"Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line." - W.E.B. Du Bois
These words were captured in W.E.B. Du Bois' book "The Souls of Black Folk" in 1903 and it bothers my spirit, that today, October 10, 2007, these words still ring true for blacks [and other people deemed 'colored'] in these "yet to be United States of America".
Yesterday, at the Teachers College of Columbia University racism reared its ugly (live) head by way of a noose hanging on the office door of an African American professor. The media and the university chose not to reveal the professor's name, however, students of the University identified the teacher as Professor Madonna Constantine, who works in the Psychological Counseling department and is known for her work on racism.
Professor Madonna Constantine
Here is an excerpt from the article out of the Columbia Spectator:
"All of her [Constantine's] work [on racism] is disregarded. She is just a black woman to them," Jasmine Alvarez, a representative to the University Senate, said.
Farrah Khan, a first-year student at TC and a member of the Black Student Network, indicated that the event had rocked the small TC campus. "I had a class at 5 and we talked about it for the whole two hours," Khan said. "The very moment that we say racism is far away, ... something like this happens. this is on our campus, here not at 116th, but on our campus." "As infuriating as it was, it was not a surprise," Khan said. This afternoon, e-mails were flying around student listservs under the heading "Jena at Columbia," referring to an incident which occurred last December in Jena, La., when white students hung nooses from a tree "which was typically a gathering spot for whites only"at Jena High School one day after six black students sat under it. Students planned to meet tonight at 9;30 in the Intercultural Resource Center on 114th Street to discuss reaction to the incident.
This comes less than two weeks after graffiti was found scrawled on the stall of a bathroom in the International Affairs Building which said, "Attention You pinko Commie Motherfuckers and Arab Towelheads: America will wake up one day and Nuke Mecca, Medina, Tehran, Baghdad, Jakarta, and all the savages in Africa. You will all be fucked! America is for White Europeans."
What is sadder than the punks who would rather hang a noose anonymously, are those people of 'color' who would part their lips to say that "racism is far away". Far away from where? Far away from whom? You can tuck racism far away in your mind all you want to but that does not negate the fact that we STILL live in an age where people are divided by race, class, gender and age - while the church, btw, remains spiritually disengaged.
W.E.B said "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the color line". Well, the problem of the Twenty First Century is THE COLOR LINE. And it will continue to be the problem as long as we continue this cycle of hate that has permeated our existence since the days of antiquity.
In the words of that great theologian Howard Thurman, hate "is death to the spirit and disintegration of ethical and moral values. Jesus rejected hatred. It was not because he lacked the incentive. It was because He saw that hatred meant death to the mind, death to the spirit, death to communion with God."
And no matter what religion you claim to be, in the words of Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., "God! Has got to be sick of this s***!"
The world as a whole is not in communion with God. This is evident every time someone hangs a noose from a tree or on the door to display their ugly regard for people of color. It is evident every time a person gets killed in Iraq while fighting a war over money, power and respect. It is evident every time Bush vetoes legislation that will provide our children heath care. It is even evident in the church.
Jena's are being carried out all over the world in many different forms and I can only imagine God now, looking down at us...shaking her head in awe of how we can't seem to learn from our past mistakes and thinking "Can't they see? Do they truly believe? Isaiah was right when he prophesied about them being hypocrites in Scripture when he said that they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." "Happy is the day when they begin to feel me like Isaiah felt me. But until then........" (you fill in the blank).
(P.S. And for those of you saved, sanctified, fire baptized saints that are more offended by me quoting Dr. Wright than with the state of the world in which we live in today, my prayer for you is that you come from behind the veil of sanctification long enough for you to wake up and see what is really going on around you. Remember, it wasn't the blind man who had the vision problem.)