“Race/Racism is More Than a Church or Religious Issue”

“Race/Racism is More Than a Church or Religious Issue”

Arguably, the Christian church in America is part of a wider national problem: race relations in the American society. It is important that we should hold other institutions and systems of domination (i.e. the University, the Judicial system, the Police Force, the Military, the Financial system, Public Education, Religion) in society equally accountable to America’s racial crisis. As a social institution, the church can certainly contribute to both democratic and racial progress in society. Yet it is not the only solution to America’s racial dilemma.

The racial crisis in the American culture is more than a religious or spiritual matter. Racism is more than a problem of the human heart, contrary to what most christian pastors traditionally believe. The race problem needs more than a spiritual solution. When we examine the nation’s race plight only through the lens of the Christian Church, especially in reference to the church’s moral standard and contribution to race dynamics, I believe we are asking too much of the American church that it is able to deliver in society. In fact, the American Church is very racist and racially segregated; unfortunately, the doctrine of racial difference is a fundamental characteristic of the Christian church in America. However, while the Christian Church is part of the racial crisis in America, it is certainly part of the solution to the race concept–only if American Christians desire it to be so or contribute to this end. The Christian church in America has more than a moral obligation to the race problem.

Moreover, we should remember that race is ideological, legal, economic, educational, and also involves class and gender issues. In other words, if we desire to improve racial problems in society, we have to have a deliberate conversation about how other institutions and power-structures in this nation have also contributed to where we are right now in society. For example, we have to address the critical issue of equity both in public schools and higher education in this country. The issue of gender, ethnic, and racial representation in the nation’s institutions, companies, or workplace is more than a church problem. Further, we have to make our legal system work for everybody and challenge its racial and gender bias so that justice would be fair and equal to all, both men and women. We must also tackle the structures and systems in society that favor the rich and disfranchise the poor and the economically-disadvantaged populations; it is important to ask this vital (economic) question: why does 1% of the American population own 46% of the country’s wealth? Also, urgent questions about income distribution and inequality in wages, health issues, and living conditions are important matters that transcend the religious aspect of our racial problem. Finally, we should be thinking about how various ideologies continue to fuel and sustain the American government and its political systems, as well as the great divide in the nation’s political parties. These matters are beyond the scope and responsibility of the Church; they need to be treated in their own terms.

When we consider race as an integral feature of the American society–not just a church, spiritual, or religious issue– like other equally important matters of gender, economics, or class, we would certainly have a better idea on how to improve race relations in this country. In the meantime, we should remember that race is more than a theological or religious problem. The Christian church is not the end of race prejudice in America; yet the Christian church must make reparation for its role in sustaining chattel slavery and racial segregation in the American society.

“Let Them Testify”

I wrote a poem this morning that tells a particular story: the global narrative of Black trauma in the world and the various ways it is felt, expressed, and demonstrated through black poetry and songs. The poem is called “Let Them Testify.” It is a poem about black voices in blood and in pain.

“Let Them Testify”

Black trauma is recognized in all the places of the world:
Black trauma is visible in the streets of Ferguson;
In the slums of The Capital of the World;
in the way toward The Big Smoke;
in the road leading to The City of Light;
in the ghettoes of The Magic City.
It is acknowledged in the streets of Mini-Apple.
where George Floyd is put to rest.
Black trauma flows with the ancient rivers,
in the deep transatlantic sea;
spinning around the oldest star.

Black trauma is recognized in all the places of the world.
In language and in sound:
by reading the words of the Black flag, “A man was lynched yesterday”
by hearing the black cry, “I Can’t Breathe”
when White folks say, “I fear for my life.”
When the media (mis-) characterize black lives as:
“brutes”
“thugs”
“suspects”
“persons of interest…”
Black trauma is not just an action or a feeling
that kills men in black;
It is the language in white ink that destroys dark-skinned women.
It is the law of the land that shuts off black breath.

