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In mid-January of 2012, during an organizing meeting of Occupy Faith in New
York City, as we prepared for our coalition J21 Citizens United anniversary protest event, a woman participating in the meeting approached me as I facilitated the discussion and asked in the context of the ‘Occupy Movement’ if I believed that white people in America should apologize to black peoples for their suffering? The question echoed another conversation that I had back in October 2011 in Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square, with a man that has since become my friend, Chris Hedges. The conversation centered on the observation by Mr. Hedges that there were very few black persons, or persons of color, from poor and working poor communities of New York city in Liberty Square, and the moral presence and leadership of the Black Church was conspicuously absent. He wanted to know what my take was on his observation, and if I believed that the Black Church would embrace OWS and what I believed could be done to inspire their embrace of the Occupy Movement? I contrast and answer the two fundamental questions. ! If we acknowledge a true examination of the Civil War in these United States and the quest for freedom for African peoples, it must be stated that what was most objectionable to the Southern slave holding aristocracy and the gentriﬁed business class of the North about the ‘Abolitionist Movement’ and the abolition of slavery was the immediate economic consequences of the loss of the cheap and free labor. We can talk all day and all night for weeks about race and how the elite political and economic classes of America in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century’s saw the black man as less than human, three ﬁfths of a man, and intellectually and spiritually inferior to their white counterparts; the narrative was a lie straight from the pit of the lowest Hell and a cover for one bold and simple truth, that there was an economic reality to slavery, and by eliminating slavery there would be serious and demonstrable negative consequences on the Southern economy and on the morally bankrupt social classes that obtained their wealth and beneﬁt from it. Slavery and America’s Civil War was about money. During ‘American Reconstruction’, both free blacks and white America had to breech a conspicuous reality, how am I going to eat? Pronouncements of freedom were of little value if you can’t feed yourself, or your family. Freedom is the ability to exercise choices and options; without choice and options a man is not free.
Jr.. ! It is clear. The ﬂight of blacks to the North didn’t produce an abundance of jobs. that they would build their own communities and protect each others homes. working poor whites because now they were competing for their mediocre. moral and social imperative of obtaining economic equality and fairness for blacks. that they would take responsibility to educate their own children as best they could. Blacks had no real political or economic options or power that could result in effectual social change..APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. ! Discrimination against blacks in the North and ‘Jim Crow’ in the South was rooted in economic supremacy and the raw political power required to maintain it. but is was about economic and political power.. or completely illiterate. and that they would organize for political power in the ﬁght for the right to vote. it is important to note that the Civil Right’s movement began long before Martin Luther King. equality and fairness that would be the foundation for social equity and social justice in American civil society. but it began when small groups of black people. and without any real money to speak of they could not buy land so that they could compete with white farmers. which is why Martin King and the SCLC began to transition to a more comprehensive ‘Poor Peoples Campaign’ in coalition with other progressive groups in America to address the core issues of economic justice and 2 . When we observe the history of the Twentieth Century and the ﬁght for equality. they still had to play catch up. long before Rosa Parks refused to tender her seat and the Montgomery bus boycott.. low wage jobs. and were met with violence at every turn when they tried to compete. and to ﬁght to obtain an education so that they could compete. The advent of the Twentieth Century and industrialization in America provided some relief to the working poor in the form of jobs.. and they were greeted with hostility by other working class. locally in neighborhoods and communities in states throughout the South decided that they were gonna ﬁght for their businesses and churches that were being ﬁre bombed. but blacks still had to compete for those jobs. equal justice under the law. that the true movement that was the Civil Right’s movement of which we all speak so eloquently of today was not simply about race. and the Civil Right’s movement of the 50’s and 60’s. This was the human. and for all disenfranchised peoples of America. that they were going to take responsibility to protect their women and children. especially if they were marginally literate.
