Theology and the “Han” of Hip Hop: A Short Note on Han, Hip Hop, and South Asian Americans Performing Blackness

Posted: October 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

Asian American Theological Forum

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Intro

In his chapter on “The Sources and Norms of Black Theology” in A Black Theology of Liberation (1990), James Cone cites Black culture as one starting place for doing theology insofar as it gives expression to Black self-reflection on the joys and pains of Black experience and Black history.1 Taking seriously the liberationist claim that “God’s revelation comes to us in and through the cultural situation of the oppressed,”2 Black theology recognizes through Black culture God’s presence in America and God’s participation in Black liberation3—understood as the political right to self-determine. Similarly, the Asian concept of han takes as its focal point the experience of the oppressed, decentering emphasis in Western theologies on the sins of the oppressor and focusing instead on all those aspects of human existence which constitute han according to minjung (read “the people’s”) theology: “frustrated hope”, “the collapsed feeling of pain”…

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