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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

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Those Lyrics

I ended my relationship with him because his music of preference degraded, devalued, and denounced women.  How did we get to this place?  When did I become his enemy?  Surely, he did not think of me as a friend!

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you,” he would say.

Ughhhhhh, my frustration rose with every point he missed.  Of course the lyrics are not about me specifically, but its collective implication is placed squarely upon my shoulders.  The weight is heavy.  The conversation is lacking.  Maybe if I were not a professional woman, I would not notice?  Maybe if my life did not require me to be in situations where I am the only one, I would not be bothered?  How have we gravitated from R-E-S-P-E-C-T to O-P-P?  Perplexed and tired, I ended the relationship.

If you are wondering, yes we are still friends—the one, he says, “that got away “.  What an interesting choice of words when considering the bondage his ideology would have placed me under.  Walking away, I was left wondering if he would ever know A Woman’s Worth.  I can only hope so, but I still don’t know.

peace

Unless empathetic, people only seem to understand “a thing” if it has a direct impact on them.  Have we become so desensitized that we only have empathy when catastrophes occur?  Don’t we know that by the time we see the physical manifestations of inequity, inequalities have already run rampant?  Many seem to think that if they do not have a dog in the fight, then the fight is simply theater.  “Get over it”, they say.  “It’s not that serious”, they insist while attempting to bully via shame.  “You are too sensitive”, they sing.  Their perspective, however, does not change your reality nor how such attitudes affect your life.

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you” become about me when I show up to defend someone in court and have to check a dude who calls me honey.  They become about me when I am in a meeting and the males are addressed by their respective titles and I am by my first name only.  They become about me when the salary being offered to me is less or when I am overlooked for a promotion, not because of my work product, but because of this rule that a man—and many times a white male—is simply worth more.  How could he not be worth more, right?  People like to do business with people like them and most big business deals are done between men—white, wealthy men.  Now, you know like I do that most people are not white and wealthy and male.  Yet, the oppression amongst those of us who are not continues to pit ally against ally.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

Although at times slow to make mainstream rotation, songs empowering women are being written and played.  Their vehicle is not limited to the radio, but more readily seen in life.  So, what songs do you turn up…or turn off?  Are the lyrics being sung about you?  The big picture, most miss.

Life Can Turn On A Dime

You know, I am very thankful that when I was in my first professional environment after law school I was surrounded by colleagues who invested in me doing things the right way, and not in doing things for the sole purpose of making them appear right. Truth is, people are especially vulnerable when young, when entering into a profession, when starting a new job, etch.. Unfortunately, there are not enough, if any, collegiate assignments on best practices on “how to best question authority in workplace environments”. Identifying unethical situations is one thing, but what to DO when you are actually faced with them requires (uncomfortable) action. That whistleblowing mention you may get as a part of your employee orientation is simply not enough, especially if you are new, young, and/or trying to establish yourself. How could it be enough? …Two or three sentences then flip the page…Are we assuming that it does not happen (here)?

Realistically, the model many often see is that of “going along to get along”.  As a result, that is the one they most likely publicly follow. Let’s face it, challenging authority or going against the grain leads to labels such as “anti-social”, “troublemaker”, “hard to work with”, etch.. Who wants that, especially when you are new, young, and/or trying to establish yourself?

Oftentimes, people think of politics when they think of corrupt industries. Judas may come to mind, depending on the audience. Rarely do people think about the (“small”, yet numerous) seeds of corruption that are planted which desensitize a nation to cultivate putting profit before people. It’s hard to get over that “we’ve always done it like that” wall. Rarely do people think about the lack of adequate mentors and influential encouragers who, if present, would guide and push you to reach your full potential while supporting you to do the right thing EVEN WHEN it is not popular. So, what happens? People leave jobs they love. People become less available. People complain behind closed doors while a new generation enters the workforce, again unprepared to face these unspoken cycles.

I don’t know if Shani Robinson’s story is true, but I can certainly see how it could be. She was in Essence magazine a few years ago sharing her love story with her now-husband. At that time she was a 27-year old youth counselor, but before that she was a 24-year old teacher in Atlanta. Today she is a convicted felon, but before now she was a product of Teach for America, the national recruitment program that seeks to attract college graduates to the classroom.  See:  http://rollingout.com/news/details-on-convicted-atlanta-public-schools-teacher-whos-pregnant-still-faces-jail-time/

Be wise in your associations.  Be clear about your goals.  Be ready to stand by yourself.  …And know that life can turn on a dime………literally.

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