Black trauma is recognized in all the places of the world.
In the black pages of a black poem:
When Leon Damas writes, “A taste of blood comes to me
a taste of blood fills
my nose
my throat
my eyes.”
In the lamenting words of Aime Cesaire:
“What is mine
a lonely man imprisoned
in whiteness
a lonely man defying the white
screams of white death
(TOUSSAINT, TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE)”
When Leopold Senghor thunders:
“A factory of revolts
Raised up by long centuries of patience.
I need shocks and shouts of blood
And death!”
Black trauma is a tragic song for all to hear.

Black trauma is recognized in all the places of the world.
It is the engine that fuels black whooping, shouting, noise-making…
the voice of black folk in black rhythm and lyrics,
chronicled in the Spirituals and in The Blues:
“Don’t leave me,
Lord Don’t leave me behin…’
I’ll be buried in my grave,
and go home to my Lord and be free.”
When death rages black soul and threatens black lives,
Black trauma shouts:
“Same train, same train,
Same train, carry my mother,
Same train, carry my sister
Same train be back tomorrow;
Same train, same train.”
When The Blues singer rages:
“Oh, Ahm tired a dis mess,
Oh, yes Ahm tried a dis mess…
I’m awful lonesome, all alone and blue,
I’m awful lonesome, all alone and blue,
Ain’t got no body to tell my troubles to.”
Black trauma fills up the empty pages of the black diary.

Black trauma is recognized in all the places of the world.
I sing your suffering and pain in Kreyol,
with rage in my voice,
in the black
streets
of Port-au-Prince
of Cap-Haitien
of Jacmel
You lament my worries and anguish in the Colonizer’s language,
in the sound of the African Blues,
in a South African night,
covering their dark faces in the Black Mask,
Miriam Makeba leads the crowd,
and they sing the Freedom Song:
“Soweto blues — abu yethu a mama
Soweto blues — they are killing all the children
Soweto blues — without any publicity
Soweto blues — oh, they are finishing the nation
Soweto blues — while calling it black on black
Soweto blues — but everybody knows they are behind it
Soweto blues — without any publicity
Soweto blues — god, somebody, help!
Soweto blues — (abu yethu a mama)”
I protest your death and incarceration in Yoruba,
calling upon the Dark Continent
for a little light
to continue the fight
to end the bloodshed
and win the REVOLUTION.
You know my misery,
you riot in the streets of Senegal for my liberation,
contending white silence
white fear
white bar
white blood
white death
Black girls’ tears, I heard
in the white
streets
of Minneapolis
of New York City
of Miami
Black trauma means many Voices of Blood!

“Searching for You”

I dedicate this poem, “Searching for You,” to everyone who believes it is still possible to create a better world through human solidarity, loving empathy, selflessness, and anti-racist practices.

“Searching for You”

I have been searching for you since the day I was forcibly brought to this strange land.
four hundred years and one have passed,
you’re still not here;
I couldn’t find you when I was harassed;
You ran away from me during my long days of captivity.
You fled the scene when my oppressor uprooted me,
my family from our native land.
You deferred your strength to bring relief,
adding to my grief;
Now, I live in memory of a deferred dream,
causing my family to be ransacked;
conceived in blood, my children paid the price.
You let brutal men uncover my shame,
taking my virginity in violence and by force,
one, two, three, and even four staging the gaze,
giving me one child, two children, and even three of mixed blood to bear alone.
with flaming despairs, you allowed me to be branded on the breast,
Your absence is my pain;
your silence my sorrow.

I’ve spent my entire life craving your presence,
for four hundred years and one for your rescue.
I have searched for you in the hard places, in the desolate valley of segregation,
where my people are incarcerated and still on Death Row
to help us rise from the dark,
to lead us to the sunlit path of tranquility.
You are my good neighbor when I am weak,
my best friend when I am lonely.
You are the sure path to the mountaintop;
the spiritual light that shines in the dark.
You stand against systemic structures that
racialize
dehumanize
children of God;
you campaign against forces & powers that
alienate
incarcerate
and kill les miserables: black, brown, the poor;
and those clothed in rainbow colors.
You are the voice of enlightenment when things go wrong.
You are an ally to the poor and the marginalized,
a stronghold for the vulnerable.

