Archive for December, 2014

A Guest at the Kwanzaa Table

A couple years ago I intended to write a series of posts on a different set of seven principles- not the UU ones, but the Nguzo Saba, the principles of Kwanzaa. Here’s a link to my earlier post. My struggles with Krampus…err depression have gotten in the way enjoying almost anything this year, holidays most of all! I went thru most of November and December in a haze, almost refusing to participate in Christmas Eve festivities with my partner & his family. Just Not In the Mood! Sometimes you just have to work thru your moods and force yourself to be there, because it’s not about you, it’s about family. Depression makes you self-centered by its very nature, and sucks the joy out of life.

I was reminded of Kwanzaa again by various things such as the prominence of Black Lives Matter campaign in current events, including discussions in the Pagan, polytheist and U.U. communities. In the communitarian values of Kwanzaa, I find pieces of what feels missing from the Nine Norse Virtues, which seems like more of a reflection of American libertarian individualism than the tribal values of pre-Christian Europe.

Upon further reading, I discovered that the Nguzo Saba are part of a broader philosophy known as Kawaida (meaning reason or tradition in Swahili) created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. All this is of course, centered on the experiences and cultures of African peoples and the African diaspora, but I feel that those of us outside of that can also learn a lot. We too are cut off from our roots, sometimes violently, even more so when we go back to the destruction of pre-Christian European spiritual traditions. Is it in part, due to that disconnect, that profound alienation, that many of the peoples of Europe sought to conquer the rest of the world, and later after at least partly realizing the errors of our ways, collect tidbits of music, clothing and spirituality to feed the spiritual hunger within us?

And as an neurodivergent and autistic woman, who has often felt excluded from definitions of “humanity”, I have found many resources in the liberation movements of other oppressed peoples. There are such things as Disability Studies, disabled liberation theology and disability culture(s), but they are not very well developed yet or well-known or accessible to many people, particularly outside of certain countries. To that end, I have often looked to political and cultural theories about race, gender and sexual orientation to put together my own disability theory. There is an emerging sense of “peoplehood” among many disabled individuals, across many types of disabilities, bodies and minds, genders and cultures.  And so I come to the Kwanzaa table as a humble guest, to learn, to show solidarity and to listen, grow and celebrate.

Articles on Kwanzaa:

Official Kwanzaa website

The Blank Candle, a documentary about the holiday narrated by the late Maya Angelou

Wikipedia article

Kwanzaa Guide

We Can Learn About the Real Meaning of the Season from a Holiday Most of Us Don’t Celebrate

Christianity & Kwanzaa– Great article for better understanding Kwanzaa within its Kawaida context!

Let’s Stop Making Fun of Kwanzaa

December 30, 2014 at 12:54 am Leave a comment

Umoja- Unity

The first of the Nguzo Saba (7 Principles) of Kwanzaa is Umoja, Unity. The central black candle on the kinara is lit, representing all Black people around the world.  Umoja is about finding commonality and empathy among the diverse cultures and peoples of Africa and the African/Black Diaspora.

The Umoja, unity cup is used to pour libations as offerings to the ancestors. Now that is certainly a tradition I recognize- it is common not only in traditional African cultures, but in European and Asian spiritual traditions as well. I would recommend find a cup or chalice that is of good quality, that is either neutral looking or has African decorative motifs. Using a family heirloom that can serve as a vessel would also be suitable. For the libations, use water or fruit juice. If your ancestry is only African simply by virtue of being human, honor historic or more recently deceased people of African descent, and another suggestion is you can honor Mitochondrial Eve, a woman who lived in or near Ethiopia about 200,000 years ago that biologists say all current humans are descended from.

Here in the Twin Cities, we have many immigrants from Ethiopia, Somalia, Liberia, Ghana and other lands, people from Jamaica, Haiti and other countries in the Caribbean as well as folks whose families came to this continent longer ago than some of my ancestors did. Since their connection to Africa is rather distant, and it’s hard to tell which nations they are descended from (though modern DNA tests make that somewhat easier) many prefer to call themselves Black or Black American rather than African-American.

