Fellow Justice Seekers!
In this month, that is also “National LGBT History Month”, it is fitting to recall black lesbian feminist, Audre Lorde, who declared,
“The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”.
Her words hover over the strident noise of current debates regarding athletes, the National Anthem and American flag. It is said that her intent is “We cannot disrupt our oppression using the logic that justifies our oppression”. In other words, that so many disagree with what the athletes are doing isn’t that surprising and the same can be said of protests by other racial, sexual and gender groups. In fact, historical, anecdotal and empirical testimony demonstrate that there is just one way to protest – DON’T. So, #TAKEAKNEE!
As the hashtag #TAKEAKNEE (and its variant, #TAKETHEKNEE) trends on social media, despite the athletes’ repeated explanations of the intention behind kneeling or raising a fist, it seems there’s a lot of (almost willful) misunderstanding about the why: to bring attention to racial inequality and police killings of unarmed black people. By the same token, once again, questions must be raised about online activism. Will it really do anything, i.e., drive change? Will the outcome of any of this generate a national conversation about racial injustice and a serious search for solutions? But for sure, America must start seeing the #TAKEAKNEE movement for what it is: a formidable exposition of America’s painful past and present, accompanied by hope for an equitable future.
The #TAKEAKNEE movement has far reaching implications, not only for people of African Ancestry but for all marginalized people possessing a common quest for an equitable future. A civil rights movement for one group is often a social justice springboard for others – such as LGBT liberation and Women’s rights. For that reason, we must not allow the current political and religious environments restrict us from finding our way to our common good. We cannot “create camps designed to fight those with whom we must collaborate in order to survive” (Bishop Yvette Flounder). And this harkens back to the full context of Ms. Lorde’s words:
“It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
We need one another. So, #TAKEAKNEE! And remember…
15 We have not received a spirit that makes us fearful slaves. Instead, we received God’s Spirit…16 For God’s Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we all are God’s children.
Romans 8:15,16 (NLT)
Yours in Resistance…. Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor