Archives For racism

In what the U.K Telegraph called an ‘unlikely alliance  Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has backed an Afrikaner lobby group ‘to fight the South African government’s plans to take land from white owners without compensation.’[1]

The U.K Times reported that King Zwelithini’s ‘motivation in working with “the Boers” was their shared concern for the country’s food security, which he feared would be threatened if President Ramaphosa (of the longer ruling ANC) pressed ahead with his controversial expropriation plans.’[2]

Zulus are a Nguni people. They make up 22% of the 45 million people who live in South Africa. They are part of the southern Bantu ethnic group[3]. The majority of Zulu’s are Christians. Others hold to a syncretistic version of Christianity; where old world tribal customs and beliefs are fused with Biblical Christianity.

Zulus (people of the sky) have played a key role in South African history. Under Shaka Zulu they nationalized and became ‘one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known’[4]. The Zulu kingdom lasted for ‘about 60 years’[5].

The majority of Zulus are not wealthy, but they are fiercely independent[6]. According to Political Science professor, Jungug Choi, part of Zulu identity is its warrior tradition. Fused with Zulu nationalism this ‘not only allows political activists to employ violence as a means of overcoming their political obstacles, but also legitimizes violent political actions in the name of the Zulu nation’[7].

The Zulus fought against the British and the Boers and later made up a large part of the South African workforce, creating some of the first worker unions[8].

In 1908, they initiated an uprising known as the Bambatha Rebellion against unfair taxation by the then colonial government.

Political violence carried out by the Zulus during the 1994 transition, which saw South Africa free itself from fifty years of apartheid, was a reminder of the political power of the Zulus. Their opposition was based on concerns about social instability and a worsening of economic conditions that the transition might bring with it.[9]

The ‘unlikely alliance’ between Zulus and Afrikaans puzzles onlookers because to them such an alliance is incomprehensible. It was Anglo Europeans who divided the Zulus and ‘waged the biggest war against them’[10]. Common sense dictates that it should be Zulus supporting other Black groups, not Zulus supporting White Afrikaners.

In addition, Zulus don’t appear to be the kind of people who would ignore injustice without a fight, or forgive injustice without having a good reason to do so.

There are explanations for the unlikely alliance. Despite the clashes, Zulus and Afrikaans seemed to enjoy a fractured, yet somewhat mutually beneficial relationship.  Zulus enjoyed ‘limited autonomy under apartheid.[11]’ This, according to Choi, gives reasons for why the Zulu leadership and the “White” government worked together. They were ‘driven by some common interests, particularly in confronting the ANC[12] as an enemy[13] over concerns about regional autonomy’. [14]

As Choi explains, any move towards a majority rule Democracy meant a possible change to heredity rule within the Zulu nation. Post-apartheid ANC policies were a potential challenge to Zulu land and identity.

As nationalists, Zulus are proud of their land and history and they are not afraid to defend it. This is primarily why Zulu leaders defiantly protested against centralization, in 1995. They clashed with Nelson Mandela and ‘threatened to abandon the GNU’.[15]

The news that King Goodwill Zwelithini is backing Afrikaner farmers is an encouraging sign and he isn’t alone. In April this year, Zimbabwean Paramount Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni spoke out against the planned eviction of Brian and Carol Davies, from land where they operate a photographic safari and farm, which employs and houses 2,000 people.  Chief Ndiweni criticized the plan as inhumane saying,

‘I’m not talking about the high level of morality for the land reform programme, we are talking about base corruption […][16] a good administration would never in a million years proceed with such an eviction, which is a disaster for the family concerned and the local people. It is an eviction that will never be accepted and will continuously be challenged on the ground, locally, regionally and internationally.’[17]

The Davies had been granted permission to build on Ntabazinduna Hill, as well as being made custodians of the historical site, by Chief Ndiweni’s father. In response the family promised to preserve it.[18]

Zimbabwe is now notorious for its economic collapse after kicking 4,000 white farmers off the land. It’s safe to assume that the Zulu leadership does not want to see the same thing happen in South Africa.

Social problems already exist and drastically destabilizing the country’s food production for the sake of politics, would only add to them. According to an ABC report from Jonathan Holmes in late 2018, the rise in violence against white farmers is attributed to both ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigration) and racial politics. However, violence attributed to ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigration) from the North is also affecting Black South Africans, not just White farmers. Holmes states that this is because of an inability to police shanty towns on the edge of Johannesburg or process the influx of ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigrants)[19].

Violence against White farmers is on the rise, but it’s obvious that not everyone in the South African nation backs the policy of eviction which sees Afrikaan farmers kicked off the lands they were raised on. What’s more to the point, some highly respected traditional land holders see land grabs by the state as disastrous to their own communities.

