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Posts tagged ‘White people’

The Devil Was The First Ethnocentric By Dr. Peregrino Brimah.

By Dr. Peregrino Brimah

Passover Haggadah – The Fall Of Satan: Satan, the greatest of the angels in heaven, with twelve wings, instead of six like all the others, refused to pay heed to the behest of God, saying, “Thou didst create us angels from the splendor of the Shekinah, and now Thou dost command us to cast ourselves down before the creature which Thou didst fashion out of the dust of the ground!” God answered, “Yet this dust of the ground has more wisdom and understanding than thou.”

Quran – Chapter 7:12: [ Allah ] said, “What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?” [Satan] said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”

The story goes that man proved himself over “super” Satan by his “wisdom and understanding.” He rose above via an ethos of knowledge, intellect and inspiration, being able to name the animals by God’s guidance which the tribalist Satan couldn’t.

This is the first account in narrated history of discriminatory judgment and a sense of superiority based on racial attributes. The devil was the first racist or ethnocentric. He was the first individual to demand and desire preferential roles simply due to his perceptible nature. And ever since, those who desire, demand and think they deserve some form of unique treatment, opportunities or insulation simply because of the color of their skin, their social class or their hereditary origins, take after Lucifer.

Early evolutionists like Charles Darwin fueled racist ideology. Promoting the multi-origin concept of human beginnings, the evolutionists promulgated the idea that Black and White man had separate origins and development. Darwin really believed Blacks were more primitive than Whites, an Ape-like species en route extinction. His “science” aided much of the colonial conquest and derogatory slavery Africa was subjected to. Ota Benga, the Congolese Mbuti pygmy who in 1906 was put on display in Bronx zoo alongside apes, reminds us of the reality of racial thinking. The New York Times at the time, stated: “We do not quite understand all the emotion which others are expressing in the matter … It is absurd to make moan over the imagined humiliation and degradation Benga is suffering. The pygmies … are very low in the human scale…” On March 20, 1916, Ota Benga took his life in America.

Today, science recognizes the recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH) of man, all having a common ancestor, “Mitochondrial Eve,” with race being no more than skin deep. But irreversible damage has already been done. The fortune of learning about gun powder from the Arabs or Chinese and the infectious, deadly germs they carried helped the White race conquer Africa and embed through colonization and slavery, a rather intractable sense of inferiority in its peoples.

White ladies’ swishing their hair in front of Black slaves is attributed to the desire of slaves for straight hair over their natural nappy curls. Madam CJ Walker developed the hot comb to straighten her hair, later relaxers were developed, and today we have horse tail extensions, synthetic attachments and real hair from shrines in India. Black women still suffer from the feelings of inferiority based on their nature. Skin bleaching is another consequence of the history of colonial racism. Common in Africa, the Caribbean Islands and Black America is a preference for light skinned males. Many Island women are happy to share a single fair skinned Black male to father their children, rather than to have a dark-skinned good man all to themselves. Many Black men are likewise attracted to the fairer skinned female.

Racism and ethnocentrism is a serious and very dangerous problem. People feeling and portraying difference and superiority based on inherited phenotypes, leaves those who lack these particular phenotypes at their mercy and victims of their torture.

So is it wrong to feel proud of your race or ethnic affiliation?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with ethnic pride; or racial pride. We can be proud of being White, Black, Red or other. We can be proud of being Jewish, Arab, Gao, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Berber, Ijaw, Hutu or Zulu. The problem arises when we bring down others of other ethnicities as Lucifer did, simply because they are not one of “us.” The problem comes when we feel we merit certain accommodations and opportunities merely because of those phenotypic appearances that others of other groupings are not recognized for. The problem comes when we feel that simply based on our ancestry, we are more worthy. The problem arises when we band behind those who look like us and war against those who do not, not based on their decency, honesty or virtue, but just because. When we oppress others based purely on ethnic origin, we are ethnocentric. We have put our ethnic group at the center and all others are cast out.

