Race In America: the results of my survey.

Thanks to all 49 of you who participated in my survey! Below are the results.

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and as for the responses? For now, either you’re tired of racism, you don’t care, you wish you could do more, or you don’t know what to do. most of the white folks, y’all don’t know what to do, you couldn’t care less, or you do know what to do, and opposition comes from those you love most. and black folks, other people of color, y’all, we, are tired of racism obvi. And now my personal thoughts.

i don’t know what to tell you if you fall into the category of denying other people’s pain to retain your comfortability. i was reading the comments under an article (never do that), and i saw this quote: “no longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.” so, i’m done with racism and trying to tell people what it is and why you shouldn’t do it. seriously? you need a reason not to be racist? and it is not up to the oppressor to decide when justice has been met for the oppressed. that’s like a rapist saying that the person they raped will be alright after a while. you don’t get to decide when someone has healed from the pain you caused. until you change your actions, your words are hollow, fickle, fake. i was going to do a series on racism, but i’m not the one who needs to do it, and i won’t. those who are recovering racists need to, not me. you, recovering racist, know how racist people think and ought to challenge that. i can’t. i don’t know what it is to oppress people because of who they are and feel good about it, but you do. you know what it is to have privilege and see it work in your favor. you know what it is to have a government that has your best interests in mind. i don’t and can’t speak to those who do.

people are stuck in their ways of thinking. but when you come to know God, you are no longer of the world, just in it to do His will. and, he transforms and renews your mind. my mind was transformed when i was 23 years old. i got baptized when i was 7. but i promise you, ever since that day in september 2015, my life has never been the same. finally, i felt God’s peace and presence surrounding me, and i wish i could explain how it felt, but i do know it surpassed all understanding.

and that’s what i want for white people who hate me because i’m black or think they’re better than me because they’re white, or are just scared of what to do with a system they don’t want anymore. Let God transform you, let Him have your heart. Fear not what will happen when you renounce a system that has taken your spirit from you.  whiteness is one hell of a drug. it gives you privilege and rights not afforded to others. but is it worth it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? I rebuke that stronghold over you in Jesus’ name. I pray over you that your eyes would be opened to the evil that white supremacy is and why it truly may seem like it benefits you but only destroys your soul in the process. it breeds apathy and a dismissal of your brothers and sisters who struggle under a system that only helps you. I want you to be free from that, to be free from that burden of sin, to be free from the fear of those who aren’t white! but you have to want it, too.  and i know some of you may be seething right now, becoming angry at these words i’ve written. if you are, i want you to reflect on that emotion; what triggered it? what caused it? why are you angry?

and that’s what i want for black people and other people of color who think they are less than or not worthy of humanity because of a lie told one day that who you are is unworthy. your skin radiates, soaks up the sun, resists aging, and you think that’s unworthy? Your hair defies gravity as it grows towards our Creator in praise! and you think that’s unworthy? Satan, this planet, has tried to steal, kill, and destroy us for so long, but I declare in Jesus’ name no longer. in a system, a country, a world, that looks to do work against you, your very existence is resistance. You are smart, you are capable, and you are enough. all of our lives, we have been told our noses too big, return to where we came from, our hair too unruly, our existence too much. There is so much man can do to the body, but he cannot touch your spirit.

the best way to overcome your hatred, your fear, is to reject everything that feeds those things and start over. will you do that with me?

 

 

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giving up your birthright for a better life?

oh. hello. your eyes are currently reading what i’ve typed. fascinating that you may even be reading this in my voice, huh? what was your day like today? before you answer that, i’d like you to ponder on some bullet points below:

  • would you abandon your family for a better way of life?
  • where would you have to move for people not to recognize you?
  • if caught, could you accept the penalty of death?

those questions come off weird, maybe off-putting, but these are questions wherein some answered yes, right here in america. i’m talking about people like this (hover over for captions):

you guessed it; they’re all black americans; at least one parent is black, and here in america that’s all it takes (outside of the “one drop rule”). so, they’re invited to the cookout.

one of my favorite films is Imitation of Life, which explores this social area. seeing as black people come in all shades and hair textures with both parents being black as well, what is the basis of discrimination if not just skin color? when you think about it, people (read: black people) are honestly hated because of their skin color, which is why, black people who looked like the people above back in the 1700s-1970s?, passed as white. by passing as white, they forwent discrimination and entered into a life of privilege, if they didn’t get caught. if they got caught, more than likely they would’ve been lynched and their body parts sent off as party gifts, kept as souvenirs, or a postcard with a lynching would be sent to dear old dad’s house.  i wish i was making this up.

npr did a podcast on this with author, Allyson Hobbs. In her book, A Chosen Exile: A Hsitory of Racial Passing in American Life, she chronicles stories of black people who passed for white in hopes of a better life. one family they talk about is the Johnston Family:

