Throughout the first part of this semester, our class has discussed slave religion a few times. Different claims from certain people and the class discussions have opened up a deeper understanding of slave religion for me. From African-American slaves to the black race now, I believe that black people have come a long way in recognizing their identity. African-American theologians and religious historians like James Cone and Gayraud Wilmore and scholars like Albert Raboteau have located within slave religion of the importance in maintaining culture for African-Americans. Cone and Wilmore proposed ideas of Black Theology. I believe that their theories show how African-Americans can gain their own identity through their own practices of religion and culture. I believe that the greatest struggle of African-Americans in a racist society is the struggle to regain collective identity and culture. However, they show how it is very possible to rise above racial discrimination, and stereotypes. Although Albert Raboteau was not necessarily a theologian, his claims of slaves finding their own way of life despite being dehumanized, easily relate to the ideas of Cone and Wilmore. The arguments and ideas that Cone, Wilmore, and Raboteau put forward make me wonder about what it means to be black in America. I believe that the battle for culture and identity is at stake for African-Americans; from past to present. However, I will show how the ideas and claims of James Cone, Gayraud Wilmore, and Albert Raboteau make way for the African-American race.
African American religious culture is a distinct custom in America. The distinct identity of African-American culture is deeply rooted in the historical experience of the African-American people. Our religious culture has been able to keep steady, despite different stereotypes and discrimination. James Cone, the founder of Black theology, wanted a new way to express the distinctiveness of the Black Church through his theology. According to Cone, his idea of theology was to analyze the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in light of the experience of blacks who have long been victimized by white oppressors. Cone believed that God himself was an African-American. Therefore, he believed that black people should be of power. Reading Cone helped me understand that African-Americans today can survive in a white society just as the slaves did. I read somewhere where Cone wrote in 1977 pretty much clarifying my thoughts of his claims.
“I think the time has come for black theologians and black church people to move beyond a mere reaction to white racism in America and begin to extend our vision of a new socially constructed humanity in the whole inhabited world...For humanity is whole, and cannot be isolated into racial and national groups”
In my opinion, this shows us how “blackness” forces us to take each other seriously. Being black in America is far beyond just the color of our skin. “Being...