I have a couple of guest posters coming up who are going to be sharing about hospitality. But in the mean time… there’s just too much stuff I’m reading these days to keep to myself. So welcome to the weird and wonderful of the interwebs:
The American Race clicks:
Race Bias in Photography: There was this 5 minute video on film processing that was sent to me by a photographer friend. Did you know that the chemical processes used to develop color film were created in order to make white people skin tones look good but just made black people skin tones look one, pretty uniform dark brown? The color-tests they were using to check their processes were of a white person (another example of how white = “normal”, but actually white isn’t normal). And they only started correcting this in the 1970’s when chocolate companies and wood furniture companies complained that the photographs of their products weren’t looking that good? WHAT?!
If you’re confused about Black Lives Matter, and think that it’s exclusive, or leaving people out, and that maybe we should talk about #AllLivesMatter, this article does a really good job explaining why Black Lives Matter is important. AND, how as Christians, when we say things like #AllLivesMatter we’re hurting our brothers and sisters in Christ, not helping.
“What, on the surface, “All Lives Matter” attempts to communicate – that is, we all matter, we all have value, we are all of the same race, all human, all the same color on the inside – actually accomplishes the opposite. Instead of bringing ALL lives together, “All Lives Matter” is, in essence, attempting to erase the experience of the black community. In saying all lives matter, you are choosing to ignore the lives that are not being valued now.”
-Lindsay Wallace, “Light Breaks Forth” blog. “Things Christians Probably Shouldn’t Say: All Lives Matter.
And then there was finally an amazing speech by someone in government about the major issues that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is seeking to address. Yay to Elizabeth Warren for talking about broad policing reform to protect both police and the people they are interacting with. If you’re interested in signing a petition calling for some of these concrete reforms to our policing and criminal justice system, check out the Black Lives Matter movement website.
“We’ve seen sickening videos of unarmed, black Americans cut down by bullets, choked to death while gasping for air — their lives ended by those who are sworn to protect them. Peaceful, unarmed protesters have been beaten. Journalists have been jailed. And, in some cities, white vigilantes with weapons freely walk the streets,” Warren said. “And it’s not just about law enforcement either. Just look to the terrorism this summer at Emanuel AME Church [in Charleston, S.C.]. We must be honest: 50 years after John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out, violence against African Americans has not disappeared.” – Elizabeth Warren in the article by the Washington Post
The South African Race Clicks:
On the #IamStellenbosch campaign fail. In response to some of the recent protests and calls for certain symbols of colonial oppression to be removed (as well as calling for a more Afrocentric syllabus, among other things), one university tried to start a campaign to promote unity and break down stereotypes. Students were supposed to hold pieces of paper sharing a fact about themselves that broke a racial stereotype. Great idea? Except… not. This article explains why. It’s full of a lot of big words like hegemony, sooo, it might not be your cup of tea. But the title of the article sums it up well: #IamStellenbosch: Non-racialism, and feigning a perfect society. Basically, the author argues that this campaign is silencing the actual inequalities that still exist, and the ignoring the fact that race still has “currency” in South Africa– it does matter in our interactions, in who are friends are, where we live, in our syllabuses, when we look for jobs, or spend our money, or get pulled over by the police. And when we argue for color-blindness and enforce a narrative that “race doesn’t matter”– we’re just conveniently propping up the white (rich/capitalist/whatever you want to call it) status quo.
Oh wait– silencing? That sounds a lot like the #AllLivesMatter stuff that’s going around in the states. See– connections!! And plenty of food for thought.
“The #IAmStellenbosch campaign is microcosmic mimicry of the reckless, offensive and violent way which the Rainbow Nation project attempted to feign a perfect society.”
““Non-racialism” is the new magic cloak whiteness wears to disguise itself.”
Also, I LOVED this post on how we celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa by Peter Ruddock over at Vapours in the Wind. He argues Heritage Day should be a time of introspection and embracing all parts of our heritage and past: the messy parts, the privileged parts and the painful parts.
“Now there is something wonderfully communal and unifying about the braai, and traditional outfits reflect something important about culture, so I do not object to them per se. But I remain concerned that by celebrating only in these ways, we have reduced entire cultures to costumes and what it means to be South African to a spicy sausage.”
The South African and American Race Clicks Collide!
And THEN I read THIS article, shared by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which was talking about the removal of Confederate symbols in the USA (in this instance, he’s talking about Memphis, but with all of the #takedownthatflag stuff going on, it relates to Confederate symbols anywhere). The author compared it with the #RhodesMustFall campaigns on university campuses in South Africa. I like that he highlights the need to think about the meaning of these symbols and be willing to listen to people and wrestle through the issues. However, he slightly touches on, but doesn’t delve into the idea that it’s easy to make a symbolic gesture and say the past was unjust… it’s a little harder to make changes that affect present injustice.
To make the process more constructive, there must be a more thorough and honest look into the past and its effects on the present.That includes acknowledging the pain caused by symbols of oppression and the disadvantages and attitudes that linger from that era. Dismissals of the relevance and legitimacy of that pain with statements like “let’s move on” or “you can’t change history” only make productive dialogue more difficult.
On Social Justicey things:
I loved this article on the refugee crisis and our limits of compassion by Ebony Johanna. I mean, it’s a pretty tough article, but she sure speaks truth! Definitely worth the time to head over to her blog and read the whole thing!
Have our hearts become so hardened, our humanity so compromised that we cannot recognize that of another unless we, with our eyes, see that they are dead? I hope not. But the current reality does not allow me to imagine another scenario. We do not seem to move unless blood is spilled, we do not seem to care unless the target of our affection is not breathing. We do not care about babies until they are aborted, black lives until they are dead in the streets, the lives of women until they have no more voice, refugees until they are drowning in a sea of forgetfulness. Our compassion towards each other begins and ends in death; with such a distorted perception of care, how can any of us truly live?
And now a HAPPY one! You know I like complaining about how people are presented in a lot of community development/ international aid fundraising campaigns, right? Okay, so how cool is it that when the UN announced their new global goals for sustainable development, they made this video by Africans, for Africans, featuring African artists? Africans are a part of bringing sustainable development to Africa, this isn’t just something that people in the West dream up and then fly over to implement, despite the picture that most big-name charities present. Also, I like that they portray urban culture and technology use– two other things you don’t often see in presentations of Africa. I’m sure someone more cynical than me can find plenty of things wrong with it. But hey, as things go, it’s pretty good.
Plus, it’s a catchy song,even if it’s cheesy propaganda. 🙂
And finally. I have to share how PROUD I am of myself for successfully making Peppermint Crisp Pudding for Heritage day with only ONE of the same ingredients that the original recipe calls for. Yes. I did it.
Here’s the ingredients: whipping cream (=same), coconut biscuits I found in the Mexican aisle (instead of tennis biscuits), Andes mint pieces (instead of peppermint crisp) and the BIG one: Sweetened condensed milk (instead of caramel treat). I boiled the tin of condensed milk for 2.5 hours using these instructions, and turned it into caramel treat. It worked! Best dessert ever.