That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

“Go, Tell it in the Suburbs!”

Last night, I was listening to black conservative radio host, Larry Elder, the author of “Stupid Black Men”, tell Hannity and Colmes that “this is not your grandfather’s America anymore,” and that blacks can have whatever they want through hard work. He then proceeded to buttress his point by mentioning Colin and Condoleezza, and Oprah. Anecdotal evidence.

 I found myself trying to figure out why he and guys like Ken Hamlin, Clarence Thomas, and the Re’m Jessie Lee Peterson irritate me so! Even though I myself possess many conservative values.

Why, if I agree that the black out-of-wedlock birthrate and absentee father rate is the root of many of our problems, do I find these guys so unpleasant? Why, if I agree that crime should be punished effectively, do they bother me so? Why, if I agree that personal responsibility is paramount, do they make me so angry?

What I came up with is this: These men freely spout — to whatever white (possibly racist) teevee talking head and radio yapper — the ills and sins of American blacks. But the trouble is that they leave NOTHING for white folk to do! They completely leave their “in” box empty! No “post-it notes”, no “to do” lists. Guys like Hannity regularly trot them out whenever they want to show America that racism is largely, like a musket, a bygone entity. And then they proceed — like they did last night — to run down a list of cases where democrats made racist statements, killing their own premise in the process!!! The Elders and the Petersons leave them feeling that the house has been painted — that the tumor has successfully been excised.

This does as much harm as does outright discrimination. Who would continue to run hard if he thinks the race is through? I have NO problem dealing with my folk when it is necessary, but in fairness, (as I’ve said before) there is a reason why there are so many of us in jail, in trouble, in menial labor, in poverty, out of school, out of a job, and out of the loop! We are NOT cursed, lazy, (My wife asked me, “Who is the lazy one? The slave, or the one who works the slave so he can sit and sip mint juleps?) or genetically inferior.

The problem will not be solved until we address the core issues and hand out the “work orders” to the proper parties! And if you don’t believe it from a black mouth (mine), take a few minutes and hear it from a white one:

This past Sunday, as part of my church’s Black History Month series, a sermon entitled, “Being White in America” was preached by Ben Parkinson, a white member of our leadership. It is, to say the least, groundbreaking and unprecedented! Please take the time to listen, and come back to let me know what you think!  

He has said things — in public — that no black person could tell a white person. With biting, unvarnished truth and introspection. As I told him, “put these words in the mouth of Farrakhan or Sharpton, and Fox News (which I like) would be all over it!” He desires no pats on the back, and in fact, doesn’t see it as being controversial. He says he just told the truth.

As I have said before, we don’t play at my church! We are about the business of doing life the way God intended it to be!

Edit: Mr. Roach left this interesting and revealing comment;

We paid at the office, home boy. Have you seen a rich white person’s tax return lately! Wow, it’s a lot of dough going to welfare queens, midnight basketball, and paying for all those section 8 housing vouchers.


February 15, 2008 - Posted by | Affirmative Action, Christianity, Church Life, Civil Rights, Clarence Thomas, Diversity, Larry Elder, Politics, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Racism, Sean Hannity


  1. Ben Parkinson’s rambling and pointless oratory “White in America” served absolutely no real purpose in my opinion other than to attempt to relieve himself of his self-imposed “white guilt” and to, as the old saying goes, “preach to the choir.” It offered nothing new, eye-opening, insightful, or useful.

    The Reverend Vernon Johns liked to say that his father urged, “If you see a good fight, get in it.” Parkinson clearly has no interest in getting in the good fight but instead he prefers to stand on the sidelines and wring his hands about it all, content to simply blame the white race while simultaneously trying to convince anyone who will listen that he is “hip” to the inequality.

    Real progress will never occur until we stop blaming each other, stop shouting at each other, stop mistrusting each other, and start truly listening to each other. And it next to impossible to listen to someone with your mouth in motion.

    You will no doubt not be surprised to learn that I am a white man. As a child, I attended a “black school” in a “black neighborhood” and easily made many black friends, some of whom I am still friends with today, some 40 years later. We studied together, we played together at recess, we joked with each other, and we never once judged each other by our skin color. All too often, children are far more mature than adults about life.

    Today, I also have black friends who I love dearly and when we discuss the day to day aspects of our lives, we don’t reduce the conversation to black life versus white life. Instead we talk about our families, our frustrations, our accomplishments, and our shared interests. We are just friends being friends talking about the things friends talk about.

    Is there racism in the world? Unfortunately, yes. Is there inequality? Definitely. Will it ever be completely eradicated? I doubt it. People have fought and killed each other for hundreds of years because the other person was “different.”

    It is too convenient to simply say it’s a black and white issue and when someone like Parkinson attempts to reduce the conversation down to “the blame game” it is a disservice to anyone within earshot.

