Saturday, August 23, 2014


Crossing the Divide

A few years ago, when I was beginning my Sociology class, the thought of having to write about racism was hard for me. Growing up I was a quiet person, introverted, and didn't like to express my opinions in fear of backlash. Now that I have matured, or at least I hope I have, I can openly share my opinions without this fear; this just isn't the case.

Everyone has an opinion and has a right to express their opinion, living in the US we have this right. Unfortunately today, many are fearful to share their thoughts because they fear those individuals that would attack what they have to say. Let's just clear something up right here: I do not condone trolling. I welcome and love comments and feedback but will not tolerate any form of bullying.

With that being said, how do we cross this divide without offending anyone? It is difficult when we discuss sensitive issues because this is a topic that is personal. If we want real change, we have to endure the difficulties to evolve as a united people. Meaning, we have to work through this, educate ourselves and spread knowledge and love, not ignorance and hate.

"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:14 ESV

"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses." Proverbs 10:12 ESV

So, to dive right into racism, lets consider a core aspect; how does racism develop?
We are not born racist. A child can distinguish that their skin color may differ from others, but just as one flower is different from another, they do not condemn the flower for its origin or originality.
The fact that racism is a learnt behavior makes me feel nauseous; that individuals have this amount of disrespect or disdain for someone literally makes my soul weep.

I also remember learning in one of my classes, that some can argue that (to a degree) an attribute to racism is an evolutionary gene. As we have learned to evolve and adapt to our environments, we  have had to survive certain aspects; it is genetically written in our genes to be weary; I think of this as intuition (Evolution Since Darwin, PBS 2001). We know we have to eat and drink to survive etc. Just some food for thought.
Do I believe that racism is genetically encoded? Absolutely not.

As we are born, we are automatically entered into the societal spectrum of judgments and categorized aspects of subjective groupings. Firstly, we are either born male or female; our first category as a general example. Meaning, that society has this huge capacity of control.  What does this say for a society then? It tells us that our society tolerates and promotes racism.
Until society as a whole extinguishes the stereo-typical verbiage racism will continue.

Unfortunately, people have the media blindfold holding them prisoners of contempt. Not everything we see and hear on television is truth or should be considered acceptable knowledge. When I was writing for college, we had to make sure that articles we would reference and use were of acceptable caliber. The Huffington Post would not be a contender to those terms, we had to use reliable resources including fact checking. So, it surprises me greatly that a few morning shows and other media outlets, have referenced articles such as mentioned. Just goes to further my point; seek knowledge, not what the media tells you.

"The heart of him who has understanding seek knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed only folly."
Proverbs 15:14 ESV

Building the Bridge of Change

Okay, now that we have a better understanding of the core of racism, how can we make the change? I believe the change won't happen over night. It is a huge undertaking and will require diligence for generations to come. Basically, what needs to change are the ancient concepts and uses of stereotypical labeling. If you read an article that uses any label of an individual or start to watch a program that is using inflammatory terms to trigger a response; stop. When we engage with these outlets we are not only fueling the fire, we are giving them permission to further exploit and expose us to their racist concepts and slanderous exploits; we are telling them it's OK!

Do you think that the recent accounts in Ferguson Missouri are accurate? 
When a news broadcast exploits "White Cop Shoots Black Unarmed Male" shouldn't it have read "Cop Shoots Unarmed Male?" Why does it label the race? Because they want the reaction. This triggered the extremists to emerge, such as  Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to give "credit" to the titles.

First, let me clear something up: Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are two extremists. If they truly were fighting against racism, then they would be fighting for humanity and not base their allegations on the color of the victims skin versus the color of the oppositions skin. I group both of these individuals with similar cult followings as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) and ISIS, who kill based off of their beliefs; what god are they worshiping? To further my point, Jesse Jackson is also titled Reverend Jesse Jackson, do his words match what the Bible tells us? Not that either of them would kill another person because of their differences, but their use and depiction ignites the actions of others.

"The second is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31 ESV

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7 ESV

Where has God told us to kill someone because they are different from us? Nowhere.
Unfortunately, these groups use their celebrity to further promote the racist views within our society. They use this to "stir the pot" igniting people to react. Further fueling the media machines to pump their gasoline into the fire of news and entering the portal of accessibility.Which is also saddening considering how much has been sacrificed for our freedoms we have today. 

I think that as an American, we are sensitive to the racism plight, because of our history with the condolence with the enslavement of individuals, it pinned person against person and does so to this very day. This is a part of our history, but should it define us as a nation?  If we hold onto this it only hurts us and prevents us from becoming unified. This is a war that has already been fought and won; isn't it?
Why the divide today?