My father, a former NAACP activist, fastidiously uses the label African-American, but after attending a mostly African-American high school, it seems like an out-of-place white liberal affectation than an authentic identity. Immigrants from various lands identify with the country they are from- often even more so the nation (tribe) since the borders drawn up by colonial European powers completely disregarded cultural territories. So with this cultural gap in experience between the long-time American-dwelling descendants of slaves and more recent refugees and seekers of economic opportunity- do they have anything more in common than any other group of native-born and non-native-born Americans? I can’t really say, since I belong to neither group.

But part of my interest in Kwanzaa is due to also being a member of a diasporan people- the Irish and the Scottish, or the Celtic peoples more broadly. Though I have not yet traveled back to the Isles, I suspect my experience will be in some respects similar to the lady in the article above writing of her travels to Kenya- a feeling of home-coming, yet feeling like that sense of belonging should be there more than it actually is. I know Europeans and people of many other lands often roll their eyes at visiting Americans and Canadians who proudly recite a list of fractions of ethnic ancestry that they claim- a quarter Greek, an eighth Norwegian, another quarter Scottish. They don’t care- we’re just Americans! Upon hearing that we crumple, wondering what we can claim as our own. Whether kidnapped and sold as slaves, dumped as the unwanted poor and colonized bastards of Europe, indentured servant, sharecropper or factory worker alike, now we awkwardly apologize for our presence come each Columbus Day or stubbornly insist on a  fable of melting pots and rugged individualism.

I think when a diasporan and a native son or daughter can both find humility in themselves and admit that their experiences and perceptions of their culture are not the only valid ones, and that they are open to other ways of seeing, hearing, tasting, worshiping, singing and dancing, then we will find Umoja.

December 30, 2014 at 12:07 am Leave a comment

X- Gebo- Gift Economy

I’m taking a little creative license here- X is the shape of the rune Gebo, which means gift, and I thought with the upcoming gift-giving season it would be a good one to talk about. In ancient Norse and Irish societies, gifts served a very different and more central role in society’s social and economic structure.

Wealth was not to be hoarded, but excess was given away, both as a show of generosity and as a tribute to loyal followers and supporters. Stinginess was considered one of the worst attributes of a king or lord, and hospitality and generosity were considered the greatest of virtues. If the king behaved well, the Gods would be pleased, and the land and people would prosper, but if the king was cruel and stingy, the people would suffer, the crops would fail, and surely the people, and the Gods would not allow him to rule long!

A similar relationship exists between humanity and the Gods- offerings given to Them are expected to be returned with blessings.

Analysis of Stanza 39 of Havamal (the next 2 stanzas further explain the “gift for a gift” concept)

Birthing Justice- the Link to Humanity- Gift Economics (examples in Mali, a West African country)

The Gift Economy: A Model For Collaborative Community– Tikkun magazine, progressive Jewish magazine

December 20, 2014 at 12:16 am 1 comment

Pagan Blog Project Prompts for Letter Z

Zeal, zealotry

Zelda, Legend of- the 3 goddesses of Hyrule: Din, Farore, Nayru

Zen Buddhism

Zeus

Zoroastrianism

Zzzz- sleep & dream magic

December 19, 2014 at 11:54 pm Leave a comment

Voices of Reason

I am glad to hear some voices of reason in Heathenry. I have thought about taking a step back from the Heathen/Asatru communities, though I felt greatly encouraged to hear from a Facebook friend, who contacted me asking if he could cite me as an example of a Norse Polytheist who believes the religion should be inclusive. He is working on a paper explaining that the racist contingent of Asatru is a distorted viewpoint- contrasting it with Viking religion (he’s working on a B.A. in Scandinavian Studies) and making a comparison to how the Westboro Baptist Church is not representative of Christianity.

The Northern Gods Are Not White- by Sarenth Odinsson– Excellent! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Wotan vs. Ignorance- Heathen Naturalist

How to Raise Racist Kids– Not how you think, actually!

A suggestion I’ve seen from various people is not to condemn racists, but to try and educate them. I will admit, I probably let my Christian influenced “turn the other cheek”/take the high road etc. mentality get the better of me (I know it’s not how polytheists roll, but it’s my upbringing and personal inclination), and more than once I have been taken advantage of as a result. I’ve invited people to “dialog” and understand where they are coming from, to have them stab me in the back. For my post about the origins of policies of who belongs to the Jewish people and various Native American tribes, and how it doesn’t compare well with Heathenry, I got support from people who already agreed with me, but people who didn’t, ignored all the points I made and just told me I was perpetuating “white guilt” and hating white people.

