emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “race”

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 3

A school teacher….Maybe?  I do love learning.

A nurse….Nope!  Needles make me queasy.

An attorney….Can I really be one?

Left alone….  You smiled!  I saw you.  Sorry though.  Excuse me little “Black” girl, but I can’t afford to do that.  You can’t afford for me to do that!  One day you will better understand.

Soar

“You can become whatever you want,” they say.

“Dream big and believe bigger,” they cheer.

“Work hard,” they instruct.

Then what?

Sad Girl

Where are people talking about unfair situations that occur because of your gender and race?  How do you make sense of discriminatory practices that are systemic when so many continue to buy into the social construct designed to define you as property, on both counts?  How do you maintain your innocence about people and possibility when news outlets make a lucrative business by branding the worse of mankind—of all shades and both genders?  Then, of course, there is that day when you realize that the Pledge you excitedly learned to recite in pre-school seems to have loss its meaning to so many who:

  • question the idea of we being one Nation,
  • disagree about being under a —and/or the same— God, and
  • …well, the idea of liberty and justice for all continues to be a hard pill for the masses to swallow.

Although your parents try to shelter you, unfortunately that day is still being introduced to you.  So, what is a girl to do?

Cute little African American girl wearing a ballet costume

Recently, an elderly Black woman heard me talking about some concerns.  I did not know her prior to my presentation, but afterwards she said something so heartfelt.

“Sorry,” she gently whispered, “we dropped the ball.”

WOW!  I was speechless.

“You, however,” she continued, “must keep doing what you are doing and we will help.”  She then shared with me some networking information.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

So to you, when you ask what is a girl to do?

I respond by relying upon our elder’s instruction, YOU MUST keep doing what you are doing and we will help.

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 2

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top….  Excuse me little “Black” girl, I wonder about you.  YES, YOU!  I wonder how many of you have experienced a period of peace, a time when you had no worries and was carefree.  I wonder if you have two loving parents, parents who often tell and show you that they love you.  Do you tell and show them that you love them?  YES, I mean ACTUALLY SAY  the words:  I-LOVE-YOU-Mom-Dad.  Do you come from a loving home, a place where you are valued and protected, encouraged and supported, challenged and taught?  Is your foundation solid or is it shallow?  I wonder…about you.

Sad Girl

When the wind blows the cradle will rock…. Have you experienced bullying–on the playground or in the classroom?  Have you ever been picked last because you are a girl?  Has a teacher overlooked your raised hand to call on Jim, not that his hand was raised but because he should know science?  Have you ever been teased for being too light or too dark, for not being Black enough?  Have you been told that you think you are white, talk like you are white, act like you are white?  Have you struggled to understand what this means, and what this really means for you?  Do you embrace your uniqueness or do you try to fit in?  When the wind blows, what do you do?

Unique

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall….  I wonder if you are aware of the injustices that await you in this world–injustices related to your gender, to your race, to your gender and to your race.  I wonder about your preparation for being a healthy, well-balanced being operating in a world that defines so much around gender, race, and economics.  I wonder about your preparation as I think about my own.

Mom and Daughter

 

You see, there is a need to introduce race and gender scenarios to you in safe environments so you can ask questions and get answers, so you will learn to analyze matters for yourself without depending on media messages and mainstream citations to parrot.  As you go forth to be boldly brilliant, you will see some heart aching events.  Some, you will experience firsthand.  Allow yourself to grow in maturity, to experience a range of emotion.  Grow in patience and in perseverance.  Being you, being Black and female, is not a bad thing.  It is a blessed thing.  You will gain insight and strength unlike no other.  You will see that storylines have been created for you, but that you are created to create headlines.  Write your own script once you have captured their attention.  Be open to diverse friendships.  Live outside of confined narratives.  When the bough breaks, change the ending.  Surprise some people and soar!

Soar

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 1

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl,

Sad Girl

Yes you.  I am talking to YOU!  I know, I know….  You want to know, “Why?”  Believe me when I say, “I understand your skepticism”.  I have confidently interrupted you for no reason other than that you are female and black.

Is that a crime?

No…well, some may think so on two counts but in this case NO!  To the contrary, I have stopped you to encourage you to continuously set goals and envision achieving the impossible in this crazy world.  Its manifestations are indeed possible!

girl dreaming on laptop

I get it!  I GET IT!  Achieving goals is hard.  No one said it would be easy!