I have been searching for you for four hundred years and one,
to heal my country,
to restore the place where life is cold;
relationships dreary.
You, who will not acquit the guilty for a bribe,
You, who will not deprive the innocent of her right;
You, who will put darkness out with your light.
You, who will condemn evil in this land.
When we find you, cords of falsehood will be crushed down.
How can we have communal peace and rights if you are not here?
How can we have respect for human life if you stay silent?
How can we have reparations without you leading the way?
How can we know truth and reconciliation if you are absent in our midst?
When you act, you make women and children safe in their homes;
With your words, you cast out worries;
with your strong arms, you dispel threats of death in the workplace.
You are strong enough to beat violent men and break down their arms.

I have been searching for you for four hundred years and one.
You are made up of seven perfect words, to make the world one,
The will of God has appointed you to perfect humankind,
and fulfill his promises to his image bearers.
You, the principle that regulates human life and brings balance to the world.
Your name enriches human relationships,
giving meaning to our hopelessness;
bringing joy to our sadness;
This word means tranquility.
This word is love.
This word is my folly: J-U-S-T-I-C-E.

“Cloak of the Light” :for Rayshard Brooks

As the struggle for life and freedom continues, we also continue to mourn the fragility of black existence in this country. Friday Night (June 12), a 27-year-old African-American male, by the name of Rayshard Brooks, was shot in the back and killed by Atlanta Police. Consequently, I wrote a poem tonight in his memory. In the poem “Cloak of the Light,” I reflect on the life of a frightened pregnant black mother who refuses to give birth to her black son because the world is cruel to his kind; the mother also believes that inevitably, her baby boy will experience death by monster men.

“Cloak of the Light”
for Rayshard Brooks

So often my feeling of your birth frightens me,
every day, like a dog barking in the night;
like an angry tiger in the daylight.
I always feel ready to foam with rage,
against what surrounds me;
against what denies you life and dignity;
against what hinders you from ever being a man.
She carries me inside of her and grows in grief.
She flattens her hands over her belly and makes me invisible.
She conceals the secret for nine months,
to disguise my identity.
My mother hides me in her womb,
that I won’t experience the risk of life and the pain of birth,
the harshness of this world grows in the dark;
where the cloak of light is not bright.
She covers me in her blood that is life;
your skin will lead to your death, she whispers to me;
Boy, I cannot let you out,
to a world of brutality and destruction.
Boy, monster men will break and strike you.
I must hide you deep within.
The world is not easy for your kind;
it is not made for you.
You cannot run with the wolves;
monster hunters will shed your blood;
Black child, I must not soon give you birth in this cruel world.

“The Land of Bitter Tears”

“The Land of Bitter Tears”

