20 January 2009

A Little Bigotry at the Inauguration


A number of years ago, my mother attended a ceremony marking an anniversary of Women's Ordination in the Lutheran Church. She later called the presider and told her she was offended. "You thanked everyone present for working for equlality of women in the church, except one group of people. If the male pastors of the church had not supported the move, you would not be ordained today. You slighted them and you owe them an apology."


A similar situation arises today.


I was frankly offended by the way the Rev Joseph Lowery ended his benediction. He said


"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right," Lowery said.



I will cut Lowery some slack, because he is 87 and was in the trenches - and jail cells - in the Civil Rights movement, but let's be honest: if white people had not by and large embraced what is right already, Obama would be an also ran in the Democratic party.


If he had couched it with a "will continue to" or "will grow in embracing", I would be okay with it, because clearly we are not done. But the statement stands that we, white people, have not embraced what is right.

That is racist and bigoted. It marred an otherwise fine occassion.


UPDATE: That was fast. I had not even finished this piece when an update occurred. I think it was about 40 minutes after the Benediction itself when this passage appeared on Wikipedia:

His invocation drew immediate criticism from many conservatives for the following passage: "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen"[citation needed] The line is part of a civil rights chant that Lowery has included in many speeches over the years.[7] [8]

There is no citation for the "criticism from many conservatives" claim, and Google reveals nothing. There was no comment on it on the Fox News Coverage immediately following the ceremony.

Maybe they are anticipating
my post!

3 comments:

victorsleeps said...

I agree with your statement.

Ann Burlingham said...

Bigotry, shmigotry. Do you think the work of fighting racism is over? Is it bigoted to mention that it's not?

Lowery was spot-on and managed to get some humor into the prayer, which is more than most manage.

You've been cited: http://vito-excalibur.livejournal.com/206374.html

Tony said...

Ann, did you read my post?I did not say that "the work of fighting racism is over." I will argue that structural racism is dead in this country, but individual acts of racism still abound.

I, in fact said, that if Lowery had altered the slogan to ask that white ""will continue to" or "will grow in embracing", [the right] I would be okay with it, because clearly we are not done."

The statement he made denies that any progress has been made. It may not be bigotted, but it is untrue.