We are in a slumber and the slumber that we are in is having devastating affects on the black community. At a time when black women account for 61% of all new HIV infections among women, black youth account for 69% of all new HIV infections among teens, and when homicide is the leading cause of death of black men ages 18-34. I would like to think that given grim statistics like those, that we would be willing and ready wake up and take action, and yet we sleep.
For many blacks we simply cannot conceive of a life that is not based on magical or mythical beliefs. Sure, we will eagerly dismiss Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and Rumpelstiltskin, but when it comes to that Christian mythology many of us have been indoctrinated to believe, we just can’t seem to pass it up. So of course what you get is generation after generation that feels that their magical beliefs are special and that no one can question or critique said magical beliefs because they say they are special. If you try to have a conversation on illiteracy in the black community, HIV/AIDS in the black community, crime in the black community, of course blacks who believe in magic want a seat at the table, and not only that they want their magical beliefs to influence the way we go about combating those aforementioned ills of the black community.
I cannot stress enough that the very magical beliefs that have helped to create the problems that we currently have in the black community cannot be looked to as the solutions to the black communities problems.
We have been a churching and praying and holy ghosting people for decades and in light of that things have gotten worse not better. We simply can no longer dismiss issues affecting our community as, “The devil being busy.” We can no longer gloss over the hypocrisy in our churches as, “Put it in gods hands,” we can no longer start conversations based on the premise that, “Gods ways our not our ways.” If we continue to do these kind of things, incorporate these magical beliefs into our dialog, we will never be able to have the honest and open conversations that we so desperately need to have.
In a lot of ways the Bishop Eddie Long sexual abuse scandal broke the camels back for me. As a secular humanist I have long been concerned with the hypocrisy in the black church, and have spoken out on it many times, but seeing this saga unfold has really taken me to a new level of vigor when it comes to challenging my community and trying with all my might to get us to wake up from our slumber.
We are constantly told by those who believe in magic that they do so because they have “faith,” and yet as soon as the Bishop was accused of sexual assault, the first thing the same Christians who demand faith yelled was, “Those young men need to prove that the pastor did what they said.” To me it’s just a window into how sick and disgusting things haven gotten. Citing faith when it suits their magical beliefs and demanding proof when it doesn’t.
We are coming to a point in the black community where religious beliefs, magical beliefs, and mythical beliefs, are just not going to cut it anymore. We know the problems and we need solutions and those solutions are not going to come from reinforcing the same magical beliefs that led to our current problems.
WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO WAKE UP and look at things from the standpoint of facts, evidence, reason, and science!
Thinking back to a movie that many blacks love, “School Daze.” We are going to have to take heed to the message at the end of that movie, we are going to have to wake up.