“May The Works I’ve Done Speak For Me”

Anthony Bennett, lead pastor of Mount Aery Baptist Church, writes in this commentary that also appears in the Connecticut Post, “I have never shared nor made the calculation that one’s fitness for the office was based primarily on one’s race loyalty.”

On Thursday morning, Sept. 5, my phone was inundated with texts and messages regarding the article written by Brian Lockhart entitled “Bridgeport’s black voters divided on Moore’s candidacy.” Within this article, there were words attributed to Councilwoman Rev. Mary McBride-Lee that directly and indirectly questioned the legitimacy of Sen. Marilyn Moore’s mayoral candidacy based on her race loyalty.

The question of whether Sen. Moore was “black enough” and was “really for black people” has stirred debate in our local community. Subsequent to reading the article, I spoke to both Sen. Moore and Pastor Lee. Pastor Lee, in our brief conversation, stated that the article did not characterize what she actually meant.

Be that as it may, this election has once again brought forth the provocative questions on racial identity and sufficiency. These are not new questions, but rather these questions and insinuations have been used to discredit and minimize the legitimacy of African-American candidates in the past–in particular, in this instance, an African-American woman.

It was and has been understood in many communities of color that a black or brown person needs to be twice as good at whatever they do in order to get half of the acknowledgment and recognition of non-persons of color.

I have pastored Mount Aery Baptist Church for more than 25 years. I have been both a vocal critic of most city administrations and also have partnered with the city in efforts to improve public safety. In all these years, I have never shared nor made the calculation that one’s fitness for the office was based primarily on one’s race loyalty. It is simply absurd for anyone to directly or indirectly suggest that any candidate, particularly in the instance of Sen. Moore, would somehow or another be less qualified because she is not really for “black people” or “black enough.”

Oftentimes black community leaders and legislators are held to an unrealistic “higher litmus test” than non-people of color in meeting the diverse needs of their constituency and fellow community members. Within the Mount Aery congregation, I have people who support Sen. Moore as well as Mayor Joe Ganim. I have a congregation that is intelligent and savvy enough to make up their own minds. That’s why I have never endorsed any local candidate from the pulpit or in public.

History seeks to teach us that we will not move forward as a society using the same tropes and criteria of racial legitimacy. The black community is not a monolith, in that within our 35 percent of the population in Bridgeport, we have varied backgrounds and life experiences like any other race and community. I refuse to believe that any one black person, any one black organization, any one black pastor or legislative leader has exclusive rights of what it means to be an African-American.

I have not heard Mayor Ganim publicly questioned if he is enough for his community.

I pray that as many people who have registered to vote will vote on Tuesday, and that, as Dr. King dreamed, that we as a society will not be judged by the color of our skin but rather by the content of our character.

Some might characterize Dr. King’s statement as naïve. I prefer to work toward his aspirational goal rather than the alternative of cynicism and despair. I do believe Sen. Moore might say, in the words of that traditional Gospel song, “May the works I’ve done speak for me.”

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18 comments

  1. When Dr. King said, we as a society will not be judged by the color of our skin but rather by the content of our character he never dreamed that it would be to address a Black person on comments made to another Black person.
    Mayor Ganim, what say you on this vile statement by one of your chief supporters? “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” MLK

    1. Don, in the letter from Rev. Bennett he wrote, “The question of whether Sen. Moore was “black enough” and was “really for black people” has stirred debate in our local community. Subsequent to reading the article, I spoke to both Sen. Moore and Pastor Lee. Pastor Lee, in our brief conversation, stated that the article did not characterize what she actually meant.” Don, Rev. Lee is not new to the game, she has been around the block and she knows exactly what she said and if the article did not characterize what she actually meant she knows how to make a retraction to the Conn. Post and to Only In Bridgeport to clear the confusion but Rev. Lee made the decision not to retract anything and the same for her entire group, Apostle Mamie Fonville, Apostle Beverly Jackson, Pastor Veronica Mercer, Pastor Gabrielle Beam, Elder Gloria Brown, Apostle Loria Morrison, Pastor Toni Mack, Carolyn Evans, Pastor Pyrnie Fitzgerald, Pastor Jasmine Spencer, Pastor Lula Vereen and Pastor Sarah Lewis, their silence was deafening thereby they showed their support of Rev. Lee’s comment, “The question of whether Sen. Moore was “black enough” and was “really for black people.”

