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…
Do you remember where you were when the ATL Airport Power Outage of 2017 occurred? I had just walked into a terminal, walked out of security to get my favorite green smoothie and was about to get in the TSA Pre Check line when the lights blinked…blinked…then went off.
As the afternoon wore on and people began to get notifications about their delayed or cancelled flights, I saw strangers sharing food, water, cell phones and their stories. I witnessed people accept what they couldn’t change and calmly cancel meetings, hotel reservations and return flights.
I don’t know how it was for folks trapped in more urgent circumstances (I’m so grateful I wasn’t actually on a plane) but I was surprised and grateful for the graciousness I saw all around me.
“Come from a space of peace and you can deal with anything.” ~ Michael Singer
Inhale Grace, Exhale Blame….
Inhale Calm, Exhale Chaos…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Frustration…
Photo credit: AndrewC75 on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND
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
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Abhorrence …
Inhale Immigration, Exhale Marginalization…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Antipathy…
Reflections With Renita
Those of us not creating anxiety on the world stage may be creating anxiety in our own communities by questioning the experience of micro aggressive behavior toward those who experience it on a regular basis. Sometimes the best action is to just listen and acknowledge the truth of each person’s experience.
“My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19, NIV
Inhale Acknowledgment, Exhale Attack…
Inhale Absolution, Exhale Accusation…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Aggression…
Reflections With Renita
“Experience is the best teacher…”
I’ve seen some people live this saying as if they can ONLY learn through their own experienced mistakes. And while I concede those lessons tend to be the most enduring, I wonder sometimes how much smoother our lives would be if we could just apply the lessons from someone else’s experience…
But then I’m reminded that life is not necessarily supposed to be smooth all the time. The life lessons gained through good and bad experiences help us get to who we’re supposed to be.
“Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.” ~ Desmond Tutu
Inhale Experience, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Detachment, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Judgment…
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Jung.
Sometimes when we feel unsure or incomplete, we may look for someone else to approve what we are doing, how we are presenting ourselves … who we are being. But I’ve realized there is nothing external to me that can complete who I am; I have to recognize and acknowledge the God in me to achieve wholeness.
“I am a Divine, magnificent expression of life, and deserve the very best. I accept miracles. I accept healing. I accept wholeness. And most of all, I accept myself. I am precious, and I cherish who I am.” ~ Louise Hay
Inhale Wholeness, Exhale Control…
Inhale Surrender, Exhale Struggle…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Resistance…
I believe our God given gifts and talents and personality are to be used to achieve our purpose. But whether or not we use those gifts, apply our personalities or achieve our purpose is up to each of us based on our personal beliefs. It’s no one else’s business
“Grace says you have nothing to give, nothing to earn nothing to pay.” Charles R. Swindoll
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Embrace, Exhale Tolerate…
Inhale Grace, Exhale Judgment…
We all have different values.
Even in the same families, the values of each member reflect their individual experiences and might not mirror each other. As I sometimes remind my brother, he was born into family that was a lot different from my family. The last of five and the only male heir, he entered an established family over a decade after I was born to barely-out-of college twenty-somethings. From sleep-overs to after-school activities, our parents’ parenting philosophies reflected our personalities, their relaxation into their roles and, of course, impacted who we are.
The hard part, even among families, is the willingness to accept as valid those values that are different from our own without projecting our values as right and judging other’s values as wrong.
Inhale Grace, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Freedom, Exhale Projection…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Disapproval…
I found this poem, Letting Go, by an unknown author in Pastor Charles “Chuck” Swindoll’s book, The Grace Awakening.
It’s become my favorite new thing because saying grace is easy … LIVING grace is hard.
“To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization that I can’t control another.
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.
To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective;
it is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more!”
Inhale Love, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Denial…
Inhale Powerlessness, Exhale Control…
People treat us the way they see us treat ourselves.
If we respectfully reject disrespectful behavior aimed in our direction, our action conveys a sense of self, maybe even an inward calm.
If we are comfortable asking for what we want and consistent in our refusal to accept less, we will attract more of what we desire.
There is a risk in demanding what you desire, what you deserve. It could mean you loose what you have. But it could also mean you get what you want.
And isn’t it better to be without, than to settle for less than what you really want?
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” ~ Joseph Campbell
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Disregard…
Inhale Authenticity, Exhale Safety…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Detachment…