It is the reason that Dr. the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with local Democrats. the sooner the Negrophobe Whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. the Civil Rights Act of 1964. and allowing the inferior Blacks to rule over them. 1968.. and right wing political and economic strategists engaged their own campaigns to polarize an already deeply divided country.”1 1 Boyd. The New York Times. which fueled and allowed the Southern Dixiecrat political movement to come into full bloom taking dynamic root in Barry Goldwater. but Republicans would be short sighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Without that prodding from blacks. 3 . although the Southern Christian Leadership Conference decided to move forward with the ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ there was a dramatic void in the absence of the charismatic leadership and moral weight Dr. James (May 17. “Nixon’s Southern strategy: ‘It’s All in the Charts”. diminishing ‘States’ rights’. at the expense of driving 90% of black voters to the Democratic party. King’s death. and they don’t need more than that. political and economic power over the Southern states. housing for the poor in America.. The ‘Southern Strategy’ exploited Southern resentment for having been made a moral spectacle and national pariah in the painful 1960s. That’s where the votes are. It was the catalyst for the realignment of the former solid Democrat Southern states to the Republican party.. and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Tennessee in 1968 to campaign and advocate on behalf of striking sanitation workers.APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South. Nixon to the presidency in 1968. Kevin Phillips. which was a major feature of the Southern strategy because it caused Southern whites to migrate in droves to the Republican party. ! In the aftermath of Dr. and culminating in the election of Richard M. King brought to the calculus. judicial. and I believe personally that it is the reason that he was assassinated on April 4. the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Board of Education and School Desegregation.. establishing the false narrative of the Federal government seizing social. Nixon stated in a New York Times article in 1970 that: “From now on the Republicans will never get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote. a political strategist to Richard M. King went to Memphis. 1970). to bring to halt any gains that Blacks believed that they had made with Brown v.
APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. lynchings. against powers. poverty.8. [American Exceptionalism] which exonerated America and them by extension.”2 ! Not only did ‘Right Wing’ social engineering and extremism seek to occupy and dominate political and economic life in America in the 1970s. America was the country of God with God given liberty and republican ideals. Of course.9 KJV Ephesian 6v12 KJV 4 . and the ﬁght for civil and human rights and liberties. against rulers of the darkness of this world. slavery many not have ever happened at all. creed. and all boats must ﬂoat for America to live up to the high calling of it’s founding creed. as it is slanderously reported by the ‘right wing conservatives’ of today. Today. there have been.”3 ! ! This is not to say that there have not been gains for blacks and peoples of color in America. The thing that hath been. and values. nor the ear ﬁlled with hearing. ! “All things are full of labour. wealth. but against principalities. faith. Right wing extremists and extremism have polarized America along the lines of race. and that which is done is that which shall be done. but the most proliﬁc gains experienced are for the most part individual.. political and economic beneﬁt. the same spiritual forces of greed. civil war.. as they had done during slavery. promoting jingoism. for slavery. 2 3 Ecclesiastes 1v. against spiritual wickedness in high places.. ﬁnance and economics. but demonizing American’s of different faith traditions and experience. family. and in fact. sexuality. moral turpitude and moral corruption engage the same high crimes and misdemeanor’s that took America down the path of slavery. America was without sin in their narrative. they as well sought to occupy and co-opt the American religious experience and morality as a means to manipulate the culture and the sociopolitical narrative. it is that which shall be. intolerance and xenophobia for social. and there is no new thing under the sun. “For we wrestle not against ﬂesh and blood. man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisﬁed with seeing. not evangelizing and sharing the all inclusive power and redemptive love of God. and they have embedded their false social narrative deep within the psychological fabric of the country.. and Jim Crow. so they owe no apologies to Black peoples. and God built it. the Civil War. racial bias.
