Log in Register

 

 Friday May 25, 2018

Curtis Ryan Honda Resilient Bridgeport Housatonic Community College

 HCA Reg. Num. HCA.0000908

Ultimate Family Care

 $350 Referral Fee!
 Call Us!



The Barnum Museum Elle Sera Downtown Cabaret TheatreOIB the book
Bridgeport Public Library

Pastor Bennett: Racial Divide Makes Us Black And Blue

May 24th, 2015 · 16 Comments · News and Events

In a commentary that first appeared in the Sunday edition of the Connecticut Post, Anthony Bennett, pastor of Mount Aery Baptist Church, writes about the poor condition of race relations in America, asserting “black and white fears are compounded with blue fear as lived out by many law enforcement agencies.”

In the aftermath of Freddy Gray’s murder, I find myself once again in a quandary regarding the poor condition of race relations in America. Although media reports described the subsequent activities as “riots,” Baltimorians defined them as protests against the constant disrespect of lives at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.

It is clear that uprisings in Baltimore and throughout the country were not specific to slain victims, but underscore the fear that structural racism will continue to divide our country and a faith that race relations can improve.

The fear is that America’s perception of black and brown bodies still impact their welfare and safety. No matter what we teach our children about personal responsibility and how respectable we present ourselves, we–African-Americans–could be gunned down by police officers and subject to harassment simply because of our skin color.

And this fear is reinforced by the media. Millions of African-Americans have resolved that black and brown lives, regardless of educational or economic status, will be viewed and treated with contempt. Even in a city like Baltimore, where both civic and law enforcement institutions are headed by persons of color, the system of white supremacy and privilege are reinforced and meted out in continued exploitive manners.

Black fear is conversely connected to a white fear of acknowledging and owning their privilege. Rooted in a sense of threat to their security and way of life, white privilege shields them from the reality of the horrific and sinister “thug-like actions” perpetrated by government and private sector, which many whites have come to dotingly adore and assume is treating everyone equally.

The symbol of this fear is seen in black and brown bodies, primarily male, yet at times the black female body. This fear of facing their historic role and continued benefit within structural racism is both complex and contagious.

A few years ago, during a conversation with a public official, he remarked that, me calling him a “racist” was parallel to him calling me a “nigger.” I recognized how historically ignorant his statement was as it spoke to the profound sense of fear in facing the implications of what the word `racist’ meant for many whites. To confess the terms `racist’ and `white privilege’ is to own the fact that much of this country’s wealth and infrastructure was created by the free labor of Africans, African-Americans and indigenous people during slavery.

What is lost on most whites is that the economic dividends of that free labor continue to this day. Embracing the terms `racist’ and `white privilege’ would mean an acknowledgement that American–white–history has been built on a foundation of occupation, exploitation and stealing of land and culture from others. Yes, much of what we celebrate as the American way is in fact what George James calls “A Stolen Legacy.”

We see the collateral damage of this legacy in decades of urban underdevelopment in cities like Baltimore, Bridgeport, Patterson and throughout the country.

Rather than face that harsh reality, many whites deflect the conversation, criminalizing black America as a way to justify their dominance and exploitation. This deflection, however, does not erase an even greater fear of those who actually know how treacherous white American history has been. They fear the retribution of black and brown as they rise in affirmation and recognition of their humanity.

Now, black and white fears are compounded with blue fear as lived out by many law enforcement agencies. A part of that fear stems from their difficulty in distinguishing legitimate public outrage and protest from citizens with unjustified and nonproductive actions of a few, i.e. looting, destruction of person and properties. This fear is manifested through “stereotyping” and “profiling,” particularly with men and women of color.

The blue uniform covers the fears of black and white as though the uniform will give them immunity of their personal fears. However, many black and brown police officers will admit that the blue uniform does not stop white officers from viewing them through the same lenses they view men and women within urban communities. So, collective fears feed into a volatile mix that in this season has erupted in Baltimore.

In the earlier part of this essay, I spoke about faith that race relations can improve.

Recently, I sat with more than one thousand persons from varying races and backgrounds where we heard the rallying call of Dr. Cornell West, several of the local organizing faith leaders and other prophetic voices.

In that space, I heard a collective voice saying our fears cannot have the last say in America and we must not capitulate to them. Rather, we must work and walk by faith and confront the fears of our lives. It is our faith in the fact that ultimately love, not fear, will triumph. That fuels me to not only pen these words but to continue to be a part of communities to do the same.

Share

Tags: ·

16 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Rev., you wrote all this fine rhetoric without mentioning the fear and the killings within the black communities. Where is your outrage? It’s black on black killing that hardly gets mentioned.
    Let’s talk about these protestors, many of whom are paid agitators who are paid by groups like Acorn. Let’s talk about the NAACP who have become irrelevant in protecting black rights and have become a voter registration wing of the Democratic party.
    Where have you and the other black leaders in America been when it comes to unwed mothers, single mothers, black on black crime and murder? Nowhere, that’s where. Here in Bridgeport the ministers have been busy cozying up to whomever is mayor. Where have they been as the dropout rate in the black community soars?
    The problem is you like to blame the white race for all the black community’s problems but the problems are your own created by your own.
    Rev., let me ask you why we don’t see this in the Asian community?

