Five Minute Friday: Speak

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

On one thing we can all agree: What a week it’s been.

Linking up with Kate and my buddies. We: speak.

Go.

There are many things I could write tonight. Many things I could say.

Only a few need to be shared in this moment.

One: To my brothers and sisters of color, I am sorry. For the times I shrugged off an inappropriate joke. For the times I’ve been afraid of you because you are different from me. For the times I didn’t seek to understand. For the times I didn’t listen. I want to be better, to do better. This is not about politics; not about left or right. Not about looking good for anyone. It’s about publicly owning what I need to own. From here on out, I wish to be more aware and more sensitive. I want to build bridges instead of walls.

Two: White supremacy isn’t just hating people of other races. The groups that converged in Charlottesville last weekend would gladly do away with me – whether that means kicking me out of the country or killing me. Because I’m ill. Because I can’t have children. Because I struggle with depression and anxiety. White supremacists seek “purity,” whatever that means, and I’m certainly not that. There’s a good chance that you aren’t, either.

Three (I shared the following on Facebook earlier today): Many speak of the Civil War as being fought over state’s rights. For the sake of argument, let’s say that’s true. I need someone to explain to me why anyone is angry that the state governments are choosing to remove Confederate symbols from public display.

Think about it.

Finally: I follow several African-American Christian leaders online. They are all asking the same questions – Why can’t our white brothers and sisters see how this hurts us? How these things stoke the fires of hatred and prejudice?

We should listen to the people who have to deal with what these things stand for every single day.

Stop.

Signature

Also linking up with Suzanne Eller and the Ra-Ra Writers

More information:

 

The Myth of the Kindly General Lee

 

What Would Jesus Say About Confederate Symbols?

 

On Trump and Repentance

 

The 1850s Response to the Racism of 2017

 

Social Conservatism vs. Tribal Nationalism

 

Lost Cause of the Confederacy (this is from Wikipedia, so use it as a jumping off point)

 

Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: a Glossary of Extremist Language

 

Charlottesville: Race and Terror (a must-watch 22-minute video)
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18 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Speak

  1. I hear you. I work with a different population–Native Americans. I’m supposed to be teaching them US Government this quarter. How do I explain why they couldn’t even be citizens until 1924–but they weren’t allowed to vote (according to AZ state law) until the 1960s? Why should they care about a government that has repressed them, tried to kill them off, and ignored them by ‘helping’ them just enough to perpetuate the cycle of poverty they live in? Tough stuff. I pray a lot before I open my mouth to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie, I don’t know way ‘anybody’ would want to memorialize the Confederacy, but I know why some people do.

    It’s part of our heritage, and a lot of men and women died on both sides without having much choice in the matter. Those that were on the losing side are generally consigned to a summary oblivion, but here we’ve kept the memory of sacrifice bright, in an act of largesse that’s never been seen in the world.

    Yes, slavery was wrong from the beginning, and it should never be celebrated as ‘the good old days’, but to lump with the Nazis the Virginians who walked across that fatal field at Gettysburg, following Lo Armistead (a thoroughly decent man who despised slavery only a bit less than he felt duty to Virginia…that’s wrong, too.

    Those kids, and those leaders, deserve a place in the national memory, as a reminder never to forget, and as a reminder that forgiveness can and did play a part in healing a nation.

    I’m Asian, and have experienced my share of prejudice. I open a book on the ‘home front’ during WW2, and there are the ads looking back, with a ratlike yellow-skinned slant-eyed barbarian bayoneting women and children.

    Or being told, when looking for a teaching job,”We’ve got enough Asian males. Quota’s filled.”

    But I don’t resent the memorials to the Second World War, and I have visited the Crocker mansion in Sacramento…the same railway magnate whose construction ‘camps’ brought the coolie system to America. I didn’t throw rocks, nor demand that they rename it. I took the tour and came away glad that I hadn’t lived then, sad for my ancestors, but above all cognizant of the fact that it was history.

    And it’s over, leaving the dry California lichen to grow on the stone features of a man who no one now remembers, who did a lot of wrong, but who was, like all of us, good and bad inextricably mixed.

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  3. Marie, if I may be permitted, I had a thought about statuary.

    In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, giant statues associated with monasteries that had been established along the Silk road. The Buddhist influence had been banished by the ninth century and the invasion of the Muslim Saffarids, but the Buddhas survived.

    Enter the Taliban, for who I have no sympathy whatsoever (and they don’t like me, either). The Buddhas were an affront to them on several levels; they were relics of an alien and hated culture, they soaked up UN aid money that the Taliban wanted to use for reconstruction after the civil war, and most significantly they violated the strict Islamic laws on which they based their rule of Afghanistan.

    So they had three reasons for destroying the Buddhas: xenophobic hatred for the Indian culture in which Buddhism had flourished, a protest against what they saw as unfair distribution of international aid, and a religious intolerance for figurative art.

    Put that way, it was a crime against humanity. But setting aside globalism and trying to see things from the point of view of a conservative and old-school Muslim Afghan, they had a valid argument. And the statues were on their land.

    In the end, the Talib couldn’t erase history (and were eventually consumed by it themselves, I hope). But how much better for them to have adopted the laissez-faire approach previous Muslim rulers of that region had followed, leaving the statues as a quiet reminder that things were not always as they are now, without the power to polarize.

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    1. Thank you for these comments, Andrew. A friend of mine shared this thought in a conversation on Facebook: “We have to find a way to tell the whole story.” That, I think, is the true point. I think the statues and whatnot belong in museums, where they can be contextualized, but if they stay out in the public square, we have to figure out how to remove their power for white supremacists. We have to figure out how to tell the whole story.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I mean no sarcasm here because I LOVE ANDREW AND BARB – how does someone who is dying write such thoughtful comments? Gosh I love that guy. YOUR post was beautifully and thoughtfully written my young friend. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, thank you for this. Long comments do take a LOT out of me. But I really do care; people busting each other up over a statue that’s been there for a hundred years or more makes no sense. Everyone involved has lost their sense of proportion. Symbolism has become their reality, and that is, to me, what is sad.

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  5. Such a good post, Marie! Yes, we need to learn to really listen to people, especially those who are different from us, and seek to build bridges rather than walls.

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  6. I so hear you friend! You and I are thinking along similar lines this week. Sometimes we just need to listen! We might learn something. Loved this post friend. I’m in the 55 spot this week.

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  7. Marie, thank you for your brave willingness to host an honest loving conversation. I personally live in the south and it’s been a hard place for me to live. I didn’t grow up here. I grew up in very culturally diverse Miami, FL. My friends and classmates were different colors, nationalities, shapes, and sizes. It’s all I knew until I moved here. I know now what a blessing my upbringing was and how much I have to be thankful for because of my early education in diversity.
    I have prayer walked and asked God to change the atmosphere of my town and specifically asked God (not a single human being) for Confederate flags to come down. It’s a miracle – without speaking a word out loud other than in prayer – every place I’ve prayer walked and asked God to do it – He has. So I believe in the supernatural power of prayer.
    I also value history. I’m older than some of you, and I work in a public school. I cringe as I watch our American history being re-written so as not to offend. Part of the value of our history being offensive (like the true history lessons we read in the Bible) is in causing us to remember and not repeat.
    I pray God will have mercy on me and all of us, followers of Jesus, and that we might seek His face daily in repentance and cleansing so we might be beautiful loving ambassadors for His Kingdom. Psalm 51 is becoming one of my favorite prayers for daily cleansing.
    I love you all. You are all very beautiful!

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