So if I am so stopped by a sense of “Nice White Liberal” guilt, then I would give money to any person of color that was asking for money, but not white homeless people, because after all, they’re so privileged. And I would expect my white tenants to pay rent, and my non-white tenants to not pay rent, because my family who owns the house “owes” them. Actually I don’t. I don’t want begging going on in my neighborhood, and so to discourage it I don’t give money to people of any skin color. Instead, I give to charities.

And currently there actually is a situation in which I have one tenant who is paying rent, and 2 others who are not, which is why we are evicting them. I’ve had both great and terrible tenants of various ethnic backgrounds. I actually consider it just as racist to give special treatment to someone because they come from a historically oppressed group than to a historically advantaged one. Believe it or not, I am a white left-winger who has mixed feelings about affirmative action, that great sacred cow of liberalism. But I don’t whine about “reverse racism/discrimination”.  I actually think, if we are going to have such policies in colleges in particular, it would make more sense to give scholarships on the basis of economic need. White people who are not wealthy are getting very angry with being told that they are privileged. I think class needs to get discussed a lot more. I think disability needs to get considered more. The word “social justice” should not just get thrown around to apply equally to pseudo-causes like “otherkin oppression” or “Wiccan privilege” as actual forms of oppression & privilege. People should actually look up the origins of the term, it was invented by a Catholic monk. Discussions have in general become way too centered around individual privilege (of any type) and there is too much of an expectation in every discussion that every participant has a recent liberal arts education and knows a bunch of academic terminology.

December 14, 2014 at 3:46 am Leave a comment

For the Record

(This is a response to a couple comments I blocked, mainly to keep this as a safe space- if folks want I will make them public.)

I am a member (out of thousands) in Heathens United Against Racism, not a leader. So flattered to get your attention, Mr. Irminist! I’m waiting on hearing back from the leaders in regards to accusations that have been made. They are making inquiries. I did vote in favor of the pronouncement against Irminfolk, but I hadn’t heard of the group before, so I didn’t have some previous grudge or anything that diabolical. By the way, the inclusion of “Aryan” as a ethnic label in your by-laws was a nice touch. Does that include people from India or Persia? I’m in ADF, so I know all that obscure Indo-European stuff.

Ryan Smith, one of the leaders, publicly identifies as an anarchist (different from communist, FYI) so he’s not really into ordering us around like we’re his little minions or flying monkeys. We have people with a range of political views, and different countries as members of the group. Including Europeans.  And people with Germanic ancestry that have been told, sorry but you’re just too brown. Nothing personal. But you only require 7/8ths “Ethnic European” ancestry, right? Does that include Jews, just wondering?

I am not sure if anyone in HUAR is directly involved with Philadelphia Antifa (antifascists) Personally I am not connected with them, or any other anti-fascist skinhead group and I don’t really agree with their tactics. I most definitely prefer non-violent political action, and direct action/protest used sparingly.

I identify primarily as a Druid/Celtic polytheist, but have been exploring Heathenry, in part due to the major German and Scandinavian cultural influences here in Minnesota, and heck, my aunt is a Norwegian professor (Lutheran not Heathen but she humors me 🙂 In particular, Urglaawe (Deitsch heathenry) and Vanatru (a very UPG-based form) interest me.

I am an advocate for mental health awareness, being that I struggle with depression & anxiety myself, and I often tell people to *not* refer to racist/homophobic/sexist etc. attitudes as forms of mental illness, mental retardation since that is pretty insulting to people who actually have those conditions. The comparative friendliness and inclusiveness I’ve encountered in HUAR towards people with disabilities is in contrast to many online and offline Heathen groups- particularly ones calling themselves “folkish”. Obviously we won’t see eye to eye on matters of race, but perhaps you will re-think how to throw around words like “delusions” and “crazy”.

Religious and private organizations do indeed have the right to restrict membership according to their own criteria in the United States. As far as I’m aware, HUAR as a group at least does not advocate for changing those laws.

Religious organizations are restricted from endorsing public candidates for office, but not against advocating for various issues. Growing up in the United Methodist Church, my parents were very active in peace and civil rights movements, and now I belong to the Unitarians.