As a person of faith, I’ve been struggling with the problem of human suffering on the global scale, affecting all people indiscriminately. One of the reasons for this self-obsession is because I was born in suffering, and in growing up in a poor family, I have experienced suffering in a deeper level. Another reason is because I was born in a country wherein the majority of its citizens, on a daily basis, experience an immeasurable dose of suffering; it appears that they’re unable to overcome it. Also, I have also witnessed close friends, family members, strangers, and relatives who have suffered greatly and profoundly. A central topic that I have been trying to make sense of and which has occupied my mind and shaped both my intellectual and spiritual life since my seminary days is this: the issue of “Black theodicy.” I have observed the predicament of “theodicy in black” in my country of birth, in Black America, in continental Africa, and elsewhere in the global South. I articulate my own struggle and vulnerability about human suffering, especially black suffering in rapport to the goodness and presence of the Christian God in the world, in various forms of literary productions. For example, I wrote two difficult chapters about it in my new book: “Theologizing in Black: on Africana Theological Ethics and Anthropology.” Perhaps, my most difficult and painful articulation of the issue of human suffering, black theodicy in particular, appeared in the form of a poem I wrote ten years ago—only two days after the January 2010 earthquake that annihilated 300,000 lives in Haiti and caused immeasurable damages and financial deficit. I wrote this poem, “Haiti: The Land of Bitter Tears,” very late at night. I couldn’t sleep. I was severely disturbed and tormented. I was afraid. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I lost words. Language has failed me on that night. I was angry at everyone; at God; at myself; at the Haitian politicians; at the United States; at Canada; at France; at Germany; at oppressive systems and structures (i.e. capitalism, income inequality, economic injustice); and at the International Community….

As we continue to remember those who have lost their lives at the hands of brutal American Police officers and to strive for justice and equality and peace, I am also asking myself this basic query about the significance of God and the meaning of his presence and absence in the midst of incessant black death and the history of racial tragedy in the United States. Hence, I turned to the poem I wrote ten years ago. In various ways, it seems to me that America is/has become “The Land of Bitter Tears” for Black and African American people, as well as for the brown population, the poor, the marginalized groups, and the economically-disadvantaged populations.

“Haiti: The Land of Bitter Tears”
(written on January 14, 2010)

Oh, the most merciful and gracious God, why Haiti again?
Have we not had enough?
Is this what you call love?
This justice is bitter.
We, who are left behind and alienated, how shall we look up?

God of our bitter tears,
where’s grace when it’s most needed?
Where’s hope for our wretched souls?
Where’s love when hate abounds?
Kindness has left us.
Joy is no more.
Peace has renounced us.

God of our endless wounds,
has the land of freedom in black become a graveyard, and a jungle-folk?
Mourning their tragic loss,
A hundred drop of tears,
In Children’s face, they come and shed.
God of our weary years,
long ago Négrier betrayed us;
300 years of bitter herbs…
of poignant and despairing spirituals, we shall sing no more.
Trampled under the strength of the mighty ones…
200 years of failed justice and false hopes,
of foreign uses and abuses of Ayiti Cherie,
What will happen next…?
in peaceful solitude of death, we will be remembered.

God of our silent nights,
have not our weary feet stumbled?
Who will write our story?
Who will write you songs of praise?
Sing joy in the realm of the loss?
How about morning melody?
Have we all been together erased and excommunicated?

God of our heavy sorrows,
if we must die, let it not be like orphans or dogs,
Nor those without hope
May we forever forget?
May we evermore trod?
It’s a long road to Guinea, of eternal dark days ahead
No sun will shine for us, in our dark land.
We know all the roads of the world,
since we were sold in slavery, long ago.

God of our darkened days,
will the moon guide our sleepy paths?
Will we sing the spirituals of the age-old Nile in the new land?
Silence, separation, tears, lynching, all we know and experienced.
We are fragmented and split between;
we knew hope, but experienced bitter tears;
shall we hope again?
We also knew how to count;
shall we count again?
Will another song spring forth from our voice to the sky?

God of our forgotten trials,
on your unqualified loving-kindness,
unconditional mercy and unreserved love,
We shall stand and fall…
Upon the Lord above, in hope our soul shall rest,
Standing tall at thy summit…
Lest we forget Thee…
Lead us into thy Light…
Toward freedom we shall march…
Oh, God of our weary years,
in the land of our bitter tears.

