The month after my divorce, I moved to my Air Force assignment in England with my not-quite-three-year-old daughter. Within the span of a month, I became a single parent and took a new job in another country on a different continent. Stressful doesn’t really begin to describe the experience.
But, it was there I realized I couldn’t do everything by myself. So I took some baby steps and accepted the assistance that was offered and then, on occasion, bravely asked for the help I needed.
And I learned it didn’t make me less of a mom or a lesser leader. Accepting and asking for help just made me a more humble, humane human.
Some strain of colorism exists in every colonized country. And as bad as it is in America, from what I understand it is much worse in countries with a rigid caste system.
But it’s pretty bad in America. And though black Americans didn’t invent colorism, we seem committed to see each other through its filter… which can prevent us from recognizing the magnificent humanity in all of us, regardless of our color.
Until we see each other, and ourselves, we do not exist.
“Sawu bona (I see you)” “Ngikhona” (I Am Here)” ~ Zulu greeting and response
Inhale The Rich Spectrum of Blackness, Exhale Colorism… Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Colorism… Inhale Humanity, Exhale Colorism… Just Breathe
I have always understood that most black Americans have some European DNA but I recently read a study which reported essentially ALL black American descendants of enslaved Africans have European ancestry.
Hmmm … so, basically errbody.
That means whether the introduction of European genes in your black gene pool was limited to the rape of an enslaved ancestor by a white male (a frequent occurrence after the transatlantic slave trade was halted), or your DNA reflects a more recent and/or consensual ingress of white DNA…it’s in there.
And I think that is a good reason to dispense with the “blacker than thou” dismissal of our more obviously mixed race brothers and sisters who claim their blackness.
Today I am grateful for the birth that gave hope to the hopeless. In this season of birth and renewal in the midst of confusion and fear, I am praying for sufficient strength to be hopeful, effective faith to believe, and enough compassion to be loving…
“For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” Isaiah 9: 6-7, MSG
If we lived up to what we say we believed…if we treated others the way we would like to be treated…if we could fully comprehend the internal impact of our behavior toward others on our own humanity, we would behave differently.
Of course, we can’t or don’t and so sometimes understanding the overt consequences of our behavior is enough to keep our egos in check.
But when there are no consistent consequences that deter us from ignoring morals and mores and manners, when there are no consistent consequences for deviant behavior…chaos ensues.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~ Lord John Dalberg Acton
I watched some of the PBS series on Italian Americans last weekend, and I was struck most by the fear this new group of immigrants generated in the European Americans who were already established in this country. Like the Irish who had come earlier in the century, Italian Americans faced negative stereotyping, discrimination and violence.
I was reminded that the struggle to live up to the ideals of our founding has existed since America came to exist. I was also reminded that the achievement of ‘whiteness” available to these groups seems to have robbed them of their collective memories of prejudice and distrust experienced by their ancestors.
If they remembered, would that change their attitudes?
“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.” ~ Coretta Scott King
People want to ascribe evil to only the most extreme behavior and label it inhuman. But evil is an all TOO human characteristic. And just like all the “isms” plaguing American society, is rooted in human frailty and fear.
“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.” ~ W. H. Auden, English poet
The acronym WAIT (Why Am I Talking) is a coaching tool I learned from a fellow coach that I use when I find myself talking instead of listening.
I use it while coaching and it’s also helpful in personal conversations about difficult subjects, or when I find myself trying to control the conversation or in a conversation competition with the other person.
I think it’s a tool American’s could really use right now.
“They didn’t notice the gracious pause he’d take after someone would finish a sentence, the way he’d give folks the chance to take air back into their lungs, before he’d fill the space up with his own breath and words.” ~ Cynthia Bond, Author Ruby
I saw the #ThisIsNotUS hashtag trending this past weekend and was gratified to see so many pointing out the obvious…that white men carrying torches, white men beating people of color, white men murdering those with whom they disagree is about as American as it gets.
“Each moment describes who you are, and gives you the opportunity to decide if that’s who you want to be.” ~ Bruce D. Schneider, Energy Leadership
Inhale What IS, Exhale Illusion… Inhale Knowledge, Exhale Willful Ignorance… Inhale Transformation, Exhale Status Quo… Just Breathe