The ability to overcome stereotypes about who you are—or who you are expected to be— combined with societal hindrances, both inter-and-intra-culturally, does not come with a manual.  BREATHE!  Life is not that easy.

These breaking-barrier conversations, in number and in depth, to obtain guidance are not readily-accessible.  We are not mythical, however.  Living examples of us are in fact around, but you (and we) are being conditioned to overlook our essence and devalue our worth.

“Your turn will come,” they will say, “after his and hers.”  Time does not stop.  Remember, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”  Your turn is now, just as his and hers.  Truth is, our worth is your worth.  Collective value carries weight.  It is either relieving or burdensome.  Be conscious and careful about what you cart.  No one said it would be easy.  You must push on and push through.  Your dreams will resuscitate you.  You will learn to trust that your help, meaning help that is specific to you, will come.  Time will teach you to expect and to accept it in whatever form and time it appears.  Experience will sharpen your ability to identify it.  In turn, you will become aware that you are being shaped to be the help for others of which you seek.  It is a process.  Excuse me little “Black” girl, you are being transformed.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

Allow yourself to learn your SELF.  Be patient.  This is a never-ending process.  It must be embraced with (at times stubborn) determination.  Media messages will tell you, and those around you, who you are.  Songs and television shows will do the same.  Religious interpretations and authority figures will have a say, as will community leaders—if you are mentioned at all.  Find appreciation in the knowledge of other’s misperception of you, then confidently introduce yourself.

peace

It was nice meeting you.  Now you know WHY.

 

Commentary On The Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave

Am I the only one disturbed about the female, (societally-labeled) Black student being yanked —-wait, no…that is too mild of a description—ripped from a desk while seated, body-slammed, dragged, and….well, was she tossed by a much bigger, stronger, male School Resource Officer who appears to be (societally labeled) “white”?  For some reason, I mistakenly thought that this would be a hot topic today.  Maybe it was….somewhere?  This is heartbreaking; This is real news.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow this storyline will broadcast more.

Forgive me if Lamar and Khloe’s marriage is not of interest to me.  I am sorry not sorry that political talking points bore me when those talking points do not ever seem to point to the injustices within The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave if such points offer no dividends, fail brown paper bag tests, and struggle to value its women and girls.

In a classroom full of people, just one reportedly attempted to come to the helpless student’s defense.  That one is said to have been another female, (societally labeled) Black student.  I am not surprised by this.  Consciously or subconsciously, she identified with the victim.  Now I ask you, “Why are we, humans, failing to identify with each other?”  Generation after generation, beliefs go unchallenged which keep people divided.  At the end of life, how silly these things must seem when real matters find priority.

As I sit here, I wonder if I am the only one asking myself, “What kind of culture are we living in where people are conditioned to just sit and watch atrocities occur without so much as a consideration?”  Have we become desensitized as a people, of people?  Then, I think of history.  We can send people to the moon, but seem to struggle with tolerating respecting accepting loving one another.  Millions of people attend faith-based services weekly where love is the taught foundation, yet their acts of love are…….well, where are they?  I want to hear more of those stories.  I want to smile while watching the ripple effects of small acts of kindness.  Am I alone?

Several times, I have watched the video of this excessive force against this young, female student who happens to be (societally labeled) Black.  With each viewing, thoughts surface about the ill-treatment of people based on race, on gender, on ageism, on power, or the lack thereof…..  These thoughts surface, but the perpetuated silence on these topics will hold their posts in keeping The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave paradoxical.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

Friendship, In Black and White

As many of you know, I recently read an article on Franklin McCallie written by Joan Garrett McClane.  I absolutely loved reading the article because it spoke, with great honesty, about an oftentimes sensitive subject.  One of the things it initiates reflection upon is the idea of friendship across racial lines.  What does it mean to you?

I think about relationships, and in turn friendships, a lot.  Once a year, at least, I go through my list of associations and make decisions regarding who to delete and who to keep.  Normally it happens in December, but sometimes I do it when Spring Cleaning.  #funny  #NOTfunny  My reasons for doing this may surprise you, but they are not for this writing.

