the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Over a Dead Monkey – Racism and Equality
February 23, 2009, 6:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

When this whole issue surrounded the New York Post cartoon surfaced and I saw people’s reactions, my immediate thought was, “Do we only want to stand up for free speech when it’s something that we agree with or believe in?” I won’t even get into all of that right now, I thought that this was just a perfect example of the ‘hypocrisy’ we see when people say “Yes, freedom of speech, freedom of the press… But oh wait you printing something that I deemed offensive… OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”.

Do I think the cartoon was in bad taste, yes, I do. But to go as far as to say it’s offensive, I think, shows us that person may have taken it personally, or whatever reason. If I’m honest, I think that shows some prejudice, whether known of unknown in that person’s heart. You clearly took the message personally, but why? Because there was already something in you that wanted to on some level.

I think if you took the time to read the cartoon and know enough about the issues or today you’d find that it wasn’t directed at President Obama. I’m glad that I’m not the only one that took the time to read the cartoon and figure out that it was talking about those that wrote the bill, not the ‘monkey president’ who supports it. There’s a huge difference there.

Just because there’s a political cartoon with a monkey and it mentions a bill that the President (who happens to be black) supports, let’s all jump to the conclusion that the monkey is supposed to be the President and that it’s racist! Are you serious? Get the facts people! It’s bad enough to be ignorant, but to add ignorance on top of your own biased, and uninformed opinions can only make matter worse.

Now when it comes to race, racism, and equality, let me start by sharing a story: I am a white American male and until about 4 years ago, I had attended predominantly white schools and churches, not necessarily by choice, but more so geography. My church now (Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church) is a predominantly black church. That’s not our goal or end desire, but few churches are born multicultural, and while we embrace diversity, it takes time.

I distinctly remember one day when I had the revelation that I no longer viewed Destiny as a ‘the black church I attend’ but only as ‘my church’. Honestly, I can’t even tell you what shifted or changed in my mind… but I knew from that moment on that to look at Destiny as ‘the black church I attend’ was certainly enabling me to hold onto the prejudice (some known and some unknown) in my mind as well as the fact that it was also an incredible misnomer, because I saw that this church had become something more than the color of the skin of the members, but it was now my home. To say it was a ‘black church’ was ruined by not only myself, but the few other white folks that were/are there.

Every time we point out a difference, especially in areas of race, we make it more visible and thus more of an issue. I’m not saying that if we ignore it, it goes away. What I am saying is that while we surely can’t ignore it, we can choose not focus on it with such intensity.

I say all that to say this: I believe the true measure of how far we’ve come in being a ‘racially healthy’ country is how much we don’t mention the issue of race. When there comes a day when black (or Latino, Native American, Asian, etc) officials can be elected to office and it’s NOT made a big deal of. Now I do understand there’s massive historical significance to this moment, but we have to move past these ‘firsts’ and make it commonplace.

Now will we ever get there? Maybe I just don’t have that much faith in people, but I think it’s going to take a LONG time… long to the point where Christ will return first.

One last thing… the fact that you and y(our) President happen to be the same race does NOT give you an excuse to perpetuate the stereotypes of your race. Now is not the time. IF ANYTHING, the opposite should be happening. You should now walk with your head held high, pants OVER your tail, on time, and with a purpose because now we’ve seen that it IS possible for you to accomplish anything fi you set your mind to it. You may have thought that your teachers, parents, and guidance counselors were selling you a lie, but know that you’ve seen what can happen, you better straighten up and fly right because just as people look at him as a representation of the black race, they do the same thing to you.

I know that’s ridiculously long, but I will not apologize for getting all that off my chest.


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