Self-inflicted Wounds: The Fate of the African American Community

By James F. Moore and Nova M. Smith.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 5, 2015 $US5.00

The biblical story of Lot’s escape from Sodom ends with a particularly disturbing feature. Lot is able to flee from the ethical turmoil of Sodom but his wife is so distraught by the destruction that she cannot help but look back. Her momentary pause to see again her home in flames turns her into a pillar of salt so the story goes. We clearly know that the story is more than a description of an event. The fate of Lot’s wife is a symbol of the way that any of us trapped in our past, especially if this is full of indecencies and injustices, will petrify us in the past. The symbolic image of Lot’s wife is a clear way to understand the travesties that hold the African American community in the United States petrified in the past even as so many talk about freedom and new opportunity. Is it possible to use such a reading of a religious text to understand more clearly what is actually happening in this community hiding the knowledge that would actually free people from the past? This narrative is descriptive of what has actually happened especially after the civil rights movement produced the changes of the 1960s and is shaped by connecting the reading of the text with a sociological view of the community in order to produce a new narrative of the community. The result is a story that suggests that this community much like Lot’s wife suffers from self-inflicted wounds. Until this is seen, little can be done to change the direction that the community and individuals are going to take into the future. This paper explores the inter-disciplinary construction of a narrative in order to more fully understand the tragic calcification that prevents the community from moving forward. The full narrative will be produced in a series of vignettes taken from one person’s life, but this paper can begin to show how such a narrative can be constructed and what benefit is gained by doing so.

Keywords: Theoretical Frameworks, Interdisciplinary, Critical Discourse

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 13, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.33-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 300.114KB)).

Prof. James F. Moore

Professor, Department of Theology, College of Arts and Sciences, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, USA

Prof. Nova M. Smith

Professor of Sociology and Social Psychology, Social Science Department, Harold Washington College, Chicago, Illinois, USA