    People are judged every day not only by the color of their skin but by many other charachteristics such as height, weight, dress, speech, attitude, religion, and more. Like it or not, it is “human nature.” When parents stop seeing things based on skin color, so shall their children. That is true for all races.

    The world needs more leaders like Vernon Johns and far fewer Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons and Ben Parkinsons. Today we are far too quick to blame rather than to build.

    Only when we stop trying to be equal and instead challenge and encourage all people, regardless of skin color, to simply be the best they can be will we move forward as a society.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Ben Parkinson sermon. You are correct. He deserves no pat on the back but perhaps a swift kick in the pants instead. He needs to take a refresher course on God’s teachings. God didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear. He told people what they needed to hear.

    God Bless you and your family and best wishes on your blog.

    Comment by bolsonon | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. WOW!! It is 2:37 in the AM and I thought I would just read this one last comment right quick and go to bed… Thanxalot, Robert, for keeping me up later! I’m going to be direct, to the point, and possibly ironic, but I don’t mean to be mean…

    I wish I had put some money on how soon the “white guilt” card would be played! I could get that Mustang I want so badly!

    It is amazing that you found his sermon “rambling and pointless” when two rooms full of people — probably 60% of whom were white — found it focused, pointed, and profound! I am not surprised, though, at your response. I suspect that many will feel the way you do. I am no virgin to your reaction. I submit that he was NOT preaching to the choir since a good church is not populated entirely by those of like mind, but also of those who need to be healed, corrected, and taught. This was a hard sermon to hear for many who were there, and

    It’s cool that you quote Vernon Johns, and it’s great that you talk about how many black friends you had and have. I don’t know how much credibility it will gain you here, though. You’ll have to use another method to show how unbiased you are. It sounds rather hollow, like the way some cold-hearted conservatives sound when they quote Martin Luther King to buttress their point, when we all know they couldn’t stand him when he lived!

    I contend that, despite what you say, what Ben did was to jump feet first into the crocodile’s mouth by taking the stand that he did. You may not have listened to the whole thing… He didn’t “simply blame the white race,” he laid out the cold hard facts and what must be done.

    You wrote:
    Real progress will never occur until we stop blaming each other, stop shouting at each other, stop mistrusting each other, and start truly listening to each other. And it next to impossible to listen to someone with your mouth in motion.

    I ask you: What do YOU consider REAL progress? Black folk “just getting over it, working hard, and not complaining, etc…?” Who is shouting? Who should speak? YOU? Is your definition of progress silence? Vernon Johns said he was a “boat ROCKER!” I submit that we are taking on water in our church after Sunday, and the ripples radiate to this very moment! As you read these words.

    Let me say this. seriously. A discussion of black and white in America — this dysfunctional family with a scarred history due ENTIRELY to race — is not to, as you say, “reduce the conversation.” It is improtant and can be productive if all parties are willing to comport themselves maturely.

    When you say:
    Is there racism in the world? Unfortunately, yes. Is there inequality? Definitely. Will it ever be completely eradicated? I doubt it. People have fought and killed each other for hundreds of years because the other person was “different.”

    It sounds as though you are being incredibly condescending, and I know you don’t mean to do that. How many times have those empty words been uttered fecklessly? Where is the racism “in the world” (not in America), then? Do you WANT equality? Based on what you said later on, I doubt it. But I could have just misread what you said…

    You said:
    People are judged every day not only by the color of their skin but by many other charachteristics such as height, weight, dress, speech, attitude, religion, and more. Like it or not, it is “human nature.” When parents stop seeing things based on skin color, so shall their children. That is true for all races.

    Yeah, people are judged by many characteristics. True. How many people were killed for being short? How many fat people have been called evolutionally inferior, or less than human? All these “other” characteristics you name can be changed. What we need to do is not, as you seem to suggest, IGNORE someone’s color as if it is like a giant wart on the nose, or a cleft palate, but embrace our differences and acceprt the responsibility for our part (whatever that is…) in helping to keep things like they are.
    Where is this “fight” you spoke of at the outset? It sounds as though all you want is for everyone to quietly accept the status quo and not make trouble.

    I’m sure Ben will be really amused to know that you have lumped him in with Jesse and Al!!! That is a TRIP!!

    You closed with:
    Only when we stop trying to be equal and instead challenge and encourage all people, regardless of skin color, to simply be the best they can be will we move forward as a society.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Ben Parkinson sermon. You are correct. He deserves no pat on the back but perhaps a swift kick in the pants instead. He needs to take a refresher course on God’s teachings. God didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear. He told people what they needed to hear.