Personally I am more interested in educating people about cultural issues- and educating myself than in helping out the Southern Poverty Law Center keep track of All the Scary Racists Hiding in Bunkers ™. I kinda doubt you fit into that category anyway.  I don’t have a giant White Savior complex, and I am not plagued by white liberal guilt. Go psychoanalyze someone else, in fact I already have my own therapist, thanks! Oh wait, psychoanalysis was invented by Jewish guys. Shucks!

I do not represent an organization, political or religious. I am one woman with a blog.

December 13, 2014 at 10:30 am 3 comments

Bullies

troll dolls

I grew up in the ’90’s so this is my idea of trolls…what I have been dealing with are not trolls, but bullies. And “In My Day” there were no anti-bullying laws or anti-bullying movement- partly because when you went home, you were safe from the bullies (well, unless you had abusive parents or siblings!) because there was no Facebook and such. So instead of offing yourself, you were more likely to go play with your troll dolls. At least, that’s what I did.

My parents- and every other Important Grown-up, always told me and other kids to just ignore the bullies and they’d go away. Well sometimes it worked, but often it didn’t. Especially because I sucked at just ignoring them! Autistic kids are really easy to get a reaction out of, and we’re like bully magnets. Sometimes, when I was able, I even defended other kids who were bullied- often “fat” kids.

Oftentimes, the bullies were never punished because of “he said, she said” situations. Who started it? Who deserved what was coming to them? Was there something Darwinian about it, that weird, or awkward or weaker kids needed to be culled from the herd, and taught a harsh life lesson to conform, to “know their place”? People defending bullies often seem to think so.

Unfortunately I’ve found online Heathen groups to be pretty full of bullies, and a group I belong to has been accused of bullying behavior itself, based on calling out the policies of another group, and that they claim to have suffered repercussions for. I don’t speak for the group, I am just one individual, so I am waiting for the dust to settle and statements to be made by people in charge. Whether it’s a good idea for us to publicly identify groups that have membership policies we disagree with- I suppose can be a matter of debate- is live and let live a better policy? I don’t claim to always be in the right. It’s not always clear what doing the right thing is. I want to be clear that this blog is just *my opinions* about both religion and politics, and random other topics of interest, it does not represent any organization I belong to, religious or political, nor does the blog represent my own organization. I am not “obsessed” with race or racism, I have been writing about it a lot due to current events, and because the society I live in is pretty darn “obsessed” with race, even if it pretends it isn’t. Just because *you* don’t experience something, doesn’t make it not real.

December 12, 2014 at 10:28 pm 4 comments

Six Types of Atheists- Relevance for UUs & Pagans

Atheists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers and humanists- I identify loosely with several with those labels with the exception of atheist- in fact I feel atheists have a tendency to take over words for themselves which apply more broadly. The latest one is Pagan. Who has a “claim” to the word pagan? A messy question for another day! I see heathen get used, but usually in a more joking manner, and they generally aren’t aware of its use by Norse/Germanic pagans. What types of atheists make good allies for Pagans & UUs, and which types mesh well enough to even be included in UU & Pagan groups?

I came across this study- copy pasted it here, with some added commentary

How many ways are there to disbelieve in God? At least six, according to a new study.

Two researchers at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found that atheists and agnostics run the range from vocally anti-religious activists to nonbelievers who still observe some religious traditions.

“The main observation is that nonbelief is an ontologically diverse community,” write doctoral student Christopher Silver and undergraduate student Thomas Coleman.

“These categories are a first stab at this,” Silver told the website Raw Story. “In 30 years, we may be looking at a typology of 32 types.”

Silver and Coleman derived their six types of nonbelievers from 59 interviews. We’re pretty sure we’ve spotted all six in our comments section.

1) Intellectual atheist/agnostic (often but not always activist type) Some friendly to religious liberals, others more broadly anti-religion

This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism.

They like debating and arguing, particularly on popular Internet sites.

(Ahem.)

They’re also well-versed in books and articles about religion and atheism, and prone to citing those works frequently.

2) Activist (generally also the intellectual type, some anti-religion/anti-theist, others are more like “faitheists” 

These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.

They tend to be vocal about political causes like gay rights, feminism, the environment and the care of animals.

3) Seeker-agnostic- Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) many UUs, many Pagans- this describes me! Agnostic with a polytheistic worldview & an aesthetic/intellectual enjoyment of ritual & mythology. I feel that’s a more intellectually honest description, though I use polytheist for short. At the end of the day I feel I have more in common with them. 

This group is made up of people who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience.

