I guess Joseph Lowery and I — along with the people who stood and applauded his remarks at Coretta Scott King’s funeral — just don’t get how black folks are supposed to behave at funerals. (Nevermind how many opportunities there were to learn how to be have at funerals during the civil rights movement.) I guess we’re not supposed to do much more than cry, talk about Jesus, and maybe sing a few spirituals. Unless we can figure out a way to honor the life of someone like Mrs. King without honoring what she stood for, at least not in too timely a context.
People — particularly folks on the right — toss about words like “inappropriate,” and “rude.” Tucker Carlson , in an attempt to take Lowrey to task, called his remarks “bad manners.”
Folks, there’s a old term for what Lowery did. It was common during the time of civil rights movement, particularly in the South.
Lowery was simply being “uppity.”
Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one’s station; presumptuous: “was getting a little uppity and needed to be slapped down”
None on the right will say it, but their basic complaint is that Lowery was being an “uppity nigra” (to use the somewhat sanitized term). So were the people who stood and applauded. In daring to draw the obvious disharmony between Mrs. King’s values and the policies of the current administration — with the president sitting right behind him — Lowery “for got his place.” So did the people who stood and applauded him.
Remembering your place means you don’t even speak truth in the vicinity of power; let alone speaking truth to power. Certainly not with the bossman right behind you.
Fortunately, Lowery is still being uppity, if his response to Tucker Carlson is any indication.
CARLSON: It’s not hard to hear that [your remarks] and not draw the obvious conclusion that that’s an attack on President Bush, which of course is your right to do, and I think completely fair. But again, it seemed very uncomfortable to say something like that in a funeral with the president right there. It seemed like bad manners.
LOWERY: Well, I don’t think so. I certainly didn’t intend for it to be bad manners. I did intend for it to — to call attention to the fact that Mrs. King spoke truth to power. And here was an opportunity to demonstrate how she spoke truth to power about this war and about all wars.
And I think that, in the context of the faith, out of which the movement grows, we have always opposed war. We’ve always fought poverty. And we base our — our argument on — on the faith, on the fact that Jesus taught us. He identified with the poor. “I was hungry; you didn’t feed me. I was naked; you didn’t clothe me. I was in prison; you didn’t see about me.” He talked about war. He talked about he who lives by the sword.
So I’m comfortable with the fact that I was reflecting on Mrs. King’s tenacity against war, her determination to witness against war and to speak truth to power. [emphasis added]
Some uppity nigras just never learn, and I’m glad of it. I’ll put my money on Lowery against Tasseled Loafer Boy any day of the week.