Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Tuesday Afternoon Double Dose Happiness Pill Part One--Pastor Manning on the Meaning of Black and Proud!
If you ever wanted to understand the odd mix of circumstances that gave birth to Chauncey DeVega, watch this clip from Pastor Manning.
Many black folk still operate under an assumption of private spaces within which to talk about the "black experience" free from the white gaze. In this private black space we do not have to wear a mask and we can share all of our thoughts that for reasons of power, inequality, and for fear of enabling white supremacy we keep silent. With the rise of the Internet and "the black superpublic" those romantic notions of the past can be put to rest. As the 'Cos so loving says, our dirty laundry walks down the street everyday when school let's out...why pretend that we can hide it?
Pastor Manning reminds me of my (late) Uncle Vash. He was an eccentric. Ucle Vash believed that he pioneered the eating of the whole baked potato--meaning he would not discard the skin because it was the secret to his longevity, and this innovation was his singular contribution to Black America. Uncle Vash was also a self-ordained minister who would wax philosophical on the "heathen" Muslims, Jews, and others who had not found "Christ's love" while eating said potatoes at Wendy's restaurant.
His reasoning: those lost religions and false prophets were overcome by heat stroke and had false visions. Being a willful and know-it-all 12 year old who by that age had already rejected religion, I would ask, "well the Christians are from the same neighborhood. Aren't they similarly confused?" Uncle Vash exclaimed, "Of course not! God protected the Christians from the heat so they could hear the truth!" I would smile and go back to eating my Wendy's hamburger. Religion once more ruins all things. But in this instance, religion makes for a formative experience that can be told and retold as an anecdote and punchline.
Thus are the threads that when tied together make Chauncey DeVega the odd fellow who he proudly is...and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.