“Let us BEGIN AGAIN”

“Let us BEGIN AGAIN”

For such a time as this, one thing that is true about the Black Lives Matter Movement is this: it has become a global, intercultural, and interracial BUZZ. People around the world can identify injustice when they see it; they can also identify hatred and bigotry when they see it happen, even to strangers. The world is tired about how America treats its Black citizens and its most vulnerable populations. The question before us as a nation and people is this: how are we going to move forward? how are going to cure the American soul that has been wounded since the foundation of this Republic. We’ve had an awful beginning. Our foundation is not a glorious one. We have written the most lofty Constitution in the world. Our Bill of Rights is another groundbreaking document in the modern world. These important documents must help us to foster and sustain hope, justice, rights, peace, and freedom for all Americans. We must embody their ideals in practical life so we can live in peace and harmony with each other. No other nation and no other people can do it for us. We are the masters of our own destiny, and the cure to our own wound.

This American nation began in the shed blood of the most vulnerable groups and the racially-outcast folks.
The Black problem is never a racial issue; it is more than that. The Black problem is inherently an American issue that we as a people must engage and end, even now. (What black people in this country are striving for is equality, not revenge.) We must learn how to love other individuals our systems, laws, and even our hearts do not allow us to do so. Love here is a command; can we command love? Yes, absolutely! Can you command a feeling? Love is more than a feeling; it is a sacred obligation. Love is the moral responsibility that we must practice and embody every day in this society if we want to recreate this society and move forward as a nation.

As a people, we must begin again. If we have to start off from scratch and with a blank piece of paper, it will even be worth it to use a new ink to write a new American history in the twenty-first century. As a group, we must create another country for the common good, human flourishing, our children, and the future generation. Future possibility is “the possibility” we must now embrace toward a new creation and national renewal.

” We Must Begin Again: The Life Tamir Rice Gave”

“We Must Begin Again: The Life Tamir Rice Gave”

Most of you probably remember the popular news report about the 12-year-old African American boy, by the name of Tamir Rice, who tragically died about six years ago. The Cleveland (Ohio) Police officer Timothy Loehmann killed the boy on November 22, 2014 because Tamir Rice was holding a replica toy Airsoft gun in his hand that threatened Mr. Loehmann’s life. A toy gun?

Tamir Rice died because he was perceived as and even believed to be a threat to the Officer. As a parent and father of two black boys, I was utterly disturbed, shocked, and even troubled in 2014 at the hearing of the unwarranted death of this young life that was taken away from his mother and father, siblings and friends, and classmates and from all of us, meaninglessly and mercilessly. In November 22, 2014, my son Joshua was then 9 years old, only three years younger than Tamir (Josh would have turned 10 in December 23, in the same year.); my other son Terrence was actually 11 years old, only one year apart—Tamir and Terrence’s ages were too close. After I related the message to them, I looked at them intently, attempting to hide both my tears and my anger. Josh said to me, “Dad, I already read in the news about the death of Tamir Rice.”

As most people of this nation continue to engage in critical self-reflection and the process of (personal and collective) conscientization, and protest Police brutality toward blacks, last week, as a member of this American nation, I was also reflecting about the fragility of black lives in the American society, in particular, of the innocent death of Tamir Rice; I was also thinking about the deep wound this nation is undergoing. As a result, I wrote a poem entitled “Liberté noire.” I dedicate the poem to Tamir Rice. Yet this poetic narrative is beyond Tamir; paradoxically, it is my labor of love made in intense agony, joy, and pain about the price of existence and freedom in black. As James Baldwin called us to this “moral responsibility” and urgent “future” task: We must build “a new nation” and “begin again” to save the wounded soul of America— only if we want to redeem ourselves and create a society characterized by justice, love, and peace, in which everyone is armed with the appropriate tools and resources to flourish and enjoy existence, rights, and freedom.


“Liberté noire”
for Tamir Rice

Liberté noire has no beginning and no end.
Black liberty is not from the East, West, North, or from the South.
It was birthed in the mother land in pain;
grew in resistance in exile;
and triumphed over death in plantation homes.
Pain, resistance, and death are its roots;
its branches are painted with drops of sang noir that is life;
of collectable soufle noir that is sacred and God-like.
Liberté noire is deep in you and me.
Black freedom is for all of us.

