Monthly Archives: July 2016

After All

Once upon a time, I was surrounded by a loving supportive (mostly white) Christian community. But I did a terrible thing. I committed the unforgivable sin. I am black and I willfully, intentionally, sinfully chose to stay black in spite of their best efforts to fix me.

Oh, it was all happy times in the beginning. They could pity my poor inner-city upbringing and lack. It helped them feel better about themselves and assured them, they were living white~err~ I mean, right. They were very generous and supportive, reaching out to my family with blessings and gifts. They were happy to share the white~err~right way of living.

These are good people. I have no issues with who they are and what they do. White people do white very well. I accepted them without judgment or expectation. Not so, the other way around.

Our problems began when I didn’t allow overstepping of my personal boundaries. It caused a great deal of confusion. How dare I not submit to my betters? How dare I not bow to supremacy disguised as God’s will? Clearly, I defied the system and acted as if I could think for myself. I was a heretic; a white-privilege heretic. I shamelessly used words like no and stop… It made them want to pray for me.

They patiently tried to teach me what to think and what to do and what to say, and how to respond, and how to behave and, and, and… I didn’t listen. They wanted me to be silent and agreeable (especially the silent part). They said and did things to me that were wrong, but I was supposed to accept it because…well, just because. They pushed their agendas and when I pushed back, they determined the problem was me. The truth is, I saw things from a different perspective. The non-privileged, not their way, not allowed perspective (It wasn’t of God).

This good Christian community didn’t know what to do with me. I was behaving in a manner inconsistent with the White-Way Handbook. The possibility of my pigmentation playing a part in our differing opinions was not considered. Instead, they concluded, it was because I was rebellious, argumentative, problematic, oppressed, in need of a deliverance, and too attached to my roots. In other words –not servile enough.

To be fair, there were a handful of people who loved me exactly as I am. Sadly, they couldn’t escape unbreakable rule #52. Rule 52 says: If you can’t say something white~err~I mean nice, serve coffee cake and pretend nothing is wrong. Because, if you can’t eat coffee cake while pretending nothing is wrong, the problem is you.

The ones who were full of…coffee cake, went on to attack my husband for not disciplining me properly (They wanted this century’s equivalent of the whip implemented). He’s white. He should have known better. They couldn’t say it’s his fault I was out of control (according to the handbook, you can’t blame a white person). It was decided, I somehow forced my husband to rebel (bewitched, henpecked, tied him up in the basement…). That he could think for himself and had worked through the racial issues they were facing was never a consideration.

They had to take drastic measures. They issued me ultimatums. ‘Do things the white-way or else…’

My inner-city upbringing left me underwhelmed with their scare-tactics. We chose, or else.

So that good Christian community had to give up and admit defeat. I was going to stay black, after all.

I love happy endings.

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History

Black people have learned not to be defined by history. Not to be defined by environment. Not to be defined by judgments. We are defined by our actions.

Some people opposed ending slavery because they benefitted from supremacy and/or they were full of hate. Others ignored the problem and did nothing, because they were weak.

Some people opposed the Civil Rights Movement because they benefitted from supremacy and/or they were full of hate. Others ignored the problem and did nothing, because they were weak.

Today, people oppose the BLM Movement or do nothing. I wonder why.

Why the backlash against standing up for black issues?

Why deny provable truths (ex: Black people have a history of being treated unfairly. Stereotyping and Jim Crow laws are ingrained in the judicial system. Society was structured to benefit white people)?

Why judge people/situations that are outside your range of experience or understanding?

What does it hurt for a person of color to be given the same rights and opportunities that are promised to all Americans? Why does it take a movement to get it?

The answer escapes me, unless you believe in white supremacy or you are comfortable ignoring/denying the truth.

You know the cliché ‘those who don’t learn from history are forced to repeat it.’ White people, your unfixed, unlearned from history is supremacy. If you excuse injustice, you haven’t learned. If you deny the truth, you haven’t learned. If you judge the fight wrong, you haven’t learned. If you oppose a movement to finally get it right, you. haven’t. learned.

Black people have a history as well. But we’re not repeating our mistakes. We’ve learned. Ending slavery did not equal freedom. We’ve learned that lesson so you will never put us back there. That is why we fought for Civil Rights. But, Civil Rights did not get us equal rights. We’ve learned that lesson so you will not be able to keep us there. Throughout history, you have taken authority over our lives, yet, our lives have not mattered to you. But they matter to us. We have taken back that stolen authority. We have learned the lesson, your supremacy only works when we are obedient to it. When we believe it. When we accept it.

And now, we don’t.

We don’t care if you disagree. We don’t care if you dislike our methods. We don’t care about your insults or how you judge us. We have learned from history and we will not repeat it.

How about you?

I imagine it’s a bit crazy being an average white person today. Being brought up in the security and comfort of a privilege you didn’t realize you had. Proud of your history, proud of your heritage, proud of your accomplishments as a race. Trying to be the best person you can be and following your honest beliefs. Then, you get hit with this movement that calls bullshit on your understanding.

You are being forced to recognize truths and live in a reality you’ve never experienced. You are attached to a history of hate. Now, people look at you with judgment. You get stereotyped. You’re being profiled. And, worst (by worst, I mean best) of all, many of your own race agree with the assessments.

How do you deal?

1 –you can push back, deny the truth and wait for your history to repeat itself again.

2 –you can deal with it. Learn the truth. Live the truth and join the fight for what is right.

or

3 –you can ignore the truth, be weak and wait for your history to repeat itself again.

You do not have to be defined by your history. You do not have to be defined by your environment. You do not have to be defined by judgments. But you will be defined by your actions.