All of the above tells us that food and social instability isn’t the only concern the Zulus have about the A.N.C kicking White farmers off their lands. For the Zulu leaders, if land expropriation becomes law, it’s not a matter of if the Zulus will be next; it’s a matter of when.


References:

[1] Flanagan, J. 2018. Zulu King Backs Afrikaners in fight against Cyril Ramaphosa’s land grab, The Times, U.K. sourced 19th June 2019

[2] Ibid, 2018.

[3]South African History, 2011 Zulu sourced 19th June 2019 from https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/zulu

[4] Ibid, 2011

[5] Choi, J. 2008. The Political Origins of Zulu Violence during the 1994 Democratic Transition of South Africa,  Journal of International and Area Studies Vol. 15, No. 2 (December 2008), pp. 41-54 (14 pages)

[6] Choi, J. 2008 (p.44)

[7] Choi, J. 2008 (p.47)

[8] Britannica, Zululand

[9] Choi, 2008. (p.47)

[10] Ibid, 2008. (p.48)

[11] Ibid, 2008 (p.49)

[12] African National Congress, Nelson Mandela. Also South Africa’s ruling party since the end of Apartheid.

[13] Choi, 2008. (p.48)

[14] Ibid, 2008. (p.48)

[15] Inkartha Freedom Party (IFP) Sourced from South African History Online 20th June 2019

[16] Zimlive. 12th May 2019. Sourced 20th June 2019

[17] Ben Freeth, 2019. Eviction of white photographic safari operator and farmer angers local chief, The Zimbabwean 23rd April, 2019. Sourced, 20th June 2019. See also Moses Mudzwiti’s  IOL article dated 23rd April 2019

[18] ibid, 2019

[19] Holmes, J. South African Farm Murders The ABC, 19th September 2018. Sourced 20th June 2019.

Photo credit:  Ban Yido on Unsplash

Originally published on Caldron Pool, 21st June 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

In her[1] last round of public appearances, Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) blamed America for the suffering of Venezuelans, and managed to alienate the majority of Americans with the provocative statement, “this is not going to be the country of the xenophobics. This is not going to be the country of white people.”

As Omar failed to clarify who she meant by the term “white people”, one can only presume that Omar was either loosely referring to those of Caucasian ethnicity, or more broadly, anyone who supports President Donald Trump. Since those on the far-Left consider anyone not living within the Leftist head-space of modern liberalism, or anyone not in orbit around planet Marx, as being far-right, it’s plausible to think that Omar meant the latter.

Omar’s comments were made during a rally hosted by the Movement for Black Lives[2]. The event was hosted in support of Omar, who they allege was “misrepresented”, after she reduced the Islamist attacks on the United States in September 11, 2001 to simply being, “some people did something”. For context, The Movement for Black Lives by all appearances, are a Black Nationalist organization. Part of their platform includes the demand for reparations for slavery and self-determination for Black people. Omar is also one of America’s first Muslim senators and has been consistently antagonistic towards the Trump administration, and anyone seen to be not in agreement with her political ideology.

Omar’s xenophobic[3] remarks about fighting xenophobia in America are paradoxical. There’s a sharp irony exposed by the fact that her comments against “white” Americans were made from a “Black” Nationalist platform, and she is supported by a “Black” Ethno-Nationalist political movement.

The rookie Democrat also managed to show her lack of experience when on a panel discussing the crisis and suffering of the Venezuelan people, Omar blamed the United States for contributing heavily to the suffering, because of sanctions imposed on the socialist totalitarian regime in Venezuela[4], stating:

“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela, and we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today, this particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”[5]

Omar doesn’t understand how, just sanctions, work from a diplomatic level. Just sanctions are equal to boundaries designed to redefine relationships in order to encourage positive change by correcting abuse, with the hope creating a healthier relationship between two people.  Just like exercise and medical intervention. Boundaries may hurt for a bit, but the ultimate goal is to encourage health and healing.

Socialism and Venezuela’s Marxist politicians have failed the Venezuelan people, not America or Capitalism.

The same gradual decline happened in Guinea after its independence from France in 1958. According to Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, ‘I was able to observe how much Guinea was suffering under a dictatorial regime that offered it no hope. Lies and violence were the favorite weapons of a system that was based on a destructive Marxist ideology. The economy of the country had collapsed, and the inhabitants of the villages experienced extreme poverty.’ (God or Nothing, 2015)

Omar’s racially charged statements made from a “black” ethno-nationalist platform follow a series of divisive remarks, and movements, designed to mythologize oppression and take control over what it means to be oppressed.