Liberté noire cannot be restrained
nor should it be tamed by any hand;
God above, bid us to sing the Blues.
The devil below, woo us to dance with the crew.
We escaped the dance with death;
we sang the blues to tell the truth.
I heard a sorrow song, from the streets of Cleveland,
rising up from the lungs of Tamir Rice;
I heard a sorrow song, from Ferguson to Minneapolis,
coming deep from Michael Brown’s soul;
bathed in the blood of Amadou Diallo;
I looked around and saw Eric Garner and Michael Brown faded, losing their breaths.
I felt in the marrow of my bones voices and tears coming down,
from the mothers of Manuel Loggins Jr. and Ronald Madison;
deep like the depth of the ocean.
How many of US US US
have gone
SINCE 1619?
In the name of the Father,
In the name of the Son,
In the name of the Holy Spirit.
giving us religion in pain;
offering our prayers in vain;
singing their songs with no end.
God made us black and shaped our soul;
we struggle in the dark to be in his light.
we fashioned a man, who is black and our Christ.
in our side, day and night.
God in black face called us to be,
directing our every step toward life,
planting in our hearts a new song of freedom,
walking as children who are free.
Liberté noire means BLACK LIBERATION without conditions.

Liberté noire cannot be hidden.
It is our coumbite to claim and finish;
step by step, together as one;
Natasha McKenna, Kendra James: show us the way;
Freddy Gray, Philando Castile, will light the torch;
We will fly;
in solidary, we are flying;
We will march;
stained by the blood of our righteous black brother and sisters, we are marching;
We will fight;
along the way, we are fighting in death valleys, when;
in all seasons, where;
in Cleveland, Maryland, Minneapolis, Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas…
will I see your hands revolt?
Beneath the banner of liberté noire, we are marching,
Standing tall, the marginalized!
Rising up, my people!
Moving upward, the wretched of the United States!
to claim your freedom, lakou by lakou.

Liberté noire is a precious gem.
It cannot fade or die.
It blossoms, in all seasons.
for the common good;
for human flourishing; yet
the suffering that inhabits my people
dehumanizes
chokes
knows no days and nights;
does it have a name?
RACISM
RACISM
RACISM
INEQUALITY
INEQUALITY
INEQUALITY
the burden that my people bear
destroys
irritates our throat;
the thing around our neck bleeds,
the thing that hits our mouth agonizes,
the injury in our chest leaves a scar;
does it have a name?
POLICE BRUTALITY
BRUTALITY
BRUTALITY
VIOLENCE
VIOLENCE
VIOLENCE
toward you and me.
How many of ME ME ME
have been kidnapped, kidnapped, kidnapped…
auctioned, auctioned, auctioned….
sold, sold, sold….
tortured, tortured, tortured…
raped, raped, raped…
suffocated, suffocated, suffocated…
died, died, died…
SINCE 1619?
Liberté noire must face its enemy.

Liberté noire is here to stay,
to deliver in times of disaster and calamity.
giving us, a new name;
clothing us, in royal robe;
we will finish the task of our FREEDOM;
we will embark on a new journey;
whether you’re Nigerian or African American,
live in Africa or the African Diaspora,
black or white,
Asian or brown,
mixed or yellow,
boy or girl,
male or female,
woman or man,
whether you’re from the North or from the South,
from the East or from the West,
there will be NO DISCRIMINATION.
All will be invited.
We’re going to create a global village.
We must begin again.
BEGIN AGAIN
BEGIN AGAIN
BEGIN AGAIN
We must create a new nation.
NEW NATION
NEW NATION
NEW NATION
Liberté noire will take us there.
Black freedom is for all of us.

