It sometimes seems that those who have been the most marginalized in this country seem afraid to trust positive change, afraid to loose the little bit they have, afraid to believe in plans that could improve their housing, their communities, even their way of life.
But is it fair to expect those who have been intentionally prevented access to the wealth of one of the richest countries in the world, to suddenly trust people offering help without asking what is needed, people making promises when previous promises have been perverted, or people making plans for a community without including the community in the planning process?
“The Obama Foundation’s plans to build the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park have sparked a complicated, and at times emotional, conversation about race, class, segregation, privilege and power on the South Side.
The conversation has raised delicate and fragile issues: who gets a voice in the discussion, who gets heard, who gets action, and how the history of racial and class segregation shapes expectations.” ~ Lolly Bowean, Contact Reporter, Chicago Tribune
A commenter in a closed group who is NOT a fan of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) questioned, given the propensity of some SEC fans to flaunt their racism, how “people of color come to terms with wanting to put on those colors and rep that establishment.”
I felt compelled to remind him that racism is not confined to the south; that, especially in the last year, very few college campuses have escaped incidents of racial vandalism or assault, and that, given the emphasis America has put on education, I would expect the demographics of the marquee schools in the south to reflect their state’s population.
And that people of color attend and represent our state schools in the same way we put on the uniform of the U.S. military…in the same way we live in a land where white men have behaved badly for over 500 years…in the same way we live in the thirteen cities that kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate, or states that elect obvious racists to government offices.
Some protest the systems from the outside; some join in and fight for changes from within and some just try to survive. But we haven’t protested, fought and survived as a people only to allow the overt bigotry of others to stop us from existing in our preferred spaces.
I was reminded, once again, while visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture that Americans of color have fought just as hard and sacrificed just as much as those who would exclude us from claiming America as ours…
I didn’t really become an Oprah Winfrey fan until I retired and started working from home. At the time, I was surprised at how spiritual she was because I recalled people questioning her beliefs, her faith, her Christianity.
Since she launched her OWN network, I have come to realize the questioning was and is because her worship looks different, because she honors others’ beliefs … because she lives authentically and offers space and grace for others to do the same.
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” ~ John 4: 23-24, MSG
What are we so afraid of? Why is it so hard to see other humans as human? How does our fear impact our humanity?
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment— or unlearning— of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.“~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love.