This weekend I want to highlight an article by a good friend and colleague of mine from Yale Divinity School, Jamall Calloway. From Yale, Jamall is continuing his education at Union Theological Seminary in New York and then probably will be going somewhere to complete a doctorate. I’m looking forward to reading his theological work for years to come, but to give you a taste of the kinds of things he is thinking about and writing about, here is “To Pray or to Protest? The Both/And-ness of Black Christianity,” written for Religion Dispatches:
We need to have a more expansive understanding of black religious identities, an understanding that Womanist Theologians have already pushed us toward, an understanding that does not compartmentalize black religious thought and responses into shallow categories like “right/conservative/prayerful” and “left/academic/protester”; categories that are too small, too static, and too constricting for us to comprehend the diversity of black religious lives and black political activity.
When we rid ourselves of these categories, we open spaces for understanding black people who are “both/and”; who protest through prayer and pray while they protest.
In a similar vein, another piece that caught my eye this week was about the legacy of private, generally evangelical schools founded in smaller Southern communities following the desegregation of public schools and the lingering effects of race-biased institutions in America: “How the Church Resegregated Schools in the South,” written for the Christ and Pop-culture blog on Patheos:
Segregation academies were private schools that opened across the South as a result of white parents keeping their kids out of desegregated school systems. Many of these academies were parochial in nature, and it was common for them to operate on church property and receive tax-exempt status. As I looked into the educational history of my community, I found that many of the most prominent private schools still operating today were founded during the tumultuous years of desegregation. As legislation was passed that closed segregated schools, rezoned districts, and instituted busing, new private schools opened quickly thereafter. For a small city with no suburban escape, private schools became the ’burbs of white flight.
But that was 40+ years ago, right? Unfortunately, no. As I looked at the present numbers for public and private schools in Jackson, I found stark division between the races. There is a significant deficit of white students in the public schools. While the community as a whole is 60% white and 37% black, the public schools are almost the exact inverse at 60% black and 34% white. The private schools, on the other hand, have a white student population of 94% or higher.
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