    So, you think that the solution is to STOP trying to be equal?!? To stop? Ohhhh, I see. But what about that Founding Document? Isn’t equality a fundamental part of the American story? It sounds as though — and I KNOW I can’t be reading you right — you are saying that we should all work to accept our place in life. I know I am wrong here. But if I can’t be equal with you, how can I have the quality of life that you have? My desires climb as high as yours do. I wasn’t made to feel as a hapless victim. Had I the choice to be a descendant of slaves, the son of Jim Crow parents, the direct object of racist incidents — or someone who has had life easier because I WASN’T one of those people — I would choose to be who I am. Just as I choose to be Christian knowing that many, if not most, will ridicule me, call me needy, and think me stupid for being so. It is an incredibly tough thing that Ben did in admitting what he admitted.

    Ben Parkinson is a highly, thoroughly trained theologian. He did precisely what God does! He told us what we NEEDED to hear. Can you possibly believe that no one in that room felt as YOU feel? Who WANTS to hear that their whole way of life is better because of their color? YOU certainly don’t want to hear it!

    Okay, it is 3:46 AM, and I gotta go to sleep! Robert, I thank you for the discourse. You confirmed many things for me, and I appreciate you. If I have offended you, I am sorry, for it is not my aim to turn away anyone who may be on the fence about Christianity. I feel that a man can speak forcefully without being considered rude or mean. I was, however, a bit offended by your characterization of Ben.

    He did the hard thing.

    God bless you. Goodnight. Derrick (Maxdaddy)

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ben Parkinson’s rambling and pointless oratory “White in America” served absolutely no real purpose in my opinion other than to attempt to relieve himself of his self-imposed “white guilt” and to, as the old saying goes, “preach to the choir.” It offered nothing new, eye-opening, insightful, or useful

    Hmmm…he doesn’t seem to have “white guilt”. He seems to have a good understanding of forgiveness and redemption thru Christ. Even if he did feel “guilt”, guilt is often felt when one is guilty. No, I don’t appreciate your statement, but you’re free to make it.

    You start off, like the “typical” white person who “has black friends and lived in a black neighborhood, and loves his black friends like brothers and sisters…” Nothing new. Nothing revolutionary. We’ve heard it before. Are you the “choir” he was “preaching” to? I doubt it, cuz you don’t seem to get it. You haven’t reached “choir status”…yet. Can’t run from guilt. Can’t wish it away. When you do right, you feel right.

    So, as a white man, what are YOU doing, to bring about change in a racist America? Yes, there is blame, and each side must accept their role in the mess. The truth hurts, but if you embrace it and live by it, it’ll set you free.

    I have nothing else to say.

    Nothing else needs to be said. It’s sad, though…
    But I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your continuous support!

    Comment by anappygirl | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. Dear bolsonon,
    Why would anyone be surprised after reading your opening comments that you are a white man? Because you quoted The Rev. Vernon Johns’ father? Because you refuted a white pastor acknowledging ‘white privilege’?

    I think it’s great that you were able to experience a racism-free existence in a dominantly black school and neighborhood. God should be praised that you were able to establish lasting friendships in spite of the “human nature” of prejudice. It’s strange that you say “People are judged every day not only by the color of their skin but by many other characteristics such as height, weight, dress, speech, attitude, religion and more” yet you miraculously managed to soar, unscathed above “human nature”. You should probably be thanking God that you transcended humankind to not experience those harsh realities. Here’s the problem with your experience in the scope of society as a whole…IT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE! You are one in a small group of humans of all races who for some reason did not experience the full-on evil of racism, classism, sexism or religious persecution. Be thankful. As for the rest of civilization these atrocities have been, and are still real.

    It’s disheartening to read that you feel Parkinson is wringing his hands with this message or that his engaging this discussion was in any way ‘convenient’. A white person speaking about this thrusts them full force into the ‘good fight’ and out of a state of denial and complacency. I admit the talk is merely a starting point that has to be followed up with more dialog and physical action. For years many have conveniently acted as if hundreds of years of forced servitude and dehumanization has no lasting effect on a people group. As if a few legislative gestures is all it takes to level the playing field. The fact that you employed the philosophies and teachings of the Father of the Civil Rights movement and not some modern contemporary that Johns has influenced is a sign that there is still much ground to cover before systems and hearts truly change.

    Having cross-racial relationships without mentioning race is no indicator that your friends don’t want to enter into that conversation with you.

    Your logic seems to suggest that Parkinson would do more to ‘fight the good fight’ by not moving a muscle.
    Rest assured that there were no whites listening to this guy with baited breath ‘wanting to hear’ themselves called into partial responsibility for the disadvantage of blacks in America. I’m sure he will never get a “I wanted to hear you say that to me” from a white person. But he may get a few that say “I needed to hear that”. Hopefully you don’t assume his audience is comprised of blacks and like-minded whites.