      The article said, ” Ganim’s reelection campaign on Thursday rolled out endorsements from about a dozen “Bridgeport area female pastors” that included a photo with Ganim on the escalator steps of the Margaret Morton Government Center.”

      “More than ten of the religious leaders, according to a news release by Ganim’s campaign, recently sat down for a discussion on Bridgeport’s future. “During our meeting, I saw the mayor is passionate about education and about the needs of the community,” Apostle Loria Morrison of the Coalition of Apostolic Leaders is quoted in the news release.

      “By coming together and collaborating with the mayor and this group of women pastors, along with the people, this mayor will be able to finish the work that he started as well as continue to move this city forward,” Pastor Veronica Mercer of the Empowerment Healing Ministry is also quoted.” Don, these black female pastors didn’t have the courtesy to sit down with Senator Marilyn Moore to ask her questions and to hear her vision for Bridgeport. Instead Rev. Lee and Apostle Mamie Fonville, Apostle Beverly Jackson, Pastor Veronica Mercer, Pastor Gabrielle Beam, Elder Gloria Brown, Apostle Loria Morrison, Pastor Toni Mack, Carolyn Evans, Pastor Pyrnie Fitzgerald, Pastor Jasmine Spencer, Pastor Lula Vereen and Pastor Sarah Lewis showed how gullible they are and what poor representatives that are in trying to speak for black voters.

  2. Day, I’m still waiting for you to tell me what made McBride’s statement vile and racist to you? What do you want Joe to say? He is white, far removed from the black culture that you say, McBride claims to be the legitimate holders of “real black culture” over Moore. When McBride made that statement.

    Like I said, It’s like the N-word it takes on two different meanings when those words are spoken by a white person to a black person, then a Black person saying it to another black person.

    Can any black person disagree with that premise regarding the N-word? McBride’s statement is no different.

    If it came from a white person I can agree with you in the vile racist element in it, but as for a black person saying it to another black person, I can not understand it, just like I can’t understand what is meant to be black an American.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMzk89bYjiQ

    Please do not be silent on why McBride’s statement was vile in your eyes, as a black person. As you can understand, it even gets hard to understand when other races try to make sense of McBride’s statement to another black person, Other than why make it at all.

    “Moore is far removed from the black community, and the people don’t know her too well, unlike Ernie Newton, even Coviello ” Is a much better statement McBride could have said. To so call divide the community.

    In the words of Led Zeppelin, “sometimes words have two meaning”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbvWB3MUt-c

      1. Do not blame the mayor for black folks issues. This is something WE should sort out. How long have black folks been saying things like “he/she are not or do not seem black enough?” This is not something new. What does the mayor have to do with this statement. You all don’t like anybody, simply becuase you seem to not like yourselves. Do the internal work to reverse self-hatred. I do this everyday.

  3. Racism is false and phony. Whether advanced on moral, biological, developmental or any other grounds, creating a hierarchy based on the color of a person’s skin may serve a public or social aim by some, but it is an obscene betrayal of “the equality of all persons and fairness to them under our rule of law” or so it seems to me.
    RT as a current student whose grasp of English language and meaning is incomplete, though growing, if biologists can tell you today that genetically there is no difference between the races to 99.9% what are you basing any color based skin statements on?? Some words have more than one meaning as you say, but sometime “race based constructs” of the hierarchy of different peoples found in different geographic locations on the globe, served a spiritual purpose, a serious economic purpose (with slavery consigning a value to human beings) for the advantage of traders, growers, or conquerors from a neighboring tribe. Do you still believe in that today? Time will tell.

  4. JML, define equality?

    What about those non-English language speaking people? If 99.9% of biological humans around the globe have to fully grasp the English Language to understand the meaning of your construct. Have you not created a race base construct and hierarchy that is an obscene betrayal of what you call equality? 🙂 BAM that deserves two BAM BAM! 🙂

    Again I’m basing McBride’s statement on skin tone, like the N-word. It will have different meanings. While humans are, as you say, 99.9% biological connected, and you are white, ask 100% of Black Americans how the use of the N-word will differ in meaning based on if a white person, such as yourself, says it to a black person vs a black person saying it to another black person.

