Oh, Puh-Leeze

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by Anwyn on January 20, 2009 @ 11:52 am

What year is this?

Benediction at Obama ‘s inauguration, Rev. Joseph Lowery

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day

Black will not be asked to get in back;

When Brown can stick around;

When Yellow will be mellow;

When the Red Man can get ahead, man;

And when White will embrace what is right.

That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen …

You know, my kid’s sick, we’re just sitting around in our PJs, he’s watching pretty much whatever he wants on TV, which is decidedly not history-making political events. I felt a little bit like a slacker mom for not sitting with him and showing him the peaceful transition of power, the solemn ceremony that makes my eyes fill, the joy and pride I and others have in our nation.

Honestly, I’m really glad I skipped it. “Mommy, what’s a Red Man?”

As Ace says, I’m so glad we’ve moved past race in America. Old black men get a pass because they’re either angry or just old–after all, they lived through it. Well, stuff it. Give them a pass if you want, but not a national stage. Oh, wait, it’s not just old black men–it’s young black women making more money than I ever will, too. Not getting a pass? Black men who want to encourage black men and women to take a stand–it’s the wrong stand, you see.


  1. I did find rev. Lowery’s reference to Donovan, (“Mellow Yellow”), interesting. My guess he came up with it on his own.

    Not a big fan of socialism myself, but the peaceful transference of executive power is worthy of note.

    I hope your child will be well soon.

    Best Regards,


    Comment by jbarntt — January 20, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  2. Well, one thing is certain — he’s stirred up a discussion! A lot of white folks seem to have their panties in a twisted bunch about his little rhyme. I’m white, but I found his speech moving. I actually appreciated the references to civil rights movements. Remembering and honoring the struggles of the past doesn’t make him a relic. He is a veteran of those struggles, and that’s one of the reasons he was invited to give the benediction. To give a historical perspective.

    Stopping the conversation about race and racism doesn’t make it go away. Quite the opposite. Talking about it actually can provide an antidote. Prejudices surround us like water surrounds fish and we don’t always even realize it’s there.

    Your mention of your son made me think. (And as to not watching the inauguration on TV: hey, home-sick days are a do-what-you-gotta-do scenario…) As a white kid, I was reprimanded if I repeated racist phrases and I think I was even a bit afraid to talk about it because I didn’t want to mess up and do something wrong. I wish I’d been able to talk about it and figure it out more when I was young, without such worry about “being bad” if I said the wrong words. When I stopped talking about it, I lost the opportunity to learn!

    I think it’s more important to learn why racism exists, and what we can do about it, than it is to learn “don’t be racist! only bad white people are racist!” …because that line of thinking just makes white folks defensive. Instead, I think we should be more open to learning about how our actions or words might, in fact, be racist even when we don’t want or mean them to be — and how we can help change that water we swim in by keeping a truly open ear to what people of color have to say.

    Comment by Laura Anderson — January 20, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  3. I thought the whole ceremony was just crass.

    Comment by Jimmy — January 21, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  4. I thought the whole ceremony was just crass.

    A bit over done perhaps, but I didn’t see it as crass. Was interesting how both Obama and Roberts screwed up the oath. They redid it today in the Whitehouse. Happened twice before with Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge.

    Comment by jbarntt — January 21, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

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