16 comments on “Lift Every Voice and STING!

  1. I actually thought what Rev. Lowery said was effing hilarious. I was at school already and studying when I heard him saying that stuff and I my ears immediately perked up because he was doing this really Christian-y thing and then all of a sudden went hippie on everyone. I was also cracking up at the fact that everyone was laughing at it until he said “white will embrace was is right” and crickets chirpped. “Oh yeah, it was real funny when were you making little rhymes with the other races Mr. Black Man, but the white rhyme? Not funny.” Really?

    And, if there was any white people who were gonna “pack up, leave the event, and give up on standing alongside black people,” I vehemently disagree that they would be justified. One black person’s opinion certainly does not stand for all and if any white people did do that–it’s racist and they can go to hell.

  2. I honestly wasn’t going to comment, lest I be labeled racially insensitive. But here goes…

    I thought both pastors could have gone without their prayers. Rick Warren’s was horribly scripted and Joe Lowery’s was racially inappropriate for the time. But in speaking directly to this post, I was disappointed that “Rev.” Lowery would use his moment in the sun to attack white people. I’m certainly not suprised, given the time when he used Rosa Park’s funeral to attack Bush. But I was definetly disappointed. If he wanted to spew this crapola of a message, he should’ve did it at a McCain/Palin rally, where the true racists showed their colors. I doubt any of those folks were in the audience watching the Obama THEY HELPED get elected.

    Now, I’m not offended by it. I just see it as passive aggression from an old guy who has been up for too long. But it was very inappropriate for the time.

  3. I honesty loved his benediction. It was a release from decades worth of oppression and inequality. Andre, trust me: there’s no need to defend us. Most of us white folks were not embarrased by this.

  4. Well Megan. I think you’ve proven a point that Andre made in this post as he did in numerous other entries I’ve read: no group of people is the same. What you shrugged off as being a response to the injustice of the past, I saw as a slap in the face to the progress of the present.

    A lot of us whites already “embrace what is right”. Yet, the rhetoric forced on the crowd made me (I won’t say “us”, since I can only speak for myself) feel alienated and directly associated with racist assholes just because of my whiteness. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need some old man with one foot in the grave suggesting that he knows what is in my heart and how my mind thinks. I wouldn’t dare presume to know what’s going on internally with another person. And I certainly wouldn’t ascribe certain behaviors and mindsets to a person or group of people based on their race. This man did it and was cheered for it.

    I feel bad for Obama. Any attempts to be “post racial” were thwarted by this so-called Reverend.

  5. J. Alex, I think we white people have to keep ourselves mindful of how we continue to benefit from white priveledge. Understanding the societal benefits of being white is apart of what Lowery meant by embracing what is right. I saw the line more as a challenge for white America to seriously assess our role in this country and what we can do – including by using our whiteness – to bring about change.

  6. Dre, I can at least understand your argument, but I think you’ve missed a few important points here. First, Rev. Lowery’s statement was merely a revision of a song from the 60’s. If anything, he was only reciting it (at least the revised version of it) out of jest.

    Secondly, Obama’s election and indeed white America’s role in getting Obama elected was truly remarkable. But it does not completely alleviate the scars of the past or even those of the present. When you think about the discrimations still in effect with housing, education, employment, law enforcement, and criminal justice, its clear that electing a black president is only the start to what promises to be a long trip. I mean, the last few of your posts were about innocent and unarmed black men killed or hurt by police….THIS YEAR. This isn’t something that ended when the Civil Rights Act was passed. Not the case. As long as discrimination and racism exist, comments like Lowery’s will remain relevant.

  7. I’m not denying the ongoing existence of racism and inequality. And I completely understand that Lowery was simply repeating a song and not creating his own rhetoric. But that doesn’t dismiss the fact that it was highly inappropriate for the time. We have come a long way since the time that song was relevant. Why not focus on that instead of trying to villify white people?

  8. Dre, I think you’re getting a little carried away. Being from a black church like you are, I’m suprised you could not se the humorist element to Rev. Lowery’s speech. As KC said, he was taking an expression from the 60’s and adding a comedic twist to it…a tactic used in just about every black church in Amercia. Like any other black preacher in America, he relied on humor to assuage the hurt we felt and continue to feel. It worked.

    I think you have it wrong about him. While he definitely knew what he was saying and doing, he was not trying to show disrepect or discrimination towards whites.

