Jan 21, 2009

More on Lowery

This opened a huge discussion on my Facebook page with people mostly disagreeing with me. Two of the more intelligent comments were:

I didn't think Lowery's benediction was written particularly well, but I also didn't see anything wrong with it.

I heard it simply as an attempt to use humor, rhyme, and rhythm to make his point: our goal as a nation must be to achieve equality for all people, regardless of race or color. Granted, the rhyming was a bit awkward (yellow/mellow ... I don't hear anyone complaining about that), but it was hardly a statement about whites or right vs. wrong.

I agree with most of this. I DON'T hear anyone talking about the yellow/mellow comment--mostly because what the heck do you rhyme with yellow anyway? What does that mean anyway? Is he accusing Asians of being violent? Or is his only experience with Asians the equivalent of going to a Jackie Chan movie? Dunno. I don't get his point and I really think he just needed a rhyme. But as king of fairness, I'll call him on the carpet for that one too.

I didn't have much issue w/ it. He didn't say anything that hasn't been said in racial/ethnic minority communities before for years already. I suppose it could be off-putting if it's unfamiliar. I also chalk it up to a certain generational take on race that is shifting.

OK--now I'm pretty familiar with what gets said in racial/ethnic minority communities (especially church communities) but that doesn't make that right. It makes certain assumptions about an entire race of people and if that was done in reverse there'd be hell to pay. However....the latter comment I think speaks volumes. This is clearly generational and bespeaks of a man who has been hurt by white people longer than most of us have been alive. It comes from a man who watched his leader be chastised and killed for his speaking out for human rights--not only black rights. It is Dr. King's legacy that I think Rev. Lowery was trying to summon--and perhaps he did a poor job in articulating it but I'm hoping (and will take it as such) that he had no intention of making a racist statement.

Thanks to all for the comments on Facebook.

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