Why, oh why, is this blog even here

As of today (Nov. 8, 2010) this blog will be a series of post following my journey in life. Don't worry, I lack any real Christian credibility ( other than loving Christ) so there will be no preaching, only reflecting on my daily struggles to be a good Christian, a decent wife, an OUTSTANDING mother and an ok person. Feel free to judge!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A woman on fire!

Working at a newspaper, I am rarely angered by opinion pieces. As a copy editor I've become numb to the ignorance, bigotry and gracelessness I often come across on the Opinion page. But recently the Lord lit a fire in my heart regarding the opinion of a man writing for a publication aimed at the black community in Southwest Missouri.
My husband (the neat freak)  has since thrown the paper out so I can't quote from it, but I'll paraphrase (as much as possible) without prejudice.
Basically the principle idea of the article was that in America a black man can't even pick cotton anymore. Opportunities are so limited, that "we" are left behind in the occupations that used to be the only things black people were permitted to do. He gave a slew of statistics about black men without diplomas, without degrees, locked away, selling drugs and lost to gang life. He blamed the demise of the black family, the black community and laid out everything black men needed to do to "save" the value of the black community.
So on to the fire.
Later that week, while reading a Walter Mosely novel where the central character argued before St. Peter that he didn't deserve hell because racism and classism made sinning his mode of survival,  the fire ignited again.
In the context of heaven vs. hell it became clear that discrimination of any kind was a tool of the devil. A tool to lead people away from their missions in life; a vessel for hate, an excuse for defeat. Hatred curses the hater and the hated.
So I became angry. I wasn't angry at racism, that's a hilarious fact of life; but I was angry that this educated man, was willing to dismiss me and my children as a lost cause because we can't pick cotton anymore!
What made me the angriest was that nowhere in this man's observations did he take into account the successes of the black woman. It was as if our high rate of graduation, our college degrees our six figure salaries somehow didn't count in the black community.
Let me just put this out there, as my grandmother told me a long time ago, we do not come from cotton picking people. As a black woman I was raised to succeed at school, at work, at home and in life -- not in the fields.
So what if the answer to any oppressed group was not to stop racism, not to find new crops to slave over, but to reject racism and classism, and sexism and accept God's gifts that come with being oppressed; resilience, faithfulness, creativity and hunger!
I am so hungry to receive God's Grace that I will push through any isms that might get in my way.
That was the fire I felt burning in me and I pray it continues to burn until the day I die.

1 comment:

  1. For the past 8 years of my life [on and off], I have worked in various capacities at a small-town newspaper. While Germantown is a staunchly Republican community very much set in 'traditional' values-- I must give the conservative suburb credit for their attempt to Keep. Up. Appearances. And it's never appealing to be a bigot with a heart filled with hate and ignorance. Had we ever received a letter like that, though, I would have walked out and never returned.

    "Hatred curses the hater and the hated."
    While I can honestly say I don't hate anyone, I know what extreme dislike and anger can do to a person-- both on the giving and receiving end-- so I think it's so important you mentioned this. It is far too easy for these negative emotions to become a perpetuating cycle.

    The very fact that women were not mentioned demonstrates how far from reality this man is. He may think African American men pick cotton and his wife should speak only when spoken to and have his dinner on the table as she fetches his briefcase, pours him a drink, and makes sure the children are quiet as he reads his evening paper. I would say consider the source-- though that doesn't make bigotry and ignorance hurt any less-- but the very best way to 'retaliate' [and I hate to use a combat term but hear me out] is to completely disregard those types, smash ridiculous stereotypes as you lead by example, and always be a progressive advocate who refuses to be silent.