This Leftist dogma has even penetrated the Church. Writing for Stream.org, Mike Adams made an astute analysis of “Wokeness” and the division it promotes. Adams critiqued Ps. Eric Mason, an urban preacher and author for his incoherent advocacy of what Mason calls the “Woke” Church.

“Is it fair to blame white Christians for the sins of earlier generations? Today, it’s hard to find conservative Christian anywhere expressing support for segregation. But the same leftist policies that decimated the black family are still in place. Mason boasts about his “woke-ness.” But he writes as if he has been asleep for fifty years.
Mason’s resentment toward white conservative Christians today over the omissions of other Christians yesterday is made worse by his own apparent racial prejudice. Consider this statement: “I fear that if we partner with whites that they will find a way to subjugate blacks and make us dependent on them in a way that kills our freedom of a truly black institution […] He expresses resentment over white conservative Christian apathy toward segregation in the past, then rationalizes and defends black self-segregation today. It is hard to grasp why Mason is angry and what his goals are — aside from eliciting white guilt. ”[6]

Outside Ps. Eric Mason’s “Woke Church”, his other books are down to earth, straight-up biblical. I like Mason and have followed him closely on Social Media. I lament that he’s followed Leftism down the Woke road, and strayed from the balanced, solid theological teaching, for what seems to me to be a quest to appear relevant for of fear of missing out. Whether my own brief assessment is accurate or not, Mason’s advocacy of “wokeness” seems to me to be too close to the dissonance of the irrational and volatile anti-Trump movement, as exemplified this week by Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Speaking as a Pentecostal, who has experienced, and witnessed the disastrous consequences of how bad theology can permeate through a congregation, and divide a denomination, the “Woke Church” movement should be treated with as much caution and Biblical theological critique, as the Charismatic “Toronto Blessing” movement was. Theology should be a critique of ideology, not a slave to it – God’s Word confronting and correcting mans’. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Adams is right to ask Mason to properly define what his real concerns are, and how we can all work towards addressing them. The same principle applies to Rep. Ilhan Omar. Provide more evidence; give a reasoned argument, not just divisive rhetoric that ignores 50 years of progress built on the faith and fairness of Civil Rights advocates such as the mighty Dr. John Perkins, and the unforgettable, Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr.

The irony of Omar’s words, along with her own xenophobia about Caucasian people, and Mason’s incoherent activism prompts the question:

Why are some American Democrats so fixated on the colour of your skin, sex & gender? Who benefits from this?

This doesn’t feed the poor. This doesn’t raise people beyond their inherited circumstances. This doesn’t provide the homeless with the ability to find shelter for themselves. This doesn’t comfort the wounded or heal the broken. This doesn’t encourage families by empowering them through employment and education.

Those Democrats and their fixation on skin colour, sex & gender achieve none of these things. What it does do is divide, provoke and antagonize. What it does do is incite fear, violence and suspicion; doing exactly what they’re constantly accusing the American President of doing.

Whether Omar and Mason are woke to it or not, they are making themselves complicit with the Leftist narrative. “Nazi” no longer works, so they’ve gone full “only those on the right are racists; white supremacists/anti-Semites.”

This is a politics of evasion. It’s very subtle, very dangerous, but also very clever. All of it done so as to paint the far-left as holy warriors, pure, sinless, freedom fighters; Jihadists fighting a spiritual enemy in the physical realm. If this trend is not stopped by discerning citizens of the West, the political tactic described above may win the Left approval for militant action under all who are not ideologically aligned with them, under the guise of “just war theory.”

In responding to his recent Facebook and Instagram ban, Paul Joseph Watson correctly noted: “This looks like the end […] They’re now removing people’s ability to have bank accounts and credit card because they have the wrong opinions they’re literally trying to remove your right to buy and sell this is biblical no right to commerce unless you have the mark; and what is the mark? Total intellectual castration and obedience.”[7]

Herein lies the problem with Social Justice Warriors, they’re not fighting for equality of outcomes, or the betterment of their neighbors, they’re fighting for equality with God. This puts them on the same level as Judas Iscariot, not Jesus Christ.

Both Omar and Mason are essentially tilting at windmills, ignoring 50 years of change, dialogue and reform. Instead, they’ve taken the road of blame, prejudice and perpetual victim hood.

In fighting what they think is the dragon; they’ve failed to get woke to Nietzsche’s warning, “Be careful, lest in fighting the dragon you become the dragon.”(Paraphrased)[8]


References:

[1] Disclaimer: I’m assuming Omar identifies as a woman based on the fact that Omar refers to herself as a woman on Twitter and being part of the “sisterhood”.

[2] Democracy Now! Hands Off Ilhan Omar, sourced 3rd May, 2019

[3] In this case Omar’s comments fit within what is a fear of white-people.