The Haitian American Council of St Lucie County: HAC Academic Scholarship, 2019-2020

The Haitian American Council of St Lucie County: HAC Academic Scholarship, 2019-2020

HAC is pleased to announce its inaugural academic scholarship for the academic year 2019-2020. In particular, we are pleased to invite graduating seniors of St Lucie and Indian River county public schools to apply.

Please download the application. Fill it out and email it with the required documents to Dr. Celucien Joseph , drcelucienjoseph@gmail.com

*** For more information on how to apply for the scholarship, please watch the videos posted here in English and Kreyòl.

Application deadline: Saturday, June 13, 2020.


The Haitian American Council of St Lucie County: HAC Bous Akademik pou Ane Eskolè, 2019-2020

HAC envite tout etidyen ki nan dènye ane lekòl nan lise e k ap gradye ane sa pou ka aplike pou yon bous Akademik pou ane eskolè 2019-2020. Nou bay preferans a tout elèv ki anrole nan yon lise nan St. Lucie ak Indian River Counties pou aplike.

Lè ou finn komplete aplikasyon an, voye li ak tout dokiman ke nou mande yo nan imèl sa a: Dr. Celucien Joseph, drcelucienjoseph@gmail.com

*** Pou plis enfòmasyon sou aplikasyon an, gade video ke nou afiche sou sit la.

Dat pou voye aplikasyon and ak tout dokiman yo: Samdi 13 jwen, 2020.

“President Trump and his Use of the Bible as tool of Terror, Legitimacy, and for Military Pacification

“President Trump and his Use of the Bible as tool of Terror, Legitimacy, and for Military Pacification”

What President Donald Trump has done today, standing in front of St. John’s Church and holding the Bible in his right hand and pronouncing words of threat to street protesters through the deployment of military force, is a momentous symbolic gesture in the history of the function of the Bible in American politics and civil religion, as well as the ambivalent rapport between the Bible and the American state.

Overall, in American history, the Bible was used in many “negative ways” such as first to support the invasion of the European pilgrims and puritans in the land of Native Americans. The European (Christian) colonizers in the country that will be known today as the United States of America deployed the Bible as a mechanism to proselytize native Americans and to demonize their culture and traditions. They also utilized the Bible as a tool of pedagogy and instruction to inform Native Americans that their own land was not truly theirs; by contrast, the God of the Bible, the European Mighty Deity has given the invaders, slavers, and colonizers a new land, a new country, what their Christian colonizers famously called “the City upon the hill.” The Europeans also used the Bible not only to keep the land for themselves but also to forcefully remove, dislocate, and annihilate Native Americans from their own country.

In other epochs in American history, the Bible has been the greatest weapon used and misused to kidnap Africans from continental Africa. It was instrumental in instituting the system of European slavery and colonization in the Americas and in the developing world (i.e. the Global South). The Holy Book as the Reference Text was used to enslave the Africans or keep them in chain and oppression on American soil. Equally, it was used and misinterpreted to justify the system of slavery and through which, slave masters and the American government maintained the institution of slavery in America. Slavery flourished for 400 years in the American society through the government and masters’ theological (mis-) interpretation of the Bible. Correspondingly, the Bible was used on European slave ships, on American slave plantations, in American plantation homes, in American slave auctions, and in American schools created for African slaves. The use and misuse of the Bible by the American government, racists, white nationalists, white supremacists, and segregationists strengthened the system of segregation and the Jim Crow laws for 87 years in the American society; complementarily, the Bible was effectively deployed by the Federal government to legally ban interracial love and marriage between blacks and whites.

Within these historical trajectories and cultural-political experiences, President Trump’s use of the Bible today is historically connected to the misuse of the Bible as a tool to terrorize people, to legitimate his action, and to call upon American military force to pacify street protesters.

