to a more moderate black voice.   And, a lot thought after the Civil Rights Act that racism was behind us - just go read comments a RedState for those ideas.  Wright is speaking more about being proud to be Black, in the wake of Black Theology.  King died before the Black Theology movement...but was heavily influenced by the white thinkers the Niebuhr brothers - I image, had King lived, he would have moved more toward a Cone style language.  His statements about Vietnam being a racists war, right before he died, were (in that day) called black racism by a lot of people, because they were of his most "fiery" yet.  Part of Wright's problems is not in what he is saying, but he says it like a preacher...King spoke, in public, like a politician... Always careful to wear conservative suits and short cropped hair, and not to be too dark in photos.  Wright, obviously, pushes an embrace of Blackness (even in his wardrobe), if he had said what he said in a dark suit in a calm voice things would be a lot different.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 01:21PM | 0 recs
about

Wrights words.

I some what agree but I disagree that his words would be taken differently had he said them in a calmer way.

His words "God damn America", his words about the USA being at fault after 9/11 etc. are words that will not play well to most Americans.

I would like to see pat robertson and falwells words, about 9/11 and why it was God punishing the USA, etc., pushed into the face of the neo-cons and the people that say shame on Wright for saying these things.

Last night, I got into it a little bit... at a bar.. with an ex soldier. He picked up on a conversation I was having with some other people. He chimed in that he wants mccain. For all of the false reasons that mccain is "moderate", will protect us, yada yada yada.
I stumped him on many things. He was not to bright when it comes to facts, he admitted he watches faux news and loves hannity.

So... he said something like this. He used to think if it was not going to be romney or mccain, then he would be OK with Obama. Now he has switched his thinking to he would be OK with Clinton. All of this because.... he thinks Obama is a "black seperatist"! He bases this mainly on Wright and his words and the fact that Obama has been there for 20 years. He sees them as connected.

The sad thing is, that there are a lot of people who STILL are influenced by faux news and all. We are at the very beginnings of trying to reverse 30 years of the neo-cons tearing this country apart. We do not have a media that is for We The People. WE are IT. But more and more WE are acting like "them".

by kevin22262 2008-03-15 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: about

Hopefully Obama can heal this in the coming months, because he really is (to what a lot of people consider a fault) a reconciler.  Part of the problem Obama continually has is that he is so open to so many people that he winds up being friends with folks who others don't really see in such a good light.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 02:13PM | 0 recs
One other thing

Speaking out about the actions of our country should be encouraged but once again, it is how you do it.

We The People ARE this country and We are this government, BUT at times there is a huge canyon between we the people and the people in power... such as we have now.

by kevin22262 2008-03-15 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: No.

King was far more radical than people remember.  He criticized the white power structure on numerous occasions. That King has been washed out of history by people who desire to make him a bland figure.

And Martin Luther King did say that black people were hurt by being called nigger - from Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

"But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair."

by politicsmatters 2008-03-15 12:52PM | 0 recs
I disagree

The way it is done can make all the difference as to if you words will be listened to and accepted.

by kevin22262 2008-03-15 01:05PM | 0 recs
Please Before Sounding Off About The

Campaign take the time to watch the vid's...at least Cone.  Before saying it is insane to suggest the CIA created AIDS, remember that Tuskegee was only 60 years ago - when Wright was a child.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Correction

I have seen 1, Rolland Martin, on CNN - who was defending Wright...

Has anybody had Cornell West On?  James Cone?  Tavis Smiley?  Nope!  Instead last night CNN propped up the guy from the Family Research Council.  MSNBC put of Johnathon Alter.  Ben Smith, who I like, was commenting on one of the stations.  And, not one commentator suggested maybe Wright's comments weren't so far off!

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Correction

I did see Roland Martin on last night. That panel helped me better understand the context of black liberation theology.

Somewhat oddly, it also made me think that Obama was wrong to toss Wright overboard. Clearly he shares at least some of the thinking behind black liberation theology to have gone to that church for two decades. It feels like an act of political expedience to suddenly disavow him now. Clearly Obama had no good options here.

by OrangeFur 2008-03-15 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Correction

Yeah, I really don't like that Obama tossed him...Though, I understand he and Wright had talked about this before Obama even entered the campaign.  I really don't think any of this flare up lies at Obama or Wright's feet, but has more to do with a society scared of hearing the truths of black existence.  Obama said, to David Brooks, that his favorite philosopher was Niebuhr last year - and I catch a lot of Niebuhr in his language.  Niebuhr was Cone's mentor, and obviously had influence on Wright.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Strange Fruit &

Thanks, doubtful it'll make the rec list...due to a lack of calling for a boycott or declaring the end of Obama... but, hopefully folks take some time especially with Cone.  At the end of the lecture, linked to at Harvard, he answers a question on what the Homosexual Rights Movement can learn from Black Theology and he gives an amazing response

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 01:04PM | 0 recs
Cole

Watching the Cole video... I couldn't help but laugh approvingly when he described the Supreme Court as nine white people, "as far as I'm concerned".

by OrangeFur 2008-03-15 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Cole

That Was Good, and when he refers to the "50 Senators"  I guess R's don't exists!

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Cole

Sorry... Cole-->Cone, here and below.

by OrangeFur 2008-03-15 01:37PM | 0 recs
Questions...

I'm not religious at all, so have only a vague understanding of how churches and denominations are organized.

Can someone let me know if denominations such as the AME church, AME Zion church, National Baptist Convention, etc. can be described as organized around a common philosophy/theology? To the point that they are, how are they similar or dissimilar to the black theology of Wright and Cole?

by OrangeFur 2008-03-15 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Questions...

Perhaps I can - my whole life is about studying religion in the U.S. - Denominationalism is not as important to African American's as it is to White Folks...all the denominations have a broad swipe of kinds of Churches.  Most take more Methodists roots, than Calvinists, and the denomination breakdown tends to be regional.  A lot of times the name "baptists" "methodists" "episcopal" just happens to be the denomination of the slave owners in that region.  The biggest split is probably prosperity vs. non-prosperity churches, now.  Cone and Wright a re pretty similar theologically... I'm not about their personal relationship with one another, but Wright has lectured at Union, where Cone teaches - and, where Cornell West did his Ph.D. work.

by CardBoard 2008-03-15 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Questions...

Try this link. It is an in-depth discussion of how Protestantism originated. Once upon a time, all Christians were Catholics and those who did not like being subjected to Papal authority (the Church of England and others), protested and seceded from the Roman Catholic Church. To this day Protestants keep protesting Protestants and splintering into various denominational groups.

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

Most Christian denominations and the Catholic church believe in the Holy Trinity. A few do not.

by Actright 2008-03-15 03:07PM | 0 recs

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