[4] Democracy Now! Omar Speak out Against Sanctions & Bipartisan Support sourced 3rd May, 2019

[5] Caroline Kelly, ‘Omar partially blame US… CNN.com sourced, 3rd May 2019

[6] Mike Adams, The Woke Church is More Informed by Leftist Cliches than Gospel Truth, Stream.org. Sourced, 4th May 2019

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, PJW: Banned by Facebook & Instagram Summit.news. Sourced, 4th May 2019

[8] Beyond Good & Evil. #146 Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (p.69)

(Originally published at the Caldron Pool under the same title, 6th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Media reports are confirming what many have speculated over the past week. American actor, Jussue Smollett has been charged with staging the anti-LGBT, race hate attack, which he claimed to be victim of back in January.

As this was breaking, Twitter users were worked up into frenzy over snippets of a John Wayne interview with Playboy magazine in 1971. This resurfacing of Wayne’s, “racist, anti-LGBT remarks”, strangely coincided with the breaking news about Jussie Smollett.

While some of the criticism is defensible, the timing of the “news”, and the “viral” reaction to it, is a convenient red herring.

Why the suspicion?

Wayne’s statements aren’t breaking news. People have known about them for some time. In 2016, ‘The Guardian reported California lawmakers rejected a proposal to create John Wayne Day to mark his birthday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities.’ (Fox News)

The Washington Post’s, Eli Rosenberg, makes special mention of Wayne’s statement, “I believe in white supremacy [until African-Americans are educated enough…I don’t feel guilt about slavery]”

Rosenberg also manages to “connect the dots” back to Donald Trump, stating that ‘it’s not the first time in recent memory that the remarks have resurfaced. They also circulated in 2016 after the actor’s daughter, Aissa Wayne, endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.’ (The LA Times)

Matt Williams, who originally posted Wayne’s comments on Twitter, said “he stumbled upon the interview while doing research”. Given that the interview was no secret to many in the mainstream media, why’d they run with it and give the “news” so much attention?

It would appear that some in the mainstream media saw an opportunity, and used it to shift legitimate focus away from one actor, by further crucifying another.

John Wayne and Jussie Smollett are products of the era they were born into. The difference between those eras was exemplified this week in two ways. First, we learnt about how one actor played the victim, and found it easy to exploit, and profit from playing to a culture of victim-hood. Second, we were reminded of another actor who, made some mistakes, but never sought to blame others for them.

As Ethan Wayne, President of John Wayne Enterprises, said,

“[John Wayne’s beliefs have been misunderstood over the years]. Somebody, a Latina representative up in Sacramento, shot down a bill for John Wayne Day because he was racist. [But] he was married to three Latin women. It’s just crazy how things get blown out of proportion because he was really an open, caring, loyal, supportive man […] He wanted to work with people who earned their place…He didn’t think anybody should get a job because he was a man, because she was a woman, because they were gay, because they were straight, because they were Chinese, African-American or Mexican. He thought you should get a job because you were the right person to do that job. Because you had skill and talent and you would show up and get the job done. He didn’t care what you were.” (Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News)

Adding to his defense, Wayne’s family issued a statement saying,

 “It’s unfair to judge someone on something that was written that he said nearly 50 years ago when the person is no longer here to respond […] “Regardless of color, ethnicity or sexual preference, [our] father taught us to treat all people the same, with respect.”

The outrage towards John Wayne is manufactured. It fits too comfortably within the “all white people are racist” line, and the hysteria drummed up by the very-likely-to-be-proven-fake story surrounding Jussie Smollett’s claims.

Recalling comments made by John Wayne in 1971 have no justification. The timing suggests a smokescreen, designed to shift media attention away from Jussie Smollett. The focus can then be brought back onto blaming Donald Trump, and the supposed racism pandemic sweeping America since Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election.

If this new focus on John Wayne can be maintained, Smollet and his story will be pushed into the background and left buried.

The MSM can then stand up without concern for context or due process, (as they did with Brett Kavanaugh and the infamous, Covington School boys incident), and say that “racism, and the oppression of those who choose to identify as LGBT, is at pandemic levels in America. John Wayne’s words prove it! Blame Donald Trump. Hashtag:  all white people are racist!”

Not all white people are racist, nor do they believe in Social Darwinian race classifications. What the timing, and outrage, against John Wayne shows, is that the Leftist cult of modern liberalism and its members, need people to believe their lies, and they are willing to do anything, even, and up to, ignoring reality, in order to achieve it.

Long live the legacy of The Duke!


 

A lot of people leave out the Christian part when it comes to Martin Luther King Jnr. They do this because they’re either uncomfortable with the truth, they simply don’t know, have a prejudice towards Christians, or don’t really want to know.

