Recommended listening/reading.

Hello, there. Apropos of nothing, here is a link to David Greene’s fascinating recent NPR story about what it’s like to be black in Russia. I listened to it during a long drive last weekend and was riveted.

The ease with which Sagbo [a black councilman] walks the streets of Novozavidovo is not something he feels in the rest of the country. He won’t get on the train to Moscow. He drives. Skinheads are active in the capital and elsewhere, and blacks — not to mention other minorities like central Asians — have been beaten on trains and on the Moscow subway. The Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, an outreach group, surveyed about 200 Africans in Moscow — and found that more than half had suffered physical attacks.

And here is a brilliant short piece of reporting from professor Jelani Cobb, who was interviewed in that radio segment about his time living in Russia. The piece is not related thematically to the NPR story at all – it’s about Cobb’s visit last Sunday to the Atlanta church headed by pastor Eddie Long, recently accused of coercing young male church members into sex — but it’s still well worth reading.

One woman shouted “You don’t have to tell us nothin” before he began to speak and the place erupted again. And she was right. For many there was no need for Long to explain himself, to detail what might drive four young men to lodge separate yet similar claims of abuse or confess how exactly he came to text photos of himself in tight workout clothes to adolescent boys. At that point I recognized that my concerns were misplaced. There would be no disillusionment, no void in the spirit as Long was guilt proof. For years he had offered a theology meant to immunize his ranks from the hurts of the world, to inure them to the wounds of life – even those that might be self inflicted.

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