Americans have always believed that the devil likes to play politics. Colonial leader Henry Hugh Brackenridge claimed in 1778 that Satan inspired George III’s allegedly ruthless policy toward the colonies. Two decades later, Federalists claimed that the nascent Democratic Party had put forward the antichrist as a presidential candidate in the form of Thomas Jefferson. Later Jedidiah Morse, inventor of Morse code and end-times enthusiast, explained to audiences the Devil’s role in Jeffersonianism. He even claimed to have a list of Democrats who belonged to the Illuminati (though like Joe McCarthy, Morse never showed anyone his proof). The History Channel miniseries The Bible has been alleged to continue this trend.
I thumbed through a stack of Xeroxed images, looking at the multiple faces of Jesus that a friend compiled for her theology paper. She had gone to the library and photocopied profiles from around the globe.
The good news: the U.S. will now have the highest number of African-American senators ever. The bad news: that number is two. Out of 100.
In Clearly Invisible, Marcia Alesan Dawkins explores passing—presenting oneself as a member of a racial group to which one does not belong. Dawkins argues that passing is a rhetorical act that “forces us to think and rethink what, exactly, makes a person black, white or ‘other,’ and why we care.”
The nation's changing racial and ethnic profile will bring political change. But we can also expect it to elicit fear and resistance.
Several current tales of Snow White nod at feminist critique—while leaving the old paradigms for female power and beauty intact.
Race lies behind the widespread belief that Obama is a Muslim, was born outside the U.S. and is something other than a genuine American.
"The U.S has created a vast legal system for racial and social control, unprecedented in world history. Yet we claim to be colorblind."
Brian Bantum, a theologian at Seattle Pacific, was mentioned in the Century's recent article on the new black theology. Readers intrigued by that topic will be interested in Bantum's comments on a book on racial reconciliation written by a white Minneapolis preacher, John Piper.
Last weekend, ESPN fired an editor who posted a racially offensive headline about NBA player Jeremy Lin; the network also suspended an anchor who used the same term. And taking the Lin coverage as a starting point, SNL produced a parody mocking a media double standard: stereotypes about Asian Americans are acceptable, but stereotypes about African Americans are offensive. The Lin media storm exposes the myth of a colorblind society. As much as we want to believe in meritocracy, equality and individuality, we rely on racial assumptions to make sense of the world and those around us. In many cases, the assumptions carry real consequences.
When black theologians focused on nontraditional and extra-Christian sources, white theologians had an excuse to ignore them. Not anymore.
In Redeeming Mulatto, Brian Bantum addresses the American tendency to understand race relations in binary terms.
Texts about "striving" make me itch. They bring to mind our own cultural commitments to speak about lifting ourselves by our own bootstraps to reach high goals.