This was illustrated by the brilliant, Vince Conard in a recent comic strip he posted to Instagram.

 

What Conrad presents is a critique of the tone, aggression and disunity of our day. Any mention of Martin’s faith, is anathema on some circles within the West. The fact that in 1934, the year after Hitler had taken for himself total power, MLK’s parents named their son after a German theologian and reformer has a lot to do with their faith in Christ. They acted in faith, because of the liberating power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was displayed in the actions of the early Martin Luther during the Reformation. This fact seems to grate against those in the West, who may seek to hijack MLK in the name of division, self-interest and fear.

Tearing MLK away from his theological foundation, tears King away from everything he stood for and against. MLK’s legacy is a Christian witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the overcoming of sin. All sin, not just the bits and pieces some people choose to focus on in order to lord it over others. This includes the sin of treating others, who are created in the image of God, differently because of the colour of their skin.

MLK’s legacy is a Christian witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the liberation of humanity from its primal atheism. This is a liberation from humanity’s rejection of grace, its self-displacement, subsequent displacement of others and self-destruction.

Karl Barth spoke consistently about his view that the “no” of God heard in Jesus Christ has nothing on the great “yes” of God, spoken at the same time. This humiliation of God is the exaltation of humanity. This is something God chose. In exercising His freedom, God hands us freedom. True freedom only finds its place within the God who is free. God remains the God  who is sovereign and free; and must do so, in order for us to be truly set free. Anything outside the gift of freedom from the sovereign God who is free isn’t true freedom, it’s true bondage; for ‘if the Son sets free, you are free indeed.’ (John 8:36)

In more technical terms:

‘…it is necessarily the case that the [free] omnipotent operation of God merely leaves the activity of the creature free, but makes it free…the effect of operation of God is not bondage but freedom. We could almost put it in this way, that the bondage which results from the operation of the Word and Spirit is itself true freedom.’ (Barth CD.3.3:150)

Freedom consecrated by response, responsibility, partnership with God, prophesy, ministry, healing and teaching. Freedom made real by His choice and His suffering at the hands of whip, condemnation, betrayal, spear, and death on a Roman cross. Freedom vindicated by the empty tomb and the resurrected Jesus, who is not another myth fostered by human imagination, like that of the half-god/half-man Hercules, but is Himself very God and very man.

What grounded Martin Luther King from the start was his faith in Jesus Christ. It’s well documented that when things weighed MLK down, he would lean on the gifts of Mahalia Jackson, who would minister to him through word and song. It’s his defiant Christian faith that should inspire us and point us to the goal of liberation as he saw it, liberation from ALL sin, in the name, word and deeds of Jesus the Christ. Without God’s sovereignty, and His willingness to be for us, none of us are free.

“God is neither hard-hearted or soft minded. He is tough-minded enough to transcend the world; He is tender-hearted enough to live in it. He does not leave us to our agonies and struggles. He seeks for us in dark places and suffers with us, and for us in our tragic prodigality.” (A Tough Mind & a Tender Heart, Gift of Love, p.9)

Furthermore, the faith of Martin Luther King Jnr is not to be confused with optimism. It’s not the “faith” of optimists and psychologists. Those who would preach from the pages of positive psychology such as Jordan Peterson. The clever term they use in order to justify reducing the Christian faith to principles that can be lived out, without any need for a relationship with the One who is the author and foundation of this faith; the One who anchors humanity to the living hope that this defiant faith testifies.

Martin Luther King Jnr wasn’t a man without sin, but he was a man who knew that ALL sin is answered first and foremost by God, in and through Jesus Christ.

This segregating of King from his faith and theology may serve the secular political aims of modern liberals, and their quest for total power by any means necessary, but it ultimately enslaves King to the servitude [i]. It enslaves MLK to ideology-as-master and the reactionary political groups it controls. These include groups and agendas, he, in all likelihood would never have signed on to because they persist in denying their own sin, and yet, are loud and proud in their condemnation of the sin of others.

Despite his liberal theology [ii], to separate MLK from Jesus Christ, is to create an MLK who never existed [iii]. To segregate Martin Luther King Jnr from this defiant Christian faith, and the testimony of God, who speaks through it, is to fail to hear what MLK had to say. To segregate MLK from Jesus Christ, is to burn what he set in motion, on the cross of what he hoped to see achieved.

#FREEMLK!


References:

[i] Jean Bethke Elshtain: ‘Martin Luther King was no generic social reformer but an African-American Baptist Minister; Pope John Paul II’s pastoral identity deeply informed his extraordinary diplomatic missions.A range of developments, from civil rights struggles in the U.S to Solidarity in Poland and the end of the Soviet Empire, are incomprehensible if religion is left out of the picture’ (Just War Against Terror, 2008).

