Saturday, March 28, 2009

Black Madonna et faux AfroSwiss

Long chat with one of my almost 30jahre of friendship buddies about her experience in Poland being called the "Black Madonna", her hand stroked, people even bowed! Her visit was during the "cold war" on one of those junkets organized to get Western currency. She went to an international social work conference and then on to the tour junket. Visiting one of the Black Madonna shrines, she encountered many who obviously never met a person of color, or a "Western" person of color. The simplicity of real feelings and simple respect! Great story, and of course in my mind, she is a Black Madonna. She furthermore related the story at a nonprofit board meeting. Most of the members were bewildered having little understanding of the nuances of race, class, geography. The apartheid of class what with a board being primarily very wealthy "white people" helping the poor, primarily working class people of color. The dynamics of high/low... but I say "God Bless Obama" for changing some of the lenses!

Interesting history of the Black Madonnas in Europe. Often destinations for pilgrimages due to histories of "miracles" around the statue/painting. One of the most interesting in Bavaria where the heart of King Ludwig kept. And, the Black Madonna of Croatia!

In April, 1987, travelled in Western Europe with a NYC buddy. In Zurich, on the quai alongside the ZurichSee, an entertainer stopped him, delighting in his being an African American. My buddy delighted in his celebrity at times being an African American in Switzerland and Germany. The simple exchanges of interactions in other locales! A big event in his life being outside the subway universe many of us only traverse for years! Great cross-cultural stories! It was fascinating to watch people interact with him!

Reminder also of how one never really knows how another processes their interpretation of who one is, what one is saying. A similiar notion of how people present who they want others to think they are albeit the reality may be very different. But mostly, the reality that one can change the lenses and be seen and survive in a very positive light. of course, that is the story of American Babylons such as NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago! In more high/low, Madonna uses religious imagery such as in the probably Martin de Porres to comfort her in a video. Reality.. loved seeing Cocteau's La Belle et la bete again! toujours la belle!

Monday, a new, short semester. Happy to have had the story of my friend's experience in Poland whilst thinking of how I will start a new semester. Once again, the importance of my reminding students that they are a distinct minority in actually getting a college degree from an accredited college. Jobs, whatever may come and go, but no one will phone and ask for one's diploma back. Research can be a stress for many students but I remind them that everyone else in their degree area finished and they are no different! It is about changing the lenses so that one can process how much is known research but thinking out of the scientific method, or just critical thinking is not always developed! It is part of the responsibility of being an educated person!

thanks again to the universe for my Black Madonna buddy, and that first Euro tour with a NYC buddy!

hugs, peace, compassion

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