No blind eye
12/1/2017, 8:46 p.m.
Dr. E. Faye Williams
The 2016 film “Birth of a Nation” was released in a storm of controversy unrelated to the film itself. Whatever your opinion of the film or its maker, one cannot deny the relevance of the film as a medium of historical instruction and a study of human behavior.
Although I was aware of the systemic treatment of slaves, I found it interesting to revisit that system which forced slaves to become the instruments of their own oppression. The Nat Turner character was a compelling, charismatic and persuasive speaker. He was perfect as the slave-yard preacher who, through his words, personality and “approved” biblical message, evoked from other slaves passive compliance to their masters’ will and acceptance of their own inferior humanity.
When I was young, I thought that only black slaves and some of their ancestors were conditioned by that system of biblical brainwashing. With the enlightenment of maturity and experience, I realized that while not necessarily victims, many white people, whether slaveholders or not, have willingly become captive to that same biblically based myth of white male superiority. As with slavery, they vigorously and viciously defend this myth and use biblical interpretations as justification for the situational ethics and intolerance that has become their basis for claiming “rightness” in all matters.
Currently, central to this issue is the U.S. Senate race in Alabama and allegations of sexual abuse of female juveniles by GOP candidate Roy Moore.
While most people believe or won’t declare these allegations false, roughly 50 percent of Alabama voters still support Mr. Moore. Some base their support on his Christian values. Others claim partisan loyalty to Republicans and against Democrats. Under conventional norms, no reasoning could justify elevating an alleged pedophile to one of the most prestigious elected positions in the nation. But these are not conventional times.
If true to their professed Christian beliefs, those supporting Mr. Moore would condemn him as a pedophile. If true to principled, ethical governance, those supporting Mr. Moore would choose his opponent or coalesce around a more suitable write-in candidate. So we must ask why? What quality does Mr. Moore possess that commands loyalty in the face of such disrepute?
Some say he is being unjustly persecuted or that his contributions to Alabama supersede any of his “minor” perversions. Others claim him victim to a double standard of treatment without considering the criminal nature of the “alleged” offense for which he or any other criminal sex offender should/could be punished.
Like my fellow activist and cleric, Dr. William Barber of North Carolina, I believe that Moore supporters embrace a distorted religiosity that sacrifices principled, Christian behavior on the altar of racial superiority. All this for the purpose of perpetuating racial dominance to whatever extent and/or for however long possible.
There is a sense of urgency for those using their “Republican Christianity” as justification for their situational ethics, as well as for those who are simply racist without the veil of Christianity. They demonstrate a fear of the impending demographic shift that ultimately will eliminate their numerical superiority. Consciously or subconsciously, they recognize that the white privilege they currently enjoy will dwindle into nothingness and their greatest fear — meritorious competition — will become a reality.
This has been proven to my satisfaction with the recent news report that, because they must now compete with minorities for jobs, white people think they have become victims of discrimination.
The current political climate is conducive to their interests. No. 45 recognized and appealed to the fears that shape their concerns. Even he has been given a “pass” to violate established norms and customs of courtesy and decorum for the purpose of slowing the progress of justice and equity.
Their mistake is to believe that we will accept an inferior status and continue to turn a blind eye to injustice!
The writer is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.