April 29, 2008

Wright on...

Here we go again. Those who are a part of the black community know exactly what I mean. We implode upon ourselves. We instigate and then we falter and fall. We can stand tall and try to facilitate a healing and support Reverend Jeremiah Wright, as we did with O.J. Simpson, Rodney King, Michael Jackson ~ the list is long, after all, they are our brethren. A result of hundreds of years of all kinds of precipitant inflections. We are a massive race of many destructive patterns. BUT now that our dirty laundry is ALL laid out, what will we do with it???

If you read "Healthier, Happier, You" frequently, then you know I have struggled. I have really had to soul search and file my emotions and belief systems appropriately. I am an avid and strong supporter of community. I believe in my people and LOVE them. But a huge part of my problem with Senator Barack Obama was because he attended Trinity United Church of Christ.

Ten years ago, I sat in amazement. Center left in a huge edifice of other black folk. Many dressed in traditional African garb. I consider myself somewhat of a "militant", and a sense of pride surged forth. Light skinned, dark skinned, thick Afros, perms, braids, straight and waves. The choir and the church sang and they danced. My best friend invited me as his guest. Being a gay male, he felt at home there, often citing that the hypocrisy in the black church had left him numb, but there he felt at home, so I went.

Having said all of that, let me state that as a creole, my family was raised Roman Catholic ( as was his ) and are very traditional and non-screamin and a hollerin!

As a young adult, I sought the experience of the other side (as did my best friend) and let me tell ya, I LOVED IT. As I matured, my church home nurtured me, taught me the bible page for page, and gave my little one a place to be safe on Halloween, safe on Wednesday nights, and safe in spirit. FOR ME, that is what a church home should do. My pastor counseled me when I was sick. Fed me when I was low on funds. It supplemented me and also the community it was in. FOR ME, that is what a church home should do.

When I wanted to become involved in my community, here in Chicago, you can do that just about anywhere. Operation Push is headquartered here. We have Father Phleger at St. Sabina and the programming he supports. We have a host of options. The SOUTH SIDE is HUGE! But when I want to be in church, I want to praise.

So, getting back to Trinity... the singing stopped and Rev. Wright appeared in full out African garb. He appeared a white man from so far away in the pulpit. Then he opened his mouth. He may have mentioned Jesus once. After the pomp and circumstance, I was exhausted and had learned nothing, was uninspired and frankly had a headache.I had to return a few times over the years for funerals, dedications etcettera, but I distanced myself from associating there, simply because that atmosphere did not represent me. I hope that because of his ill advised choice to come out and take the stage, he does not forge a representation that black folk overall can never shake. We are a multitude and can not be so easily defined.

He is not me. He is a part of me. But he is the me I have shaken off and stored in the proper place. Mocking others is not cool. His latest antics are not a true reflection of what the black community is ALL about. His showmanship lacks the polished demeanor that we are fully capable of. No, we are not all the same, as the collective whole was just beginning to see, black people don't have to scream and shout and dance all the time. Say "yessum" and "No sa" and can project the awesome quality we have to be bilingual ( yes I believe Ebonics is a language ) and assimilate caucasia while being ourselves at home, in church, or at play.

Church is church. Community activism is community activism. Church and state are separate for a reason.

I have wanted to support a Black person for President since the day I was born. I worked diligently on Senator Obama's senate campaign. But I desire one who supports the promise he speaks on and lives it, if he is truly going to represent me, or I will continue to support the status quo and continue to hope they will take care and provide for me.

I resist being an African American. I am a TRUE American conceived through the strife of my ancestry. A multi-ethnic person who is the result of rape and pillaging. I identify as BLACK, despite the NEGRO on my birth certificate. I know nothing about Africa because my country did not want me to and everything about Mississippi and Louisiana. Senator Obama is a TRUE African American, whose only connection to the black community previously was through Michelle, who I went to high school with. Senator Obama can not represent me either. I would not hesitate to support a brotha who was not afraid of the average black person, and who was not a part of the bourgeois, elite, militancy that Trinity supports. Folk going to church just to be seen. Folk not paying attention to their Shepherd's words. I always sit through Wright's sermons going what about Christ? How he lived? I must say, all of these questions have haunted me the last 20 years and has caused me to fall away from the church; any church. I just desire to be good. Fair. Obedient. Decent. Concerned about the planet and my fellow man. I want to give. I want to love. I want to be safe!

SO! Since all of our laundry is out, let's organize it. Separate it. Fold it and then put it ALL away. This is one country. Many loads. Now we've got to keep it clean.


Tamera said...

I am still letting the whole issue settle, so that I don't judge things that I have no knowledge of. For me personally, and unlike you, I have never experienced the church. It is then so difficult to know if what the media portrays is the truth. Or, not.

I was hoping that you would write about this, and provide some insight, and low and behold, you did. It was a POWERFUL post, Dwana. And, your truth shining from your core, just beautiful. You should write more like this! Kudos.

Houseonahill.org said...

Your kind words mean SO much, thank you!

I really appreciate you on so many levels and look forward to our efforts continuing once time permits...in the meantime the American saga continues, providing us with self exploration and many journeys to travel and unravel!

Los Angelista said...

I've never enjoyed churches like Trinity either. Less about God and more about stylin', profilin' and the preacher talking about how the Lord wants him to have a Mercedes. In so many of places, Jesus sort of feels like an afterthought to all the other stuff being said. Or Jesus is just a means to an end, not to be loved and worshipped because of who He was. This is such a great post. You make me glad I've never wanted to be part of that bougie black mess either. I am a person for all people, not just some sort of fake elite.

And interesting that you said how you thought it was a white man behind the pulpit before he started preaching. My husband thinks Wright's doing what many lighter-skinned blacks do, trying to prove their "blackness" by having an over-the-top style of speech and an exaggerated militancy. I don't know if I agree, but it's an interesting theory to debate with my hubby.

Houseonahill.org said...


Your words mean so much, thanks for commenting. Sharing this was very hard for me. All of these months, this issue is one of the major issues that I was struggling with, but I was never going to ever comment in public about it ~ never dreaming in a million years it would come under public scrutiny.

I am all for keeping our business in our own community, but since it's out there, yes, I just feel really bad about it all. BUT as we say "truth be told..."

I look forward to the day of Dr. Reverend MLK's promise...where we are really concerned about our fellow man...joining hands...ah, I will wait for the day.

I think your hubby might be onto something...this may be a post for you brewing!

K, gotta go cry about Eight Belles some more! I may need to take a tylenol PM!