[ii] Martin Luther King’s Early theology on ‘The Humanity & Divinity of Jesus‘, where he dissociates himself with the orthodox view of Jesus Christ’s Divinity (Incarnation), e.g.: ‘The Word Became Flesh’.

[iii] MLK criticised liberal theology, but he was caught up and influenced by the theology of it, particularly the Social Gospel, which has an inherently Marxist leaning – e.g.: liberation theology as opposed to a theology of Christian liberation (solidarity & subsidiarity). I believe MLK was more in the latter category, than the former. He wasn’t a liberation theologian. For the sake of simplicity my comment, “despite his liberal theology”, is more a minor footnote acknowledgement of an area that influenced his theological journey.

Artist: Vince Conard, https://www.instagram.com/vince_conard/  (Used with permission)

King, Jnr. M.L. A Tough Mind & a Tender Heart, Gift of Love (p.9)

Torrance, T.F. 2009 Atonement: The Person & Work of Jesus Christ InterVarsity Press

©Rod Lampard, 2019

As part of our home-school English curriculum this year, I decided to tackle Twain’s, ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn‘.

I’ve read a few of the, for and against arguments on the internet, by writers who either have an higher opinion of themselves (than they do of Twain), or they raise Twain to a higher level, just because he’s Twain.

My conclusion is this: forget all the, “I’m offended therefore ban ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’, because Mark Twain uses offensive language.” Then ditch the flip side which says, “I’m offended, because you’re offended, that Mark Twain didn’t consider your feelings, before he wrote the book”.

What should be deemed offensive is the fact that we’re told our children cannot be taught to discern for themselves; told that they cannot learn the difference between appropriate, and inappropriate language. Especially the term which Mark Twain contextually applies to Huck’s, African-American friend, Jim.

Such an ideological imposition goes against everything that my role as an educator involves. Such as teaching kids how to think for themselves and act responsibly with what they’ve been taught. I’m a facilitator, not a computer programmer; I facilitate the learning process, I don’t insert information into an object, in a certain way, in order to get a specific set of desired results on demand.

Although age and capability are factors for why filtering certain topics is essential to healthy nurturing, I don’t water down facts to appease feelings. With age and capability factors in mind, I present the how, and we discuss the what. Deep learning requires learning the hard stuff and how to digest the hard stuff. We read, learn and act, therefore does not equate to, “we install and stoically obey”.

Learning is a journey, a discipline from which we grow together. This is encapsulated in the whole meaning of reader beware (caveat lector) and it corresponds perfectly with buyer (consumer) beware (caveat emptor).

For example: my students know the difference between Niger (the Latin adjective for black, pronounced Nigh-jer), and the perversion of the adjective used to refer to African-Americans in a derogatory way. Our students understand that the name of the country Nigeria is not pronounced or used with that pejorative in mind.

They are capable of concluding that if a term has an historical significance and was used in such a way to control and abuse others, than that term is not to be used, but is to be left in the historical context where it once was applied. Whitewashing history in order to make it digestible isn’t conducive to education proper.

Take for instance the term ‘wandering jew’’. This is a common name of a pervasive weed in Australia. It pops up everywhere and is hard to get rid of.  But the term raises some important questions: a) is the name of the weed, “wandering jew”, a term of endearment, or is it a pejorative? b)  Can the term be understood differently?  Just because I think the phrase is potentially offensive, doesn’t mean that a Jewish person would agree. c) The plant is strong, hardy and persistent with okay flowers. Instead of disparaging Jewish people, does it stand as a compliment to them?

Instead of banning terms, we educate our children about them. We teach them that the term ‘wandering jew’ can be viewed as a slur on a people group, used in order to dehumanize them. We also take note of the possibility that ‘wandering jew’ could also be viewed as a term of endearment. As a result, while knowing that the phrase is common, we give them reason whether or not to insert weed, where jew once stood or keep it. The consensus has been to use ‘wandering weed’ instead of ‘wandering jew’. If, however, someone used the term ‘wandering jew’, our children would understand its reference, and if someone was offended by it, they would understand why.

We can teach this without demanding that all horticultural books or websites which use the term, “wandering jew” be banned. Just because some Jewish folks might be offended, or use the term, doesn’t mean we have to either ban it, or use it. Likewise, just because the African-American community might (and some do[i]) use the pejorative version of the word ‘Niger (Nigh-Jer)’, doesn’t justify our own use of it (no matter how hypocritical it may seem).

In the case of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’, the student is taught to understand what the word means, how and why it was once used, and to whom it was once applied. Instead of having them repeat the word, the pejorative version of ‘niger (nigh-jer)’ is easily replaced by the reader with African-American. We acknowledge the complications, but chose to think for ourselves instead of having a censor do that job for us.