  • Local Eyes

    Sequel to Selma. After Selma, American opinion changed. White leadership felt guilty so they invented remedies like public housing, welfare, affirmative action and Medicaid. But taxes were never raised to pay for these expensive programs. Instead, peacetime deficit spending was invented. In 1965, all those programs were for Negroes only. Black Power became a household word in the subsequent years. What does this have to do with today? Answer: Everything!

  • Ron Mackey

    Andy Fardy, I strongly suggest you read what Rev. Bennett said. I’ve included a portion of something Tim Wise wrote. Tim Wise is white and Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990.

    Looking again at drug use, but now for the overall white versus black populations–in other words, not just youth–although current drug usage rates are roughly the same across racial lines, the sheer numbers of white drug users should sound alarm bells, especially among those who claim a few thousand black murderers per year presents a cultural crisis in the black community. So for instance, the data indicates that as of 2011 there were approximately 83 million white people, 18 or over who had used illicit drugs, as opposed to only 13 million such blacks; 23 million whites who had used drugs this year, as opposed to only 4 million blacks; and 13.4 million current white drug users, compared to about 2.6 million blacks.

    For cocaine, whites are over 75 percent more likely than blacks to have tried the drug, while for hallucinogenic drugs, whites are nearly two-and-a-half times more likely than blacks to have tried them. For prescription psychotherapeutics like pain relievers, sedatives, tranquilizers or stimulants, nearly 1 in 4 whites have misused them by taking such drugs without a prescription, compared to fewer than 14 percent of blacks.

    So why no cultural critique of white drug use, or hysterical cries that white drug users indicate something about white people that needs to be collectively addressed? After all, drug users in the white community are far more prevalent as a percentage of our population than black violent criminals are of theirs.

    Although violent crime rates are higher in black communities than white ones–owing to various socioeconomic conditions more prevalent there, such as crowded housing, population density and poverty concentration–there are certain indicators that white folks, especially youth, might be increasingly predisposed to violence too. So, contrary to popular belief, white high school students are more likely than black students to carry weapons, either generally or at school, with young white men being more likely than members of any other group to do so. In the past month, nearly 3 in 10 white males in high school carried a weapon, compared to only about 2 in 10 comparable black males. When can we expect to hear O’Reilly or Limbaugh or Hannity decry this increasing tendency to carry weapons among young white men, the way they lecture black men for doing so in places like Chicago? Or are these white men just carrying weapons to protect themselves from the random deer that are known to invade the halls of America’s secondary schools?

  • Ron Mackey

    In 1965, America was starting its military build for the Vietnam War with over 500,000 military advisers. There was NO way America was going to fund President Johnson’s “Great Society.”

    • Local Eyes

      Ron, you’re correct. From 1964-1981, baby boomers paid for the Great society programs and the Vietnam War–they were too large a group to not be taken advantage of. It’s expensive sending 500,000 soldiers halfway around the world. Intellectuals called it a wealth transfer while others called it “something for nothing-ism.” What happened in February, 1981 is public information that has rarely been repeated. Understanding the complexities of a complex world keeps me ahead of the curve.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Yeah Ron, as usual everything is the white man’s fault, which is bullshit just like the information in your post. What was I supposed to read? Here is another tidbit on Rev. Bennett’s article.
    I must tell you Rev. Bennett you sure dialed up the rhetoric with this nonsense. You wrote structural racism will continue to divide our country and a faith that race relations can improve. That is pure and utter baloney.
    You wrote people of color could be gunned down by police officers because of their color. Where has this happened and was the officer punished? Before you answer, I will check.
    Here is my all-time racist favorite, yes I am calling you a racist; the city of Baltimore where both the civil and law enforcement are headed by people of color. The system of white supremacy and privilege are reinforced. Tell me what you wrote here is not racist. You are still blaming whites even when blacks are running the show.
    You write “Now, black and white fears are compounded with blue fear as lived out by many law enforcement agencies. A part of that fear stems from their difficulty in distinguishing legitimate public outrage and protest from citizens with unjustified and nonproductive actions of a few, i.e. looting, destruction of person and properties. This fear is manifested through “stereotyping” and “profiling,” particularly with men and women of color.” Tell me how the PD distinguishes the regular protestor from the paid protestor.

  • Donald Day

    Andy, you have never been to Mt. Aery so wouldn’t know of Reverend Dr. Anthony Bennett’s outrage on black on black crime. You have never been to Mt. Aery when Reverend Bennett had to preach the eulogy for a young black male killed by gun violence nor experienced his heartbreak when young blacks are killed. The fact is most of the blacks who perpetrate crime on others blacks go to jail. Most police who perpetuate crime on people of color go home. Between 2009 and 2010 there were 8300 allegations of police misconduct, 3238 had criminal charges brought against them, 1063 were convicted and only 383 went behind bars. You saw when the black cop from Bridgeport was acquitted even though the video showed him kicking the hell out of that young man in Beardsley Park.