    To touch back on you obscene betrayal of the equality all person and fairness to them under our rule of law, or so it seems to you. Do not the laws that you are adhering to come from the conquerors from a neighboring tribe, in this case, the language and meaning that is incomplete to me England?

    You speak of consigning a value to human beings in different geographic locations on the globe, served a spiritual purpose, a serious economic purpose (with slavery consigning a value to human beings) for the advantage of traders, growers, or conquerors from a neighboring tribe, and how humans are 99.9% globally genetically, biologically the same as betrayal of equality of all person. So why are you placing more value to Moore over Ganim in this mayoral race? BAM!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsEiwk7s3G0

    1. P.S JML, like the N-word, there are somethings that will always be incomplete to you no matter how well your grasp of the English language and your white privilege that the hierarchy of the advantage of traders, growers, or conquerors from a neighboring tribe gave you. Believe this, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day afterward, until the Aliens come. BAM 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLyDg3taDDM

  5. Mr. Bam-Bam,
    As long as you attribute white, black, brown or color and connect it as a modifier to a group, it is racist, phony, vile, and to be avoided. You want to talk about my privilege, or your privilege and thank your maker daily for the gifts you acknowledge and have received, that is not racist, just personal. And likely will not advance the arguments you are trying to carry on. Perhaps you are ready to join the “aluminum foil headgear chowder and marching group” to prepare for the coming of the Aliens? Be happy in your pathology…..Time will tell.

    1. JML, every question doesn’t always need an answer. John, it’s like you spitting in the wind when you answer and if you notice nobody else will respond back, you need to stop feeding into it.

    2. John, being part of group with or without modifiers in itself is not racist, You are part of the group called the Democrat with many modifiers, are you saying it’s racist, phony, and vile that needs to be avoided?

      What makes somethings, or a group racist, phony, or vile is the behavior. I have no ideal why McBride made those comments about Moore, other then to start this debate. The meaning is more elusive for me. Like the N-word the mean is not present. You calling me the N-word, the effect gets lost because of my whiteness. So too does McBride’s comment, for I don’t know what it mean to be black, never mind not black enough.

      Day say they are vile words. I didn’t question his sentiment. I asked why? what’s there true meaning to him. I didn’t get a straight forward answer.

      P.S you speak about groups that need to be avoided, yet since I don’t see things your way. You place me in a “aluminum foil headgear chowder and marching group” to prepare for the coming of the Aliens?” I would not say it was a vile comment, insulting, demeaning? Do you not see your “Supremacy” over my views and opinions. Since you are white that would make you a white Supremacist over my aluminum foil headgear chowder and marching group” to prepare for the coming of the Aliens BAM 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu5JdmsLWVk

    1. Texarkana..you are wearing out your welcome. First of all,you proclaim that you are going to school(which is a most admirable trait and I wish I can start talking some classes. It is now recognized that life-long education not only expands one’s own intelligence but also expands the actual health of the human brain. That is why I said. Go back to school and stay stay there). You proclaim a “school-break” from OIB and yet the quantity of your comments(especially concerning the statements of McBride-Lee) have dramatically increased in quantity yet I,and others, seem to be having some difficulty with the quality of your statements. In fact, I almost discern an attempt to rationalize and to create a situation where MbBride-Lee’s comments are correct in the various scenarios that you have developped. There is a maxim. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. That maxim belongs with McBride-Lee”s Statement. IT IS WRONG. IT IS RACIST. THERE ARE NO NO NO NO EXCUSES.

      1. Sorry, I thought you told me to go back to school and stay there because I was wearing out my welcome here on OIB, BAM 🙂

        Maybe if you go back to school yourself you will not see the difficulty in the quality of my comments, BAM, BAM. 🙂

        I ask on what ground is it racist. to other blacks like Ron, Day, and jdon. I never said it was either right or wrong. You called me stupid, JML told me to join the foil headgear group. Are those comments racist or just insulting? I never said McBride’s statement wasn’t insulting or demeaning. I said I, being white, fail to see the racist concept, for I don’t know what it means to be black, never mind not black enough. JS I kind of know what white trash is. 🙂

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH-wCe5oAv8

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