Smart people saying smart things (10.5)

Smart people saying smart things (10.5) October 5, 2014

David Sheff, “If You Want to See Inequality in the US at its Worst, Visit an Impound Lot”

When I reached the front of the line, I handed the clerk my credit card, on which she charged $472. I retrieved my car and drove home. I left behind the roomful of my fellow citizens, a disparate group bound together by the fact that they didn’t have the cash or credit required to free their impounded cars, a fact that threatened livelihoods, stressed families and broke budgets, forcing some people to choose between essentials and paying fees that would continue to accumulate and leave them without another essential, transportation, which in turn could lead to other calamities. If they didn’t find a way to pay the fees, they would ultimately lose their cars (the city auctions them), a loss that for some would be a devastating setback. For me, a towed car was an inconvenience. For them, it was a catastrophe.

Fred D. Robinson, “What God Is Screaming in Ferguson, Missouri”

It is a can’t-we-all-just-get-along-model that sweeps the issues of structural injustice under the rug. Such a model allows us to feel good about our diverse congregations while nothing meaningful is being done to make significant changes in society.

It ignores the fact that we have to do more than call sinners to repentance, we have to call societies, systems and structures to repentance as well. Indeed, simply baptizing an institution in diversity — whether they are churches, the police force or corporate America — without transforming the injustice on which the institution is built, doesn’t make it holy.

No — it just makes it integrated injustice.

Austin Channing Brown, “Justice Then Reconciliation”

Reconciliation requires more than a rainbow of skin-tones at the 11 o’clock service. Diversity without justice is assimilation. And assimilation makes clear whose culture is the favored one, the good one, the right one, the holy one. If your culture is the standard for rightness, you have found the Imago Dei in others to be insufficient. It is the definition of racism- the assumed superiority of your race, your culture, your way of being. We can discuss who is assimilating into what, how and why, but a pound of diversity without an ounce of justice, is not reconciliation. Reconciliation is how we respond after being told we are racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, ageist, ableist congregation hiding behind platitudes of love rather than acting justly. Reconciliation is having our hearts broken that people are experiencing these things, not having our feelings hurt for being called out on it. Reconciliation is staying in relationship until all these are cast out and love reigns.

Mychal Denzel Smith, “On sexism in the alt-lit community and a message for all us wanna-be male feminists”

I am a wanna-be. We’re all wanna-bes. Any man claiming to be a feminist, adhere to a feminist politics, be a feminist ally, to do feminist activist work – we’re all wanna-bes. The unlearning of misogyny, sexism, and patriarchy is not done by standing on proverbial mountaintop and shouting “I Am a Feminist.” You can’t purchase a bunch of “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” T-shirts and think you’ve got it down. You can’t be “good” just because you’ve declared yourself so.

David Roth, “The Ballad of Marine Todd” (via)

Marine Todd and his cousins are not part of a conversation, or even an argument. As much fun as Twitter had remixing and goofing on it, there is really no responding to it. These memes are ways of broadcasting a very particular type of brand loyalty, of announcing — through a bit of graffiti on a Facebook wall or a supportive retweet — belief in a certain view of things.

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