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the patriarch, Dr. Johnston, passed as white so he could practice medicine. the navy picked him up but withdrew their commission on reports that Dr. Johnston had “colored blood;” on that basis, everyone has “colored blood” because it’s red.

and personally, this hits home. my great-grandfather could have passed for white, but when he registered for the draft of wwI, he recorded “negro” as his race. in connecting with a cousin of mine, because many of my family members could pass for white in the 1900s-1940s, white people felt comfortable around them and would speak to them. however, some white person would slip up with some racist rhetoric about black people and find themselves out cold by my family members, not knowing what they’d done; just because some could pass for white didn’t mean they forsook being black.

in Black Like Me, authored by John Howard Griffin, he darkens his skin to understand for himself the perils of institutional discrimination and state-sanctioned violence. from this article, Griffin said:

“What is it like to experience discrimination based on skin colour, something over which one has no control?” No white man could, he reasoned, truly understand what it was like to be black, because black people would never tell the truth to outsiders. “The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us was to become a Negro,” Griffin writes. “I decided I would do this.”

this dude lasted six weeks before it became too much being black, not being able to take the “hate stares” white people gave him. on top of that, a group of white men almost beat him to death for writing this book.

what i think the problem is, is denial. the people on earth now, we aren’t necessarily responsible for the problems of yesterday, but have you heard of inheritance, where the sins of the father can fall on the children? your dad/mom was an alcoholic, and you find yourself gripping the bottle in hard times when you’re their age, as an example. do you pass that on to your children, or does the buck stop with you? parents, more is caught than is taught by children if you didn’t know.

in conclusion, racism is satanic.

stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Wu-Tang is for the children, but racism is not: a case study. 

I hope you found that title hilarious because this post, and those forthcoming, won’t be as humorous. “They” say to keep people from becoming upset with you over serious topics, you have to make them laugh. But nothing is funny about racism as it permeates through every aspect of society; it’s that yeast Jesus talked about. I’ve come to set the captive, and maybe the oppressor, free. And especially with the future president coming into office, racism may become worse, only because of the rise of hate crimes since he won (1,2,3,4).

But what is really heartbreaking is the amount of Christians who are nauseatingly silent on such an issue. Or if they aren’t silent, they indirectly perpetrate, perpetuate, or better yet, ignore the whole bit with stupid clichés and how we live in a fallen world and blah.blah.blah. In the Bible, God says that he created everyone in His image. So, to not love your neighbor as yourself is a grave mistake; that’s the second greatest command. So, when I say #blacklivesmatter, and you sit on your hands and say that #alllivesmatter, how can you believe that if you march and are adamant against abortion? All lives matter to God of course, but they don’t to people. Did all lives matter when American citizens, who were Japanese, were interred at camps and German POWs were treated better than them and African-American veterans, some of which were lynched? Do all lives matter in Flint, Michigan? The problem with this statement is that people say all lives matter but don’t prove it; you say it to shut people up. “Blessed are the poor […]” What about those who aren’t poor, Jesus? You gonna bless them too, or…? What’s up; what’s good?”

Racism is a spiritual disease that causes the oppressor to live in a fantasy, a bubble. And when you pop that bubble with truth in love, all of a sudden, they try to chase you off a cliff (5). “Racism isn’t going to go away if you keep talking about it.” Oh, is that so? Maybe you’re just uncomfortable and should admit that then. Race is a societal, man made construct to keep one group in power by any means necessary and another oppressed. Racism is anti-God. It causes you to see your neighbor as less than. And when you do that, the problems they face because of you are insignificant for they just “need to get over it.” And for the oppressor, it spiritually binds and blinds you; you aren’t as free as you think you are. This system becomes your faith, and somehow God supports it.“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Racism is a spiritual disease that causes the oppressed to feel and live as if they *are* less than. When you’re told all your life that your skin is too dark, your hair too unruly, and your natural body too sexual, your spirit becomes downtrodden, and society, in conjunction, agrees. The closer you look to the oppressor, the worse off you’ll be because you won’t be accepted. Bleaching my skin to be lighter won’t help; straightening my hair won’t help. Who I am is the problem, and my existence should cease. And, you can’t be what you can’t see. So, if I don’t see someone who looks like me being an engineer, a producer, a writer, a doctor, how can I become that? And the sad thing is that, we who aren’t considered the majority, people of color, have always achieved, but that history has been cast to the wayside; why? Take the movie, Hidden Figures, for example (6). It is a movie about three black women, there were more, who are the reason NASA is NASA. They live/lived right here in Hampton Roads, so why wasn’t that in the history books, especially since we were so obsessed with beating the Russians to the moon (7)? ABC ran a drama about the astronaut wives (8,9), but why not about these women engineers who happened to be black? These women were scientists in a time when women were “supposed” to be homemakers, fighting not only sexism, but racism, and the intersectionality therein.