There are things we can change and there are things we cannot. Virtue can be learned. Education can be obtained. Even religion can be adopted. But race, ethnic origin, these things are fixed and can never be changed. When we oppress others or cast them out of our communities merely based on things that are no more than skin and history deep, we are condemning them to misery and suffering for no just reason.

If we believe so much in uniqueness and indemnity of our race, what do we think of those who are a mix of our race and “theirs?” Recognizing we are a non-tribal people, with so many intermarriages. Where do we wish to throw them? Where do the Obama’s go? It is still sad that in the US, the one-drop rule still applies; this is why we regard Obama, a half-Black and half-White man as a Black man. He is mixed. Many of us are mixed. Genetic studies keep exposing just how mixed most of the world is. Israel was referred to as “little Eden” in Steve Olson’s “Mapping the Human Genome” book, because therein are found almost all genotypes of all races on the planet. The founder and CEO of the world’s most valuable brand—Apple Inc., late Steve Jobs, son of John Jandali is a Syrian by blood. One has to ask, what does race really mean in the context of the world?

How would it be if we focused on the things we have in common, rather than harping on what sets us apart? Race, ethnicity should be like school teams, only valuable for progressive, competitive sport and not a nidus for war. Don’t we all shed the same red blood and feel hunger the very same way? And for those of us who accept transfusions, when we need blood, do we ever ask “whose blood is that?”

Some of us look forward to a world where there are no fences. Where all nations are merely nations for governance purposes and not to segregate or separate. Where there is free, no-visa travel from country to country. Where man is recognized and qualified of “superior race” by virtue of his value, his skill, his morality and his uprightness and not the color of his skin or from whence his father hailed.

A Black man whose father hails from Kenya and bears two Arab-Muslim and a Luo name, is the president of the United States. Would we accommodate a Barack, let alone let him head our village? I think this is something we should think about.

Much of the world’s problems stem from the unreserved advantage, oppression and impunity based on race, ethnicity, class and other sectional demarcations. And the devil rules this domain.

Man, Why Not Let Wisdom And Understanding Be The Features That Set You Apart.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: Twitter: @EveryNigerian


Freedom House Church Apologizes for ‘Only White People’ Comment.

Freedom House Church
Freedom House Church (WBTV)

Charisma News reported Tuesday that Freedom House Church in Charlotte, N.C., asked “only white people” to greet at its front doors in an effort to “bring [the church‘s] racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line.”

The church has apologized for the incident and sent Charisma News the following statement:

“One of our longtime pastors, in keeping with our church’s desire to be inclusive and intentionally reach out to all races, noticed our front door greeting team was no longer reflecting the racial diversity of our entire congregation, and she wanted potential visitors to see people like themselves upon entering our church,” the statement says.

“However, she made an error in judgment in requesting all white greeters at the front door, going overboard in placing emphasis on any one race over another in trying to highlight diversity within the greeting team. She admits this was a grave lapse in judgment and is sincerely sorry for her actions. She immediately apologized and has asked our forgiveness. She and senior pastors have made themselves available to meet with any church members who want to discuss this situation with them, and have communicated their true heart in this matter—to be a church welcoming and inclusive to all.

“Freedom House believes in a diverse relationship within its membership, reflecting the larger community in which the church resides, doing life together as a church representative of everyone—culturally, ethnically, economically and generationally.”



Nigeria: Interpretations Of Racism By Gimba Kakanda.

By Gimba Kakanda

I will call him Smith, my White friend. I admired him, in my days of naiveté, for once berating a waiter who attended to him, with overdone courtesies, before turning to know the junk I cared to eat.

Smith was a conscious expatriate who suspended his curiosities over things he found exotic and checked his tempers in reacting to provocations just to fit into a social box and to blur the thick lines that give him away as “alien”, “privileged”, “special” and even “white”. He does not like labels especially when it’s not earned by his individual identity or reputation. He lives like a man apologising for the persecutions of the entire Black race by his ancestors. Frankly, he was oversensitive and some of his actions seemed too much like affectations, constrained to an idea of good behaviour. The relations between the white and the black in Nigeria are tragedies of inferiority complexes shown by the blacks, especially when the whites are tasked with overseeing a project in which blacks are rank-and-file members. Several cases of the white being hailed as “Master” and given special attention and treatments wherever they seek a service are depressing. It’s almost like watching slavery in its subtlest form, but with similar degradations.