Silver and Coleman describe this group as people who regularly question their own beliefs and “do not hold a firm ideological position.”

That doesn’t mean this group is confused, the researchers say. They just embrace uncertainty.

4) Anti-theist (sub-type of the activist) New Atheists, typically. This is the type that probably would *not* mesh well in a Pagan group, interfaith group, or a UU congregation! Ableist attitudes (such as “religion is a mental illness/neurological disorder” or “religious people are stupid” are disturbingly common.

This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as “diametrically opposed to religious ideology,” Silver and Coleman wrote.

“Anti-theists view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental,” the researchers wrote. “The Anti-Theist has a clear and – in their view, superior – understanding of the limitations and danger of religions.”

Anti-theists are outspoken, devoted and – at times – confrontational about their disbelief. They believe that “obvious fallacies in religion and belief should be aggressively addressed in some form or another.”

5) Non-theist (Apatheists, functionally agnostic) my partner falls in this category

The smallest group among the six are the non-theists, people who do not involve themselves with either religion or anti-religion.

In many cases, this comes across as apathy or disinterest.

“A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion,” Silver and Coleman wrote. “Religion plays no role or issue in one’s consciousness or worldview; nor does a Non- Theist have concern for the atheist or agnostic movement.”

They continue: “They simply do not believe, and in the same right, their absence of faith means the absence of anything religion in any form from their mental space.”

6) Ritual atheist (secular Buddhists & Jews, UUs, some Pagans?) Alain de Botton- Religion 2.0

I suspect for a lot of sci-fi/fantasy/comics & games fandom, fandoms can function as surrogate religions for the ritual atheists. Music & sports do as well.

They don’t believe in God, they don’t associate with religion, and they tend to believe there is no afterlife, but the sixth type of nonbeliever still finds useful the teachings of some religious traditions.

“They see these as more or less philosophical teachings of how to live life and achieve happiness than a path to transcendental liberation,” Silver and Coleman wrote. “For example, these individuals may participate in specific rituals, ceremonies, musical opportunities, meditation, yoga classes, or holiday traditions.”

For many of these nonbelievers, their adherence to ritual may stem from family traditions. For others, its a personal connection to, or respect for, the “profound symbolism” inherent within religious rituals, beliefs and ceremonies, according the researchers.

(Problem is I couldn’t figure out where a non-theistic path such as Buddhism would fit in- though I suppose it would depend on the kind of Buddhism. By secular Buddhism I mean the practice of meditation & some philosophy without the belief in karma & reincarnation. )

December 12, 2014 at 5:06 am 9 comments

How/What Did You Learn About Race?

A while back I wrote a “racial autobiography” about my experiences growing up and how l learned about racial and ethnic identity issues. I would like to challenge other pale-skinned folks- white, Caucasian, European-American/Canadian, or heck even European to write their own such autobiographies. Because when I talk with you about these issues, I know where I’m coming from, and what I’ve learned, but I’m not sure about you. Many of our friends/relatives/neighbors of other ethnic backgrounds have had to confront their skin color and ancestry on an almost daily basis, but we have the luxury of ignoring it. In fact, we’re often taught to deliberately ignore it. This makes it really hard to understand their experiences, and we probably never will on the same level that they do, but even just examining our own history and the messages we have picked up on. Remember the focus is on you and your history, your family, neighborhood etc. It seems in all these racial discussions that you want to talk about how Poor Whitey’s perspective is being ignored. OK, well here’s your chance.

If you don’t want to share your specific age, give us an idea of the time period in which you were growing up

When did you first learn about race?

What was the cultural/ethnic/racial makeup of the town/city/neighborhood(s) you grew up in?

Were there other divisions, such as class, occupation, religion, etc. that were significant? How did those affect you?

Were any of these divisions present in your family?

What were you taught about your family’s history- how recently did immigration happen? What countries did your family originate from?

Were some parts of your heritage more emphasized, or proud of than others? Were there parts you were taught (implicitly or explicitly) to be ashamed of?

Did the things you learned about race in school (history, culture etc) differ from what you learned at home?

Overall, how were people from the group you identify with portrayed in history books?

Were you taught to ignore racial slurs and comments, to confront them or to simply change the subject when it was brought up?

