Recently an African American Pastor Makeda Pennycoke of Freedom House Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, came under fire for making incredulous remarks geared towards race. Pastor Makeda Pennycooke allegedly wrote in the email, according to WBTV. “First impressions matter, we would like to ask that only white people be on the front doors.” What about forming last impressions as a whole? Charlotte NC is a rapidly booming city where the minority was shifted into the majority over the past decade. The US census reports that in 2010 Black or African Americans alone were at an all time high of 35.0%. This growth has increasingly been on the incline. Pastor Pennycooke’s sentiments have left a bitter after taste which no doubt will send her back peddling to save face.
Pastor Makeda Pennycooke has sadly misplaced her ill guided attempts to restructure racism by seemingly re-activating such under the guise of religion. She states “We are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line.” This is a mixed church yet this pendulum that the Pastor speaks of is emphatically aimed at taking off the heads of the African American members of her congregation. This is not the first time we’ve known racial indecencies to be delivered masked by Christianity, after all the Klu Klux Klan is listed as a Christian organization as well.
Are race relations a sincere concern for the Pastor? Why would someone who has been placed in a position of community leadership perpetuate such negative stereotypes? Has Makeda forgotten her rich bronzed complexion, or the urban pronunciation of her own government name? Could it be that the underlying tone is that of the all mighty dollar, and not the Almighty Lord. Charlotte, NC Historical Median Household Income by Races Data provides the following statistical breakdown. The medium household income for Whites is $61,616 vs. for Blacks $34,997. In other words it would appear that Caucasians in theory might be better suited for donations, and tithes towards keeping the sanctuary lights turned on. I’m not saying she’s a gold digger but uhshe ain’t messing with no broke healers.
It should also be notes that the church website reveals only two blacks on staff – Pennycooke and Tracie Frank, the communications director. Despite the reverends claim’s of a nurturing environment, the desire for diversity is not reflected in the church staff. So maybe this isn’t Pennycooke’s direct agenda. Perhaps we are merely shooting the messenger?
Lastly the only other factor left to examine is possibly self-hatred. For centuries the African American community has had to filter out images of Christianity that were not of their own. Facing a white Jesus framed upon mantels, embedded images of the bright “white” shining lights appearing from the pearly gates. There are images in religious ceremonies that were color-coded, such as wearing a white dress for weddings to represent love, peace, and harmony while on the other side of the spectrum wearing black attire for funerals to designate loss, death, and darkness. When such images are repeatedly force fed to an individual over a period of time, eventually he or she will swallow. A great example is when the house slave would run and tell the master on the field slave in order to gain favor all the while not realizing that their own status towards freedom was never swayed.
When I was a young girl growing up in these same Carolina plains as Pastor Pennycooke my grandfather would often tell me how sad it is that blacks never patronize other black owned businesses yet aided in white enterprises to acquire wealth. When I inquired why was such the case, he jokingly told me “because every negro knows the white man’s ice is always the coldest.” I now askPastor Makeda Pennycooke, “How much colder does the ice need to be?”