My neighbourhood at Life Camp, Abuja is the headquarters of such shame of tensions around race, it’s the biggest place where you find politically insensitive Whites, mostly management staff and engineers in various construction companies, living in fear of integration, in fear of Black people, and thus fenced in separate estates that bear severe warnings: “Private estate, do not trespass.” “Keep off, defaulters will be penalised.” “Beware of electric fences.” “No entry without ID card.” These methods of exclusion are responses to awareness of their “specialness”; there can’t be any explanation for living as though your Black neighbours, who are largely members of the middle-class, are criminals, other than agreement with the unwritten ethic of racial superiority.

My worst nightmare in the neighbourhood was on the day I strolled out to see Smith. The Black maiguard, perhaps having me stereotyped as an unworthy human being, another mistake of creation, shamelessly declared that I can’t go into the estate unless I’m in the company of a white person. The unlettered Blackman and his lack of education of race politics and history, which powered him to accept his place as a social slave, is a reason the Whiteman finds the “attitudes” of the educated Blackman disturbing, and complex. Many educated blacks on the other hand also live like people seeking apology from the whites, just waiting for a faux pas; they are quick to corrections, quick to highlight a joke on black people or culture taken too far they themselves would freely indulge in and laugh over, quick to cut short anything likely several sentences down the line to become stereotypical… The educated Blackman must be somewhat responsible for Smith’s inability to be free with his words, and be loud as well. So, there is a tension.

An interesting experience of this racial tension was at the bank: a queue of about twenty waiting to carry out their transactions was almost static until a middle-aged white man walked in and went straight to the counter. There was a murmuring, but the man who spoke out not only adopted a British accent, to highlight his education, but also employed language I found very political. “My friend, we don’t do that. Go back and join the queue.” The language rightly portrays the white man as a moron who doesn’t know that jumping queue is an insult and in the use of “My friend”, the white man was humbled and pulled back to the rung of equality. Or, in over-interpreting this in regard to Nigerian context, referring to someone as “my friend” is mostly an act of condescension by a fellow too important to be one’s actual friend. The teller was displeased by what seemed an unfair treatment  and was not ashamed to say, “He’s possibly in a hurry!” to which the queue reacted with unkind words, with rage, with one even joking about beating up the Whiteman if he had refused to join the queue.

My inferences from these interpretations of racism come from conversations with Blacks working with Whites, and also from a mix of the two races. The expatriates find educated Nigerians overly judgmental, which is why there are too many Smiths among them. The educated Nigerians wear their badges of racial equality so colourfully they too pass for racists. By over-interpretation. Usage of Language is often the easiest slip to be at the mercy of race police, and this was understood on the day Smith advised that I also needed to sign up at the gym he frequents. “We don’t eat junks,” I cracked with a grin. “‘We?'” He challenged, and I knew that innocent slip would cause me a lecture on race relations. Again I was a racist by over-interpretation, for thinking that gym-going whites are diet-ignoring consumers of junk. And this means I also have to be more critical of Smith’s use of language, and this means the subtle tension between us is only waiting for a slip to be interpreted unto racism. May God save us from us!

@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

Kakanda maintains a Friday column for the Abuja-based Blueprint Newspaper


The Plantation Church.

By  Dr. James Emery White.

I recently had coffee with a former student of mine who now pastors a large and fast-growing African-American church.  We were talking about the challenges of building a truly racially-integrated church, and the many dynamics of race in the faith community.

He spoke openly about the racism that he has faced as a black man, and his church as a black church.  But he also spoke of the awkwardness a white person would feel if they attended his church, and the stares that would follow a mixed-race couple.

He has attended Meck on several occasions, and commented on how we might be one of the few megachurches in the South that is truly integrated.

