Archive for the ‘Black Racism’ Category

JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Will Smith Discuss Racism in New 4:44 Video: Watch – Pitchfork

Following the release of his new album 4:44, JAY-Z has shared a new video on Tidal. The clip, labeled as a 4:44 short, is titled Episode One: Footnotes for The Story of O.J. It features interviews from JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Will Smith, who speak on their experiences being black in the United States and the different ways in which anti-black racism is exhibited. Mahershala Ali, Chris Rock, Michael Che, Michael B. Jordan, Van Jones, Trevor Noah, and others also appear. In the final seconds, the clip switches to a teaser of a new 4:44 video coming Friday. Check it out below.

After dropping the new LP on Thursday night, JAY-Z shared an animated short for The Story of O.J. Since, JAY-Zs long-time engineer Young Guru said that a physical release of 4:44 will arrive, confirming that the previously-teased Adnis will be on the physical edition. Producer No I.D. also teased that a JAY-Z and James Blake collaboration could be imminent. Kendrick Lamar praised the new record, writing 4:44. WOW. MASTER TEACHER.

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JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Will Smith Discuss Racism in New 4:44 Video: Watch – Pitchfork

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Inquest jury makes anti-racism suggestions in police killing of black man – GuelphToday

TORONTO The police killing of a black father of five who was holding a hammer in an apartment building two years ago was a homicide, an inquest jury ruled Friday in a case infused with allegations of racism.

The coroner’s inquest verdict carries no criminal or civil liability, but the jury also made 39 recommendations, including several aimed at officer training, especially with regard to both overt and subconscious racist attitudes.

They also recommended police hone their skills in dealing with people like Andrew Loku, who had mental-health issues when he was shot.

Jonathan Shime, who represented the Loku family,said outside coroner’s court that he was pleased with the jury’s approach.

“The reality is a disproportionate number of black men are dying at the hands of the police,” Shime said. “It’s time for that to stop.”

The July 2015 shooting of Loku, 45, which sparked days of protests by the group Black Lives Matter, was an unnecessarytragedy, Shime said. Police, he said,had no reason to resort to deadly force.

The inquest under Dr. John Carlisle heard how six people had interacted with Loku, whom neighbours described as a sweet man,in the run-up to the shooting.

They said they had been able to calm him down and he was on the verge of giving up the hammer he was holding when police responding to a 911 call about a drunk, angry man raced into his apartmentbuilding and confronted him.

Within about 20 seconds of their arrival, Const. Andrew Doyle fired twice, hitting Loku on the left side of the chest. Doyle testified he fired because he feared for his life when Loku, hammer raised,started walking towards him and his partner in a hallway.

Shime, however, argued the officers panicked, in part because Loku was black.

“I don’t think Andrew needed to die,” Shime said.”There were a number of failings with respect to the training and the handling of this situation that precipitated his death.”

In an inquest setting, the term homicide is used when jurors find a person has killed another. It is a neutral term that does not reflect culpability or blame.

Ontario’s police watchdog found that Doyle, who admitted to having almost no experience interacting with black men,was justified in his use of force and no criminal charges were laid.

Among the recommendations the jury made was one to have police measure the effectiveness of training related to “anti-black racism and persons in crisis” by way of written and oral examinations. Officers should also be tested for implicit racial bias, the jury said.

The four-woman, one-man jury also recommended equipping more front-line officers with stun guns or other less lethal weapons to provide an alternative to guns.

Recommendations directed at the provincial government included one to update standards for de-escalation, crisis communication, and outcomes of current police response to persons in crisis.

A smattering of applause erupted among spectators in the courtroom after Carlisle thanked the jurors and closed the inquest.

Kingsley Gilliam, with the Black Action Defence Committee, called the jury recommendations “inspiring.”

“They recognized that anti-black racism, racism and institutional racism are problems and that racism permeates society,” said Gilliam, who called Loku’s death “an execution.”

Lawyer Selwyn Pieters, also with the defence committee, said the black community would be watching to ensure the recommendations are implemented. If not, he said, legal action and further protests are in the cards.

Pieters also decried what he called the stereotyping of black men as aggressive and violent.

“When you stereotype black people, particularly men that way, it is more likely to lead to very unfortunate outcomes for black men,” Pieters said.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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Inquest jury makes anti-racism suggestions in police killing of black man – GuelphToday

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Implicit bias and anti-black racism the core of Andrew Loku inquest findings – CBC.ca

The jury that crafted the 39 recommendations coming out of the inquest into the police shooting death of Andrew Lokuin 2015made it clear that racial biasisprevalent across society and needs to be addressed.

“Racismpermeatesthe society and they recognized that,” Kingsley Gilliam, one of the founding members of the Black Action Defence Committee, said outside the court building Friday.

Loku, 45, was holding a hammer and walking towardpolice when he was shot and killed by Const.Andrew Doyle on July 5, 2015.

Doyle and his partner, Const.Haim Queroub, were responding to a call abouta man with a hammer threatening to kill someone.

The interaction between the police officers and Loku lasted some 21 seconds before Loku was shot twice.

At least 17 of the recommendationsdeal with recognizing and addressing implicit bias and anti-black racism, including:

Loku was originally from South Sudan and the jury heard testimony that he suffered from PTSD.

His death sparked protests by the group Black Lives Matter.

Outside courtFriday, Gilliam said it was”inspiring” that anti-black racism was acknowledged in the recommendations as a problem.

Kingsley Gilliam, founding member of the Black Action Defence Committee, was pleased with the jury’s recommendations and said they recognized “anti-black racism, racism and institutional racism are problems.”

Gilliamhascalled on the “Toronto Police Services, the Toronto PoliceServices Board, the Ministryof Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Health to take very specific actions to address these issues andwe are going to hold their feet to the fire.”

He is threatening legal action if all therecommendations are not implemented within a year.

Lawyer SelwynPieters,also with the BADC,said: “We are on the cusp of real change, because that change has to happen or else.”

FemiOtitoju, the founder and training director for ChallengeConsultancy, educates people about how to recognize and address their own unconscious biases and the dangers of acting on them.

She has worked with governments, police services in the United Kingdomand media outlets, including the CBC.

“If you have a brain, you have a bias,”Otitojusaid.

Implicit or unconscious bias may be formed by personal experiences, but they also come from our educators, people who raise us and the media,Otitojusaid.

“There tends to be an emphasis on, a focus on black people as the perpetrators of crime and in particular black men as the perpetrators of violent crime,” she said.