    If you truly know God, ask him why this sermon infuriated you so. Thank him for allowing you to have cross-racial relationships despite racism.

    Rick, that’s how you FILLET a weak argument!

    Comment by Rick T | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  5. I said I was done. I’m not. A few more points…

    The whole, “Let’s not be too concerned about being equal, let’s just do our best!” statement really got me going.

    First off, “restitution” is something blacks will never see, this side of heaven. Most white folks (saints and aints) aren’t ABOUT to be remotely interested in restitution — biblical or otherwise. So, we as black folks need to forget about it. Not gonna happen.

    When you build generational wealth on the backs of a people, and they start talking about “payback” you don’t wanna hear it, cuz the payback goes way back too far, and the numbers are too high. It’s natural to want to “move on” and “try to forget the past”. I understand that. Really.

    Now, black folks, on the other hand, have definately “misappropriated God’s grace”. Where sin abounds, grace abounds…even more. So, yes, we were sinned against greatly, but God provided abundant grace. We must learn to forgive (not forget), and allow the Holy Spirit to remove the shackles that remain on our minds, so that we can live in liberty. The devil definately meant it for evil, but God meant it for our…GOOD.

    And as far as “forgetting”, humans tend to have short attention spans. We don’t have trouble forgetting the past, which is why we often repeat it. To say, “Don’t worry about being equal” is insensitive and just…crazy. Until “me working hard”, and “you working hard” can yield the same results — without race in the picture, then we must be concerned with it. If me “doing my best” will never beat you “showing up in the right skin color”, then how can equality not be a factor?

    I’m missing that. Okay, Derrick — now I’m done.

    Comment by ANappyGirl | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  6. Friend, YOU preachin’! You ain’t gotta be done! Talk all you want.

    That, to me, seemed the most racist line of his whole speech.
    YOu have made some great points!

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  7. Dear Friends,

    As confident as I was that the sun would rise again this morning and I was equally confident that you would simply dismiss my comments as racist, off-base, without merit, crazy, and would in fact, quickly dismiss it all, desperately defend your rhetoric, keep your mind closed, and high-five each other on how you put me in my place for offering a different opinion.

    I applaud you on how you have me all figured out…

    Clearly you don’t want to hear an opposing view, you want only to wallow in self-pity, widen the divide, refuse to entertain the idea that your mindset and your friend Mr. Parkinson are severely misguided, and then shreik “how dare you!” when challenged–all in the name of religion and righteous indignation.

    You seem like nice enough people, clearly misguided, but not malicious, and certainly not people who are truly interested in hearing the opinions of anyone who doesn’t happen to hold your hand as you cry “Why me!?”

    I will say it again because I think it bears repeating, God’s word is not telling people what they want to hear, but telling people what they need to hear. Hopefully God can remind Mr. Parkinson and apparently so many others within your church of that some day.

    Just because something is said in church doesn’t make it necessarily right, even if everyone sitting there happens to agree. A cat might have kittens in the oven but that doesn’t make them biscuits.

    And if those same people seated in that church choose to hear what they want and to bend and twist God’s teachings to serve their own agenda, that’s truly a shame. But so be it.

    In closing, I wish you inner-peace, clarity, all of God’s best blessings, and the courage to look inward which is where change must always begin. Enjoy picking this reply apart. I’ve never been one to fear a few slings and arrows—especially when they are are so off-target.

    Comment by bolsonon | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  8. “Clearly you don’t want to hear an opposing view,” you said.

    Is that what you really think the problem was? REALLY? The problem WAS that you didn’t express your opposing view in a civil manner! You insulted Ben and completely mischaracterized what he said and why! And you continue to do so in your latest comment.

    “I will say it again because I think it bears repeating, God’s word is not telling people what they want to hear, but telling people what they need to hear,” you said.

    Again I say, that is EXACTLY what Ben did! Just as YOU clearly don’t WANT to hear what he said (did you even listen to the whole thing, by the way…?) many of us didn’t want to hear those words, either. People were CRYING, for goodness sake!
    Just as you accuse us of summing you up, you are guilty of it as well.

    One LAST thing: You said,
    “I wish you inner-peace, clarity, all of God’s best blessings, and the courage to look inward which is where change must always begin.”

    Excuse the caps, but THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT BEN WAS DOING! Encouraging us all, black white and otherwise, to look within our own hearts and make what changes need to be made! My GOODNESS! You are so smug and condescending, yet clueless to what was happening. So closed-minded to the facts. It is frustrating to a point, but the truth is, I never expect to change a heart. Only God can really do that.
    You can think what you wanna think. But we are secure in the knowledge that racism and EQUALITY will not be affected, or effected, by doing what you appear to want — not making waves, keeping quiet, not talking about it, etc…

    How do YOU fight a “good fight when you see one,” as Johns suggested? I really want to know, which is what I asked the FIRST time I addressed your snide missive.

