Pass the Basket: My Thoughts on Eddie Long...
It is reported that John C, Calhoun, a slave owner and statesman, once said that if you could show him a nigger who could parse a Greek verb or explain Euclid, he would be constrained to admit that blacks had human possibilities. He also talked of a slave he freed once, who was cold and starving in the north, and returned on his knees to ask the master for food and shelter; to in fact, be in bondage again.
So this is me, thinking freely on the recent sexual abuse allegations against Eddie Long, despite my Christian up-bringing.
Sure, Jamal Parris are the other young men are telling the truth about Eddie Long.
In high school, when I was learning to overcome my issues with rape and molestation, I learned that sex crimes are not crimes of passion, but of power. Eddie Long has demonstrated a gross abuse of power that has hurt, not only his victims, but he has also verified the idea that African Americans have not evolved much as free thinkers since slavery.
My people, my people, wake up. Preachers are merely philosophers who know how to make you feel good with gifted tongues that are like a good drug that you believe is anointed by GOD. Many followers cannot separate their love for GOD from their love for the pastor. To some, the pastor is GOD. The relationship is not unlike that between a prostitute and a pimp... Pass the basket.
I know the feeling Jamal Parris expressed in his interview, all too well. My foster father was chairman of the Deacon Board at the church where I learned to speak. While he did not work is way up to intercourse with me during that, the 10th year of my life, I felt, if I did not submit to his kisses, I would lose my place in the foster home. I can close my eyes and still taste the mint on his tongue.
The worst thing about this situation is that it can truly compromise the victim’s faith in GOD. I mean, before I was molested, I wanted to become a preacher. Today, I am still searching for the connection I used to have with GOD. I wield my gift of gab on stages in fishnets, talking about sex, how to overcome its abuses and how to learn to love others and yourself again.
The trouble with Christianity is that it teaches passivity, humility and guilt. This would be fine if everyone in the world was living this way. African Americans, have a more complicated history with the Christian culture that finds its roots in slavery. In the Black Church there is a hierarchy not unlike the American slave plantation, in which the pastor is the Master and the Deacons are the over-seers whipping subservience into you through guilt and promises for a better life when this one is over. It's really weird when you consider the fact that no one, even knows if there will be a life after this one. Life is exactly what it is, and no amount of tithing is going to make your burden lighter; Positive living will. Honesty within yourself will; Being nice to people will. Praising a wig wearing pimp of the gospel will not get you into heaven. Have we no self esteem? Have we lost our minds or are we still running around here with cotton in our ears, looking to get in good with master.
You see, when you are truly following the teachings of Jesus; being meek and slow to speak, forgiving and turning the other cheek, it is hard to stand up against those who manipulate the ideas of Jesus for power, fame and fortune. It is even harder to stand up against those who are feeding you and taking care of you, as a father would. Add poverty into the equation and it's a wrap.
When I am not on stage, I am shy, quite humble, and find it very difficult to stand up for myself. I was taught, groomed actually, to be this way, through the perils of abandonment, the totalitarianism of foster care, and also through my southern Black Baptist faith. To do what I do on stage, I have to morph into Ghetto Girl Blue, a stronger manifestation of myself, that can say anything, do anything - a diva who is in control of her own sexuality rather than a weak girl who would allow abuse because the devil she knows is better than the devil she doesn’t.
I send my prayers and positive energy to the young men who have charges Bishop Eddie Long with abuse, and wish for them, a strong recovery.
By Jessica Holter