That then feeds animplicit association ineveryone, “including our law enforcement officers,”Otitojuadded.

In a sit-down interview with CBC Toronto before the recommendations were released, Toronto police Deputy Chief Michael Federico discussed implicit bias saying:”It’s a societal issue and we recruit from society.”

Deputy Chief Michael Federico on crisis communications training4:44

He said that Toronto police “have recognized that implicit bias may detrimentally affect an officer’s decision.”

He said the service is taking steps to mitigate against it with “fair and impartial policing.”

That includes formal training around recognizing and responding to implicit bias and sensitivity training, “so that we become more informed about circumstances that people live in and the type of people we police,”Federicosaid.

Several of the recommendations also addressed the need for morede-escalationtraining and followup.

“Andrew could still be here today if the police had simply followed the minimum type of training that they received,” lawyer Howard Morton said.

Doyle and Queroubtestified at the inquestthat they were both shouting demands at Loku to drop the hammer and that he ignored those demands.

Const. Andrew Doyle is seen on June 14, 2017, the day he testified at the coroner’s inquest into the death of Andrew Loku. (Tina MacKenzie/CBC News)

One of the recommendations isto “emphasize”to officers in that type of situation to use “alternative methods of communication, de-escalation, disengagementand containment.”

The jury alsocalled for annual and regular training that includes negotiation, de-escalation and crisis communication.The jury’s recommendations also callfor the training of officers to include “trauma informed approaches.”

AseefaSarang, executive director of Across Boundaries, which provides mental health services for people from racializedcommunities and where Loku was a client, said: “I’m actually feeling like his death was hopefully not in vain.”

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Implicit bias and anti-black racism the core of Andrew Loku inquest findings – CBC.ca

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One ‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Perfectly Explained Anti-Black Racism – HuffPost

The Bachelorette contestant Lee Garrett has drawn attention for his history of offensive tweets and antagonistic behavior toward black cast members on this season of the show, but tensions came to a head on Monday night.

While, for the most part, this churning stew of racial animus was an unmitigated evil, it did bring viewers at least one valuable moment: One thoughtful contestant explaining to Garrett how anti-black racism endangers black men.

After Garrett told the shows lead, Rachel Lindsay, that a black contestant, Kenny King, had been aggressive toward him,King confronted the smooth-talking Nashville resident about his insinuations. The conversation went nowhere, as Garrett continued to smilingly interrupt and condescend to King a method of infuriating his castmates that he admits to enjoying.

Later in the episode, however, Garrett had a conversation with Will Gaskins, another black contestant and one who very eloquently explained the problem with calling a black man aggressive.

Initially, Garrett attempted to win Gaskins to his side. [Rachel] asked me, she said, Lee, so whats going on with, you know, Kenny? And I was like, Uh, he was being aggressive. I was just being honest … what was your thought, when you heard that? Tell me thats not aggressive.

Gaskins remained calm, but wasnt having any of it. Im not gonna say the words, man, he responded, laughing.

Why not? said Garrett. If youre going to be honest.

Instead of getting upset, Gaskins, who told the camera that he thought Garrett was simply ignorant and totally out of his element, attempted to educate his fellow contestant on the basics of racist rhetoric.

When you call him aggressive, Gaskins explained, there is a long-standing history in this country of regarding black men in America as aggressive to justify a lot of other things.

Garretts response? So hes the guy who gets mad and plays the race card to justify everything he does, because he cant control himself.

Gaskins, ever patient, explained that King wasnt pulling a race card, but was likely quite offended by a very negative and potentially racially charged use of the word.

His well-worded, succinct explanations clearly werent having much effect on Garrett, whoonce tweeted that the NAACP was as racist as the KKK.

Still, we salute Gaskins who, it should be noted, is also very cute, extremely good at handball, and reportedly reads like six books a day. He gave an excellent, reality-TV-ready primer on how casually painting black men as physically threatening can result in very real, often fatal consequences for those black men. For those Bachelorette viewers who have stuck with Lindsays season despite all these shenanigans, Gaskinswords were either a welcome respite or a much-needed dose of social justice knowledge.

And for that,Bachelor Nation is grateful.

For more on The Bachelorette, check out HuffPosts Here To Make Friends podcast below:

Do people love The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, or do they love to hate these shows? Its unclear. But here at Here to Make Friends,we both love and love to hate them and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

Want more Bachelor stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPosts Entertainment email for extra hot goss about The Bachelor, his 30 bachelorettes, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some juicy celeb news, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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Obama’s Ex Disappointed That He Wouldn’t Clearly Condemn Black Racism, Biography Says – The Daily Caller

A new biography on former President Barack Obama reveals that an ex-girlfriend was disappointed that Obama wouldnt clearlycondemn racism among black people.

The book, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, written by David Garrow, is a deep dive into the personal life of Obama, and has already made headlines for uncovering the identity of the ex-girlfriend, Sheila Miyoshi Jager.

Garrows book also revealed that Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, was dumped by Obama because he was worried that having a white spouse would hurt his future political career. (RELATED: New Biography Reveals Obama Ditched Marriage Plans In Order To Advance His Career)

Jager is actually half-Asian, half-white, but Obama was still concerned that not having a black wife would hurt his reputation and chances at being a successful politician.

An article published on Politico Monday about the book, titled, Why So Many Critics Hate the New Obama Biography, sheds more light on their relationship.

One paragraph says that Obamas book, Dreams from My Father misrepresented the racial issuesthat led to the breakup between Jager and Obama, with Jager saying that Obama wouldnt fully condemn black racism.

Specifically referring to one argument between the two, the article says, Where Dreams portrayed the lovers rift as at bottom a function of racial difference, Jager, while acknowledging the racial component of their strains, insisted she was mainly upset that day that Obama, in her recollection, was less than unequivocal in condemning black racism; it was at a moment when the overt anti-Semitism of Steve Cokely, a black mayoral aide in Chicago, had become a cause clbre in local politics.

To Jager, what doomed their future together was Obamas incorrigible realism, his perpetual readiness to accept and work within given realities a trait she saw developing in the course of their relationship while she wanted him to display moral courage.

The biography also wrote that Obama considered gayness as a young man.

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Obama’s Ex Disappointed That He Wouldn’t Clearly Condemn Black Racism, Biography Says – The Daily Caller

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Peel District School Board reveals plans to take on anti-black racism in new school year – CBC.ca

Less than a year after a Peel District School Board (PDSB) report showed that black male high school students feel they experience bias and racism regularly at school, the board has revealed a number of measures meant to tackle the problem in the upcoming school year.