    God bless you, really. I don’t do this blog to only get “amen’s” from people. I welcome debate. Have your opinion, and express it. But do it without the personal stuff next time, or you will probably see the same reaction. And how about addressing the CONTENT.

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  9. Nope, it’s not that no one wants to hear an opposing view, it’s just that you don’t have many supporters of your viewpoint — not here. They’ve not showed up yet. They may.

    You seemed to have no problem with summing up Ben’s intent, heart attitude, etc. But when the switch got flipped, you flipped out. Can’t do that. Yes, you knew what coming, and you brought it on. You’ll be alright.

    Plus, you didn’t present your case very well. That’s the bottom line. You basically threw a bandaid over a festering social wound.

    You told a race of folks, who have struggled and continue to struggle for the right to have the same rights you have, to “Just concentrate on doing your best! Don’t worry about trying to be equal!” Perhaps you thought your background was going to give you enough credibility to let that fly. It didn’t.

    Comment by anappygirl | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  10. I truly hope he HEARS you!

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  11. I told myself I would never post anything on a blog … but I’m now jumping in here out of a sense of both sadness and obligation. My (perceived) unbiased reading of this blog chain leaves me sensing a bit of anger and hostility; I would like to offer a word of caution.

    I am a white guy – about as white as you get both literally and figuratively. I can sunburn after only 5 minutes in the sun, can’t jump, and can’t dance. I even had a mullet at one point in my life. I have never had to deal with racial issues directed towards me but statistically think that I have had a more “diverse” upbringing then most, and as such have witnessed race-based decisions towards friends and others. Some I could categorize as racism; some were blatant discrimination; others merely insensitive.

    What Pastor Ben said was not new to me … but it articulated life in America (2008) very well and I absolutely agree with him. I found it neither rambling nor pointless. I also know Ben personally and this sermon was not spawned out of a sense of guilt but rather a sense of love-in-action (God’s teaching and Jesus’ example). I can only surmise that listening to Ben’s sermon without experiencing the fullness of Memphis and Fellowship Memphis Bible Church must be very challenging. I found Fellowship Memphis after looking at FIFTY churches in the Memphis area – the first 49 did not have any significant integration (either all white or all black, no mixed leadership, and no motivation to mix. NONE of the white churches I visited had any black baby dolls in their nursery but all had pictures of a WHITE Jesus hanging somewhere). Without knowing Ben and being involved in the church, I can see how someone (white) may misinterpret what was said.

    But please do not quickly dismiss Ben’s words or dis on him as a person because a dis on him is a dis on me and the rest of us white folk that are trying to be more inclusive in our lives with minority groups, especially with our black brothers and sisters. In my opinion – the white-black issue is the thermometer of all race-relations in America.

    As a fellow brother of Caucasian persuasion, we are tired of the divide – the divide that started with and continues to be perpetuated by the majority. Another opinion of mine is that it is the responsibility of the majority for the inclusion of the minority. History and reality says that we (whites) have done a poor job doing that. Why did blacks have negro baseball leagues? Because we (not me or you but we the majority) didn’t let them play with us. Why did blacks have their own military units? Because we (the majority) wouldn’t let them integrate into our Armed Forces at the unit level. Why do blacks have their own TV and magazines? Because we (the majority) aren’t very inclusive with our shows and magazines. Why do blacks have church denominations of their own – why don’t they assimilate into the majority culture? Because we (the majority) didn’t let them.
    To draw this out, just for a moment – let’s take the conversation away from church and look at our “culture” objectively. How “inclusive” our we as a society? I watched a movie late last night … the commercials give away the audience demographics that the marketers statistically know are watching. I would offer to you that the target audience was white b/c all the commercials were geared to whites. Pick up most magazines (pop ones) … though we are starting to see more diverse groups in the articles, again look at the ads … mostly targeted at whites. Looking through 10 different types of magazines in my house (Cooking Light, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Better Homes, Sunset, Southwest, etc…) – the target audience is clearly white. Look at the X-games – who do you think they appeal to? Take K-LOVE radio … I have NEVER heard any gospel (black gospel) and have only heard a few minority songs (Latino or black) because they are basically white pop. And I would offer to you that probably none of those folks are racist nor deliberately trying to exclude the minority groups. In fact I offer that most of them are driven more by the color green and marketing than anything black or white.