White people, racism does exist. It is not just personal prejudice, but institutional and systemic. Racism is prejudice + power. Everyone has reserved prejudice, but in this society, only white people have had their prejudice put into law. Don’t believe me (10)? And you have privilege; it is unearned favor. It’s that favor when you walk into a store and are asked if you need help, instead of being found suspicious and followed (11). It’s that favor that gets you a better bank loan (12). It’s that favor that you won’t be mistaken for being a criminal when you’ve lost your key to your house in the suburbs (13). It’s that favor that gives you the benefit of the doubt in criminal cases; you get maybe a year, while a black person gets the mandatory minimum (14). The system is built to support you, whether you want to believe it or not. It supports you so much that God himself is white! And it sucks because you might be poor and white (15). Or it sucks because you think people are taking away from your hard work, and if you did it, why can’t anyone else? I will address how racism affects you (oh yes it does! 16) and how it benefits you the most, and why supporting white supremacy, whether directly or indirectly, is detrimental. And I will come with receipts out the ass; don’t worry. I am here to challenge your comfortability in the status quo, to smash white supremacy; may you be freed.

Black people, People of Color, I don’t have much to say because the majority of you already know what’s up. We all got that talk about how to act around police, to work twice as hard to maybe be considered half as good, etc. Yet, I can only speak to issues I face being a black person/woman; I can’t speak to the issues of the Asian or Latinx/Hispanic Diaspora, but I can shed light on them and be an ally. So if you want to send something my way, please feel free to do so! On a personal note, let us not internalize the hate we receive for who we are. We face systems of oppression everyday, and it can be tiring and draining. Keep the faith in God. Loving those who persecute you is not weakness, nor is it acquiescing to their whims. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?”

Finally, I am not silent on these issues. If I haven’t spoken with you about it, it’s because I knew you wouldn’t receive it well. I speak about it all the time with my black friends and other friends of color, and very few white friends. But I have reservations with my white friends because, for those I have spoken with, you tell me it’s in the past, to get over it, ignore it, or you make light of a situation that has cost people their lives. Or you think it’s a personal attack when I’m speaking in general, but maybe it is a personal attack if that is your heart. And I speak on this because of Ezekiel 33:1-11:

The Watchman and His Message

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

A Seat at The Table

There’s an empty chair there at your table. I don’t have a table because mine was destroyed by you. And when I try to sit at your table, you remove the chair and let me fall. You always sit at the head of the table, and you sit there alone. You’re the only one with a table, by the way. So everyone has to come to you when there’s a problem; we have to sit at your table, where you’re the head. Well, the rest of us, we sat in a circle because we didn’t have a table… or chairs. And we discussed amongst ourselves that we would build a table and sit together and be a family. But, here came you, and you didn’t want us to have a table because you like being the only one with a table. You found our blueprints and burned them, you found our supplies and confiscated them. At every turn, there you were, ready to steal, kill, and destroy just like your father.

You’re a lot like your dad, you know? Your disguise is impeccable! Your words are like honey laced with poison, laced with destruction. Yet, the honey is so sweet that I am on my deathbed when I realize what you’ve done to me. You find new ways to tempt me, to get me to fail, all for a seat at your table! But I’ve been down that road before; you pull the chair from under me every.single.time. I try to sit with you. And you know what? You tell me I’m the one with the problem, I’m the one with the attitude?! I’M THE ONE IN THE WRONG, I’M THE ONE WHO NEEDS TO FIX MYSELF, I’M THE ONE WHO IS DESPICABLE, I’M THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS ONE!

I almost started to hate myself. After all, you’re the one with the table, the chair, the comfort. And you like being there. And You’ll do anything to stay there. That’s why you thwart the building of my table. It’s all about you! You don’t think of anyone but yourself.

You have plenty of room at your table; it’s spacious, but it’s lonely. No one wants to sit with you. You thought we did, but we never wanted to. It’s just that you were the only one with the table and chairs. Where else were we supposed to sit? And in order to sit at your table, we had to do good by you. We had to be like you. But it’s sick and twisted because when we were like you, you rejected us anyway and banished us from your table.

And this god of your’s. He’s just.like.you. All the things you love, he loves (only you), and all the things he hates, you hate (everyone but you). You and your father must be one, huh? Y’all have some special connection or something? Your god doesn’t love me. He said that I don’t look right, I don’t talk well, I need to fix myself in order to be loved by him. He doesn’t want to help me. I tried to be loved by him; I denied myself to be like you. And you- I mean he- still rejected me.

And after all of this, I don’t want to do what you’ve done to me. Believe me, I thought about it for a while. I would come in with a hatchet and destroy that table and those chairs and knock you down to my level. And the funny thing is, you’d probably still find a way to say you’re better than me, “Well, at least I used to have a table and chairs!”

So you can have that table, and you can keep those chairs. And you can sit at the head of the table where everyone has to worship you in order to be tolerated. And they do. They worship you, but they don’t love you.