My prayer for the Senate and the nation

On July 12, chaplain Rajan Zed of Reno, Nev., became the first Hindu to deliver an opening prayer in the U.S. Senate. Zed is director of public affairs of Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada.

He speaks about it here:

Many of us won’t accept it, but religion is a complex component of our lives and it encompasses much more than our own particular tradition or personal experience. We all must take religion very seriously as it is the most powerful force. The challenge today is to seek unity that celebrates diversity.

Guess who

The guy in this story falls under the category of people whom I naively thought would somehow rise a little bit above the unwashed masses.  Here are a few quotes from this incident:

Move off the property, you f*cking fool!

You don’t belong in Australia!

“You’re the foreigner there – look at the slitty eyes, black hair.”

How’s your *sshole? So sore by being f*cked by all these c*nts?

(I put the asterisks in there because I am a delicate sort.)  Guess who? Continue reading

One of us

How do you envision Jesus?

And what would it mean if the dominant image of Jesus were the one on the left instead of the one on the right?

The bible tells us that he had hair like wool and feet like bronze. Sounds like a brother to me.

So much for dialogue

So members of a church dress up in blackface. When others mention that this is offensive, they go on the defensive. Hey! No ill intentions here! Just a total inability to understand historical racism.

What does the pastor have to say?

We think if we keep discussing this, it just keeps getting worse, so we’re not even going to discuss it.

You can see the video here. I can’t make out what he says right before the section quoted above, but if anybody else can, I’d appreciate the transcript.

Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other? –Acts 7

The piano was offended

In Gastonia, N.C., members of the Pilgrim Baptist Church dressed up in blackface while pantomiming to traditional music. Of course we have all the expected elements from the members when it was mentioned gee this is offensive.

I am not a racist. Check!

York said he’s not a racist and knows that white actors in black makeup often portrayed racist stereotypes. His church performance didn’t do that, he said. Continue reading

Interethnic solidarity

People of color unite.

In keeping with its theme of “advocacy for empowerment,” the black caucus of The United Methodist Church began its annual meeting advocating on a racism issue affecting another minority group: Native Americans.

The 40-year-old Black Methodists for Church Renewal is standing in solidarity with Native Americans regarding the use of Indian mascots by sport teams.

Officers of the caucus board met March 19 with an official of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland to voice concern about the name of the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team and its mascot, Chief Wahoo.

Story here.

More school girls and religious discrimination

Sinoangle’s post about the 11-year-old girl who could not play soccer unless she removed her hijab triggered my memory about a recent story out of the UK where a 12-year-old schoolgirl lost a legal challenge to wear a niqab at school.

The judge ruled that the following factors weighed in favor of the ban:

• the veil prevented teachers from seeing facial expressions – a key element in effective classroom interaction
• the necessity to enforce a school uniform policy under which girls of different faiths would have a sense of equality and identity
• security – the head teacher had said an unwelcome visitor could move around the school incognito
• the need to avoid peer pressure on girls to take up wearing the veil

Is there not a discriminatory subtext behind these mostly hypothetical factors?

The school’s headteacher had the gall to claim that the school, “was proud to welcome pupils from all faiths and religions with a view to helping them achieve their potential in a supportive learning environment.” Ruling against the girl is incongruous with a supposedly welcoming and supportive learning environment.

Worse yet, the ruling has prompted the UK’s Education Secretary to reassure schools that (mostly White) head teachers would remain totally responsible for setting uniform policy.