The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘white privilege

What we mean when we talk about confronting privilege

with 4 comments

Calling someone a racist is more disturbing to the mainstream than actual institutional racism. Short of witnessing a lynching, there is always some way to explain away race bias. So it goes, too, with privilege.

clipped from whattamisaid.blogspot.com
Talking about white privilege is no more racist than talking about the privileges of the able-bodied is ablist or talking about male privilege is sexist. It is a recognition of the social hierarchy that is our culture.
Confronting one’s privilege, whatever sort of privilege it is, means simply this:
– Acknowleging that a quality you possess offers an advantage over others. (That quality is often unearned like race, gender, sexuality, etc., rendering the advantage unfair)
– Recognizing the unique opportunities and successes that your privilege has afforded you
– Exploring how the less privileged are marginalized
– Working to mitigate the marginalization of the less privileged where you can
Confronting privilege is an ongoing exercise, requiring learning, self-reflection and empathy. It is a struggle to be vigilant against something that we are often completely blind to. But isn’t the struggle worth it?
blog it

h/t to Lexica at Clipmarks for finding this gem.

Do take time to read the whole wise post at What Tami Said.  White folks, we need to know this inside and out, because we can’t tell the rain from the false echoes on our culture-acclimated radar.

As Tami said: “There is always some way to explain away race bias.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by Monte

August 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Brooks: it’s “incredibly stupid” to hope Obama fails

with 8 comments

David Brooks, a thorough-going conservative and an admirably ethical political writer, took a question on C-Span that was embedded with racial and (what will seem to some unstable characters as) murderous overtones:
clipped from thinkprogress.org

David Brooks
Image via Wikipedia

Today on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, conservative columnist David Brooks ridiculed those on the right who have said they want Obama to fail. During the segment, a caller — who claimed to be phoning in from “a club” in Georgia full of “all white folks, all millionaires and good Republicans” — begged Brooks to “come on board” with Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fox News to “get on Mr. Obama’s case.” “We got to bring that man down,” the caller said, adding, “We just cannot have eight years of this black man.”

BROOKS: It’s tremendously important to put color and prejudice aside and see him for what he is, which is just an incredibly impressive smart man. […] And I just think it’s incredibly important to root for the guy, whether you agree with every policy. […] But the idea that we shouldn’t be rooting for our president strikes me as not only, I don’t know about unpatriotic, it’s just stupid. We should be rooting for our president because it’s rooting for ourselves.

blog it

It’s a wise admonition. Every American should decry talk like “We got to bring that man down,” and “We just cannot have eight years of this black man.”  That’s Klan talk, despised by people of good will across the political spectrum.

Brooks’ pleas to “put color and prejudice aside” and to cheer for whatever can be cheered for strikes me as remarkably sensible, and even good.   Conspiratorial animus rarely makes us better.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Colleges accepting more rich kids, limiting middle class and poor admissions

leave a comment »

Prestigious schools are eager, this year, to admit students whose parents pay full price. Needier students get bumped.
clipped from www.nytimes.com

Colleges Are Accepting More Students Who Can Pay Full Fare

In the bid for a fat envelope this year, it may help, more than usual, to have a fat wallet. […]
Facing fallen endowments and needier students, many colleges are looking more favorably on wealthier applicants as they make their admissions decisions this year.

Institutions that have pledged to admit students regardless of need are finding ways to increase the number of those who pay full fare in ways that allow the colleges to maintain the claim of being need-blind — taking more students from the transfer or waiting lists, for instance, or admitting more foreign students who pay full freight.

[T]hey say the inevitable result is that needier students will be shifted down to the less expensive and less prestigious schools
“There’s going to be a cascading of talented lower-income kids down the social hierarchy of American higher education, and some cascading up of affluent kids,” […]
giving more seats to higher-paying students […]
blog it

ClipMarks commenters (Boniface) wrote: “There’s the death of the middle class! The upper and lower will become more and more distant as time goes by.”

Could be.  The least, last.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

It wasn’t a black student who bumped your kid’s college admission

with 6 comments

Wanna know who did?

I sometimes hear white friends express anger that their kiddo didn’t get accepted at the U. The assumption quickly follows that he or she got bumped by someone nonwhite.

grads

Turns out the data support another conclusion: It’s more likely your kid got bumped by a white kid with a rich daddy. Privileged white kids account for nearly twice as many substandard admissions as do kids of color.

