Context for those people offended at Dr. Lowry’s comments during benediction

For those folks offended by Dr. Lowry’s words… I can’t change that you are offended that is your right but there’s nothing I can do about it. Don’t come crying to me with your offense at it. If you are so bothered, then take it up him. I’m just giving you some context so you can think about just why you might be offended. I’d posted this in my livejournal but after comment flames I decided to not even try there any more.

For your rememberance, the quote is:

“[W]hen black will not be asked to get 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 is NOT, I repeat and repeat again, is NOT, based on race. Lowry was not talking about white folk, or Asian folk, or Native Folk, or Latino folk. It was NOT ABOUT RACE. That bit? Is based on a popular saying among black people in the 50s and 60s about colorism. It was popular when my mom was a kid, and it was a mean thing. Long story short? It was talking about black people’s variant skin tones and the preference of lighter tones over darker ones. It went as such:

“If you’re white, you’re alright. If you’re red, get ahead. If you’re yellow, you’re mellow. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re black, get back.”

Basically? The darker you were as a black person, the more you sucked. It’s the kind of shit spawned by the pencil test and the paper bag test and all that other shit that people used to make light skinned black folk think they were better cause they were light. And Dr. Lowry? was playing on that. That’s what the laughter was about.

One response to “Context for those people offended at Dr. Lowry’s comments during benediction

  1. 1. the benediction was beautiful and humorous
    2. i appreciate this blog b/c people who ‘get it’ understand what the references elude to.
    3. some people who are offended by the benediction talk about reverse-racism –there is no reverse racism. we all have personal pre-judgements about people, places, foods, things, and ideas. when people who have historically wielded power, privilege, and served as oppressors use words to further that oppression -that is hurtful, hateful, and poisonous. when someone speaks to the truth of our past, that is truth not racism.
    4. a personal pet-peeve of mine is when people say, ‘i don’t see in color.’ or ‘why can’t we be color-blind.’ well, you know what, i’m proud to be an American who identifies with an ethnic cultural background. why do i have to give up my ethnicity or deny that my skin color is what it is? why can’t we see each other as people and understand that we don’t have to all look, speak, or act the same? what’s wrong with seeing the world in its diversity and embracing what we each bring to the table? the world is rich in color and i don’t want to be blind to it. i’m brown and i’m stickin’ around!

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