Make the Choice

Make a conscious choice to be the ambassador for positive change.
If someone you know makes a racist comment, challenge them with knowledge, not fists of anger or ignorance. Engage them in a conversation about their beliefs respecting them as an individual. If you disagree make sure you validate that while you both have different opinions, you can agree to disagree.  Even what we know to be true, can be challenged; one thing is for sure, we as humans are fallible.  What is good for us one day, the next could be reported differently. To coincide, what might work well for me, might not work well for you. Usually, it has been my experience, when someone makes a derogatory comment, it stems from hearsay or minimal understanding. Just remember that everyone experiences life in a different way. What you think and take into consideration, might have a different perspective to someone else.
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV

This is a simple exercise: put yourself into the life and aspects of the other individual.
Just as an example; take into consideration how you might feel if you were stopped daily while driving to and from work, asked where you were going and how you obtained your vehicle. How would that make you feel if you thought you were being stopped based on the color of your skin? What would you do?
I ask this because when it is stated that Ferguson Missouri police force is predominately "white" - I ask myself why? Then, I would like to think, that if I were within this neighborhood and experiencing such injustice, that people would be writing to their Senators asking for an investigation into their local police department, as well maybe even some form of recruitment within the community to join the police force. Wouldn't this be a positive change for a more civilized solution?

People Are Fallible

We don't know the facts and we probably won't for a while.
Do I think the individual, Michael Brown, should have remained in the middle of the street for four hours? No. As a mother that recently lost her child, I can't imagine the agony the family must be experiencing and my heart and condolences go out to them. Losing a child is the most difficult thing anyone has to suffer through. I do believe since this community has felt oppressed, that this tragedy has prompted the plea for change. I commend the family and the community that through their suffering they are promoting positive actions. They are not condoning the looting and other negative actions that have occurred. Imagine how much more powerful the messages the community had to say would have been if the vandalism hadn't happened. Because now, it gives skepticism to those watching and taking all of this in, further fueling ignorance and taking away from another issue: militarized police.

Much like "Hands Up Don't Shoot" once race has been stated or suggested within conflicts, people put their hands up not wanting to touch the subject. Why make this about race, which we have already proven diverts the public's opinions, than to address a more sinister realism; why is such force being used?
I understand these men and women risk their lives daily, I even have family members on the police force, but I've never heard of them having to use such extreme force. Maybe it's me living in my bubble, but I would like to believe that servants of the law undergo training in such cases and are subject to thorough testing to qualify them fit to be in the field. But, as we know, most governing positions are easily corrupted. I'm not saying this is the case for this particular instance. Just that people make mistakes and unfortunately, it is my belief that in this instance, there were too many mistakes and ended with the loss of life.

I commend the individuals who are being interviewed, blasting the use of terms and stating that this is a humanity case and trying to put an end to the inflammatory verbiage. It gave me hope seeing educated persons speaking out against this and further stating that this isn't a white on black, or black on white issue. There are so many other things going on, but if we limit it to this, then we're unable to fix an already broken system.

Promoting Acceptable Behaviors

When there are colleges and institutions that only admit students and individuals based off of their skin color; it's racism that they are judging base off of the color of a persons skin. Why is it acceptable for such promotion of a particular race? Didn't we fight for equality and against segregation?

When you have celebrities and people using unacceptable terms (like the N word); it's racist. I was taught that the N word was a bad word because it is derogatory; I was also taught that retarded is a bad word and wasn't used in the house growing up, because it too could be used in a negative way. Much like when women use bitch in referencing their own friends - while it is my opinion - I believe this is unacceptable behavior. When we use these words we are not respecting each other as individuals and people.

How about a new challenge, since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was such a success; how about  a challenge demonstrating tolerance and acceptance of our differences.

When did America lose our civility?
America is often referred to "The Melting Pot" because it is the land where many different nationalities have come and converged. Some have welcomed change, while others are fearful and think that anything different to what they know is wrong. You would think with this day and age and our advances that cultivating and maintaining positive behaviors wouldn't be so hard to fathom.

In closing I'd like to share a quote from the American humanitarian, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 


Other Articles Referencing America's Racism

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Recently I watched a segment on The Today Show asking Is feminism still relevant?  As I watched with my mother I was stunned and felt a sense of dismay as individuals were stating why they were for or against feminism. This all stemmed originally from postings on Tumblr in regards to anti feminist posting with the writing prompt "I don't need feminism because..." Reading some of the responses seriously makes me question 1.) our educational process that people do not understand what feminism is and 2.) the history behind the fight for women's rights = feminist movements. What this really stems from are generations of privileged women who do not understand the definition or the struggle. They have seriously missed the mark.

