Friday, October 7, 2016
I don’t know that I’m much of a wordsmith, but I do so enjoy dissecting certain words and seeking for their hidden meanings. Recently, I came across the word “specious” and although I’ve casually read it before in certain writing that I hold dear, this time it loomed out at me. And whereas, in times past, I had lightly passed over it, knowing that it was associated with those things that were false or could be divergent in its base concept, this time it so profoundly struck my attention, until I stopped and looked it up in the dictionary.
Specious: “1) apparently true but actually false; appearing to be true but really false; a specious claim. 2) deceptively attractive; superficially attractive but actually of no real interest or value.” Encarta Dictionary: English (North America).
Humm! It made me think seriously for a moment; because the reading, which contained this word was a Christian one and it was warning the reader to be aware of the devil, who often brings specious claims to our attention; all in an effort to distract our thinking and to turn it toward the mundane, rather than allow us to keep our thoughts placed upon the more essential matters of purity, right, holiness – God!
Therefore, I wondered if I was being distracted by my “activist” thinking, by speaking out against certain things, in my blogs; or even addressing certain topics in such a light and casual manner. I wondered if I had written things that were “superficially attractive but actually of no real…value.” That is by no means my intent. However, if I’ve been guilty, I beg your forgiveness and I’ll rest in the assurance that you’ll forgive me, for you’re reading this blog right now; and I’m going to trust that you will continue to read them.
It is, however, very, very true that there are so many “apparently important topics” that could be covered, but they have no real value to them; they are simply “time wasters”, “time fillers”, “boredom deterrents”. We seek to have a deeper meaning here; a far more relevant voice than one that merely takes up good space on paper or tickles the ear.
Therefore, my life lesson for today is this: Each of us needs to examine our choices in life, more closely. It is easy to run upon the furor of our emotions, when stories of injustice, heartache, outrageousness, and a number of other daily headlines draw our attention via the Internet, Face Book, YouTube and other social media venues that are available to us. There is so much more that actually begs for our attention. Such things as: are there any people with whom I have disagreements or variances, which need to be fixed? Have I told my children or other loved ones, or even my neighbor, how valuable and/or dear to me they are? Am I making earnest efforts to overcome that habit or challenge in my life? Have I made all the proper arrangements for my effects, should I become one of the statistics that I read about? Have I made all things right with my God, so that I might pass away in peace? And the really big one, have I figured out what will happen to me after I die?
These are just “some” of the more serious issues each of us needs to deal with or a regular basis. If we take care of, what some would deem the “small things”, the larger ones, though it may not necessarily appear as though they will, will become far less important in our thinking and there will be greater peace in our lives.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
I promise that I am NOT seeking to speak for ALL AFRO-AMERICANS (i.e. people of color), as I write these thoughts today. These thoughts are strictly those of the author; any similarities seen or agreed upon by the readers are strictly coincidental; however, appreciated.
By now, many of you may have read the recent article published by Town Hall and written by Matt Vespa - http://bit.ly/2dd2FUo. As I read the article, I had to chuckle to myself when I read the possible manner through which reparations might come are listed (and just for the record, I don’t expect any to ever come), however, this is what was said, – “reparations coming in the form of financial payments, debt cancellation, increased opportunities in education, health initiatives, and a formal apology.” Excuse me, right now I have got to stop and hold my sides, I’m laughing so hard regarding this insulting foolishness! This may be old news for some, but in 1705 Virginia law required that when a white servant’s period of indenture was over, a master must provide men with 10 bushels of corn, 30 shillings, and a gun; and women with 15 bushels of corn and 40 shillings. The freed servants were also to be given 50 acres of land. No such provision was made for Blacks. Now, over 150 years later, they suggest that we receive a “formal apology”, as one of the possible reparations. Ridiculous! Bah – Humbug!
According to Vespa, it took a – “group of experts, which includes leading human rights lawyers from around the world” to conclude that the “police officers killing unarmed African American men…has created, in its words, a "human rights crisis" that "must be addressed as a matter of urgency." Wow! The former lynchings; the ‘Jim Crow’; the racial discrimination manifested in the disproportionate numbers seen in the population to incarceration figures constantly released; or in education, housing, jobs, etc., over the years did not make it to their attention. It was only when the “past year's spate of police officers killing unarmed African American men, the panel warned against "impunity for state violence,"…reached their attention. Hummm!
And even though the writer of the article Matt Vespa, thumbs his nose at the UN’s attempt to show concern for this issue, he still gets it ALL WRONG, when he states, “Our values, our Constitution, our belief in the defined system of rights that we felt so deeply as to rebel against to British rule is what keeps us together and makes us Americans—or at least that’s what I thought. Our country was founded on these unalienable rights, not around kings or ethnic groups as other nations in the past. Second, and most importantly, if this is some ridiculous way to foster a racial healing, it’s not going to work. In fact, most likely it will exacerbate the already abysmal race relations we have now. We’re blaming a racial group who had zero stakes in slavery. No white person today is to blame for slavery or racial terrorism. No white person today is responsible for the past actions of their racial group; people they didn’t event know.” I hope that you are noticing – this is a ‘direct quote’ from the article, mistakes and all.
Sorry Matt, I disagree with those sentiments. Racial terrorism and racial bigotry is “taught”. So these people whom you are saying is in no wise responsible for the outcome of what their forefathers did is absolutely nonsense. Many, many, even most of these elitist White people have encouraged and even played a part in moving it along. So, stop and think again. Although, Matt nor I wish to inflame the races (ethnicities – there is only one race – human race), those who have taken a part in fostering the beliefs of their forefathers, do need not only to apologize for their actions and attitudes, but to be among the foremost to change, as far as possible, the fragile racial relations presently existent. Enough said!
As we turn to today’s life lesson, I’ve learned that it is incumbent upon every man; woman and child, to so live, as to cause others, regardless of their ethnic differences, to feel accepted, loved and respected. This is what Jesus did. He said that “…I am come that ye might have life, and that more abundantly” – John 10:10
Monday, October 3, 2016
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…
More: Polished bronze;