Tag Archive: Austin Channing


talk

oh wow, what to leave out this week… there has been a lot of goodness and just importance flying around the internet… i don’t expect you to read all these things but at the very least, please scroll down and pick one thing you missed and then if you enjoy it please SHARE it with your social media people – some important stuff to get eyes on this week:

MOST INSPIRING:

Abundance > Scarcity: As the procession towards Christmas picks up pace, our good friends @4CommonChange have launched The Generosity Project which calls for 25 days of generosity. With daily articles and creative ideas on how that might look for you and your family over the next couple of weeks.

#generousliving #generosityproject #GiveMoreSpendLess

MOST INSTRUCTIVE:

Before you disagree [on matters of race etc]:Some thoughts i had after engaging with Austin Channing [black woman in Americaland whose writing i really appreciate] on a topic we disagreed on, focusing on listening and trying to hear rather than simply making my point.

MOST IMPORTANT:

An open letter to my White Friends, in South Africa and Americaland: There are people saying a lot of these things much better than me, but this conversation i feel is SO VITAL and NECESSARY and the time for white people to be uninterested, disengaged or apathetic should be long gone.

MOST SCATHING

The Big Read: 16 Days Dead on Arrival: Tom Eaton’s piece that he wrote for the Times takes a look at the “16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse” campaign and reveals where he thinks the organisers ma have missed the point.

MOST PRACTICAL

12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson: This piece i found really helpful as a white person wanting to know how i can be a white ally with regards to the situation in Americaland in terms of racial tension and inequality.

MOST CHALLENGING AND PRACTICAL HELPFUL FOR PARENTS

Are we Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids: Despite not being a biological parent, i have a lot of time and respect and love for those who are and so articles like this catch my attention and for some of you this will be an important and helpful post [not by me].

MOST UNLIKELY TO BE UNSEEN

This playful video of me and tbV wishing you the most merriest of Christm-asses will stay firmly lodged in your brain in the very best of ways.

MOST TRUTHFUL

Not a big fan of statistics myself, but this graph don’t lie:

pyramid

FROM THE TWITTERER:

‘Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.’ [Elie Wiesel]

‘Two ears. Two eyes. One mouth. [Use them in that order]’

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.” [June Jordan 1970s Poem for South African Women]

Chanting “All Lives Matter” or tweeting it erases the reality that Black ppl die in greater numbers than other races.  [@grimalkinrn]

Justice won’t be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. BE OUTRAGED  [@peaceforus4ever]

Also i have been investing in a little bit of Hashtag game distraction amidst all the overbearingly serious:

The Foot and Mouth

Brawl the Presidents Men

Scratch Me If You Can

American History Solve for X

Sniffing Ryan’s Privates

tiredcover

What about you? What blog posts or articles caught your eye this week? What has been making you think or laugh or be challenged or go, ‘Wo!’? What have you written on your blog that is worth taking a look at?

Leave us a link in the comments for our weekend reading…

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This morning i was browsing Facebook and i came upon a status from my friend Nkosivumile Gola [who has written a number of posts for this blog] that read like this:

The land question is very personal, the land includes my whole being it is the very me. The land question is very emotional its not an intellectual talk. I don’t have a nice way of saying we want the land, I can’t smile when I’m talking about land.

Followed by 50 or so comments [and still going on] of which i think i was the only white person engaging. Trying to listen and really hear and understand.

Having opened my blog up somewhat to conversations about Race-related themes and issues over the last few months, and having connected with some new friends and been talking about race i have come to realise that for many black people in South Africa, land reform and restitutional justice are huge topics. I don’t know of many of my white friends that even have an opinion or understanding of this. Or how deep the hurt related to this topic lies

 

land

 

AMERICALAND 

As far as Americaland goes, it is becoming difficult to keep up. Last week it was the news that Darren Wilson [the white police officer who was responsible for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson] was not going to be indicted. Today it is the somehow more surprising news that Daniel Pantaleo [the white police officer who allegedly put an illegal choke hold on Eric Garner which led to his subsequent death] was also not going to be indicted, despite there being quite clear video footage of the incident [that to my reckoning shows a blatant choke hold].