Feminism by Definition

The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

So basically these women are saying that they don't need feminism because of one reason or another. There are many references that they believe they don't need feminism because they like it when men compliment their bodies. What!? Really?? That's what you think feminism is? I literally sat here reading these posts like WTF, questioning humanity in general and weeping for these generations futures. I felt like they were slapping the women that had sacrificed so much to get us the freedoms that we have today right in their faces. To give these women a clue, I'd love to communicate with them on a medium that they would understand. I would be interested to know what their definition of feminism was. I would also like to know what they could tell me about the history of the feminist movements, or if they had ever seen a very good movie starring Hilary Swank, Iron Jawed Angels (2004) about the fight and sacrifices that were made, just for women to gain the ability to vote. I feel that they are taking so much for granted.

Like, I mentioned. They missed the mark. The Feminine Movement started because women were oppressed. We were property, we couldn't obtain our own homes after our husbands had died, and we didn't even have the right to vote. While some of these women on Tumblr state that they don't need feminism because they want to work for what they earn. Well, did they know that we're still fighting for equal pay in the work field? How would they like to know that their male counterparts are probably making 30 cents more then they are for their hard work (that they think they're getting equally paid for, because of their hard work). They should read about the Fairness Paycheck Act that failed to go through this past April (The Washington Post).

What I did like about the segment on The Today Show was Soledad O'Brien's statement that "The phrase has been hijacked" (The Today Show link). After reading through the publications on the Tumblr site Women Against Feminism I realize they have their own definition of feminism. It is a contradiction when they suggest that they don't need feminism because they feel equal to their spouse. Feminism is about equality - not your delusional concept that you have been fed by some social extremist about the term.

Granted, everyone has the right to their own opinion. I would just hope that people base their opinions on facts and not what everyone else is posting or following. Even if you want to challenge the concepts of today with a definition of a term, then make up your own term. If you are anti-feminist, then so be it. Count yourself lucky that you live in a nation that you can express this without being physically assaulted. 

Even the Bible teaches us not to follow blindly unto what other's preach. With the internet at our fingertips, it's so easy to look up the terms before going online and publicly making a statement. If a man of God is preaching that "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women" (Pat Robertson, Wikiquotes) - then stop right their. The rest of his statement is invalid because feminism by definition is about equality.

Not all nations have the freedom that we do with equal rights and our privileges of living in our comfortable 21st century. Some women in other countries are still considered property and still live under the patriarchy concepts. Patriarchy by definition is a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line (thanks Google search). The search further explains that it is a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Meaning, there is no such thing as equality for women. So when these women are stating that they don't need feminism, they are telling these women suffering through their oppression (yes, in the 21st century) that it's o.k. to be property. 

It's a juvenile mentality that just because they have civility and equality here, that it is everywhere. I wonder, these women who are not allowed to be educated - if they are given the chance to learn the terminology - what would they say to these women going on-line stating that they don't need feminism, that they don't need quality. I wonder what the women who are living in the patriarchy would tell them. I also wonder if these women making these "I don't need feminism" statements, to prove themselves, would swap lives with the women living overseas that are oppressed. Then, lets see if they whistle a new tune.

Other Links of Interest

MTV News, 16 Celebs Who Aren’t Afraid To Call Themselves Feminists
Daily Mail, Have they completely misunderstood the concept?
History, Art & Archives, The Women's Right Movement
Chicago Tribute, Disregarding feminism a sad trend for young celebs
Time, Shailene Woodley on Why She's Not a Feminist

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


As everyone has heard by now, the beloved and comedic genius, Robin Williams has passed. This news has brought so much sadness to his fans across the world. I know for myself growing up he was this energetic and caring voice that helped us learn that even a street urchin could become a prince. He has been in so many movies through out the years and has brought us so many cherished characters. But, it just goes to show us that we can be one of the most famously hilarious individuals and still suffer inside.

Unfortunately, Robin Williams took his own life. He has suffered for years with addictions and other struggles that we know nothing about. As a person that has battled with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was 14, I could relate to this news in a profound way. Nearly two years ago now, I was in a place in my life where I felt hopeless. It's a scary place to be. Hearing details of his death had me wondering what exactly drove him to the point where he felt there was no better way.

I also struggled for years because within certain faiths suicide is considered a sin and then you are told that your soul will be punished, or whatever other nonsense. While I can understand how this has been interpreted, to help save people, I know this just isn't true. I think that it was interpreted this way so that people would "fight the good fight" and not want to leave this world because of how the world has caused such pain and suffering. I totally get it!

What I have learned is that our souls are here for a purpose. God is unconditional love, and it just doesn't make any sense that He would ever punish us for wanted to escape from our suffering here. I felt a cool sense of relief once I read this (There's More to Life Than This) and while I still battle with thoughts, I know that my soul is here for a purpose and I don't want to let God down. I certainly don't want to have to go through the battles I have gone through in this lifetime again - that's for sure!

