There’s no limit to what life could be beyond Black church-sanctioned violence. The harvest is plenty and has always been here. By Rebecca A. Wilcox One night, my cousin and I were reminiscing about what life was like growing up in our
Jackie Hill Perry somehow thinks that she is separate from the anti-Black, anti-fat, colonialist nature of the Church. She is not. Days ago, an accomplished poet by the name of Jackie Hill Perry was invited to discuss her relationship to the
At every turn in her life, Oluwatoyin was failed by all the people, all the places, and all the entities that were supposed to protect her. TW/CW: suicide ideation, murder, anti-Blackness, domestic/interpersonal violence, and sexual assault. I should not be here. This, of
Religion is not infallible, and it continually creates space for its leaders to abuse the power that religious interpretations unquestioningly afford them.[TW/CW: This essay contains discussion of sexual violence, including molestation.] My mom once scolded me for swatting the pastor’s wife’s hand away from my head. She had been intrigued by my intricate braids and lifted her hand to touch them. As she began running her fingers along the length of my hair, I cringed. I don't like to be touched, and this has been true about me for as long as I can remember. I especially don't like to be touched without warning, without my consent, and this is reasonable. My body has an involuntary response to it, like a jolt shooting through me. My cheeks get hot and the skin on my neck begins to crawl. I did not want to be touched by the pastor's wife in that moment, so I used my body to push hers away. I didn't understand the look that came over my mom's face; or rather, I understood what it was, but not why it was there. She was horrified and I was confused. “Don't do that,” she whispered to me through tight lips after when we were no longer in earshot. “It's rude.” I couldn’t have been more than twelve or thirteen. A few years before that, one of my uncles made me stand in front of him in his house and repeat the words, “Jesus is my boyfriend.” This was his way of telling me that I was not allowed to have a boyfriend and he tried to use the name of Jesus and the weight that it carried to scare me into staying “pure.” God and Jesus were the only male figures I was allowed to be intimate with. Believe me, I know how fucking weird this sounds. Even hearing it as a child, I was put off by it. This was a conversation that he had initiated and engaged me in, even though I had expressed absolutely no desire to have a boyfriend, or girlfriend for that matter. When I graduated college, I moved back in with my mom for a while. At this point, I had already left the church and denounced religion, but I didn't have the confidence to tell her. And so, I went to church with her. One Sunday afternoon, she came to me speaking in a hushed tone. The pastor’s wife had told her that they had planned to give me a graduation gift in front of the congregation that day, but they simply could not bring themselves to honor me and my accomplishments because they disapproved of the shirt I was wearing, i.e. my breasts made them uncomfortable.
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The fact is, these black churches have not shaken the legacy of slavery. Black slaves would pray for their white masters to turn a solid cotton profit this year. Since this election, dawn of Easter, Season 2 of Greenleaf, Islamophobia, homophobia, church sex scandals