#Ferguson, #MikeBrown,#BlackLivesMatter, #EricGarner, how many hashtags do we need before significant change starts to happen?

As i have been following Ferguson pretty closely, and especially the Christian voices on it, I have noticed that the black voices are very vocal, where for the most part [and there are some incredible exceptions], the white voices are remaining silent.

Austin Channing, who is one of the people i have a lot of respect for in this conversation, tweeted this a couple of hours ago:

I need this to matter. What use have I for a Church that doesn’t believe I am worthy of justice, love and humility? [@austonchanning]

 

eric

 

CHURCH

South Africa… Americaland… i imagine these conversations need to be had elsewhere, but these are the countries i have spend time in the last couple of years and so they are forefront in my mind and heart.

The contexts are quite different in some ways [Majority Oppression vs Minority Oppression, Restitution vs Present Day Justice] but there are some eerie similarities:

# For the most part a lack of white interest, engagement, outrage, action. There are white people who are involved and are making waves and using their platforms and showing up, but they are way too much the exception.

# A seeming lack of joining the dots of what is happening in the country politically being linked in any way to what we, as the church, believe, or should believe based on
 

 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

[Micah 6.8]

Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

[Isaiah 1.17]

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

[Proverbs 29.7]

 

And then Jesus aiming this at the religious ones of His day, in Matthew 23:

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides!You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

 

As white people [those who in many instances hold the power for change in both situations] it is not good enough for us to sit back and be uninvolved and unengaged and let injustice go on around us.

In terms of the land reform conversations that need to take place in South Africa, i do not even come close to knowing the answers, but i do know that i am not informed enough, and so one thing i can do is this action based on this status i stuck on to Facebook a few hours ago:

Have decided if i truly am for unity, reconciliation and justice in my beloved South Africa, that i have a bit of reading to do. There is a lot i need to hear and understand from different voices to the ones that informed me growing up. So i could use some suggestions of good books to start with and interested to know if any of my white friends would be up to journeying this journey with me and maybe we could book club it [even if we’re in different parts of the country] so that we can share the costs of a big pile of books. My first recommendation was ‘Sobukwe led the road to Robben Island’ by Dr. Motsoko Pheko – what else do you think would be helpful?
 
I was reminded of this great quote which sums up the work ahead.

‘Freedom is not free. The price of freedom is selfless service, suffering and sacrifice.’ [Dr. Motsoko Pheko]

 

Getting involved, putting your hand up, being informed and taking action are not easy or comfortable or free things. There is a cost and it will require effort and time and buy-in and some form of sacrifice along the way. It requires us to get intentional about how we do or don’t engage with this much needed conversation.

In Americaland, the church at large needs to get involved. We need to hear outrage from white people [the black people are already there and have been for so long and are dying for us to pitch up and listen and hear and feel and cry out alongside them – they are not needing you to lead this revolution, they just need you to show up!]

 

Here are some more tweets from Austin Channing, which i found devastating, more so because of how true they are:

Are you really okay that policing for black lives is different than policing for your life?

Is it okay that our sunday school children have to split up by race to receive different lessons on what to expect from police?

Show us. Show us that its not ok. Stand with us. Let us mourn. Hell, why aren’t you mourning? Let us be angry. You should be angry too.

The cycle of systemic racism and interpersonal racism are robbing the lives of black people and robbing the humanity of white people.

Either you believe we are all created in the Image of God and should be treated accordingly or you do not.

Don’t you see, we all lose? Don’t you see why the Church cant ignore this issue? Cant you see why being “apolitical” is not an option?

Because that’s really the point isn’t it? “Oh no, church and politics shouldn’t mix.” What verse was that from again? While there might be a place where church and politics mixing is not the heathiest of ideas, this goes beyond that.

This is about justice. This should concern all of us, but especially for people who call themselves followers of Jesus, this stuff should be in our D.N.A. This is what we’re about.

 

Kimberley Brusk just nailed it – this is the point – what is your response going to be?

Justice won’t be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. BE OUTRAGED  @peaceforus4ever

 

My white friends, my white family, white strangers who i don’t yet know, but who some reason have landed in this place, we are the unaffected ones [directly] and it is time for us to be outraged and informed and engaged.