Starting in September, trustees, principals, managers and otherseniorboard staff will receive mandatory anti-black racism bias awarenesstraining.

“One-off training, especially when you’re looking at mindset changes around anti-black racism… it isn’t all of a sudden you get the training and then you get it. We know there has to be ongoing conversations,” said Poleen Grewal, superintendent of curriculum and instruction at the PDSB.

Poleen Grewal says changing the mindset of staff to ensure a more inclusive environment will take some time. (Ministry of Education)

Grewal said theboard hopes to extend that training to all teachers in the 2018/2019 school year.

The Peel board will also host a symposium to inspire black student leadership the second of its kind and establish anadvisory council of community representatives and parents which will meet throughout the year to discuss the success of the initiatives and give feedback.

The new measures announced by the Peel board are part of their response to the “We Rise Together” report released at the beginning of the 2016 school year, which polled a group of 87 black male high school students about how they felt at school.

The students said they felt that many non-black students were afraid of them and that teachers expected them to “mess up” because of the colour of their skin.

Grewal said those results were unsurprising, but hard to hear nonetheless.

“It’s always hard to hear when you know there are students in your schools that feel the marginalization,” she said. “It’s not something that anybody wants for kids.”

Four grade 12 students on being black in a peel region school1:46

Students had also saidthat theydidn’t see themselves reflected in the PDSBcurriculum or staff.

As a result, Grewal said, PDSB is looking at integrating the experience of black Canadians into the curriculum, and four black principals are taking the lead on the “We Rise Together” action plan.

Another damning report this one released in the spring, and created using data from the PDSB as well as other Greater Toronto Area school boards found that a higher proportion of black students were being streamed into applied rather than academic courses, limiting their post-secondary options.

York University professor Carl James, the report’s author, will work with the PDSB to monitor how black students are doing.

This batch of initiatives is just the beginning, said Grewal.

“We have an almost three to five year action plan we’re looking at implementing,” she said, adding that the PDSB is also looking to do similarly focused projects with Indigenous education, LGBTQ youth and students living in poverty.

“I like the focus on particular groupsbecause that’s when you’re doing real equity and inclusion work,” she said.

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Peel District School Board reveals plans to take on anti-black racism in new school year – CBC.ca

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Empire Files Rewind: Anti-Black Racism Reveals Israel’s White Supremacy – International Middle East Media Center

Published on Mar 31, 2017

While the Israeli state espouses multiculturalism and diversity, it oppresses not just the Palestinian population, but also any black person within its borders.

From warehousing African asylum seekers in giant prison camps, to criminalizing and carrying out eugenics programs against its Ethiopian Jewish citizens, Israels treatment of black people reveals that the Zionist project is not just about Jewish supremacy, but also white supremacy.

In this on-the-ground investigation, Abby Martin talks to Osman Ali, a refugee from Darfur, at Holot prison camp about the treatment of refugees by the government, and Tehune Maharat, an Ethiopian Jewish activist whose cousin was killed in an apparent hate crime by Israeli police, about the rampant and institutional racism in the country.

La Nueva Televisora del Sur (TELESUR) is a multi-state funded, panLatin American terrestrial and satellite television network sponsored by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Founded in 2005, it is headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela.

Empire Files Rewind 06/06/17: Inside the Hotbeds of Israeli Settler Terror

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Empire Files Rewind: Anti-Black Racism Reveals Israel’s White Supremacy – International Middle East Media Center

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Yes, there is black racism – Toledo Blade

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Some progressives say black Americans cant be racist against whites. They should tell that to Kori Ali Muhammad.

Or better yet, they should tell it to the survivors of the people hes accused of murdering because they were white.

Fresno police stand next to a pile of clothes in front of a corner market in the neighborhood where shootings occurred in Fresno, Calif. in May.

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Police say Mr. Muhmmad killed a white security guard at a motel. A few days later, they say, he killed three random white men in Fresno, Calif.

Mr. Muhammads father said his son was trying to do his bit for a race war. The Los Angeles Times reports that someone calling himself Kori Ali Muhammad of Fresno had a Facebook page marked by black nationalism and the claim to be a warrior.

If he committed such crimes from such a motive, he is a racist. No other word could apply.

But progressives in America argue that racism in the United States can only run in one direction against minorities because racism is a matter of power and the power structure of society.

Websters defines racism asa belief that some races are by nature superior to others. Also,as discrimination based on such belief.

And it is largely because of those definitions that the word is so emotionally loaded more so than segregationist, which refers unambiguously to policies and their supporters. To judge individuals, and especially to condemn them, merely on the basis of physical features is dehumanizing. It disregards the individuals mind, character, actions all the attributes that make someone a person.

By reducing people to attributes they never chose, racism denies the significance of their free will and everything they achieve with it.

Often, and murderously, the people guilty of racism have been white. But not always.

If Mr. Muhammad indeed murdered people in the name of racial warfare, he was treating them as if the only thing that mattered about them was the color of their skin as if that were enough to make them his enemies and unworthy of life. That is surely racism.

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Yes, there is black racism – Toledo Blade

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39 years later, priesthood ban is history but racism within Mormon ranks isn’t, black members say – Salt Lake Tribune

Black members routinely endure slurs, stereotyping, shunning and insulting assumptions (“You only got into Brigham Young University because you’re black”) even from fellow believers.

No matter how devout they are, many Mormons of color say they struggle to escape outsider status in their largely white religion. And tensions have been heightened, they say, in a deeply divided nation, awash in personal attacks online and competing protests in the streets.

Last weekend, a group of white Mormon nationalists verbally assaulted Vranes and Smith on Twitter. Some defended the duo, who blog under the label “Sistas in Zion,” while others joined the so-called alt-right side, whose devotees bemoan what they see as growing and unfortunate diversity in the global faith.

The latter Mormons apparently feel “there is room for them in the church,” Smith says. “If the brethren [high-ranking church leaders] don’t speak up, it’s only going to get worse.”

And not just the leaders. The church, she says, will be stuck with racial conflict until the members, who make up the “body of Christ,” take action.

When white Mormons heard the June 8, 1978, announcement extending the priesthood to all worthy black men and boys, many wept for joy.

What were they doing the day before, besides supporting the status quo? Vranes wonders. They “never learned to stand up against wrong.”