taking the homes of the working poor and middle class American families through illegal foreclosure practice despite not having original mortgage documentation. in The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1928). placing proﬁts over people and the human need for which the corporation was created to satisfy to begin with. This was never just a struggle in and for Black America. the fundamental core of what paved the way for immigrants to America and the working poor to become the middle-class America that we have come to know and understand of the last 70 years. although Black America featured prominently in the story. not just against unions and union worker’s across the United States. p. extolling the virtues of the capitalist free market.APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. not just against immigrants and demonizing immigration. This demon takes taxpayer funded bailouts to keep its corrupt criminal enterprises aﬂoat as it continues to reap exorbitant executive bonuses. we are all under assault by ‘Right Wing’ extremists and extremism.. This fundamental ‘spirit of evil’ was never truly about race. The demon declares that corporations are persons. and has lured to the dark side. Fran (May 16. Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self-interest backed by force5. and without shame for its conspicuous wealth and ostentation. bought and corrupted the very politicians that we have elected to represent our profound human interests in our government. or against civil service worker’s in states and municipalities across America. The New Yorker Shaw. 2011). touting in their bogus. but it was always about exploiting the diversity of the human experience to breed division and hatred so that a select wicked few could reap the gains. Not just Black America. but today the full frontal assault on the collective bargaining process and the right to unionize in its entirety. not just Hispanic... It lifts again it’s demonic head. or Asian America. Not just Black America. or Arab and Muslim American’s. George Bernard. The struggle was always against depravity and poverty in the American experience. ! In the Soviet Union capitalism triumphed over communism. unapologetic. always against the strong taking advantage of the weakest and least among us. unholy rhetoric words and phrases that are as 4 5 Lebowitz. in America capitalism has triumphed over democracy 4. 214 5 .. denying and diminishing the spirit and humanity that sustains all human beings.
the marginalized. The progressive base is not the liberal white establishment in the Northeast. the oppressed. or the Buddhist experience. it is required that we deﬁne that base. It’s half time in America. and the intellectual class seek to extricate itself from the socioeconomic. Now within the Occupy Movement. color.. creed. ! It must be acknowledged that a lie is a lie by any moral. we are all. because poverty. one people. or intellectual measure. now subject to the very same heinous socioeconomic assault suffered by black and brown peoples for the last 40 years. not the Christian. The progressive base is not the urban inner city.. caring more for the unborn than for children living in poverty and for those that are now occupying the earth. life. and who have forged the American middle-class. not the white experience. faith and family. and. because they did not look like us. the working poor and the working people of the world whom have made America their home. America must now extricate the demons that are within us as a people. liberty and the pursuit of their happiness. engaging in one bond of dynamic repentance and brotherhood forged with the spirit of our collective humanity that cannot be broken. free and unfettered markets. However.. acknowledge our gross sins as a nation and embrace one another. The progressive base is the Diaspora of the poor. for America to extricate itself from this abyss.APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. We must call the devil by his name. it is critical that we understand that we cannot ignore our base. They have been allowed to escape with the abundant fruits of their crimes because we as civil society did not protect the least among us. or the Jewish. or the African-American population of the United States. success. Our base is the 99%. or the Muslim. Not the black experience. No more the politics of division that have fractured civil society and has 6 . Further. Words like freedom. suffering and societal alienation was sui generis to the Black experience. or the Hindu.. or any slogan that a person might use to mask its nefarious purpose. political and moral abyss within which America now ﬁnds itself. As a consequence. and by so doing America has condemned itself. American as hot dogs and apple pie. or religious faith perspective. progressives. or the Northwest frontier states. educated youth. free enterprise. and the vast majority of American’s do not even understand how it has come to pass. But America ignored the lies and many American’s have chosen to believe them. without respect to race. Out of many. threatening the very core of our collective civil and human existence.