The genius of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ is that, when allowed to speak for itself, Twain confronts us with the harsh reality of how words have been used to dehumanize others.

In order to holistically educate our students about the slave trade and the abuses carried out under the banner of racism, they have to be allowed to be confronted with the truth. The truth and the words associated with it. Thanks to Mark Twain, our students are no longer spectators. They get to participate in, and experience, hard truths through the eyes and ears of Twain’s characters.

There is no reason to ban ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’. Any ban would teach students to steer around being confronted with the horror and tragedy of that era (especially white folks[ii]). It denies them empathy and understanding, and as a consequence, fails to recognise that one of the essential building blocks of effective reconciliation and responsible freedom, is education free of emotional bias and ideological interference.

Banning a book because of a word that it uses, is asinine and ignorant – the very basis of Hannah Arendt’s ‘’banality of evil’’; a phenomenon that leads to the mass tolerance and participation in totalitarianism by people who are blinded by an uncritical trust in the blind bureaucrats who lead them[iii]. Not only would a blanket ban on ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ disallow children access to an experience of the past, but such a blanket ban would have to be applied to many African-American rappers, and movies where the pejorative use of ‘niger (nigh-ger)’ is applied regularly; the quintessential example being, N.W.A.

When reading the text, Twain’s consistent use of the pejorative derivation of the Latin word for black, “niger (nigh-ger)”, is easy enough to switch with African-American. Children can clearly see that black slaves are the category which such a pejorative has been applied.

Why all calls for a ban on ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ ultimately fail is that they are based on fear. If we give in to this, we let the past determine the future; repeating the past. Fear underlines racial hatred as much as excessive ethnic pride does. It restricts us from seeing our neighbor, and having our neighbor see, us.

In addition, we shouldn’t fear words, we should continue the age of old quest of learning how, when, why and where to apply and respond to them.

Parents and educators need to push back against any technological society which tries to program our kids as if they were computers. Conveyor belt education as part of an industrialised education complex has been an attempt to produce a certain type of human; if not a certain type of voter.  Androids are programmed, humans aren’t. Yes, humans can be influenced by conditions, but humans can also learn to overcome those conditions. We adapt because the gift of reason, empowered by God’s grace, hope, faith and love, allows us to overcome. We read, learn and act, therefore does not equate to, “we install and stoically obey”.

What is, and should be deemed offensive, are attempts, through the media, to tell us all what to think. The education industrial complex, for example, tells us that it needs to create “safe spaces”. Sinless spheres which are empty of any opportunity to develop reason, faith and resilience.

The subliminal message is that today’s men and women can’t be trusted to process or understand the power of the words that encounters humanity on a daily basis; words that come to us as either comfort, confrontation, conviction or a combination of the three. In a nutshell, “experts” take the false view that the humanity cannot be trusted with the God-given permission to speak freely, therefore thought, conscience and speech needs to be controlled. The fact that actions cannot be justified by their consequences is ignored.

Free speech is vital to our humanity. We need it in order to exist, first, in order to be free for God, second, to be free for others. We encode – decode – then reciprocate responsibly. Without that freedom we fail, as Karl Barth astutely put it, to see our neighbour, and having our neighbour see, us:

‘Humanity as encounter is looking each other in the eye […] Humanity as encounter must become the event of speech. And speech means comprehensively reciprocal expression and its reciprocal reception; its reciprocal address and its reciprocal reception. All these four elements are vital.’
(Karl Barth, The Basic Form of Humanity, CD 3:2:251)

 

Banning ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn‘ denies humanity by exalting the inhumanity Twain’s adventure story ultimately, so brilliantly decries.


References:

[i] This is so pervasive; I don’t really see a need to highlight any specific examples. However, for the sake of thoroughness, see the movie, ‘New Jack City’, a good portion of Ice Tea’s albums and the rappers N.W.A. (the abbreviation goes without spelling it out).

[ii] If I was to unpack this further I would say that, should the concept of “white privilege” actually exist, banning Twain’s book would only be feeding “white privilege”, not answering it, or having white people repent of it. If anything calls to ban the book, proves that “white privilege” is a myth.

[iii] Karl Barth (CD.3:2:252) : “Bureaucracy is the encounter of the blind with those whom they treat as blind.”

[iv] Barth, K. 1960. CD. 3:2, The Doctrine of Creation, The Basic Form of Humanity. Hendrickson Publishers

Here’s an important Heritage foundation panel discussion held in the United States a couple of days ago. The panel contributors include Ryan Bomberger who I have a growing admiration for, because his work through the Radiance Foundation.