    With respect to black teen pregnancy, since 2007 teen birth rates have fallen 37% for black teens between the ages of 15 and 19 and have only fallen 32% for white teens. Andy, teen pregnancy is an American issue not just a black and it’s an issue the country should address for all its youth, not just the black ones. As far as the NAACP is the recruitment arm for the DTC, what options do black people have, the Republican Party? It’s individuals like you and the vitriol you espouse when it comes to issues of race that make blacks run from the Republican Party!

    Nowhere in his editorial is he blaming white folks for the problems of Black America, what he said is the institution of white and its practice and its racist history is still a problem in America, whether you acknowledge, or understand that. There is a problem in America of white privilege in America and individuals like yourself foster that problem with your vitriol.

    Finally, you say the ministers of Bridgeport have been cozying up to whomever is mayor. I’ve been a proud member of Mt. Aery for 21 years and NO politician has ever spoken from the pulpit of our religious institution. None, not black, not white, not members or visitors has ever spoken from the pulpit of Mt. Aery. Not Mayor Ganim, Mayor Fabrizi or Mayor Finch, not Marilyn Moore, not Ed Gomes or Donald Clemons. My minister doesn’t allow this to happen and his character is beyond reproach when it comes to cozying up to and/or currying favors from politicians for the benefit of himself, his parishioners or the public at large. He’s a man of God, a man of high integrity and a man of deep conviction. It’s hard for you to think, feel, believe or understand a black person’s integrity can be beyond reproach and that’s your problem, not his. No black person blames white people for all the ills of the black community, but we certainly know and understand what part whites play in the condition of America for blacks 400 years ago and for blacks today.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Donald, blacks were not here 400 years ago. He can have all the outrage he wants from the pulpit but his writing indicates a different set of ideas. Who ever said anything about integrity and you are saying I could not understand that a black person’s integrity could be above reproach. Really is that a black thing, is that why you say I don’t understand?
    Donald, the following statement you made is perfect and it fits you. Whenever a white man dares to write about a black individual, here is the favorite lines from you and others of your ilk. “It’s individuals like you and the vitriol you espouse when it comes to issues of race that make blacks run from the Republican Party!”

    • Donald Day

      Andy, the first recorded Africans in British North America (including most of the future United States) were “20 and odd negroes” who came to Jamestown, Virginia via Cape Comfort in August 1619 as indentured servants. You’re an idiot.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        Thank you Donald, we finally reached the point where you always were NAME CALLING. Just so you know, 1619 is not 400 years. Donald you are a racist, always were, always will be.

        • Donald Day

          Andy, you can’t define me as a person or as a man. The fact you say I’m a racist isn’t of concern to me in any shape, form or fashion because I know who and what I am.

          • Andrew C Fardy

            I can define you after watching your antics for the past 30 years. You are a professional black man who is always being screwed by the white man.

  • Ron Mackey

    Andy, my post was not about blaming whites for anything, instead it was to show there are problems that need to be solved.

    The first thing I asked you was, “I strongly suggest you read what Rev. Bennett said.”

    Let me repeat what Donald Day said, “Nowhere in his editorial is he [Rev. Bennett] blaming white folks for the problems of Black America, what he said is the institution of white and its practice and its racist history is still a problem in America, whether you acknowledge, or understand that.”

    Andy, you said, “I must tell you Rev. Bennett you sure dialed up the rhetoric with this nonsense. You wrote structural racism will continue to divide our country and a faith that race relations can improve. That is pure and utter baloney.” Well Andy, what is your solution? Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said “11am on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in this nation.” Houses of worship are among the most divided institutions in American society.

    Andy, you know Rev. Bennett does not support any political candidate, and I’m sure you know he is a straight shooter who doesn’t play games. In fact, there was a time when U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman came to Mt. Aery with his crew and thought he was going to get some type of special attention and he was told he had to take a seat like everyone else. Andy, I would hope you would attend one of the church services either at 7:45am or 11am.

    Finally, Rev. Bennett ended by saying, “we must work and walk by faith and confront the fears of our lives. It is our faith in the fact that ultimately love, not fear, will triumph. That fuels me to not only pen these words but to continue to be a part of communities to do the same.” Now that’s true leadership.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Ron, if you remember over a year ago I brought up the subject of Rev. Bennett running for mayor. I have nothing personal against him or his beliefs.
    I will give you one example. We need to train minority kids in all fields at entry level so they have a shot. We need to have extra teachers in the lower grades so all kids can learn to read and write. The extra professional in the classroom works. There are many ways to do things, it’s just no one wants to do them.

  • Donald Day

    Andy, sometimes it’s easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your ignorance, that’s America.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Donald, pure and simple you are the one who is ignorant and you are the one with the chip on your shoulder. You are pure and simple a racist.

Leave a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.