Two Seminaries Or One: A Plea For A Black-White Dialogue On Theological Education -- By: William H. Myers

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 17:0 (NA 1984)
Article: Two Seminaries Or One: A Plea For A Black-White Dialogue On Theological Education
Author: William H. Myers

Two Seminaries Or One: A Plea For
A Black-White Dialogue On Theological Education

William H. Myers

Monologue in Politics

The recent Democratic National Convention was a perfect illustration of the lack of black-white dialogue in politics. Jesse Jackson did not succeed in his objective, irrespective of the media claims to the contrary. Yes, he made us all feel proud and he made history. But, was that his primary objective or even a secondary objective? It is highly unlikely when one considers this trained seminarian’s background.

Jesse and those blacks who voted for him sought dialogue, not history or a proud feeling. When blacks all over this nation voted for Jesse it was not a repudiation of Hart or Mondale. Implicit in this vote was a repudiation of monologue. It was not so much a vote against Mondale (a black favorite) as much as a vote for genuine dialogue. The message was clear. We desire choices that allow fruitful black-white dialogue. Since past history demonstrates the white penchant for monologue on political matters that affect blacks, we chose on this occasion to send a dialogic messenger who carried a dialogic message. No black person expected that his vote would catapult Jesse into the “White” House. However, his vote was viewed as a demand to be heard and a plea for black-white dialogue in politics.

This is why, unfortunately, both Andrew Young and Coretta King were booed by black delegates. At the minimum the delegates went to the convention with the hope of receiving a message that a black-white dialogue would occur, and they would not hear anyone who would suggest that they should forfeit that right yet again in silence and acquiescence. Sadly, Jesse left in the same state in which he came (as it relates to the objective) — with a white monologue on politics.

There was obvious dialogue between the Democratic party and Gary Hart, the South and women. But in Jesse’s case the monologue continued in response to each issue he raised: “Do it our way and your turn will come down the road!” Obviously, the Democratic party felt that the female vote was crucial and non-sacrificial, for women could turn to the Republicans in 1980. But, to whom could the black race turn to? In effect the Democrats perception was that blacks have no acceptable line of default and therefore Jesse was sacrificial.

This, as I see it, is a classic “political” example of how the Democrats failed to seize the opportunity for black-white dialogue. The gender move sought to mitigate it, but it was more avoidance than mitigation.1

Although this occurrence on the political scene is disturbing, t...

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