    But that is exactly the point we are discussing here and the point Ben was making in his sermon …. it’s about inclusiveness at every level of our lives. [Also note that Ben started his sermon by saying that he could not make enough disclaimers about it. We all have different backgrounds and perspectives but we also have an identity as a people group; I think it was that identity and behavior he was addressing and then challenged us to look internally to see where we fit within that cultural identity]. My point here is that while white America doesn’t exclude blacks but we also don’t do a good job of including them. Again, look at our magazines, TV shows, radio stations, fashion, retail … even grocery stores and suburban malls. As Derrick pointed out in a previous blog – look at the adult cartoons on TV.

    So while saddened that this blog chain boiled down the “race” conversation to personal opinions of what God’s truth is and what should and should not be taught in church, I have a sense of hope simply because there is a blog out there having a conversation about race issues in America. As a white guy it is just too easy to ignore this issue, move to the white suburbs and live in a white world. Ben is challenging me NOT to do that … is that what I want to hear? Or is that what I need to hear? Having black friends is not enough; having a conversation about being white in a black world is not enough (and vice-versa); having a cross-cultural upbringing is not enough; encouraging everyone to be their best is not enough. And to use the Monopoly analogy – simply playing by the rules or even leveling the financial inequality is not enough.

    A gallop poll once asked the question to many (my paraphrase): in general, are people getting better or worse? Overwhelming response was worse. Second question was: do you consider yourself a good person or bad person? Overwhelming response was good. From an absolute perspective – both conditions cannot be true at the same time.

    For both sides (or all sides), when the adrenalin wears off – ask yourself one question: how inclusive am I in my life with cross-cultural issues? If you feel you are doing a good job – good for you, I hope you are. To me, Ben’s message is a challenge to us all to evaluate our personal definition of “good” and should motivate us all to be more inclusive in our lives towards other “people” groups. “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”.


    Comment by Bones | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  12. Well, I’m wondering if Mr. Bolsonon heard the same sermon I heard. I’M SERIOUS! I wonder if maybe he had to run to the store or pick up the dry cleaning or something while Ben Parkinson COURAGEOUSLY and systematically put forth one of the most credible assessments of what it means to be an enlightened (and humble) member of the historically privileged and dominant race in America (at least at the time of this writing).

    My jaw is hurting. I couldn’t close it until I finished Mr. Bolsonon’s articulate but extremely misguided and unfortunate comments.

    Thank you Ben for shining the light. I, as a black man, am made whole (at least more so than before) by your humility and insight — and even more by your willingness to take a chance and say it in public. But then we realize that “we struggle not with flesh and blood…”
    Kirk Whalum

    Thanx, Kirk!

    Comment by KW | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  13. We paid at the office, home boy. Have you seen a rich white person’s tax return lately! Wow, it’s a lot of dough going to welfare queens, midnight basketball, and paying for all those section 8 housing vouchers.

    Comment by Mr. Roach | February 26, 2008 | Reply

  14. Who are you, Mr. Roach? Do I know you? Did we grow up in the same neighborhood? Or the same city?
    How is it that I am your “home boy”? Or ANY kind of “boy”?

    No, I’s ain’t privy to you white folks’s bidness, NawSUH!
    But I know THIS: There are a whole lot more white folk on welfare than black folk!

    I know that a whole lot of white folk know how to manipulate the tax laws so that they don’t pay nearly as much as they (you) should! That’s a lot of your hard earned tax money going to military defense, too, buster! Law enforcement, fire departments, etc!

    Thank you, Mr. Roach, for not scurrying back into the cracks while the light has been shed on your (and so many other of your compatriots) true feelings, as is the norm for those like you, Mr. Roach.

    So, you think that you have summed up what the black experience is, huh? Section 8 and basketball. You got us all in a bag, huh? I think YOUR comments sum you up, buddy.

    There is a whole lot more behind why blacks in this country are in the state we are in, and your either admitting it or throwing up racist smoke screens do nothing to change the facts.

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 27, 2008 | Reply

  15. And one more thing: Basketball was just fine when it was George Mikan and Bob Cousy, wasn’t it? It was just fine when black folk were not allowed to play against whites.

    But now, since it is not being dominated by those who look like you, Mr. Roach, it is turned into a racist cliche! Just like dancing, singing, and ANY other activity that ALL people love to partake of! If you don’t get to be the best at it, the SUPERIOR one, why not just act like Aesop’s fox and act as though you never wanted the sour grapes anyway! Turn something great into a negative.

    Michael Jordan is “naturally gifted” but Larry Bird “works hard.”

    Why don’t you tell us what YOU want, Mr. Roach. Tell us where YOU want black folk to go and where YOU want us to go. As if we don’t already know. Since we can all jump so high, I guess it would be peachy with YOU if we leapt to the moon, hunh?

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 27, 2008 | Reply

  16. Actually, I don’t want you to go anywhere, unless you hate this country like Michelle Obama. Then you can move to the country of your choice.

