Baker Academic

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Quarterly Quote of the Month about White Supremacy for This Week

Photo Atlanta Black Star
"People who have never been lynched by another group usually find it difficult to understand why blacks want whites to remember lynching atrocities. Why bring that up? Is it not best forgotten? Absolutely not!  What happened to the hate that created the violence that lynched black people? Did it disappear? What happened to the hate that lynched Henry Smith in Texas (1892), John Carter in Arkansas (1927), and Reverend George W. Lee and Lemar Smith in Mississippi (1955)? Where did the hate go that opposed the black freedom movement and killed Martin Luther King Jr. and a hoste of white and black civil rights workers?... What happened to the indifference among white liberal religious leaders that fostered silence in the face of the lynching industry? Where is that indifference today? Did the hate and indifference vanish so that we no longer have to be concerned about them?... Unless we confront these questions today, hate and silence will continue to define our way of life in America....

Photo The New Yorker
Just as the Germans should never forget the Holocaust, Americans should never forget slavery, segregation, and the lynching tree.... The cross of Jesus and the lynching tree of black victims are not literally the same--historically or theologically. Yet these two symbols or images are closely linked to Jesus' spiritual meaning for black and white life together in what historian Robert Handy has called 'Christian America.' Blacks and whites are bound together in Christ by their brutal and beautiful encounter in this land. Neither blacks nor whites can be understood fully without reference to the other because of their common religious heritage as well as their joint relationship to the lynching experience.... We are bound together in Amercian by faith and tragedy. All the hatred we have expressed toward one another cannot destroy the profound mutual love and solidarity that flow deeply between us.... No two people in America have had more violent and loving encounters than black and white people. We were made brothers and sisters by the blood of the lynching tree, the blood of sexual union, and the blood of the cross of Jesus. No gulf between blacks and whites is too great to overcome, for our beauty is more enduring than our brutality. What God joined together, no one can tear apart.... If America has the courage to confront the great sin and ongoing legacy of white supremacy with repentance and reparation there is hope 'beyond tragedy.'"

--James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (2011), 164-166.

1 comment:

  1. what a great reminder. we whites, especially male whites, will never know or understand the privileges we've had, nor the hatred and projudice "other" have faced.