Aunt Jemima Don’t Live Here Anymore aka The Upside of Anger

Today has been a very heavy day. I knew it would be; our discussion was going to be on James Cone’s writings in Theology 101 class.

I know some of you probably remember that a few years ago I thought that the place for me to be was Howard Divinity School. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that it didn’t work out with Howard, but today was one day that I wish I had been in a majority-black environment.

To talk about violence, nonviolence and reconciliation with a group of Quakers was..informative to say the least. To be the only pepper-amongst-salt in the room makes it a different experience entirely. It had been my intention to stay quiet, but after hearing some particular things that were making me angry, I had to chime in. My quote was “I can’t assuage your guilt…I just can’t……aunt Jemima doesn’t live here anymore. I have my own issues, I can’t deal with yours too.”

I’m still decompressing from that, and don’t know how long it will take. I do take solace in the fact that my Canadian classmate was the one person I knew understood what I said and what I meant. If anybody else in the class did, they didn’t let me know; and that’s ok.

So there really is an upside to anger. I do feel better having said what I said, although I’m not sure if I said it the right way. I’ll find that out in the days to come.

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3 thoughts on “Aunt Jemima Don’t Live Here Anymore aka The Upside of Anger

  1. Oh my dear…I wish I could tell you that’s the last time you’ll be dealing with that, but I can’t. Consider it practice for life with Unitarian Universalists.

    It is really hard to have conversations about race with white people, especially in the early stages of their awareness. It was one of the things that made me take so long to decide on going into ministry. I was afraid I’d be spending all my time doing emotional domestic work (I’ve even written about this a little.) For my part, I had to make a spiritual decision to enter into such conversations sparingly, advisedly, and in a spirit of what my friend CBO and I call “honesty and amnesty.” And even with all that, it’s still hard. Hang in there, girl….

  2. The strange thing is that we were talking about slavery and anti-slavery positions in US Church History class today. And I was the only one who wasn’t upset reading the pro-slavery material. So it was really interesting talking about the “curse of Ham” with those who aren’t as familiar with it as I am.

    So this was the race week for me. We’ll talk about Womanist theology in April, so you’ll probably hear me try to decompress again.

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