Unspooling the past That spring day 39 years ago was momentous for the LDS Church, celebrated by the vast majority of Mormons as a clear example of divine revelation.

Latter-day Saints everywhere recognized the move as a game-changing milestone. It opened the door for wider proselytizing in Africa and other continents with black populations, and allowed Mormonism to woo potential believers in far-flung regions previously off-limits because of the priesthood prohibition.

Yet dropping the ban did not indeed could not eliminate all racism in the church.

LDS leaders offered no apology nor, at the time, any in-depth analysis of the reasons for the exclusionary policy. Justifications, including the notion that blacks were descendants of a biblical bad guy, Cain, or that they were less valiant in a premortal existence, continued to be taught and touted by members. Statements dismissing or denigrating blacks offered by previous Mormon authorities remained in print and often were embraced by believers long after the ban’s demise.

Racial strife including slurs and denigrating remarks still “lifts its ugly head … even right here among us,” President Gordon B. Hinckley preached in a 2006 LDS General Conference address. ” … I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ.”

During Mormon Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, church officials categorically condemned all the so-called justifications used to defend the previous priesthood prohibition.

A year later, the Utah-based faith issued a landmark essay on “Race and the Priesthood,” which laid much of the blame for the policy on societal racism during the 19th century when Mormon prophet Brigham Young formalized the exclusion. In the church’s early days, under LDS founder Joseph Smith, who openly opposed slavery, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood.

The essay, though not without its critics, went a long way toward helping African-American Mormons grapple with their church’s history. But it was published online, rather than read over the pulpit, which means many members still know little about it.

To counterbalance any racist vestiges, Mormon officials began a conscious campaign to boost “diversity (including race) in church publications and messages,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins notes. “Materials today seek to represent a much more global church.”

Hawkins reiterates Hinckley’s statement from a decade ago as the church’s definitive position and Brigham Young University sources say the race essay soon may become required reading for freshmen. The faith’s flagship school discusses diversity across the disciplines, while actively recruiting black students.

Black Mormons say it is not enough.

Pulling off the scab The church’s “race problem” is “much larger and runs much deeper than most of us would like to admit,” says Bryndis Roberts, a black Mormon in Atlanta who blogs at Femwoc (Feminist Women of Color).

The source of LDS racism, she says, can be found “in its teachings, its actions and its inactions.”

Racial beliefs common to 19th-century Christians spawned the ban, prompted Mormon leaders “to write and speak about their sense of repulsion at the thought of touching black skin during temple ceremonies … and to have missionaries searching through the personal items of potential members to determine if they had any black blood … and to teach against marrying outside of one’s race.”

It then should be no surprise, Roberts says, when today’s alt-right Mormons spew racial hatred.

While members of color “have to learn about white people in order to survive in this world, there is no such requirement for white people,” she says. Thus “they fail to cast aside their preconceived notions, stereotypes and tropes about people of color.”

LaShawn Williams, a black Mormon scholar at Utah Valley University in Orem, goes even further.

“Persistent racism in the church is the result of internalized white supremacy,” she says. “After the government passed civil rights legislation, we continued exclusionary practices in leadership and ordinances for eternal progression.”

Here’s what happened during the ban’s existence, she says. “Black parents, black women and black men could not serve missions or marry in the temple. We could get baptized. That was it. The first thing missionaries commit all investigators to do en route to the temple was the first and last thing black people could do until June 8, 1978.”

LDS leaders and members, she says, should explore this “historical narrative.”

When black men held the priesthood under Smith and served limited missions in the early church, Williams says, that “was more in line with bold Mormonism.”

White members need to “own [the] fear-based decisions that led [them] to support and promote anti-black racism in the U.S.,” she says. “To do anything less makes hypocrites out of all of us trying to love in Christ’s name.”

Uncomfortable conversations Many black Mormons argue that the key to a more inclusionary future runs through the exclusionary past.

“We have to be real about our history,” says Phylicia Rae Jimenez, a black Mormon in Philadelphia. “Members must understand what the essay means that the ban was not of God.”

It is essential for top church authorities to address “the ban and racism in the church,” Jimenez says, by teaching the topic from the pulpit and in Sunday classes.

“We cannot begin to move forward,” she says, “until the amount of talks given today outweigh and outnumber the racist talks that were given in the past.”

Writer Janan Graham-Russell, a Mormon graduate of the Howard University School of Divinity, agrees.

“White Mormons will really need to look at the racial policies and white supremacist ideologies that made their way into LDS theology,” Graham-Russell says. “I genuinely believe there are people who don’t know and/or don’t want to know why the restrictions took place.”

Nor, she says, do they think of themselves as racists.

That may only change, Graham-Russell says, if Mormon leaders offer a “clear and churchwide … repudiation of [past] racial policies.”

The theologian would also like to see her church teach “racism as sin.”

“We talk about [unmarried] sex being akin to murder … but not racism?” Graham-Russell says. “Racism is detrimental to physical and spiritual progress, as we’ve seen with state-sanctioned violence and the socioeconomic inequalities among communities of color. Why is it not a core part of church teachings? ”

Darron Smith, a black writer and author of “When Race, Religion and Sport Collide: Black Athletes at BYU and Beyond,” is unequivocal about his prescription for healing: It won’t happen without a formal and public apology for the priesthood ban over the pulpit by the Mormon prophet at LDS General Conference.

Future approaches One of the issues for many African-American Mormons is their invisibility in their faith community.

There are black general authorities, but no black apostles, no blacks in the general presidency of the women’s Relief Society, few in the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir or as faculty at BYU. LDS art often features a Scandinavian-looking Jesus and the biblical Adam and Eve are most often depicted as white.

Nor are their contributions to Mormon history recognized by many fellow believers.

That’s why it was gratifying for black Mormon genealogist Alice Faulkner Burch last month when a Mormon pioneer slave was honored.

In the 19th century, Brigham Young sent two Bankhead families to settle the town of Wellsville in Cache County: the white Bankheads and the African-American Bankheads, whom they owned.

“As years passed, the latter became forgotten as pioneers, their names blew away with the dust,” Burch says. “Once-marked graves were so repeatedly vandalized that headstones no longer stood to designate who lay beneath.”

On May 27, Wellsville erected a monument to the black Bankheads and held a program to honor them. At the end, Frank Bankhead, a descendant of the African-American family, and Evan Bankhead, a descendant of the white family, walked together to the monument and placed potted flowers.

Nothing could be more symbolic.