I’m not sure how things like that are measured.  All I know is that our immediate area is probably 30-35% African American, and that we have around one-third of our attenders falling into that category, including many mixed-race couples.

He envied our community, and offered a few observations as to why he felt it was “happening” at Meck:

*When you come to Meck as a person of color, or in a mixed-race relationship, you see others “like you” and instantly feel comfortable.  There is no staring, because people “like you” are all around.

*People “like you” are represented as volunteers, as members of guest services, on stage and in media.  By the time you’ve parked your car, walked through the lot and into the doors, registered your child and seen them to their class, entered the auditorium and taken your seat, you’ve probably seen people of every race represented at each juncture as Meck volunteers and fellow attenders.

*There isn’t a “plantation” feel to the church.  Intrigued, I pressed him as to what he meant.  “In many predominately white churches, there is a plantation feel, like the old south, where it’s okay if blacks sing in the choir or cook in the kitchen, but they aren’t allowed to speak or emcee, be on staff, teach or lead.”

He was right.  Most predominantly Anglo churches – even those with a significant black constituency – do not have a single black person on staff, or even a black person as a deacon, elder, trustee, small group leader or teacher.  “Meck,” he said, “isn’t a plantation church.”

Is Meck perfect on matters of racial integration?  Heavens, no.

Blacks, Latinos and Asians are still grossly underrepresented on our arts team.  We’re in a frustrating situation where there are styles of music we’d like to pursue, but we don’t have the people who could pull it off with authenticity; yet until we showcase that kind of music, those who would be attracted to putting their artistic abilities into play with those styles will stay on the sidelines.

While black male leadership is strong in our children’s program, it has yet to carry over into our middle school, high school and Institute offerings.

While we have African-Americans on staff, and just hired our first coordinator for Latino outreach, we do not have an African-American pastor on our team.

All to say, we are a work in progress.

But I’ll admit he reminded me that we do stand out a bit in this area in terms of what we have accomplished.  It’s true – we are an integrated church in the Bible-belt of the South.  And there’s a reason.  We’ve worked really, really hard at this.

Here’s what we’ve done (and continue to need to do):

*We’ve intentionally platformed people of color.  I’ve written about this in a previous blog in terms of how this works with churches staying young in their demographic.  It’s true for other areas as well.  If you want to stay lily-white in your make-up, be sure to only platform white people.

Who you platform is who you will attract.  The same is true for your media presentations, announcements, and any other opportunity you have to feature a human being in front of the church.

*We’ve intentionally hired people of color, and want to be even more intentional about this in the days to come.

*We’ve intentionally invited people of color into leadership and teaching roles.  For many years, our senior trustee was an African-American.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we were the only predominantly Anglo church in the South that had a white pastor accountable to a team of men and women led by a black man.

*We’re intentionally color-blind.  As leaders, we honestly don’t think about people being Anglo, African-American, Asian or Latino except in positive terms.  Here’s what I mean:  when I look at someone at Meck, I don’t think of them as white or black.  They are just Brittany, Donald or Gail.

But I will look at the planning of a weekend service, evaluate a media event, examine a leadership roster, poke my head in a classroom, or witness who is on a stage, and have an instant sensitivity as to whether it reflects who we are as a community – and perhaps more importantly, who we long to be as a community.

*We’ve intentionally featured people of color in any and all outreach materials, such as television commercials, direct mail campaigns and our website.

*We’ve intentionally ensured that key positions in guest services, such as Connection Centers, MecKidz sign-in areas, and other “front-door” areas represent people of all ethnic backgrounds.

*We’ve intentionally confronted any signs of racism in a member or attender as a matter of church discipline.

*And lest there be any doubt, we’re just intentionally friendly.  To everyone.  We are ecstatic about our racial make-up, and wouldn’t have it any other way.  We think it’s dangerously New Testament.

It’s surprising how few open, transparent and practical discussions there are about racial matters in the local church; how seldom pastors of different backgrounds and color of skin talk to each other;

…and how many ways there are for churches of any predominant color to be a “plantation” church, and not even know it.

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