After heavily engaging with materials from prior focuses, such as the history of black oppression and black religion, I was excited to start tying it all together to the current day BLM Movement. Based on some works we have already worked with, I was familiar with the ideas that the BLM Movement is considered very separate from the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was lead by men of color and heavily involved religious spirit as a driving force for the movement. On the other hand, the BLM Movement incorporates not only black women leaders, but black queer woman as well, which is something the Black Church does not necessarily believe in. My knowledge of this was deepened when I engaged in this weeks materials.
The New York Times article “Some evangelicals struggle with BLM” raised some interesting points about how conservative evangelicals are uncomfortable by the liberalness of the movement (associating with the Democrats). They believe that “The church should not do politics.” However, I disagree with this. There is such a fine line between what is social versus what is political. Many of our social problems are in fact rooted in political institutions that have been long standing since the creation of civilization. For example, Michelle Alexander’s work, The New Jim Crow, actively shows this. While the criminalization stereotype of black men is a social problem, it stems from the political history of the United States Justice System. And the justice system stems from racism that has been engrained into the system unnoticeably, such as The War on Drugs. To fix the criminalization of Black men is to fix our justice systems and every racist idea engrained within that system — you cannot separate the two. So, when evangelicals say that to talk about allowing abortions and acceptance of transgender and gay rights should not be included in the BLM social Movement is essentially saying that although you support gaining rights for Blacks, you don’t support gaining the rights for certain minorities within the black community. Rights are both a social and political idea, and in order to be effective, these rights need to be applied and discussed in both a social and political sense.
I also thought the article on “Mapping the Intersections of Islamophobia and BLM” was really interesting and tied very well to the womanist response to Cone, that being, the idea of the oppressed within the oppressed. Black muslims are targeted in two ways: they are seen as terrorists for being Muslim, and dangerous (in a different way) for being Black. According to womanist theologians, they would qualify as an oppressed group within the oppressed (even though the way in which they are oppressed has to do with Muslim religion Instead of Christianity).
The last thing that struck me within these materials was in “The Spirit Led Me,” in the “My God is Black. My God is Female.” section, the intolerance of conservative evangelicals towards the worshipping of Gods that more represented those worshipping. They took a strong opposition to God being female and black for Blair, which I don’t agree with. Like said in the piece multiple times, religion is supposed to be liberating. Therefore, as long as the common goal is the same (unity), it shouldn’t matter what one person’s God is versus another person’s God. If envisioning your God to be more representative of you helps you become more passionate and driven, then so be it. In addition, I thought it was interesting Blair held BLM meetings in a church in an effort to connect back to black people’s roots, and remember where this sense of black empowerment came from. Although the movement started in a secular way, she recognizes that because BLM engages in work of black liberation tradition, it automatically has ties with the Black Church, although it is not an explicit force in the Movement. One part of this piece confused me, and that was the connection between Robinson’s argument and Marxism. I had a difficult time following that, so hopefully we will touch upon that in class.