Remembering pioneering black Mormons, making their stories as well-known and well-loved as the hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” while acknowledging the existence of racism, renouncing the past and accepting responsibility for any wrongs would go a long way toward salving the still-open wounds, says Darius Gray, former branch president of the Genesis Group, a support organization for black Mormons.

It would be a balm for both blacks and whites, he says, transforming them into true brothers and sisters.

pstack@sltrib.com

Twitter: @religiongal

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39 years later, priesthood ban is history but racism within Mormon ranks isn’t, black members say – Salt Lake Tribune

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JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Will Smith Discuss Racism in New 4:44 Video: Watch – Pitchfork

Following the release of his new album 4:44, JAY-Z has shared a new video on Tidal. The clip, labeled as a 4:44 short, is titled Episode One: Footnotes for The Story of O.J. It features interviews from JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Will Smith, who speak on their experiences being black in the United States and the different ways in which anti-black racism is exhibited. Mahershala Ali, Chris Rock, Michael Che, Michael B. Jordan, Van Jones, Trevor Noah, and others also appear. In the final seconds, the clip switches to a teaser of a new 4:44 video coming Friday. Check it out below. After dropping the new LP on Thursday night, JAY-Z shared an animated short for The Story of O.J. Since, JAY-Zs long-time engineer Young Guru said that a physical release of 4:44 will arrive, confirming that the previously-teased Adnis will be on the physical edition. Producer No I.D. also teased that a JAY-Z and James Blake collaboration could be imminent. Kendrick Lamar praised the new record, writing 4:44. WOW. MASTER TEACHER.

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July 4, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

Inquest jury makes anti-racism suggestions in police killing of black man – GuelphToday

TORONTO The police killing of a black father of five who was holding a hammer in an apartment building two years ago was a homicide, an inquest jury ruled Friday in a case infused with allegations of racism. The coroner’s inquest verdict carries no criminal or civil liability, but the jury also made 39 recommendations, including several aimed at officer training, especially with regard to both overt and subconscious racist attitudes. They also recommended police hone their skills in dealing with people like Andrew Loku, who had mental-health issues when he was shot. Jonathan Shime, who represented the Loku family,said outside coroner’s court that he was pleased with the jury’s approach. “The reality is a disproportionate number of black men are dying at the hands of the police,” Shime said. “It’s time for that to stop.” The July 2015 shooting of Loku, 45, which sparked days of protests by the group Black Lives Matter, was an unnecessarytragedy, Shime said. Police, he said,had no reason to resort to deadly force. The inquest under Dr. John Carlisle heard how six people had interacted with Loku, whom neighbours described as a sweet man,in the run-up to the shooting. They said they had been able to calm him down and he was on the verge of giving up the hammer he was holding when police responding to a 911 call about a drunk, angry man raced into his apartmentbuilding and confronted him. Within about 20 seconds of their arrival, Const. Andrew Doyle fired twice, hitting Loku on the left side of the chest. Doyle testified he fired because he feared for his life when Loku, hammer raised,started walking towards him and his partner in a hallway. Shime, however, argued the officers panicked, in part because Loku was black. “I don’t think Andrew needed to die,” Shime said.”There were a number of failings with respect to the training and the handling of this situation that precipitated his death.” In an inquest setting, the term homicide is used when jurors find a person has killed another. It is a neutral term that does not reflect culpability or blame. Ontario’s police watchdog found that Doyle, who admitted to having almost no experience interacting with black men,was justified in his use of force and no criminal charges were laid. Among the recommendations the jury made was one to have police measure the effectiveness of training related to “anti-black racism and persons in crisis” by way of written and oral examinations. Officers should also be tested for implicit racial bias, the jury said. The four-woman, one-man jury also recommended equipping more front-line officers with stun guns or other less lethal weapons to provide an alternative to guns. Recommendations directed at the provincial government included one to update standards for de-escalation, crisis communication, and outcomes of current police response to persons in crisis. A smattering of applause erupted among spectators in the courtroom after Carlisle thanked the jurors and closed the inquest. Kingsley Gilliam, with the Black Action Defence Committee, called the jury recommendations “inspiring.” “They recognized that anti-black racism, racism and institutional racism are problems and that racism permeates society,” said Gilliam, who called Loku’s death “an execution.” Lawyer Selwyn Pieters, also with the defence committee, said the black community would be watching to ensure the recommendations are implemented. If not, he said, legal action and further protests are in the cards. Pieters also decried what he called the stereotyping of black men as aggressive and violent. “When you stereotype black people, particularly men that way, it is more likely to lead to very unfortunate outcomes for black men,” Pieters said. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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July 2, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

Implicit bias and anti-black racism the core of Andrew Loku inquest findings – CBC.ca

