Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not Having A Black Pope Is Not A Bad Thing

'New Pope Francis - Jorge Mario Bergoglio Of Argentina First Latino Pope' photo (c) 2013, Zennie Abraham - license:

I know that there are a few people disappointed today that the new archbishop of Rome is not a Black man. When Pope Benedict XVI resigned, there was much speculation about Cardinal Peter Turkson becoming the new pontiff.  This would election of Cardinal Peter Turkson would have been a first for the Catholic church and many were excited about the possibility.  Yesterday, the white smoke was revealed and the Argentinean, Francis I is now the Pope.

I watched the media coverage last night and listened with great dismay at the constant refrain about what a change in direction Francis I represents for the Catholic church. The moment he was announced, like many, I went straight to google to learn more about him. With 85 million Catholics in North America alone, and 1.5 billion followers worldwide, the power and influence that Francis I will wield is immense.  I quickly discovered that despite all of the rhetoric about Francis I being a reformer, the new boss is the same as the old boss.  Pope Francis has been given the label of reformer because he prefers a simple lifestyle, which included refusing a car and taking the bus and spendin much time ministering to the poor.  While his outreach to the poor is admirable, this does not mean we should ignore the problematic aspects of his ministry.

Francis I believes that same sex marriage "is a machination of the Father of Lies" and that a same sex couple adopting a child, is an act of discrimination against said child.  He is anti-abortion and of course, anti-contraception. As far as I can see, this Pope is just as problematic as those who have gone before.

Had Cardinal Peter Turkson been elected the Bishop of Rome instead of Francis I, things would not have been much different.  In AIDS ravaged Africa, Turkson is against the usage of condoms except in situations in where one half of a married couple is infected.

He even chastised U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for calling on African countries to end the criminalization of homosexuality:
[The Church pushes] for the rights of prisoners [and] the rights of others, and the last thing we want to do is infringe upon the rights of anyone. But when you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights? [ Ban Ki-moon] needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified. [source]

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Is There A Duty To Educate?

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky. 

So let’s have a poke at this whole “duty to educate” thing.

I know, I know, surely this is a basic 101. But, I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what this means because I’ve seen a lot of people who normally have their head screwed on right regarding this as “unreasonable” or “overused” or “silencing”. And there’s lots of talk of it being “unhelpful”. After all, are these not wonderful concerned allies (ha) who desperately want to learn (ha) and if we’d just take the time they would understand our issues, our problems and the oppressions that affect our lives (ha!) and then they’d become passionate advocates on our behalf? (HA!)

The problem is, someone insisting that we educate them is pretty much already saying “your time is less important than mine and you’ve got to work to get me on side”.

See, here’s the thing: “I don’t have a duty to educate you” doesn’t mean you must languish in ignorance forever, eternally clueless as to why the marginalised people are so angry at you and so very very very mean.

It means I don’t have a duty to sit down, right here, right now, and spoon feed privileged people information. It means, when we do educate (note I’m not even saying “if” here) we do so on our terms. Which, since we’re the ones doing the labour here, should be pretty obvious.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy or inclination to educate, and I’m far from the only one. Especially when you have to answer these questions repeatedly every day and every day your answers are completely ignored.

And that’s aside from the fact at least two thirds of anyone asking to be educated is actually saying “silly gay, tell me why you think you’re oppressed and I shall use my brilliant straight insight to tell you why it is not so!”  Because throwing hard and mentally and emotionally taxing work to educate people to have them turn round with a big truck load o’ straightsplaining is just FUNSIES

Monday, March 11, 2013

According To Terrence Howard, Black People Have a Crab Mentality

'Butt wipes' photo (c) 2006, Bev Sykes - license:

Yes, Terrence Howard AKA Baby Wipes is at it again. This time he has moved from his sexist commentary to targeting all Black people.  With all of the money this man makes, you would think that he could hire someone to slap him silly anytime he thinks it's a good idea to open his mouth and share an opinion in public.  If nothing else, his silence would probably improve his flagging career and public image.

The following is an interview that Terrence Howard Baby Wipes did to promote his new movie, Dead Man Down.

transcript starting at 1:12
We have a crab mentality where we still pull each other down, because of choices that we make. Because I choose to marry an Asian woman, instead of a Black woman. So I think as Black people, we have to start helping each other and congratulating each other for being morally strong and doing the right thing by that.  If you don't have something nice to say, don't say nothing at all. 
This man who liked doing love scenes with Oprah because of her "big ol' titties," said that women need to use baby wipes for hygienic reasons, has a history of domestic violence and stood of up Chris Brown,  wants us to say something nice about him.  Well, I'll just get right on that.