Monday, October 3, 2016

"Get Over It"

I have a very close Caucasian girlfriend. As a matter of fact, she is one of the very best friends that I have in Oklahoma, and has proven to be, one of my best friends ever. We love to hang out, whenever we get the chance (we are both so very busy); and our conversation flows as easily as water cascading from the Niagara Falls. There is no racial tension, whatsoever.  We do not always agree with each other, but we know how to disagree, without being disagreeable.

Because we both attend the same church, we believe many of the same things and desire truth, wherever it is found. When I first began attending this congregation, roughly seven years ago, I found out that they had never celebrated “Black History” (I’m fairly sure that it is because the congregation is roughly 85% Caucasian), not a problem for me. Therefore, after the second year into my membership, being a woman of color, which I prefer using, but I use the term “Black” because society only seems to be able to recognize the two different shades, I introduced Black History via a February Black History program.

About the third year into doing these yearly programs, I shared some startling information with the congregation, which my girlfriend later said that she had never heard before; and the fact that I would share it with the church, doubled her level of respect for me. The information was simply that Europeans had once been enslaved by Black people – Muslims, according to this book source: Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 - Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State.  I don’t believe that anyone questioned, or debated any of resources, for I always try to state them.

Anyway, my girlfriend and I were having an in-depth conversation, not so long ago, and she admitted to me that she used to wonder, “Why was I so caught up with talking about blackness, and that I needed to ‘get over it’.” However, in light of all of the Black male shootings, by police officers, her eyes were being opened as never before; and although she was really upset by what she was seeing (for racial differences were not an issue for her) she was now being able to understand more fully, the “why” behind my Black History programs, as well as, the tenor in my voice when I spoke of the differences ethnicities face living here in America. So, one more time I tried to run it down to her, what it was like for me being, a woman of color, or Black in America.

“I cannot take off or put on my blackness. It is with me wherever I go and with me in whatever I do. It is with me when I lie down at night and when I arise in the morning. It sits with me at my breakfast table and helps to decide my menu. It helps to guide me when I sit at my computer and try to determine what or how I shall share the burning desires and concerns in my heart with total strangers. It follows me out of the door and attends my every step. It drives my car and determines whether or not I will get a ticket, if I am pulled over, or whether I get another day to live. It determines whether I reach my desired destination with or without harassment. It goes with me when I enter stores, restaurants or shopping malls. It determines for me whether or not the security guard will give me extra attention. It shapes my fashions and influences my music intake. Too often it helps to determine whether or not a little white child can feel that she has the privilege of calling me by my first name, when she will quickly addresses White women by Miss, or Mrs. It reminds me that my children need to be disciplined, respectful and articulate; that they cannot, nor will they be allowed the many liberties granted to other ethnicities should they mess up.  They will rarely get a “second chance” if they fail to toe the line. No; I cannot get over it. I was born, what is called Black – a gift from God; I will forever be a woman of color – which for me is a blessing; for I want to be like Jesus, and the book of Revelation paints Him as a man of color (a beautiful bronze brown)– Revelation 1:12-15  (KJV)   Revelation 1:12-15  (CJB)”

This explanation is a little fuller than the one I gave her, but you get the message. Blackness for me is not a choice; it was mandated by God, just like your particular ethnicity was mandated. Therefore the lesson to be learned from living life today is to gratefully accept whatever fate that has been thrust upon you. Do not complain about it, but rather embrace it and see the blessing, which is sometimes hidden, but is there for you to find. Stand up for the right thing, despite the ethnic group with which you are affiliated. Do right, because it is right to do and God will bless your efforts. I love you guys; I appreciate your hanging out with me and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog; that way you’ll not miss any of them; they will be delivered right into your email box, three times per week. Until next time…


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