The jury that crafted the 39 recommendations coming out of the inquest into the police shooting death of Andrew Lokuin 2015made it clear that racial biasisprevalent across society and needs to be addressed. “Racismpermeatesthe society and they recognized that,” Kingsley Gilliam, one of the founding members of the Black Action Defence Committee, said outside the court building Friday. Loku, 45, was holding a hammer and walking towardpolice when he was shot and killed by Const.Andrew Doyle on July 5, 2015. Doyle and his partner, Const.Haim Queroub, were responding to a call abouta man with a hammer threatening to kill someone. The interaction between the police officers and Loku lasted some 21 seconds before Loku was shot twice. At least 17 of the recommendationsdeal with recognizing and addressing implicit bias and anti-black racism, including: Loku was originally from South Sudan and the jury heard testimony that he suffered from PTSD. His death sparked protests by the group Black Lives Matter. Outside courtFriday, Gilliam said it was”inspiring” that anti-black racism was acknowledged in the recommendations as a problem. Kingsley Gilliam, founding member of the Black Action Defence Committee, was pleased with the jury’s recommendations and said they recognized “anti-black racism, racism and institutional racism are problems.” Gilliamhascalled on the “Toronto Police Services, the Toronto PoliceServices Board, the Ministryof Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Health to take very specific actions to address these issues andwe are going to hold their feet to the fire.” He is threatening legal action if all therecommendations are not implemented within a year. Lawyer SelwynPieters,also with the BADC,said: “We are on the cusp of real change, because that change has to happen or else.” FemiOtitoju, the founder and training director for ChallengeConsultancy, educates people about how to recognize and address their own unconscious biases and the dangers of acting on them. She has worked with governments, police services in the United Kingdomand media outlets, including the CBC. “If you have a brain, you have a bias,”Otitojusaid. Implicit or unconscious bias may be formed by personal experiences, but they also come from our educators, people who raise us and the media,Otitojusaid. “There tends to be an emphasis on, a focus on black people as the perpetrators of crime and in particular black men as the perpetrators of violent crime,” she said. That then feeds animplicit association ineveryone, “including our law enforcement officers,”Otitojuadded. In a sit-down interview with CBC Toronto before the recommendations were released, Toronto police Deputy Chief Michael Federico discussed implicit bias saying:”It’s a societal issue and we recruit from society.” Deputy Chief Michael Federico on crisis communications training4:44 He said that Toronto police “have recognized that implicit bias may detrimentally affect an officer’s decision.” He said the service is taking steps to mitigate against it with “fair and impartial policing.” That includes formal training around recognizing and responding to implicit bias and sensitivity training, “so that we become more informed about circumstances that people live in and the type of people we police,”Federicosaid. Several of the recommendations also addressed the need for morede-escalationtraining and followup. “Andrew could still be here today if the police had simply followed the minimum type of training that they received,” lawyer Howard Morton said. Doyle and Queroubtestified at the inquestthat they were both shouting demands at Loku to drop the hammer and that he ignored those demands. Const. Andrew Doyle is seen on June 14, 2017, the day he testified at the coroner’s inquest into the death of Andrew Loku. (Tina MacKenzie/CBC News) One of the recommendations isto “emphasize”to officers in that type of situation to use “alternative methods of communication, de-escalation, disengagementand containment.” The jury alsocalled for annual and regular training that includes negotiation, de-escalation and crisis communication.The jury’s recommendations also callfor the training of officers to include “trauma informed approaches.” AseefaSarang, executive director of Across Boundaries, which provides mental health services for people from racializedcommunities and where Loku was a client, said: “I’m actually feeling like his death was hopefully not in vain.”

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July 1, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

One ‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Perfectly Explained Anti-Black Racism – HuffPost

The Bachelorette contestant Lee Garrett has drawn attention for his history of offensive tweets and antagonistic behavior toward black cast members on this season of the show, but tensions came to a head on Monday night. While, for the most part, this churning stew of racial animus was an unmitigated evil, it did bring viewers at least one valuable moment: One thoughtful contestant explaining to Garrett how anti-black racism endangers black men. After Garrett told the shows lead, Rachel Lindsay, that a black contestant, Kenny King, had been aggressive toward him,King confronted the smooth-talking Nashville resident about his insinuations. The conversation went nowhere, as Garrett continued to smilingly interrupt and condescend to King a method of infuriating his castmates that he admits to enjoying. Later in the episode, however, Garrett had a conversation with Will Gaskins, another black contestant and one who very eloquently explained the problem with calling a black man aggressive. Initially, Garrett attempted to win Gaskins to his side. [Rachel] asked me, she said, Lee, so whats going on with, you know, Kenny? And I was like, Uh, he was being aggressive. I was just being honest … what was your thought, when you heard that? Tell me thats not aggressive. Gaskins remained calm, but wasnt having any of it. Im not gonna say the words, man, he responded, laughing. Why not? said Garrett. If youre going to be honest. Instead of getting upset, Gaskins, who told the camera that he thought Garrett was simply ignorant and totally out of his element, attempted to educate his fellow contestant on the basics of racist rhetoric. When you call him aggressive, Gaskins explained, there is a long-standing history in this country of regarding black men in America as aggressive to justify a lot of other things. Garretts response? So hes the guy who gets mad and plays the race card to justify everything he does, because he cant control himself. Gaskins, ever patient, explained that King wasnt pulling a race card, but was likely quite offended by a very negative and potentially racially charged use of the word. His well-worded, succinct explanations clearly werent having much effect on Garrett, whoonce tweeted that the NAACP was as racist as the KKK. Still, we salute Gaskins who, it should be noted, is also very cute, extremely good at handball, and reportedly reads like six books a day. He gave an excellent, reality-TV-ready primer on how casually painting black men as physically threatening can result in very real, often fatal consequences for those black men. For those Bachelorette viewers who have stuck with Lindsays season despite all these shenanigans, Gaskinswords were either a welcome respite or a much-needed dose of social justice knowledge. And for that,Bachelor Nation is grateful. For more on The Bachelorette, check out HuffPosts Here To Make Friends podcast below: Do people love The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, or do they love to hate these shows? Its unclear. But here at Here to Make Friends,we both love and love to hate them and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg. Want more Bachelor stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPosts Entertainment email for extra hot goss about The Bachelor, his 30 bachelorettes, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some juicy celeb news, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

Obama’s Ex Disappointed That He Wouldn’t Clearly Condemn Black Racism, Biography Says – The Daily Caller

A new biography on former President Barack Obama reveals that an ex-girlfriend was disappointed that Obama wouldnt clearlycondemn racism among black people. The book, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, written by David Garrow, is a deep dive into the personal life of Obama, and has already made headlines for uncovering the identity of the ex-girlfriend, Sheila Miyoshi Jager. Garrows book also revealed that Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, was dumped by Obama because he was worried that having a white spouse would hurt his future political career. (RELATED: New Biography Reveals Obama Ditched Marriage Plans In Order To Advance His Career) Jager is actually half-Asian, half-white, but Obama was still concerned that not having a black wife would hurt his reputation and chances at being a successful politician. An article published on Politico Monday about the book, titled, Why So Many Critics Hate the New Obama Biography, sheds more light on their relationship. One paragraph says that Obamas book, Dreams from My Father misrepresented the racial issuesthat led to the breakup between Jager and Obama, with Jager saying that Obama wouldnt fully condemn black racism. Specifically referring to one argument between the two, the article says, Where Dreams portrayed the lovers rift as at bottom a function of racial difference, Jager, while acknowledging the racial component of their strains, insisted she was mainly upset that day that Obama, in her recollection, was less than unequivocal in condemning black racism; it was at a moment when the overt anti-Semitism of Steve Cokely, a black mayoral aide in Chicago, had become a cause clbre in local politics. To Jager, what doomed their future together was Obamas incorrigible realism, his perpetual readiness to accept and work within given realities a trait she saw developing in the course of their relationship while she wanted him to display moral courage. The biography also wrote that Obama considered gayness as a young man. Follow Justin on Twitter

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June 21, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

Peel District School Board reveals plans to take on anti-black racism in new school year – CBC.ca

