A couple weeks ago, I was debating what I was going to talk about in this sermon. I told Pastor Kelly Ryan I had great reservations talking about the one topic that I think about every single day. Then, a terrorist massacred nine innocent people in a church that I went to, in a city that I still think of as home. At that point, I knew that despite any misgivings, I needed to talk about race… Continue reading
Baby boomer looks at Africa…when I was in grade school, back in the nineteen fifties, most classrooms – not only in my school but all over the United States and elsewhere – had a map of the world that was large enough to command one’s attention immediately on entering. Continue reading
Race, socioeconomics and love online…yes! Most of us support interracial relationships… and the number of supporters keeps rising. So why is it that when it comes to online dating, fewer people are choosing mates who are outside their race? Why are online daters hesitant to date interracially despite studies showing growing support and growth in interracial relationships? Continue reading
Ploumis reviews “Belle” (2013)…Movies are important. They not only entertain us, but also affect us at a deeper, cultural level. We live in a time that is rife with racial debates and injustices. Continue reading
No greater tragedy can befall parents than having to bury a child. This is especially true when the child is killed and a perpetrator gets away with it. In this sense no American can but feel the double pain of the parents of Trayvon Martin. Continue reading
I. Of Our Spiritual Strivings
O water, voice of my heart, crying in the sand,
All night long crying with a mournful cry,
As I lie and listen, and cannot understand
The voice of my heart in my side or the voice of the sea,
O water, crying for rest, is it I, is it I?
All night long the water is crying to me.
Unresting water, there shall never be rest
Till the last moon droop and the last tide fail,
And the fire of the end begin to burn in the west;
And the heart shall be weary and wonder and cry like the sea,
All life long crying without avail,
As the water all night long is crying to me.
[musical notation from “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”]
Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.
And yet, being a problem is a strange experience, — peculiar even for one who has never been anything else, save perhaps in babyhood and in Europe. It is in the early days of rollicking boyhood that the revelation first bursts upon one, all in a day, as it were. I remember well when the shadow swept across me. I was a little thing, away up in the hills of New England, where the dark Housatonic winds between Hoosac and Taghkanic to the sea. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards — ten cents a package — and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card, — refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the words I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head, — some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? The shades of the prison-house closed round about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night who must plod darkly on in resignation, or beat unavailing palms against the stone, or steadily, half hopelessly, watch the streak of blue above.
To purchase “Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. DuBois click on the clink below:
Anatole Broyard and Passing for White
Born into the rigid racial caste system of the nineteen-twenties Deep South, the gifted New York Times literary critic Anatole Broyard died a country squire in Connecticut in 1990. His secret – that he was “passing” for white in an utterly race-conscious America – was disclosed to his daughter only at the end of his life
Anatole Broyard and Passing for White
Back When Skin Color Was Destiny — Unless You Passed for White