    I just don’t want to see any more affirmative action. Do well in sports, you’ll get people’s respect. Do well because affirmative action, and white people think what you worry they think: These black people around us sure are kinda dumb, incapable, privileged, and all the rest. It’s little different than nepotism or legacies; if you don’t get somewhere on your own merits, you’ll never have the respect of others, nor will you have self-respect.

    Midnight basketball, incidentally, is a feel good social program designed to reduce urban crime. It gives kids a place to go. It also has never been shown to have any effect whatsoever. I don’t care if blacks do well in sports, but to make a big deal about sports over other more attainable middle class jobs is silly, and it leads to a lot of young people haveing unrealistic “hoop dreams” that would better be directed into hard work in algebra class.

    Comment by Mr. Roach | February 27, 2008 | Reply

  17. We paid at the office,homeboy

    WOW! Is you the “spokesman” for “White Man Frustration”? Really? Our sum total is basketball, welfare and…section 8?

    Let me go check out his blog…

    Comment by anappygirl | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  18. I meant to put “Is you” in quotes, so “Mr. Roach” won’t correct my grammar. I’m a black person, who “got by” because of affirmative action, you know…

    My bad.

    Comment by anappygirl | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  19. Roach, the reason you hate Affirmative Action is because it threatens your stranglehold on your place in this country as the superior kind.

    You know very well that without it, minorities would languish in perpetual Jim Crow status.

    How COULD we catch up if we wait for white folk at large to do what they demonstrated themselves unwilling to the DEATH to do for centuries unless coerced?

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  20. Affirmative action doesn’t threaten me. I’m a lawyer and I make a lot of money. Affirmative action, however, is unjust. It also makes people like Michelle Obama feel bad about herself. Affirmative action is the mirror image of Jim Crow. I support merit, IQ tests, and treating people as individuals when individual information can be found out through things like standardized tests, GPAs, etc. For this reason, high IQ Asians have done very well, in spite of the supposed epidemic of white racism. Why is that do you think?

    As for whites resisting blacks for centuries, that’s certainly not true of all those whites–including my relatives–who came over around 1900-1924 is it? I mean, we were broke and I’m the first one to go to college, so I don’t feel too bad about rich Southern plantation owners because they have nothing to do with me and my bloodline or family. I do know, however, that I like blacks that act like white people, and I don’t like whites that act like (most) black people. I like civilized behavior, and most majority-black areas don’t have it. But I’ll give anyone a chance, particularly if he does well in school and is as smart as his white competitors. But I see no reason to cut blacks any breaks with affirmative action. Slavery was 150 years ago. Jim Crow ended at the very latest in 1965. It’s time to take some personal responsibility for your individual and collective circumstances. Racism didn’t make a cult of the pimps in the 70s. Racism doesn’t make blacks call “doing well in school ‘acting white.'” So get the fuck over it already, grow up, act white (i.e., civilized), and you’ll do just fine.

    emphasis added

    Comment by Mr. Roach | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  21. Mr. Roach. THIS is what you consider “civilized” behavior? Cursing on a public Christian blog?

    Your first statement sums up your value: You are a well-off white dude. That is your worth.

    I want to thank you for making the point that racism is alive and flourishing! You are the embodiment of it in its current form. You show that white racism is NOT, as you say, a “supposed epidemic” but a reality.
    There are reasons why Asians do better (AND Africans not from here, too) which you know but will not acknowledge. YOU know!

    How cool of you to spout the same lines that all the rest of you do! Nobody has any family who owned slaves! You all came afterward. Where are all the slave owning white progeny?

    You all worked your way up from nothing! How noble! You worked your way up from the TOP! Your white skin is a DISadvantage! WOW.
    YOU did nothing. Your folk did nothing. You don’t benefit from being a white man.

    But the thing is, what you are doing now, your cold, callous, racist mindset is precisely what I am talking about. I don’t want your money, Mr. Roach. I probably wouldn’t want YOU personally to throw horse urine on me if I were on fire!

    But there are people not of your race who, in spite of what you insist, don’t have the inherent advantages you have. And they will never get it without some form of intervention. You are the living example of “white resistance”, dude!

    I put your last words in bold print because I want whoever reads this to see the truth of what has come from your heart.
    You want us to disappear in the sense of ceasing to be who WE are and to become who YOU are. Bingo!

    We all know this. To be accepted by The Man, we must act like The Man acts. Neither of us are talking about simply a way of speaking, either.
    A.A. does me no favors. It more likely does YOU a favor by trying to balance the injustice that still exists and create a society that is better for us all, if you care. But that is wasted ink.

    “Slavery was 150 years ago, blah blah blah…” Shoot, the Constitution was written a century before THAT, and it is still relevant! Time doesn’t necessarily erase efficacy!