Friends

As I sit here, I am thinking of when I first had a non-Black, real-life friend.  I say “real-life” because I had both Black and non-Black dolls to play with as a small child.  Now, I wonder how many of my non-Black friends had Black dolls to play with, and how either having them or not having them affected (if at all) how quickly they gravitated towards people of darker complexions.  Interesting, right?

When I started elementary school, my classes were integrated, as were my teachers.  As a kindergartener, I made my first non-Black friend.  Of course, then I did not think twice about varying skin tones.  My family has a complexion range so wide that such things, even to this day, does not result in the reaction so commonly portrayed in mainstream medias.

Because I have lived in several States as a child, I got the benefit of appreciating diversity amongst people and cultures at a very early age.  I also understood at an early age that just because two may look alike, they may be worlds apart.  Of course, it is easy to get this same message when looking within one’s family, but I have come to realize that people more commonly generalize externally.

Fortunately, throughout life I have maintained the practice of having a “United Nations” entourage of friends.  I prefer it like this.  As a result, such things as attending multi-cultural churches is done with ease; Eating and hanging out with both Black and non-Black people comes naturally; Working in my profession is not jarring.  These experiences make me a more exposed person which enhances my personal growth.

Now, there have been both comfortable and uncomfortable moments.  For me, however, the good outweighs the bad.  When I select friendships, it is less about the color of one’s skin.  I look at the contents of his/her character.  Wait!  There is a second part.  I am not foolish.  I understand that someone may have good character, but may use a reasoning when confronted with certain scenarios, like “race”, that would weaken the foundation which I must have strong.  You see, with my friends I must trust that no matter what, I am safe.  This world is full of wolves in sheep clothing.  An enemy can be nice, but a brother will go to battle.  This to me is not a skin color issue.  It is not about Black and White.  It is about that thing in the middle.  It is an issue of trust.

To join this discussion group, if you have Facebook, send an email to emergingfree@gmail.com to receive an invite.

Ballerina Girl?

There I was, around the age of four, standing in my tutu.  Yes, someone had a brilliant idea to enroll me in ballet class.  I was no Misty Copeland, but I could hold my own.

Who am I fooling?  The studio was small and the lighting was dim.  The other students were nice, but they were not my friends.  Something was “off”.  I felt uneasy.  I could only tell my mom, “I don’t want to go back.”

Standing in the class, comparing my stance to that of my instructor and to my peers I noticed something.  I am the only Black person here.  Prior to this, I had been in either all-Black or very integrated environments.  This was the first time I noticed that “I” integrated the room.

Looking back, I guess my parents grew tired of my pleas.  Eventually, I stopped attending.  Gone was the tutu.  Gone were the ballet shoes.  Gone were the leotards and stockings.  They were never to be seen again.

Did the fact that I was the only Black person in my class have something to do with my adverse reaction?  Possibly.  Maybe I simply did not like ballet?  Nah, I have always loved dance—the art of any kind of dance.  There is no guarantee that if more children in the class having brown skin would have resulted in a more enjoyable experience for me.  What is known, however, is that after all of these years I am left with a very vivid recollection of the experience—an experience which, at the very least, on paper seems like a positive one.

As an adult, I appreciate having been exposed to both ballet and the circumstance of being in the minority of a majority group.  What I did not know then was that this occurrence would become routine throughout my life.  You would think that because of this, “race” would be a common topic of discussion between my parents and I as a child.  It may have been, but its presentation was not commonly overt.  (I will probably talk more about that later.)

You know, I truly treasure how the topic of “race” has been handled by my parents and grandparents.  I have gained real value by hearing firsthand stories from them.  This invaluable knowledge, combined with textbook information and personal experiences, have formulated within me very unique analysis and viewpoints—or shall I say positions which are not always given the same attention by mainstream media.  Luckily, I respect discussion.  Being in the minority of majority groups, you learn its value…and you learn how to confidently stand alone if necessary.

To join this discussion group, if you have Facebook, send an email to emergingfree@gmail.com to receive an invite.

Where Are You From?

I decided to try something new this week…… YES, a video post!  (It was a spur of the moment thing.  LOL!!!)  OK, I am new at this so keep that in mind, but I am enjoying trying new things!  (NOTE:  The end cuts off a little prematurely….Sorry!  It is still a good discussion piece though.)  What new thing have you tried lately?

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