Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Confession of a grumpy black man

I’m not proud of the person I’ve become since Donald J. Trump dubbed himself America’s Fűhrer. That statement alone is enough to make my case. I have lost patience for anyone pleading a point undermining my ability to refrain from slapping a fool.
Restraint is out the door. The ability to concede alternatives truths is out the door. My will to be guided and influenced by the utopic notion of a beloved community has faded with the termination of government with checks and balances.
It’s not all Trump’s fault. Some of the culpability belongs to white dudes waving symbols of the Confederacy. It feels like a statement regarding my staying in what they perceive as my proper place. It’s taken copious inhales followed by exhales, followed by clinched fist and internalized reminders not to go Django on their ass.
It’s complicated.
I partially blame the assumptions of theological claims. What it means for me to assert being a Christian is masked by the ongoing pursuit to define what that means. My Jesus is not the same as that Jesus. He prays and spends time away from the masses to relight passion after the critics come to steal joy. My Jesus goes to big mama to mediate and engage in some critical cussing after folks show up on a mission to block blessings.
My Jesus is a big black dude with the attitude of many clouds of witnesses who have travelled through the valley of discrimination and death. My Jesus doesn’t bow to the whims of white supremacy and all the cousins of disparity. My Jesus is an empowering messiah with a heart for the least of these.
My theology hasn’t changed much over the years. I’ve always viewed the work of salvation being about more than leading Black folks to the streets paved with gold. It didn’t take long for me to discover the irrelevance of pimping truth about life on the other side of death devoid of some blessing during this life.
My theology has always been fueled by a rage in disparity between the gifts of white folk after creating hell for Black folks on earth juxtaposed by the burden of Black folks in forgiving all the trouble they’ve seen.  There has to be more than hope for better days in the sweet by and by.
The privilege of whiteness is in embracing life on earth without regard for death. My theology challenges notions of blessings versus the curse of blackness. It’s what stirs the fever of my preaching. The words declared with each sermon I preach defies the assumptions of theological claims. Don’t just pray about it. Take what belongs to you with the zeal of a radical Jesus guiding your footsteps.
All of that is true, but this is different. There’s a sickness in the air which feels like brewing fever. It’s hot in here. It’s too hot to calm the weariness alone. This is worse than ever before due to the absence of allies willing to concede their participation in the problem.
The advocates and allies of Black liberation have morphed into the wardens of continued incarceration. That’s how it feels. The massive whitesplaining. Delineating what Black people need. Forcing Black silence in exchange for their continued right to rule. Containing spaces to expand dominance for the sake of additional profit. Renaming gentrification to justify white privilege. Enforcing rules to manage diversity, inclusion and equity when it rationalizes their interest.
What I feel extends beyond the blatant racism of alt-right movements. My rage transcends the overt intentions of conservative party manipulation and games played to control Black voters. It’s what progressive, so-called good white people, are often incapable of seeing.
It’s not the fault of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The privilege wedged in the belly of progressive thinking people has always been there. It’s not new. Their presence may have been to resolve guilt. Or, it may be out of a desire to repair the forces hindering Black people.
Don’t Black people need a savior?
It could be about that.
These are the obvious ramifications of life in Trump’s American nightmare. Most of that may be true. Some of it may be a perception. All of it feels real.
It’s the perception part that leaves me hating what has happened to me – the lack of patience, the hardening of a heart, the lack of sensitivity for those outside the Black experience.
There are good white people in this world. I know that’s true, but it’s hard to believe it’s true given this current American dilemma.
I’m becoming a grumpy old man.

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