The Boston Globe’s Peter Schmidt, in an article headlined At the Elite Colleges – Dim White Kids, reported on research by the Educational Testing Service, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Educational Trust. A few excerpts: Read the rest of this entry »

Wanted: worship music

with 29 comments

Violin and Guitar, 1913Update, 12-8-08: Before you launch into this post, here’s an excerpt from a sermon that mentions something similar. You can see it in context here.

Can we look at our worship and come away with a sense that our group’s big thing is caring for humans who suffer? We’ve seen it in Jesus – nearly every single chapter, sooner or later, he’d get back to caring for human needs.  And now he’s used it to define ultimate success or failure.

Consider our songs of worship as a measure of what matters to us.  Here are some titles and first lines.  See if they reflect this passion for dishonored sufferers Jesus has been preaching about:

  1. “How beautiful!”
  2. “You are my hiding place.”
  3. “You are here, among us.”
  4. “Jesus, you are the one, gives me hope when the day is done.”
  5. I’m trading my sorrows.”
  6. “We want a new passion for Jesus – one that will burn in our hearts, like never before.”
  7. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord – I want to see you” [especially amusing, given today’s gospel story about how the good guys were the ones who served without seeing]
  8. “I’m here, to meet with you. Come and meet with me.”
  9. “Lord, I lift your name on high – Lord I love to sing your praises” [why?] “I’m so glad you’re in my life – I’m so glad you came to save us.”  [I’m so glad I work for Honeywell]
  10. “You-ou are, forever my friend.”
  11. “This is the air I breathe – your holy presence, living in me . . . and I’m lost without You.”

Nope. They’re about ooey-gooey with Jesus, as if no one else on earth existed.  And lest we get snobbish about modern Christian music, remember that that the songs in the hymnal are no more world-focused.  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. [ I’m on my way to heav’n I know, so I’ll let others be.]

The inestimable delight of sensing God’s nearness that our music reflects is a wonderful thing.  But we skipped dinner and went straight for the dessert.  What’s going to happen with that kind of diet? […]

But wait – didn’t Jesus picture himself standing at the end of time dividing the gentiles sheep from goats based upon how they cared for wounded people?  Would you think that would at least appear somewhere in our hymnology?  What is up here?

Could it be that the church has become so ensconced in pushing its own theology that it no longer reflects the priorities of Jesus himself?

Now, the real post:

We live in a day more drenched with beautiful worship music than any in history. But I need some things I can’t find.

Two years ago, I began preaching through the Bible via the Revised Common Lectionary. Why? To allow the Bible’s priorities – assumedly, God’s – a greater role in shaping my preaching priorities. If something came up a lot (I reasoned), it was because it was in the Bible a lot. So it must be important to God.

I was surprised by what those things were. For instance:

– loving one another well (building the authenticity of the community of faith) came up all the time
– God’s preferential passion for people of little earthly influence was a constant hot topic
– Jesus Christ was much more the focus of the Bible than my preaching had previously reflected
– the ongoing transformation of the people of God was the sine qua non of evangelism.

So far, so good, this was exciting.

Then I’d go looking for worship music that reflected what I was finding in Scripture.

Bzzzt! Sorry, you chose the wrong door, there’s no prize behind that one!

For building the community of faith, we’ve sung The Servant Song a lot (enough to get gentle snickers from the worship band) because there wasn’t much else! We have plenty of paeans to the glories of our radically individualistic faith, but almost nada about how “we are being built together” or “Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness” (Eph. 4.6, The Message), or “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”

For extolling Jesus’ passion for the poor, I found . . . ah . . . [imagine sound of thumping on empty barrel]. Yet Jesus insists that we serve him by serving them. It is a passion he lives and breathes – perhaps the one mentioned in Scripture more than any other – and can you think of a song or hymn that calls us to it?

As for songs that see us as a people getting better, becoming more attractive to those who can see Christ living through us – again, I’m stumped.

Weird, huh? Here is Jesus, living out these wonderful, radical, world-changing priorities . . . and those priorities are virtually invisible in the hymnology of his followers!

So, my plea: Help me out here.. Help me find worship music that tells of the longings of Jesus himself, that tells of the miraculous building of communities of love, that tells of the Master’s preferential passion for the dispossessed, that tells of the transformational reality of life together beneath the Cross, that tells of the Kingdom of God’s movement into our work and world. New or old, I’m game.

Whatcha got?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]