Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama Hanged in Effigy at George Fox University

Mike drew my attention to a story about race, racism, Obama, and Act Six at George Fox University in Oregon.

On Tuesday a "life size cardboard cutout" of Obama was found hanging from a tree on the Christian campus. A sign saying "Act Six reject" was attached to the effigy of Obama.

Act Six is an urban leadership program that targets Portland high school students and provides 10 scholarships to George Fox University.

Act Six is open to all students and is not a race-based scholarship but there is the perception that the scholarship discriminates against whites.

This incident marks the third time that a racist image of hanging has been found on an Oregon campus in the last 12 months. In the other two cases (Oregon State University and Reed College) the students involved said that they did not intend to be racist.

The fact that one does not have to intend to be racist for an act to be considered racist was obviously lost on these students.

If you read the comments here you will find some of the same thinking on the Obama effigy. Other comments raise the notion that programs like Act Six represent reverse racism.

George Fox University is working hard to contain the damage to its reputation. The fact that this incident happened at a Christian university is a sore point for sure.

But before we get carried away with the right wing Christain analysis it would be prudent to note that neither Oregon State University, and certainly not Reed College, can be considered right wing universities.

This issue is about whiteness and its self-involved notion that 10 urban-based scholarships represent racism toward whites. It is also about Obama, his blackness, his presidential bid, and how it threatens whiteness.

When I read about the Obama effigy it made me think again that McCain can't win this election unless racism is a decisive factor.

And I say this as someone who is not even remotely an Obama advocate.

Whiteness would be less restless if Black folks would just stick to dancing and sports, and leave the leadership business to whites.


Image Credit

***UPDATE(September 2)***
The Oregonian reports "George Fox Suspends 4 Students Over Obama Effigy". The students have not been expelled but suspended for "up to a year" according to the report.


Mike's Searches said...

I agree with you regarding the fact that Reed and OSU are not christian universities in the traditional sense. However, the behavior displayed by the students in question is indicitive of the attitude white christians in the US have toward people of color. If you look at the Minuteman organization, the people that make it up are "red blooded God fearing Americans." And white. And they are trying to save the country from the brown skinned people "invading" from the south. The fact that they do it under the guise of protecting the homeland from terrorists is beside the point. The terrorism angle is just a tool for these tools to use to implement what people of the same mindset wanted in the first place: keep out the "mexicans". Just the fact that these rednecks are camped on the southern border and not the northern border speaks whole volumes about their cause. There is a reason pictures of Jesus hanging in Southern homes is almost blond haired and blue eyed. The white folk are terrified that Jesus might not be white...and he's not. This attitude is prevalant in everything the Church in the US does...this is evident in the systemic racism in Portland itself,(and when you bring this up to white college kids their look of disbelief tells a story in its own right)and the outlying 'burbs such as Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale where my family and I were firsthand recipients of white bigotry and police apathy toward anyone that isn't white, anglo protestants. It IS the white church that encourages such behavior through doctrinal teachings like generational curses, which especially applies to people of African descent. This is a doctrine that is not uncommon in evangelical churches. I think to deny the influence of christian fascism in the US is a mistake. It is pervasive.

Although I didn't finish it 'cause of my own stupidity, I am incredibly thankful I took your class last year, although I didn't realize at the time the opportunity that was laid before me. Not an uncommon tale. Thanks, Prof...Peace-

Mike's Searches said...

BTW, my son is quite intrigued with your motorcycle "film" on your blog. I read him posts from your blog frequently. He thinks its pretty cool that you were one of my teachers...he's in kindergarten.

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

ok i be the first to admit, i'm no politic buff. however, after watching mrs moose uhh..i mean.. sarah palin interview..i think white folks have more things to worry about. the idea of her being a vp, gives me the hives. i hope joe biden eat her alive in the incoming debate..hee hee..

Ridwan said...

Hey there Mike. Thank you kindly for your comment. You add depth to my post.

I found it interesting that at GFU there is no organization of student Democrats.

I also hear what you are saying about the role of the church, conservatism, and racism.

I think of Liberty University and the late Jerry Falwell, for example.

Here in South Africa much of what apartheid forced was made 'common sense' in the churches. There were other churches though that were radical hotbeds.

Makes me think that it is politics that directs the hatred and racism.

Racism developed as a system in-between the demans of the church and science. So it makes sense that racism is hardly distant from how Jesus is portrayed.

Again, thanks for raising this analysis.

Thanks too for reading some of my posts to your son. I met him briefly when you brought him to class.

You are wonderful dad brother, and your son will reap the benefits of your caring and engagement.

I am glad he likes the motorcycle gif.

Peace Mike,

Ridwan said...

Gigi it is always a pleasure to hear from you my sista.

I was thinking about you today when the Formula 1 Grand Prix was running through the streets of your little spot.

I hope you were not too annoyed with the noise.

So yeah sista they gots to be worried about Palin. There is talk that some may want her to resign.

I read somewhere that her resignation may be a way to energize McSame.


I am looking forward to the debates. She is gonna make a fool of herself but hey Biden is known to do just the same on the regular.

Good to read you GiGi.

Peace sista,

Dade said...

Unbelievable! Right here in Oregon, too. How embarrassing!

Ridwan said...

Dade you called it right a while ago when you said that it was going to get more weird as we get closer to the election.

It seems that the 'reality' of an Obama presidency is bringing out the racist in folks who previously were more careful.

I expected this kind of reaction.

Remember that album "Fear of a Black Planet"?

I guess among many "The Fear of a Black President" is just as threatening.

Be well brother,