This video is cause for reflection and at least some disquiet from start to finish.
Tami Jackson at Saving Our Future posted it today. It shows a man named Mario Haro of Occupy Portland (Oregon), holding forth, at a community meeting, on the topic of oppression, and the role of Jesus — or, at least, faith in Jesus — in the “genocide” he considers America to be based on. Mr. Haro describes himself as a Chicano, and appears to claim that “Chicano” people were there in what is now Portland before the church in which the meeting is being held was built.
In no particular order, some of the thoughts that occur to me.
1. How does Mr. Haro feed himself and pay his bills?
2. Where exactly does he think “Chicanos” lived in the centuries before European exploration and conquest? They certainly didn’t live in the Portland area. None of regional history, anthropology, or political developments since the arrival of the first Spanish explorers supports associating a “Chicano” identity with Oregon. The connection is tenuous at best even with California, which was linked with Mexico culturally and politically not because of preexisting developments, but because of the Spanish conquest and subsequent political organization. No part of Oregon was incorporated in territory administered by imperial Spain. The inhabitants of Oregon were Native American tribes who had had no discernible link with the peoples of Aztec or Mayan Mexico since the ancestors of the southern peoples moved south, thousands of years before. (Recent discoveries in Oregon, incidentally, tend to bolster the longstanding theory that human migration to the Americas moved from Central Asia through North America, and then southward. Human poop from more than 14,000 years ago, the oldest such evidence of human settlement, was discovered in caves in south-central Oregon.)
3. At the end of the video, a church pastor present at the meeting basically owns Haro, telling him off for his insulting characterization of Jesus. It’s sad, however, that what seems to resonate with the audience is her assertion that Jesus may be (or may not be) black, white, red, or brown. Well, we know what Jesus was. He certainly wasn’t Teutonic or Celtic in appearance; he was a Jew of his time, a descendant of the house of David, living in Galilee and Judea, and probably had dark hair and eyes and olive skin. It’s possible that his coloring was lighter, but statistically unlikely. If we saw him today, we’d probably think of him as “Middle Eastern,” and he could choose — if he even bothered — whether to call himself white or something else.
Who cares? My ancestors, at the time when he walked the earth, were illiterate, innumerate, painted themselves blue, lived to about 35, were often taken as slaves by Romans and marauding Northern European tribes, and worshiped trees.
Sic transeunt gloria et ignominia mundi. Watch the pastor slam the dunk with her final point, which is rhetorically rich but quite illogical. The audience loves it. Looking down the road, I’m not seeing any advantage in being in a minority that prefers replicable logic as a basis of common understanding and policy. It would be far better for America to cultivate a majority that acts on this preference.