Or may God have mercy on us.

austinfish

i read this blog post by Austin Channing on Black on Black violence in which she stated,

Racism is White-on-Black violence.

In 1619, the first twenty Africans were brought over as labor for the new colonies. Within one generation the white majority had defined black people as permanent slaves and non-human property. This created a social order in which black people were only valuable for their ability to support a white dominated society that was economically prospering off of the stolen land of Native Americans and the stolen labor of African Americans. Consequently, a system of White-on-Black violence was born.

She went on to give examples and discuss her understanding of it more fully and i highly recommend you go and read the rest of her post.

i decided to challenge the idea that racism is only possible for whites [which i have seen suggested in other black-written posts i have read around the #Ferguson conversation]

“One thing i see as problematic is the definition of Racism as White-on-Black violence. That is a huge and maybe overwhelmingly huge part of the definition of it for sure. But it is not truthful or honest to suggest that that is the only way that racism occurs.”

Austin replied to my comment with her own:

I appreciate your interaction with this piece and many other pieces that Christena and I have written. I won’t speak for her, but I must say that racism as a system built on white superiority is absolutely created by white people. Blacks didn’t come here in awe and worship of whiteness and together create a system of enslavement. Now prejudice or discrimination could certainly be opened wide to tall, but racism is without question a system planned and executed by whiteness. As for internalized racism being a driving factor in black-on-black crime, you will not only find that Christena, Drew, Efram and I can make that assertion but MANY african americans. Of course, you have every right to disagree, but I say this only to broaden it beyond the writers. This is not something we sat around and dreamed up- just the four of us. There many in the black community who make this connection.

And i replied to her comment, but the internet ate it.

As i was thinking about what she said though, I had another thought which feels like a truly valuable one, especially for conversations like this.

My wife Valerie is really good at bringing it up and reminding us. Three years ago we moved to Kensington in Philadelphia to work with a non-profit called ‘The Simple Way.’ At the end of our time there one of the things we realised we could have done better was taking more time to listen and watch and just be, before coming up with any of our own ideas and ‘solutions’ and plans.

How this relates to this conversation with Austen is that my starting place is that i don’t believe racism can only be something that white people can be afflicted with. But Austin does. And i have been reading that same thought in a number of other black writers i have been reading. So maybe there is something for me to learn. And instead of jumping in to defend and argue and make my view heard, let me just take a moment to try and hear and understand what they mean when they say that racism is a whites-only problem. Maybe there is something for me to learn here.

i tend to be someone that rushes into battle mouth first. Always great for getting a point across, but not often helpful for learning anything…

listen

i came upon this saying while i was looking for a graphic to illustrate this idea and i really like it:

TWO EARS. TWO EYES. ONE MOUTH. [Use in that order]

Do i listen with the intent to understand? i find that as i have gotten older, that is something i have been working on and do a lot better. The three years we spent in Americaland were very tough years in a number of ways but i do believe they helped me become a better person in this area. One thing that helped was hanging around people who asked really good questions. i can see that in tbV – i think she has really grown in that area and asks phenomenal questions – the difference between a superficial conversation and a meaningful one. So great to watch and hopefully be learning from.

One thing we hoped for when we returned to South Africa, and prayed for, and have seen happen [but desire so much more of] is to host conversations that are transformative or dig deep into really meaningful and significant issues. We want to see people challenged and changed [and for us to be those people too] by some of the conversations we have around our dinner table or in our living room. Conversations about money and poverty and racial reconciliation and what church looks like outside the building and more.

dinner

i believe that one of the ways to move forward in this area is to have people sitting around your dinner table who don’t look like you. But possibly an even harder step is to invite people to meals who don’t sound like you – who think differently about areas you have strong opinions about. That is what will provide good challenge to the ideas you hold firmly to. You are likely to learn less from those who think exactly the same way you do, right?

So that is one thing we are looking forward to when we finally have our own place. To host meals and conversations. To listen. To look. And maybe then, sometime after, to speak.

[For a number of conversations happening around Race and Reconciliation issues, click here]

[For a glimpse at some Taboo Topics we rarely speak about, click here]

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