  1. Trump’s gesture reinforces a long European-American tradition that the Bible can be referenced as a means to pacify protesters and freedom fighters in the midst of racial violence, systemic racism, Police brutality, oppression, and in the production of cultural evil and the triumph of black death in the American society. Trump’s god is a deity who does not care about black tears and racial trauma.
  2. Trump’s gesture reminds us about the (mis-) use of the Bible in the time of (American and European) slavery and (Western) colonization to indoctrinate black and brown people to embrace the master’s interpretation of the Christian faith and white supremacist theology of Christianity. Trump’s biblical hermeneutics is out of balance.
  3. Trump’s symbolic action strengthens the ambivalent relationship between American civil religion and the American state, sustained by right-wing American Christians. In other words, he is stating that his presidency is approved by the God of the Bible.
  4. Trump’s holding of the Bible in his right hand and pronouncing the threat that he will be using the country’s military forces to stop American street protesters sent an important signal to the American people: that his action to threaten, intimidate, terrorize, and even kill American protesters is sanctioned or approved by the Holy Bible.

In conclusion, in contemporary American society, the Bible still remains the most powerful tool, reference, and force used and misinterpreted by white supremacists and racists, and right-wing Christians and politicians to deny some people of their rights and humanity, to delegitimize them in the life of this nation and its citizenship, to terrorize them, and to exclude them from the privileges and opportunities this nation has to offer. The Bible should never be used to declare war on people nor should it be used as a political strategy to win future votes.

For more information about President Truko, click on the links below:

https://nypost.com/2020/06/01/president-trump-mobilizing-us-military-to-end-george-floyd-riots/

https://www.nbcnews.com/video/trump-stands-in-front-of-st-john-s-church-holding-bible-after-threatening-military-action-against-protesters-84206661837

“Jazz in the Moon”

I wrote a new poem about the intersection of black love and freedom, and how black couples should nurture black love in the midst of racial trauma and violence in America. The strength to love while black is grounded on the liberating message of Blues and Jazz. I dedicated the poem to a “girl whose color is black and life.” The poem is called “Jazz in the Moon.”

“Jazz in the Moon”

When I look in the mirror, who do I see?
I see ME, a man dressed in a black body,
I see YOU, a black woman dressed in your color that is life,
searching for a new melody;
freedom through self-improvisation,
bringing emotional satisfaction.
Nothing will stop us from climbing to the top:
old lyrics will not go,
racism and sexism will find their way.
My body has grown strong,
your form is beauty to me,
because of a new Jazz song.
I will reach the mountain top,
to a place beyond,
to play the new Jazz song in the weary moon,
chasing the rainbow, with the Blues,
climbing the magic latter,
letting the new story unfold.
You will be with me on the highest hill,
escaping racial violence and trauma,
liberating from the nation’s oppression.
I am a prisoner of your love;
You, an ambassador of my voice.
No one can tell us otherwise.

I awoke last night to break anew
with endless freedom and energy,
a new song on my lips break-through.
I will not delete the lyrics,
I can’t stop the dance;
for the journey has been a year-long.
It is time for me to grandly arise.
in their eyes, against their muse.
Will you move your body on the dance floor,
and join me to dance to the new beat?
Let us do our swing.
Our children will not be oppressed.
The black man will not be put to death.
The black woman will not be executed.
We will enjoy liberation with the new song.
Jazz will lead to a new birth.

Old memories of this land will cross the path,
will suffer and die.
our freedom will not be denied;
we will escape the rain,
riding on a new train.
You and I will craft a new map for the world,
on behalf of our people,
for boys and girls,
men and women,
white and black,
brown and yellow too,
and for everyone on the race,
exploring the new map for a new world.
We will be divine, playing Jazz in the moon.

You and I will not die without swinging.
You are no ordinary dancer.
We can climb the highest mountain,
Your body improvises through the Blues,
initiating a swing that is new,
the music moving deep in our soul,
in a dozen ways, we will see the color of our destiny.
in our own terms, we will rest in peace,
forgetting all of our troubles in the land,
the new Blues song sets us free.
They say: “You are two swingers who dance Jazz in the moon to create a love supreme.”