The group discusses how anti-discrimination laws are being used as a sword, rather than a shield to impose an ideology and punish those who stand opposed to it.

The panel also addresses the false equivalency that is made between the abhorrent Jim Crow laws, and someone declining to serve/make/create based on a conscientious objection to gay marriage.

I’m in agreement with them.

I especially liked the reasons for a defence of traditional marriage, and the response to government involvement given by Heritage Foundation’s William E. Simon senior research fellow, Ryan T. Anderson, at the close of the discussion [see 46:25 – 47:18].

“Man-made law should recognise the natural law, which looks to human nature and what marriage is. That marriage is based on three secular truths.
First, anthropological truth, that man and woman are distinct and complimentary. Second, the biological fact that reproduction requires a man and a woman; and finally a social reality that children deserve a mum and a dad.
You put those three pieces together and you going to have a basic understanding of what marriage is and our man-made laws should reflect that.
Apart from that it’s not clear to me why the government is consenting ratification of romance business. Once we get away from the man-woman, husband and wife, mother/father understanding of what marriage is, I don’t see what role the state has in regulating consenting adults sexual or romantic relationships.”

In September, I contributed four articles to the Same-sex marriage debate in Australia. All graciously republished by the up and coming conservative/libertarian platform for free speech, edgy, online news magazine XYZ.net.au

1. Nein: Why I will be voting “No” To Same-Sex Marriage 

2. Still Nein: A Response To Janet Albrecthsen’s Libertarian Conservative “Yes” To SSM

3. Biology Is Not a Social Construct: Why “p” Cannot Equal “q” Without Perpetual Revolution

4. A “No” To SSM, is a “Yes” to Freedom, Not a Denial of it

It’s okay to vote “no”.

‘Accidental Courtesy’ is a recent release documentary featuring African-American musician, speaker and activist, Daryl Davis.

Davis explores the possibility of change through dialogue and relationship. In the documentary we see and hear about how he actively sought out members of the Klu-Klux-Klan in order to ask them one on one, why, because of the colour of his skin, he was hated so much. Especially since they didn’t know him nor had they ever met him. Throughout the process, documented over a series of years, Davis presents the outcome.

Here is the promised part two of our reviews of, and responses to, this phenomenal story. Part one can be located here.

Accidental Courtesy

In his documentary called ‘Accidental Courtesy’ Daryl Davis, who is an African American, talks about racism. He knows what it’s like to be oppressed and set apart by others. He has befriended members of the Ku Klux Klan and even though they have different opinions, they respect each other. The KKK is an American post-Civil War secret society who wants white people to have “supreme authority”; its members claim to be Christians, and are known for burning crosses on the front of black people’s houses

Merriam-Webster defines Racism as the ideological belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and the racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. This is something that should not be encouraged. Racism bullies others because of their skin colour. This is similar to the bullying of kids at school. Racism, like a bully, picks on people who are different. It makes them feel powerful and strong.

When members of the KKK met and talked with Daryl Davis, their views of African Americans changed significantly. For example, some of the members have resigned from the KKK and have given him the cloaks and hoods they wore. Daryl has a few dozen of these. He also has badges and accessories. Daryl didn’t intend to help change their hearts and minds, but he’s criticized for interacting with them.

Some African Americans don’t like Daryl Davis for doing this. He met with representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement and they refused to shake his hand or to listen to what he had to say. They stated their opinion to him but chose not to listen to what he had to say.

Daryl Davis also is a musician and lecturer. He plays the keyboard and piano very well. He also goes to colleges and talks about how two people with different views have a conversation. According to him, two people might be yelling, screaming and banging their fists on the table, but “as long as they’re talking, they’re not fighting.”(-Daryl Davis) If both people can discuss their views and opinions with each other then there is a kind of respect between them; Daryl and the people he met from the KKK did this well.

In conclusion, I think that Daryl Davis’ documentary is good. It shows how racism works and how it can be countered. His being open to talk with members of the Ku Klux Klan was a decision he made. I believe that God used Daryl Davis like a messenger to help those members from the KKK to realise that harassing African Americans wasn’t God’s way. I learnt what racism looks like and it isn’t something to be proud of. People should respect each other even if they look different. Everyone should be treated equally and be shown respect. From different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, God made all humans, no matter what race or colour, unique. We shouldn’t resent that, we should accept and embrace it.

Whether a person’s skin is black or white, it doesn’t matter because we’re all created in God’s image. To say otherwise is to create God in our image.

(A.Lampard, Yr 9 23rd March 2017)


Sources:

‘Racism’ Encyclopaedia Britannica

Davis, D. 2016 Accidental Courtesy

Disclaimer: We received no payment of any kind for our response to, or our review of this material.