Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Breaking the Rules

**Okay, okay, okay... I know that the primary purpose of this blog is for me to document my experiences as a blind woman. Well, I know that race and politics have crawled into more than a few of my posts lately. But it is only because the presidential election has set the stage for me to have so many significant conversations in person and on the web. So, at least until the election is over, you will have to put up with my posts on politics. To stay true to Nuvision, I'll try my darnest to throw blindness in there somewhere. **smile**

How can I do that with this post? Hmmm... Oh yeah... The lady that inspired this post is also visually impaired, from what I understand. (Okay, I did it. Blindness related...)

I sometimes go over to the Dallas Observer's website and read the articles and blog entries that they post there. One of the most interesting blogs that I visit from time to time is Bible Girl. Well, recently the author of that blog, which is the managing editor of the Dallas Observer, posted an essay that provoked me to stop everything I was doing to respond. Here's a link. Is Rev. Jeremiah Wright a Hater?

Please travel to the article from the above link and read the entire article if you have time. But below you will find parts of the article that most impressed me and provoked me to respond. I've included my response in this as well. Of course, I felt so inspired and worked up that I went on and posted it over here at my home, Nuvision.**

Taken from the article:
"Evangelist Diane takes a Christian’s responsibility to love so seriously that she considers it folly for blacks to watch movies that chronicle America’s
hateful past -- even Roots. She believes these films provoke prejudice." Julie

My response:
What? Are you kidding me? Watching/reading historical accounts of the human experience is folly? Roots was based on the true life story of a real, breathing, fully existent man. It's not like Alex Haley made up that stuff about his forefathers. In fact, I'm sure that what we read and saw in the story of "Roots" was light weight compared to the horror that his family lived through. I take offense to Sis. Diane's views that ignorance is the only way that a person can be free of prejudice and hate. Is she suggesting that all humans forget the history/stories of those who lived before us? Or is it just blacks? How dare blacks have a history?

Also taken from the article:
“She has little use for the concept of Black History Month for the same reason;
if you’re going to teach it at all, she says, teach it throughout the year. Weave it into the bigger story; separation implies inferiority." Julie

My response:
I might can get with this. I also believe that so called black history is American history. I don't think of Martin Luther King as a great black man. I think of him as a great American. The civil rights era is not the history of fed up black folks. The civil rights era is the history of America. I know why America would want to divorce itself from that ugly past. But it can't. It is the truth, not a fairy tale. The quicker that all of us, blacks, whites, and all others who live here, stand up and face the truth, the faster we can heal these wounds. But as long as we try to sweep it under the rug, like it didn't happen, like it is the tragedy of one group of people, rather than all Americans, we will never progress towards real healing and reconciliation.

The Transatlantic slave trade, American slavery, and Jim Crow was not only the tragedy of Black Americans, it was the horrific tragedy of all Americans. That awful, deadly, repulsive system victimized both blacks and whites. I realize that even during slavery and Jim Crow that all whites were not prejudice and racist. But the bloody system made it difficult for good white people to speak out and buck the system. Many of them were just as afraid as the blacks that had to exist in that dreadful time.

That is why I say that this awful history that we call black history is the history and experience of all of us. It should not and will not be forgotten. I remember it, if only to give respect and honor to all of those who had to live during that time, which includes my 57-year-old mother, who could not drink out of a "whites only" water fountain when she was a child.


The next day, Julie responded to my comment. Below you will find her comment, and my response to that particular comment. And don't worry. This is the last update on this. I'm going to let it go here. I think that my point was made. Plus, I think that Julie understands where I'm coming from.

"I personally think Black History Month is more important for whites. I intend to educate my son about this country's racist heritage." Julie

Again, Julie, I think there is no such thing as "black history." It is American history. And I believe that it is important for all Americans to learn about
their country's hidious and horrifying past, just as they learn about its beautiful and impressive past. You might find this strange, but there are many
black children that need to be educated about historical figures, such as MLK, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and other great African Americans, just like
your white son. Sadly, because many folks, such as Sis. Diane, feel that our history is much too ugly or irrelevant to remember, many individuals have
chosen to not educate their little black children about their both triumphant and tragic past.

"I gave my friends' views without judgment because I saw that the three of us had found our way to the same destination--that the answer for America's heart
problem is the love of Jesus Christ." Julie

I do not judge your friend for believing that the solution to hatred is the love of Jesus Christ. However, I do indeed reject her notion that it is beneficial
for any group of people to ignore/forget/turn their back on their heritage. Again, the history of African Americans in this country is painful. But when
I think about where and how we rose from slavery and Jim Crow, I am humbled, filled with American pride, and grateful to God.

How can we thank God for his deliverence if we refuse to acknowledge the past bondage? How can I be filled with American pride if I ignore a part of its
history (oppression based on race) that actually found itself here before the birth of the nation in 1776?

Trust me, Julie, I'm not an advocate of turning my back on the future, so that I can place all of my focus on the past. I believe in moving forward rather
than backwards. But unless I take a look at the past, I won't be sure if I'm headed in the wrong direction.

Just so you know, I am a student of history. I took about 18 hours in history when I studied at UNT. That's why I think that this is so important.

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