Less than a year after a Peel District School Board (PDSB) report showed that black male high school students feel they experience bias and racism regularly at school, the board has revealed a number of measures meant to tackle the problem in the upcoming school year. Starting in September, trustees, principals, managers and otherseniorboard staff will receive mandatory anti-black racism bias awarenesstraining. “One-off training, especially when you’re looking at mindset changes around anti-black racism… it isn’t all of a sudden you get the training and then you get it. We know there has to be ongoing conversations,” said Poleen Grewal, superintendent of curriculum and instruction at the PDSB. Poleen Grewal says changing the mindset of staff to ensure a more inclusive environment will take some time. (Ministry of Education) Grewal said theboard hopes to extend that training to all teachers in the 2018/2019 school year. The Peel board will also host a symposium to inspire black student leadership the second of its kind and establish anadvisory council of community representatives and parents which will meet throughout the year to discuss the success of the initiatives and give feedback. The new measures announced by the Peel board are part of their response to the “We Rise Together” report released at the beginning of the 2016 school year, which polled a group of 87 black male high school students about how they felt at school. The students said they felt that many non-black students were afraid of them and that teachers expected them to “mess up” because of the colour of their skin. Grewal said those results were unsurprising, but hard to hear nonetheless. “It’s always hard to hear when you know there are students in your schools that feel the marginalization,” she said. “It’s not something that anybody wants for kids.” Four grade 12 students on being black in a peel region school1:46 Students had also saidthat theydidn’t see themselves reflected in the PDSBcurriculum or staff. As a result, Grewal said, PDSB is looking at integrating the experience of black Canadians into the curriculum, and four black principals are taking the lead on the “We Rise Together” action plan. Another damning report this one released in the spring, and created using data from the PDSB as well as other Greater Toronto Area school boards found that a higher proportion of black students were being streamed into applied rather than academic courses, limiting their post-secondary options. York University professor Carl James, the report’s author, will work with the PDSB to monitor how black students are doing. This batch of initiatives is just the beginning, said Grewal. “We have an almost three to five year action plan we’re looking at implementing,” she said, adding that the PDSB is also looking to do similarly focused projects with Indigenous education, LGBTQ youth and students living in poverty. “I like the focus on particular groupsbecause that’s when you’re doing real equity and inclusion work,” she said.

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June 21, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

Empire Files Rewind: Anti-Black Racism Reveals Israel’s White Supremacy – International Middle East Media Center

Published on Mar 31, 2017 While the Israeli state espouses multiculturalism and diversity, it oppresses not just the Palestinian population, but also any black person within its borders. From warehousing African asylum seekers in giant prison camps, to criminalizing and carrying out eugenics programs against its Ethiopian Jewish citizens, Israels treatment of black people reveals that the Zionist project is not just about Jewish supremacy, but also white supremacy. In this on-the-ground investigation, Abby Martin talks to Osman Ali, a refugee from Darfur, at Holot prison camp about the treatment of refugees by the government, and Tehune Maharat, an Ethiopian Jewish activist whose cousin was killed in an apparent hate crime by Israeli police, about the rampant and institutional racism in the country. La Nueva Televisora del Sur (TELESUR) is a multi-state funded, panLatin American terrestrial and satellite television network sponsored by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Founded in 2005, it is headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela. Empire Files Rewind 06/06/17: Inside the Hotbeds of Israeli Settler Terror

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June 16, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

Yes, there is black racism – Toledo Blade

Share Share Email Print Some progressives say black Americans cant be racist against whites. They should tell that to Kori Ali Muhammad. Or better yet, they should tell it to the survivors of the people hes accused of murdering because they were white. Fresno police stand next to a pile of clothes in front of a corner market in the neighborhood where shootings occurred in Fresno, Calif. in May. ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Police say Mr. Muhmmad killed a white security guard at a motel. A few days later, they say, he killed three random white men in Fresno, Calif. Mr. Muhammads father said his son was trying to do his bit for a race war. The Los Angeles Times reports that someone calling himself Kori Ali Muhammad of Fresno had a Facebook page marked by black nationalism and the claim to be a warrior. If he committed such crimes from such a motive, he is a racist. No other word could apply. But progressives in America argue that racism in the United States can only run in one direction against minorities because racism is a matter of power and the power structure of society. Websters defines racism asa belief that some races are by nature superior to others. Also,as discrimination based on such belief. And it is largely because of those definitions that the word is so emotionally loaded more so than segregationist, which refers unambiguously to policies and their supporters. To judge individuals, and especially to condemn them, merely on the basis of physical features is dehumanizing. It disregards the individuals mind, character, actions all the attributes that make someone a person. By reducing people to attributes they never chose, racism denies the significance of their free will and everything they achieve with it. Often, and murderously, the people guilty of racism have been white. But not always. If Mr. Muhammad indeed murdered people in the name of racial warfare, he was treating them as if the only thing that mattered about them was the color of their skin as if that were enough to make them his enemies and unworthy of life. That is surely racism.

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June 11, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed

39 years later, priesthood ban is history but racism within Mormon ranks isn’t, black members say – Salt Lake Tribune