embraces the poor and the working poor. and that threaten millions of homeowner’s presently and their dreams of a bright and stable future for their families. the inﬂuence of corporate dollars in public elections. race. and that affords all peoples the opportunity for life. Activism is evangelism if the activism is righteous. Fight the righteous and moral ﬁght with us. lifts up the human dignity of all peoples. a roof over the head of Black American’s. because as in the time of American Reconstruction. fair. Fight with us to insure a fair and living wage in America for all American’s. to end homelessness because we as civil society can. to force corporations to place the needs of people ﬁrst and to serve the interests of the people that they were created to serve to begin with. ! So White American’s do not have to apologize to Black American’s.. or the social. caused us to see ourselves as different and not as beautiful and diverse pieces of the magniﬁcent human mosaic that is America. and to establish an immigration policy that’s compassionate. and American’s of every ethnic origin. Let us stand as one people. We have a moral and faith imperative in this new potentially perfect Occupy Movement to bring this spiritual psychology to the mainstream of American thought and reality. an apology doesn’t put food on the table. color. and ﬁght with us for a standard of social. and with brown American’s. to this present abyss. Link arm in arm to ﬁght against the illegal foreclosures that have taken millions of homes across America. political and economic injustice of the last 150 years. becomes a relic of the history books. and link arm in arm with Black American’s. liberty and the pursuit of 7 . and helps us to recognize our best self in civil society and as humanity before God.. shun and disavow it. political and economic egalitarianism that is sustainable and allows all American’s and their family’s to prosper equitably. blesses the family. shoes on their feet. and ﬁght together to end. so that discrimination in the workplace based on age. ! White American’s can link arm in arm with all American’s to demand and ﬁght for the repeal of Citizens United. sexual orientation. Real equality in America. call it evil. the 99 percent.APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. or for any reason. because we are all Americans. creed. religion and sexual orientation. skin color. or clothing on their backs. just and equitable. sex. and it will not remedy the century’s of slavery. once and for all. What White American’s can do is recognize the evils that has brought America.. as a whole. gender identity..
political and economic justice and effective change that the World has ever seen.. Question and Frisk’ in the city of New York as it violates the civil and human rights of young black and brown peoples predominantly on the street. and the quest for civil liberties in America. Fight with us to secure a dynamic primary and secondary school educational system in America for all children so that going to college is not just a dream. moral and must be a tool for real and effective change in the neighborhoods and communities of the disenfranchised and disaffected. Let us here acknowledge that the Civil Right’s movement gone past is not yet complete. Fight with us to destroy the prison industrial complex and to drastically reform the criminal justice system that has more young black men behind bars today than have ever been enslaved in America during 400 years of slavery. and so that our children can experience a prosperous and innovative future. ! Fight with us to end the NYPD policy of ‘Stop. must be righteous..APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES. and it must further partner and coalition honestly with the true organic leadership of those communities. The actions of the movement. they must discover that their hero and deliverance is within themselves. and put your hand to the plow with us to help us to build it today. happiness. Fight with us to end islamophobia. and for a viable and dynamic model of community policing that respects the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Dream with us. This is the new ‘Liberation Theology’ that will bring the Black Church in America. more successful tomorrow for all peoples. attaining dignity for all humanity is far from over. The people do not need a hero. the Constitutional rights of every person. and it must be our spiritual.. if it is to be a true movement. and peoples of faith and good will of every stripe and from every corner to the Occupy Movement. human. and that places the needs of the citizenry and civil liberties above the criminal justice machine and the greed. but a real and viable option for all those who aspire to it. about a better. ! This present Occupy Movement can be among the greatest movements for social. moral and intellectual obligation to complete it. and the ethnic and religious proﬁling of Muslims. immorality and inhumanity of the prison industrial complex.. Fight with us against the establishment of the police state. ! 8 .
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Rev. Rufen-Blanchette Pastor & Bishop Prelate Revelation Pilgrim Ministries Apostolic Worldwide Brooklyn.. Steering Committee OCCUPY FAITH New York City Chairperson The Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice 9 . New York Member.. Raymond H.APOLOGIZING FOR THE SUFFERING OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLES... Dr.
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