  9. @ Lorraine, Megan, KC, and Cyn:

    There were several reasons why I left my old church. But if I had to put my finger on the single most prevalent reason why I packed up, it was because of my pastor’s tendency to respond to sacred moments in our practice with irreverence. During communion – one of our most symbolic acts as Christians – he’d bitch and moan about crap that had nothing to do with moment. He’d pray for somebody and talk about them in the same breath. Whatever sacredness there was in the moment was overshadowed by his inappropriateness.

    The way I see it, Rev. Lowery did the same thing. Instead of using the benediction for its true purpose of sending people away in a spirit of love, peace, tranquility, and unity; it had people leaving the area with confusion, contempt, and division.

  10. Personally, I loved the benediction. For me, it was one of the highlights of the entire event. Some people may consider it inappropriate, but I thought it was most pertinent to the times. He wasn’t trying to cause division. He was trying to remind us that there is still room for improvement…that we have not reached the “promised land.” We must strive for the day where we will all be equal regardless of our color, status, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

    Make no mistake about it: having a black president with the middle name of “Hussein” tells a gripping story of how our nation and some of its adolescent attitudes about race have changed. We’re making progress. But more progress is needed.

  11. I posted this on another site. Rather than recreating the wheel, this is what I said:

    Before people get up in arms over Lowery’s comments, its important to understand the context under which the comments were first expressed.

    His comments were not racist. They were taken from a song written during the oppressive Jim Crow era where segregation and classism were legal institutions. The phrase which Rev. Lowrey used reflected those laws and the hopes of people of color that these systems would one day be torn down. The symoblism of this phrase corresponding with Barack Obama, an African-American, as the first president served to indicate that the country is at last moving away from such systems that serve to classify and seperate groups of people based on race.

    Therefore, when Lowrey said, “White will embrace what is right”, he was only referring to the historical and legalized use of Jim Crow, etc. to disenfranchise other citizens of the this Country. As it so happened, the perpetuators of those discriminative policies were the same whites referenced in the song. So it is important for people who can’t seem to contextualize these comments to try acknowledging the past, how it affects the future, and how we need to overcome it for a better future.

    Just food for thought.

  12. Not to beat a dead horse here, but Rev. Lowery is referring to institutional racism, not white people in general…and certainly not white people who helped get Obama elected.

    Recall the song. Here is an idea on what the song symbolized:

    “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back…”

    The back of the bus, a symbol of second class citizenship in this country.

    “…when brown can stick around…”

    Latinos being urged to join blacks in the fight for equality.

    “…when yellow will be mellow…”

    Being “mellow” in spite of the anti-Asian sentiments this country has had throughout its history.

    “…when the red man can get ahead, man…”

    The ongoing plight of Native Americans after being massacred and having their land stolen.

    “…when white will embrace what is right…”

    Understanding the priviledge associated with being white in America (and supported by certain power structures) and doing everything possible to tear down those power structures.

    Understanding history helps to keep things in context.

  13. @Andre: I thought it was very funny. I’m not a Christian, so I didn’t care about the Christian-y stuff anyway. Have no idea what that ish is doing at a Government function in the first place.

    But, as far as what I said goes, which I wouldn’t have cared if the man was a Rev or not (Hell, I wouldn’t have cared who said it. It was still true of whiteness, and that’s what it was funny.

    I am absolutely with Megan and KC on this one.

  14. “As I said on another blog, if after that spectacle, white people decided to pack up, leave the event, and give up on standing alongside black people, they would be justified.”

    How on earth do you figure that? That response– to treat an arbitrary group of people based on the actions of one member– is the racist response. The best response would be to keep standing next to that black person and look Lowery in the eye and say, “back off old man, you are wrong and I am doing what is right.”

  15. @ Lorraine: “I’m not a Christian, so I didn’t care about the Christian-y stuff anyway. Have no idea what that ish is doing at a Government function in the first place.

    No argument there. Though I am a Christian with political junkiness, I never saw or accepted the intersection of the two. None of this should have happened in the first place.

    @ notreallyalice: Welcome to the discussion!

    At its core, your statement has a lot of validity. But I would argue that this wasn’t just a lone act by Lowery. True, this post has highlighted him in particular. But the wave of black folks in the crowd getting a kick out of his humor were equally as complicit. Many of us essentially cosigned on the good Reverend had to say by not being outraged by it.

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