Did you have any personal, familial or cultural expectations factor in to who it was appropriate for you to make friends with, date, marry, adopt, do business with, where to buy/rent a house, etc.? What clothes to wear, how to style your hair, gender roles, type of music you listened to, food you ate/cooked, what occupations and forms of education were considered appropriate for some people in your community and not others? How have these expectations differed in different places you have lived?

Did you only find out about some of these “unwritten rules” after you “broke” them? Did you face any consequences for breaking these social rules?

Did reading and/or answering any of these questions cause strong feelings? Describe your feelings.

What is racism- how do *you* define it? (I keep seeing people say X isn’t racist- but Y totally is!) So what’s racism? Are there different kinds of racism? Is racism always intentional?

December 12, 2014 at 2:29 am Leave a comment

Black Lives Matter Responses

Crystal Blanton’s call for a response from Pagan & Polytheist communities has been met with many statements from organizations & individuals listed here on the Wild Hunt blog. I’m happy to add any further statements from people of any tradition, ethnicity that are anti-racist and specifically that this about the lives of Black/African-American people. I’m proud to see organizations I’m a member of of, like ADF and Heathens United Against Racism, come forward at this difficult and divisive time and stand up for what’s right. I’m disappointed by the statement given by the Covenant of the Goddess nationally- which was much too generic in nature, and I don’t blame Ms. Blanton and her coven for resigning from CoG. I’m not a member of CoG but I have attended many of their rituals over the years, and have been grateful for them providing rituals in local, bus accessible, handicap accessible locations (which a lot of other Twin Cities Pagan groups *do not*!) I’m hoping that the Northern Dawn Council, our local CoG chapter will write & release a better statement. (Shall I get off my duff & join?)

There are also some incidents going on with mistreatment of American Indians- in particular Corey Kenosh, a 35-year-old unarmed man who was killed by police. I don’t want to steal the thunder from the Black community, but this needs to be acknowledged as well. American Indians are a smaller group, and many people aren’t as aware of the American Indian Movement. I’m originally from Montana- where “No Indians” signs on stores were once as common as “Whites Only” signs in the South.

Here’s an Open Letter from LGBTQ organizations on the Bisexual Organizing Project’s website

A Commitment to Realignment & Resignation– by Crystal Blanton

Caer Jones- gets into an explanation here of what’s wrong with the CoG statement, and writes her own.

These events are showing me, more than ever how huge the gulf of understanding of racial issues is between Black and white Americans. I am seeing many of my fellow white folks who are getting it, but just as many who are not, though it is hard, please folks we need to educate the people who don’t get it. Some of them won’t listen, but some of them will. One great first step you can take is by reading the book the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, if you already haven’t.

Personally I have not said much as I’m trying to focus on getting over depression and finding a new job. Information & emotional overload does not help with that. I still care about what’s happening, but sometimes you have to take care of yourself first before you can deal bigger problems!

Here’s also something my Dad wrote on Facebook:

“I think we need to get beyond recent specific incidents that allow critics to pick through facts of the case to try and demonstrate that racism was not a factor. We need to look at the larger problem. Our society continues to be animated by subtle and not subtle racist attitudes.

People of conscience no matter their faith system must be aware of the many strata of racism in and around us and find ways to witness against it. Few things are more difficult. It must begin with self awareness and, well, transcendence. If we are afraid to speak out then we must ask ourselves why. We must be willing to risk social consequences. We must be courageous.

Within any meaningful faith system we can find wisdom and truth that can inform us. And maybe we can employ beliefs unique to our own faith that can motivate like minded folk to acknowledge the greater truth that has seemed hidden from us.

Citizens, believers, cannot easily reach the right conclusions with no outside help. So faith groups can help by offering training; by giving participants insight about what is happening around them; and suggesting specific actions they can take.

Grand juries can fail to indite but that is a technical legal process. I doubt anyone believes those officers INTENDED to commit murder. But in the mix of things going through their minds at the moment they pulled the trigger or choked the victim was race in the equation? I think it is difficult for any critical thinker to say NO!
Now that state bodies have ruled limited as they are by facts and law, the federal Justice Department can ask did these officers as individuals and as part of the law enforcement collective violate the civil rights of these men? We can hope and expect that the answer will be yes. But then we cannot just move on and wait until the next injustice presents itself. No matter the answer we are called to continue the struggle against institutional white racism.”

(Virtual hug) Thanks, Dad!

December 12, 2014 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

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