Thursday, November 17, 2011

TheCall Detroit: Black Speaker Talks About Obama and "Generational Baggage"

For an introduction to TheCall Detroit, click here. To read about Alveda King's speech at the rally, click here. To read about Lou Engle's anti-abortion speech, click here. To read about Judaism and Islam at TheCall Detroit, click here. For final thought on TheCall Detroit, click here. To access a full video archive of TheCall Detroit, click here

Now that we've introduced readers to TheCall Detroit and talks by Alveda King and Lou Engle, I'd like to share another video from the rally. Thanks to Wayne Besen's camera work, several videos of the event are available at YouTube, including a video of an unidentified black speaker. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in uncovering the speaker's name, but I would like to share quotes from his talk nonetheless.*

Much of the unidentified man's talk revolved around faith, politics, and the African-American community. At the beginning of the video, the man defends the term "Uncle Tom" as an honorable label.

"Now what's interesting is Uncle Tom in the story of Uncle Tom is actually a Christ-like figure, so to be called an Uncle Tom is actually an honor and a privilege. But due to the bitterness that has been passed down from generation to generation because of what my forefathers went through, somehow Christ-likeness became a dirty word in the black culture."
The man described the struggles faced by his father's generation, including oppression and racist violence, which left pain in his father's heart. This pain, he said, strongly influenced his father's decision to vote for President Obama in 2008. At the 2:22 mark, he lamented that his father's longing for "retribution" against whites motivated his vote

"[His father] says, "After all we've been through, I cannot drive myself to a poll with the opportunity to put a black man in the office and not do it." In other words, what was motivating and driving his vote, beyond what all the political policies or ideologies, whether they were Biblical or unbiblical, the thing that was driving him the most was the deep pain inside of his heart that said maybe if we get a black man in the presidency, then there will be retribution for all the stuff that white people have done to us. And the fact that Obama received 97% of the African-American vote ... Some people said it was a sign of how far we've come. To me, it was a sign of how far we haven't come. Then in reality, the pain of our hearts would overrule our ability to hear from God. I'm not saying that people didn't pray or hear from God on whether or not to vote for him. What I'm saying is when cultural or racial zeal or bitterness transcends Biblical zeal or Christ-likeness, then you're in sinning, you're in error."
I suspected that the speaker disapproved of President Obama, but more so that he disapproved of voting for candidates along racial lines rather than under the guidance of "Biblical zeal."

At the 0:29 mark, the speaker told the audience about the black community's "generational baggage" and the inner healing that needed to take place.

"And so as easy as it is for us to receive an apology from our white brothers and sisters, it is very hard for us to actually begin to search deeply within us and begin to confront the generational baggage that we have not yet allowed God to heal in our own hearts."
Fair enough. All cultures are shaped by their pasts, and cultures with painful histories may take a long time to collectively heal. However, at the 7:25 mark, the speaker's plan for shedding this "generational baggage" was for African Americans to repent to whites for "black ideologies" and "militancy" (!).
"As a younger man speaking to maybe some of you who actually walked through the tragedies of the sixties, the reality is there's been a generational baggage that has been passed down, and if we leave this stage and say racism is dead without repentance, we would have failed tonight. So I want to ask if we can repent to our white brothers and sisters for the the black ideologies, the black militancy that even Detroit has been a center of."
As with other speakers and their calls for racial reconciliation, this speaker's talk was heavily laden with political and racial themes. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on Kamal Saleem's controversial talk at TheCall Detroit, as well as Muslim reactions to the controversial event.

*If anyone knows the name of the speaker in this video, please let me know.


  1. I've got mixed feelings about this guy's speech. It's a bit difficult being on the outside looking in (white to black), as obviously I don't have the full perspective of the community, and I have never lived in an all black neighborhood. So my comments are probably worthless to some extent, but here they are anyway:

    Yeah, Uncle Tom may have been more Christ-like. And chances are slavery would have been much longer lasting than it was if all of the blacks acted like Uncle Tom. So there's that.

    (On the "plus" side, American slavery introduced African slaves to Christianity {not that I think slavery was good}. So there's that.)

    I get the sense that the militancy and "black ideology" movements are largely marginalized now in favor of rights and equality movements. So his comments there seem a little out of place in my perspective, but probably made a lot of whites happy to hear.

  2. Certainly it's healthy to move forward and not wallow in victimhood. But this is very reminiscent of women who both venerate and enable their abusers. Blaming victims for being victims. How very weird.

  3. Cognitive Dissenter -- THe New Apostolic Reformation has produced some very strange racial rhetoric, with this as only its most recent example. I too find the victim-blaming stuff odd.

    Wise Fool -- I think a lot of this racial lovey-dovey stuff at the TheCall Detroit was intended to soothe white believers, not necessarily help believers of color. I could be wrong, but that was my gut instinct.


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