Then again, I know, it's easier said than done. Depression is a serious illness, and if I remember correctly from my psychology classes, it's nearly 80+% of people that are afflicted with some form of depression. I am part of that percentage. I have been there, and what kept me from going through with it were the thoughts of how it would impact those that I love. Granted, it's well expected with everything I have endured through out my life. But, I know that our life's are given to us as a means to enjoy and as a gift. It is that much more saddening when people take their lives and we have the delusion that their lives are a much better means than ours, that they feel there is no other way or they are too exhausted to continue to fight with their struggles.

Since then, I have received extensive therapy. While I still have thought patterns that I have to contend with, I learned that it is and will continue to be a daily battle. As an example - someone that works out everyday, they are working their muscles to perform a certain way. Much like our brains (that are dealing with depression) we have to work at the delusional thought patterns and such, in order to flex those muscles and keep on track with training. It's a marathon, it will be a daily event for the rest of our lives. Some days will be better than others and I have learned to not beat myself up either. Just take it one day at a time... and on those bad days, reach out if you feel that there is no better way. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean there isn't something better there.

PLEASE - if you or someone you know is suffering from depression 
or suicidal thoughts or tendencies - PLEASE seek immediate help!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Writing Is In The Sand

The Writing Is In the Sand

We hear about Christians being persecuted and savagely murdered over seas and it seems like we, as a people, have been in this lethargic slumber that we didn't rise to the call. Where are the actors pulling together in aide? Because religion is such a taboo? Are we so desensitized to such brutality that we rather look the other way while history continues to repeat itself. It's no news that Christians have been mistreated, imprisoned, tortured, and killed because or our faith. But, you would think in this day and age that surely, this wouldn't be happening. Think again!

Muslim "Nun" Symbol
History has taught us that Christians and people of faith have been prosecuted over and over again. ICHTUS fish for different reasons, but nonetheless, they used a symbol in a spiritual, positive message. We are blessed living in the US that we can proudly display our symbols of faith without persecution. While people are dying overseas because of a symbol that expresses "Nun". It is the Muslim letter for Nun and an extremest group are using it to mark Christians; the Nazarene.
Christians, way before the 3rd century, were using symbols to communicate their faith. They used the symbol of the

Let's Break This Down

Seeing a posting about how Christians today are being beheaded and made to leave their homes, I wanted to learn more. Reading over article after article, I came across an article written by Rod Dreher (July 19th, 2014) where he states "The genocidal Muslims of ISIS used it to mark Christian houses, businesses, and properties" the article continues that these individuals (ISIS) are using this mark as a mark of shame (The American Conservative, Mosul Christians: And Then There Were Nun). This is a great article to read because I really liked how it expressed that ISIS are using this as a mark of shame, but in reality and for those of faith, it is a mark of hope.

ISIS is a collection of individuals that have broken from another group more recognizable called Al-Qaeda. What is the deal with ISIS? Here is another great article pointing out what they want, compiled by Zack Beauchamp (August 8th, 2014), Beauchamp states that "ISIS wants to establish a caliphate" (Vox, 16 things about ISIS and Iraq you need to know). What's a caliphate? Basically a caliphate is led by a caliph, who would be the political and religious leader who is a successor (caliph) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad (thank you Google search). They are part of a very intricate war waged a long, long time ago and has only been further complicated by political agendas. What's new, right?

Cause and Effect

On August 7th, 2014 the US took actions to strike ISIS. Why? Because there were innocent people held up on a mountain and ISIS had them cornered without provisions for their survival = genocide. Now what? We have to sit and hold our breaths between this conflict, the boarder issues, and the Ebola outbreak. It's enough that all people should have their eyes wide open. Some say that this crisis doesn't matter, that the US should focus more on what is going on at home (there are plenty of issues). 

What I believe we could do as a united people, is to show our support for those afflicted the most. As a people of faith we pray for them. Since we are blessed to live in the land of liberties, we can proudly display our symbols of faith. I remember reading once how a supremacy wanted to mark the forehead of their people to demonstrate their loyalty to their causes and that these people were to bow down to the supremacy, to worship them. People of faith that cannot do this because God is the only God and they were to worship only to him. They were killed or persecuted when they refused the mark yielding to their faith.

So What Now? 

Would you display the "Nun" symbol? 
I know driving around I see the ICHTUS all the time. If you were living in a region where there was a group like ISIS, would you still be driving around with the ICHTUS on your vehicle? Or would you fear if you came home from work and saw that someone had spray painted the Muslim letter Nun on your house marking your religious beliefs? 

Originally, I had started to compile information and write this post because I wanted to show support for those being affected. When I thought about how they must be feeling, I couldn't help but to think this has been happening for way too long and something needs to be done. Plus, I got really aggravated because there isn't more being done.  

What is your take on what is going on?