Black members routinely endure slurs, stereotyping, shunning and insulting assumptions (“You only got into Brigham Young University because you’re black”) even from fellow believers. No matter how devout they are, many Mormons of color say they struggle to escape outsider status in their largely white religion. And tensions have been heightened, they say, in a deeply divided nation, awash in personal attacks online and competing protests in the streets. Last weekend, a group of white Mormon nationalists verbally assaulted Vranes and Smith on Twitter. Some defended the duo, who blog under the label “Sistas in Zion,” while others joined the so-called alt-right side, whose devotees bemoan what they see as growing and unfortunate diversity in the global faith. The latter Mormons apparently feel “there is room for them in the church,” Smith says. “If the brethren [high-ranking church leaders] don’t speak up, it’s only going to get worse.” And not just the leaders. The church, she says, will be stuck with racial conflict until the members, who make up the “body of Christ,” take action. When white Mormons heard the June 8, 1978, announcement extending the priesthood to all worthy black men and boys, many wept for joy. What were they doing the day before, besides supporting the status quo? Vranes wonders. They “never learned to stand up against wrong.” Unspooling the past That spring day 39 years ago was momentous for the LDS Church, celebrated by the vast majority of Mormons as a clear example of divine revelation. Latter-day Saints everywhere recognized the move as a game-changing milestone. It opened the door for wider proselytizing in Africa and other continents with black populations, and allowed Mormonism to woo potential believers in far-flung regions previously off-limits because of the priesthood prohibition. Yet dropping the ban did not indeed could not eliminate all racism in the church. LDS leaders offered no apology nor, at the time, any in-depth analysis of the reasons for the exclusionary policy. Justifications, including the notion that blacks were descendants of a biblical bad guy, Cain, or that they were less valiant in a premortal existence, continued to be taught and touted by members. Statements dismissing or denigrating blacks offered by previous Mormon authorities remained in print and often were embraced by believers long after the ban’s demise. Racial strife including slurs and denigrating remarks still “lifts its ugly head … even right here among us,” President Gordon B. Hinckley preached in a 2006 LDS General Conference address. ” … I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ.” During Mormon Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, church officials categorically condemned all the so-called justifications used to defend the previous priesthood prohibition. A year later, the Utah-based faith issued a landmark essay on “Race and the Priesthood,” which laid much of the blame for the policy on societal racism during the 19th century when Mormon prophet Brigham Young formalized the exclusion. In the church’s early days, under LDS founder Joseph Smith, who openly opposed slavery, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood. The essay, though not without its critics, went a long way toward helping African-American Mormons grapple with their church’s history. But it was published online, rather than read over the pulpit, which means many members still know little about it. To counterbalance any racist vestiges, Mormon officials began a conscious campaign to boost “diversity (including race) in church publications and messages,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins notes. “Materials today seek to represent a much more global church.” Hawkins reiterates Hinckley’s statement from a decade ago as the church’s definitive position and Brigham Young University sources say the race essay soon may become required reading for freshmen. The faith’s flagship school discusses diversity across the disciplines, while actively recruiting black students. Black Mormons say it is not enough. Pulling off the scab The church’s “race problem” is “much larger and runs much deeper than most of us would like to admit,” says Bryndis Roberts, a black Mormon in Atlanta who blogs at Femwoc (Feminist Women of Color). The source of LDS racism, she says, can be found “in its teachings, its actions and its inactions.” Racial beliefs common to 19th-century Christians spawned the ban, prompted Mormon leaders “to write and speak about their sense of repulsion at the thought of touching black skin during temple ceremonies … and to have missionaries searching through the personal items of potential members to determine if they had any black blood … and to teach against marrying outside of one’s race.” It then should be no surprise, Roberts says, when today’s alt-right Mormons spew racial hatred. While members of color “have to learn about white people in order to survive in this world, there is no such requirement for white people,” she says. Thus “they fail to cast aside their preconceived notions, stereotypes and tropes about people of color.” LaShawn Williams, a black Mormon scholar at Utah Valley University in Orem, goes even further. “Persistent racism in the church is the result of internalized white supremacy,” she says. “After the government passed civil rights legislation, we continued exclusionary practices in leadership and ordinances for eternal progression.” Here’s what happened during the ban’s existence, she says. “Black parents, black women and black men could not serve missions or marry in the temple. We could get baptized. That was it. The first thing missionaries commit all investigators to do en route to the temple was the first and last thing black people could do until June 8, 1978.” LDS leaders and members, she says, should explore this “historical narrative.” When black men held the priesthood under Smith and served limited missions in the early church, Williams says, that “was more in line with bold Mormonism.” White members need to “own [the] fear-based decisions that led [them] to support and promote anti-black racism in the U.S.,” she says. “To do anything less makes hypocrites out of all of us trying to love in Christ’s name.” Uncomfortable conversations Many black Mormons argue that the key to a more inclusionary future runs through the exclusionary past. “We have to be real about our history,” says Phylicia Rae Jimenez, a black Mormon in Philadelphia. “Members must understand what the essay means that the ban was not of God.” It is essential for top church authorities to address “the ban and racism in the church,” Jimenez says, by teaching the topic from the pulpit and in Sunday classes. “We cannot begin to move forward,” she says, “until the amount of talks given today outweigh and outnumber the racist talks that were given in the past.” Writer Janan Graham-Russell, a Mormon graduate of the Howard University School of Divinity, agrees. “White Mormons will really need to look at the racial policies and white supremacist ideologies that made their way into LDS theology,” Graham-Russell says. “I genuinely believe there are people who don’t know and/or don’t want to know why the restrictions took place.” Nor, she says, do they think of themselves as racists. That may only change, Graham-Russell says, if Mormon leaders offer a “clear and churchwide … repudiation of [past] racial policies.” The theologian would also like to see her church teach “racism as sin.” “We talk about [unmarried] sex being akin to murder … but not racism?” Graham-Russell says. “Racism is detrimental to physical and spiritual progress, as we’ve seen with state-sanctioned violence and the socioeconomic inequalities among communities of color. Why is it not a core part of church teachings? ” Darron Smith, a black writer and author of “When Race, Religion and Sport Collide: Black Athletes at BYU and Beyond,” is unequivocal about his prescription for healing: It won’t happen without a formal and public apology for the priesthood ban over the pulpit by the Mormon prophet at LDS General Conference. Future approaches One of the issues for many African-American Mormons is their invisibility in their faith community. There are black general authorities, but no black apostles, no blacks in the general presidency of the women’s Relief Society, few in the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir or as faculty at BYU. LDS art often features a Scandinavian-looking Jesus and the biblical Adam and Eve are most often depicted as white. Nor are their contributions to Mormon history recognized by many fellow believers. That’s why it was gratifying for black Mormon genealogist Alice Faulkner Burch last month when a Mormon pioneer slave was honored. In the 19th century, Brigham Young sent two Bankhead families to settle the town of Wellsville in Cache County: the white Bankheads and the African-American Bankheads, whom they owned. “As years passed, the latter became forgotten as pioneers, their names blew away with the dust,” Burch says. “Once-marked graves were so repeatedly vandalized that headstones no longer stood to designate who lay beneath.” On May 27, Wellsville erected a monument to the black Bankheads and held a program to honor them. At the end, Frank Bankhead, a descendant of the African-American family, and Evan Bankhead, a descendant of the white family, walked together to the monument and placed potted flowers. Nothing could be more symbolic. Remembering pioneering black Mormons, making their stories as well-known and well-loved as the hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” while acknowledging the existence of racism, renouncing the past and accepting responsibility for any wrongs would go a long way toward salving the still-open wounds, says Darius Gray, former branch president of the Genesis Group, a support organization for black Mormons. It would be a balm for both blacks and whites, he says, transforming them into true brothers and sisters. pstack@sltrib.com Twitter: @religiongal

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June 7, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism  Comments Closed


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