    You have taken time to carefully construct what you have written here. You submitted it knowing what you wrote and how it sounded. You are a lawyer. Words are your business. Yet you posted these vile, profane words.

    Had you said them to my face bravely, I am sure that I would not be innocent in my reaction. As it is, I thank God for this blog and for space and distance. I had time to calm down and write what I had to write in a measured, Christian fashion and not resort to a more hands-on approach.

    YOU are the uncivilized one.

    Comment by maxdaddy | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  22. Derrick,

    He showed his true colors — from his very first comment. He thinks white folks are better, and smart black (never as smart as white folks, though) folks are anomalies. He’s not alone.

    They’re all civilized, hardworking, and suffering because of affirmative action. He can wax racist all day long, using the internet as a shield.

    I agree, Tracey. Thanks.

    Comment by anappygirl | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  23. Mr. Roach,

    As a white man, I can understand the source of your reasoning. After all, as much as it shames me now to admit it, I once thought many of same things that you do (although I hope that I would have been a little bit more humble in the way I’d have expressed them). I think the main reason why so many white people think that way is that they haven’t a clue what it is truly like to grow up as the downtrodden minority in a raciallized society. You point out that other minorities, such as Asians, have done quite well for themselves in America. I would submit, however, that have not experienced generation after generation of oppression in our society at the hands of the white majority. In fact all other foreign groups who make up our society today came to America of their own volition with a desire to make a better life for themselves; African-Americans were brought here in chains to help build up this great society we all now enjoy and were, by and large, not even given an education in return. When slavery finally ended, the white-dominated society still denied them equal opportunities to make a better life for themselves. To this day, even though there are now laws in place to “prevent” discrimination, predominantly black communities still don’t have access to the same quality of resources that predominantly white communities do. That is the legacy of slavery and is why what happened 150 years ago is still relevant today.

    Think about it like this, if you faced even a fraction of the challenges growing up that most black people do, do you think you would be where you are today? Do you think you would have done so well in school if your parents could only have afforded to live in a high-crime, inner-city area where you had to walk to school through neighborhoods filled with drug dealers, gang members, pimps, & prostitutes? Do you think you would have developed the work ethic you have if you watched your father sit around collecting SSI/disability checks because it was better money than he could earn if he got a job? Do you think you would have developed the networks you have if most of the adults in your family were earning minimum wage (if they were employed at all)? Do you think you would have aspired to be a lawyer if you were consistently discouraged by people around you from having such lofty dreams?

    The truth of the matter is that you, whether you realize and acknowledge it or not, are the product of a VERY priveleged life (as am I). I didn’t get to choose whether or not my parents were married or present in my life … that was a blessing I experienced. I got to provide no input into what kind of opportunities my dad had to make a better life for his family … that was a blessing my whole family got. I didn’t EVER have to question whether I was smart enough or wealthy enough to go to college or do whatever I wanted with my life … I was blessed to be surrounded by people who helped and encouraged me.

    I’m not trying to say that all black people face these exact challenges, but the reality is that many (if not most) do. But it is not our place as white people to tell them to ignore the fact that they may have few, if any, examples of “success” among people they know and just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work a little harder. Quite honestly, if the situations were reversed, I doubt that I would be able to do any better.

    Which brings me to the issue of affirmative action … to overcome the myriad of struggles our raciallized society throws thier way, a typical black person would likely have had to work an order of magnitude harder than I did to build up the resume that I have. I believe that is something that is not typically considered when deciding between generally “equivalent” candidates. While I don’t believe affirmative action is the perfect solution (no solution will be perfect until Christ’s return), it is one way to move a small step towards restoring the balance of opportunity in our society. And it is this out-of-balance society, whether you contributed to it or not, that is to a large degree responsible for how well you’ve done in this life (although I would be concerned if I were you for what comes after this life!)

    I may not be able to fully and vividly communicate to you what I’ve come to see as the great advantage we have had in our lives by just being white, but luckily there are others who do a great job of this. I highly recommend you listen to the sermon Derrick referenced in his original post. Ben Parkinson does a phenomenal job and gives a lot of great examples. If you aren’t changed after you hear that sermon, I’ll pray for God to soften your heart.

    If you are interested in learning even more, there are many great books out there. I particularly like one called “Divided by Faith” by Emerson and Smith. It evaluates the history and reasons behind the racial division within the evangelical Christian community in America (which is really just a microcosm of the condition of the greater society, with the paradox that Jesus taught and modeled the contrary to his followers).

    I truly do hope that your opinions on these matters do not come from a racist heart, but rather come from a lack of appreciation for the entirety of this issue. I’ll be praying for you, and others who share your views in this matter.

    Comment by Dan | February 29, 2008 | Reply

  24. Dan, that was great! Just GREAT!

    Comment by maxdaddy | March 1, 2008 | Reply

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