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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reparations? Say, What?

Excuse me, but weren't slaves in America forcibly converted to Christianity?

Why isn't that fact ever included in slavery reparations?

I notice that many black Americans are highly religious, to the point of superstition. (I know I'm going to piss people off saying this, but I have worked alongside a lot of African-American women and I know what I'm talking about. Everything is about God to them.) I also notice that Peter Popoff is back.

Why does the Black Entertainment Television (BET) network host this charlatan? Look at his audience today, twenty years after being exposed as a fraud. Most of them seem to be black. What motivates them to follow a modern-day Massa? Isn't this the "slave mind" all over again?

Shame on Black Entertainment Television. Shame on Peter Popoff. And shame on all the people who prefer to have a tizzy about atheists rather than speaking out against real problems, like those who would fleece the gullible of their money. "I'm not a fundamentalist, but..." Well, I'm not a fundamentalist at all, and I stand for the true liberation of all people, not their continued enslavement to superstition. That means that all Americans, black and white, rich and poor, must finally adopt critical thinking and personal responsibility, and quit blaming con-artists like Popoff for "brainwashing" them. Yes, shame on Peter Popoff, but "Fool me twice...shame on me."

UPDATED: I recently reread this article, "The Homecoming: Paranoia and Plague in Black America," which has haunted me since I first read it, in 1995. HIV denialists assail the article and its author, Hanna Rosin, as “racist” - which is an outrage, since it is the denialists who are perpetrating a racist crime on black America and in Africa with their HIV-doesn’t-cause-AIDS/AIDS-is-a-white-conspiracy balderdash.

Each time Otis tells the truth [that he has AIDS], he becomes a pariah. He says his wife left him when people found out he was positive and started calling her a "diseased bitch " His 14-year-old niece, visiting from Georgia with her son, "freaked when she found out, started sereaming, 'He's been using the same bathroom, he touched my baby.'" When he confided in his minister, the man poinied at him the next day in church and preached about the sins of bad living. Otis won't go to an AIDS clinic, even for a prescription: "Nope. No way in hell. That's, you know ... a homo place, and your mama or your cousin or anybody could see you go in and then you're branded for life." ...

"One thing about corporate medicine is they find a way to make money off you until you're in your grave," he [Ron Simmons, who runs an "alternative" AIDS clinic] jeers, holding up a copy of his bible: Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story. "Black folks have what I call a healthy paranoia. After all, they did it once, so they can do it again." "They" is the U.S. government—specifically, the Public Health Service...

Black clergy, the community natural leaders, only feed the paranoia. When a clean-needles program was first proposed in New York City in 1989, Calvin O. Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church decreed he was "not in favor of cooperating with the devil," meaning those who might perpetuate addiction. Leading the national charge was Reverend Graylan Ellis-Hagler, who now presides over the Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington. "First, the white establishment pushes drugs into the community," he told the Atlantic in 1993. 'They cripple the community politically and economically with drugs. They send the males to jail. Then someone hands out needles to maintain the dependency."

Religious opposition killed needle-exchange programs in every city except New York, which squeezed through a trial program in 1991. The result is the only unqualified success story in the prevention war. In a city where half of intravenous drug users test positive, the program cut infection rates by 50 to 75 percent, according to a study of its 2,500 participants. Now, Ellis-Hagler is willing to relent, he says, "because there aren't strong enough feelings from the community to create a hysteria,"although he still finds the program "a pitiful last resort, and racist." It may be too late. By now, momentum has died down. Washington, for example, has only enough money for a tiny pilot program inconveniently located in a downtown federal building. The vacuum has been filled by a kind of generic sermonizing, drained of any urgency.

Ten years ago, ministers routinely refused to preside over funerals of people who died of AIDS, and funeral homes refused to bury them. That kind of disgtist has mostly been replaced by evasive homilies, expressed by a scattered few, such as Washington's Reverend Pervis "Fireball" McKenney, who takes pride in insisting, "I preach against all sin and that's one of them. I'm with the Bible on sin, and all sin is against God, period, whether it be homosexuals or whatever." In milder forms, ministers presiding over funerals will say "this person was a sinner, but he renounced that world at the end of his life," or they won't mention how the person died.

--Hanna Rosin, "The Homecoming: Paranoia and Plague in black America," (The New Republic, June 5, 1995, pp. 21-31).

What about the sin of omission?

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Anonymous J-Dog said...

Welcome back! We're all awaiting your Moving Saga Story with bated breath.

October 02, 2007 3:37 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Moving is hard work; moving while working full-time and going to grad school is a bitch. I'm leaving my house and my cats - and that's fair because I'm the one who stepped out of the relationship - but it's hard.

Worth it, though. Nutshell.

October 03, 2007 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, too bad about leaving the kitties. That's a real wrench.

October 03, 2007 1:15 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Um, can we talk about something else?

(I was sure that this post would garner me a flurry of e-mails calling me racist - which would be utter BS - but that hasn't happened.)

October 03, 2007 2:52 PM  
Blogger breakerslion said...

Reparations: How to keep people thinking of themselves as victims into the fifth generation after the fact.

There. That oughta do it.

There seems to be a conspiracy of silence around these closet murderers. Have you heard about Dr. Beetroot yet?

October 03, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Oh, yes, I know her! Manto Tshabalala-Msimang!

She and Pres Mbeki have blood on their hands! And so do Peter Duesberg, and by extention, intelligent design advocates Phillip Johnson and Jonathan Wells.

This is an excellent article.

October 03, 2007 5:45 PM  
Blogger angelsdepart said...

I saw this guy on an infomercial a while back. I couldn’t believe that he was actually hawking holy water. The sad thing is that he is preying on the poor and destitute, which are the very people that the Christians are supposed to help out. Maybe he could live in a one million dollar home instead of a two million dollar home. That way he could use the extra million to actually help out poor people.
Anyways, I think that the reason that you are not getting emails from people accusing you of being a racist is because you are not being a racist. You are simply pointing out observable differences in a group of people and asking if there is something to it. Television shows and movies do this all of the time. They call it “demographics.”

While I suppose this man is evil and horrible, he is nonetheless doing nothing illegal. His promises are vague enough that they cannot be held up in court and there seems to be plenty of people that are dumb enough to keep sending him money. Maybe this is the hard lesson that needs to be learned. Maybe this is the beginning of a brighter religion free tomorrow.

Great blog, I am adding you to my blogroll

October 03, 2007 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a sad thing to note that, even in this age of enlightenment and knowledge, so many people are as ignorant and superstitious as their ancestors of the 1840's, the era of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

We are voices crying in the wilderness.

October 03, 2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Thanks for visiting, Angelsdepart.

They call it “demographics.”

Yeah, but those only go so far. I always remain convinced that the differences between individuals are greater than the differences between groups.

Having said that, I can't help but notice that most "alien abductees" seem to be white. What's up with that?

Actually, I do believe in reparations. Real reparations - investment in young people, funding our libraries, adequate utilities for all communities (some communities in the South are still segregated along racial lines, and naturally the black communities don't have adequate utilities because the white community shuffles the responsibility around), etc.

But I wish too that people would look at what the church preaches and recognize that it is backward thinking. I simply cannot trust the church, because I have never seen it accurately portray science or medical issues. Never.

Not ever. They're always dragging their feet behind the scientists. I recognized that at a very young age.

October 04, 2007 12:44 PM  

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