Where I Stand…Today

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39 Responses

  1. bob1 says:

    Very well done.

  2. Bride of Christ says:

    Overt systematic racism exists in America. “Unconscious bias” against people of color also is a reality. I taught in public schools in San Diego for 30 years. I encountered I intellectually gifted Mexican immigrants. My own two children were identified as I intellectually gifted in second grade, so I knew how uncommon it is. I also met some of the kindest, sweetest families of Mexican descent. In fact, the Hispanic families I knew were generally the kindest and warmest parents in our school. Often, they care the most for their communities and families and they are honest God fearing people- the salt of the earth. That said, I spent years slowly understanding my own unconscious bias as a teacher. I even came to realize that If two children raised their hands to speak, I always chose the boy over the girl. I have two daughters, and this realization was a shock to me. Unconscious bias is real. “We don’t even know what we don’t knows about ourselves” … ponder that. Acknowledging unconscious racism is extremely humbling. I thought of myself as a wonderful teacher, so accepting that I was so flawed in my interactions with my students required that I start excelling in humility. HARD. Two years ago my youngest UCLA educated daughter married a Harvard educated architect. Every parent’s dream you would think. He is indeed an exceptional young man, and he also happens to be half black, and he was born in Puerto Rico and is fluent in two languages. Wow, I never expected that! Once again, I was humbled to realize I I initially had some misgivings about the match. My lily-white daughter of Swedish descent was a cheerleader in High School and we had to beat the boys off with a stick when she was in high school, she was also elected student body president. She makes more money than her husband. She could choose any man she wanted, and this man is who she chose.My who I expected. Guess who’s coming to dinner? I am happy to say that I worked through those early misgivings, but I actually felt shame at the time to realize that I ever had them in the first place. They have been married for two years and I am now hoping and praying they will give me a third grandchild sometime soon. God brings us on interesting journeys! Why not look at this period of heightened race awareness as a new journey God wants us to take with Him. A journey that , as Michael so beautifully reminds us, is a journey closer the Kingdom of God we as Christians all long for.

  3. Kevin H says:

    Very well expressed, Michael.

    In today’s world, it is more and more that you have to eat the whole pie or else you are to be castigated. There is no room for showing any understanding or any creedence to anything that doesn’t fit in the pie. No possible weakness or capitulation can be allowed to be seen. If anyone expresses anything counter to the accepted mantras, they are to be quickly and decisively rebuked and corrected. It’s all or nothing, and nobody is allowed to get away with their “sins” without severe consequences.

    And what is this stuff about trying to follow Jesus? Our side has already fit Jesus into all of our actions and platitudes and ideology, so if you are running counter to them, you must be in the definitive and despicable wrong.

  4. Em says:

    Not the color of our skin, but the content of our character…. ?
    We will “overcome” when we realize that within ALL the human race lurks evil as well as good character…
    Being white, brown or black is not, in itself, a virtue… Without accepting God’s gracious redemption, we have NO standing with God, no matter how good we are – or think we are
    BUT… God loves us and is not willing that any perish, but we do and it gives Him NO pleasure at all and it shouldn’t give us Christians any pleasure either. 🙏

  5. bob1 says:

    BOC,

    I really appreciate your sharing your experience. Thank you!

  6. Michael says:

    BOC,

    Thank you…

  7. Mike E. says:

    “We will “overcome” when we realize that within ALL the human race lurks evil as well as good character…” Yes.

    ‘Being white, brown or black is not, in itself, a virtue”…Correct.

    “Without accepting God’s gracious redemption, we have NO standing with God, no matter how good we are – or think we are”…preach it!

    “BUT… God loves us and is not willing that any perish, but we do and it gives Him NO pleasure at all and it shouldn’t give us Christians any pleasure either.” If I agreed with your statement here, Em, any more, I would think I wrote it myself. 😉

  8. Bride of Christ says:

    Michael and Bob 1 – I consider myself very lucky to to have lived in an area ( San Diego) with a very multi cultural group of residents. Most of the schools I taught in were 50% Hispanic, or more. The church I attended for most of my years in San Diego was also about 40% Hispanic. We also had had many Pacific Islanders who were sponsored by Christian Churches and brought over to the U.S. due to difficult conditions in their countries of origin.I grew up in New England and graduated from high school near Boston, Massachussetts. I had absolutely no minorities or people of color in my small town high school in Bedford, Ma. I became a Christian at age 18 and decided then I wanted to be a teacher so that I could make a positive difference in the world. God led me to San Diego to attend college when my parents moved overseas. I saw my teaching career as my ministry and was always mindful of the great responsibility teachers have to their students and their families.

  9. directambiguity says:

    I agree that black lives matter not to be confused with the Black Lives Matter organization. That organization is neo-Marxist, wants to destroy capitalism, defund the police, is anti-family…

  10. Outside T. Fold says:

    I am right now reading Ibram Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, a book that traces two strains of racist thought and a strain of anti-racist thought in the history of the United States. It’s good, but is slow going. Currently reading all about events and trends in the 1600s in the English colonies (historical, commercial, religious, political.) The shaping of theology as a way to understand and, ultimately, justify the practice of oppressing enslaved people in order to profiteer in this new land is pretty galling. Looking forward to see how this develops as the author continues to trace events in this nation’s history. I guess I should say looking forward grimly.

  11. Outside T. Fold says:

    Oops, forgot to add this, about Kendi’s book: Which came first, the policy or the justification? Create a policy or a law and then add justifications that turn into attitudes and biases later.

    We have a practice and emphasis on personal attitudes and what’s in your heart. I find myself emphasizing the interior state a little less than I do the policies, laws and customs that created the initial (or ongoing) conditions that allow the harmful attitudes and biases to arise.

  12. JoelG says:

    Very helpful thoughts Michael. Thank you.

    BOC thank you to you and other teachers here for your hard work and ministry in your vocation.

    directambiguity I am surprised to find BLM declares itself to be anti-family in their website. Good grief why?

    OTF, the book sounds intriguing. I’d be interested in hearing your and others’ take on whether or not the 13th Amendment Exception Clause essentially legalizes a form of slavery to this day.

  13. CM says:

    JoelG,

    Here is the text of the 13th Amendment Article 1:

    “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    A couple things about this exception:

    1) There are many laws on the books regarding prison-made goods, workplace safety, and the like:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penal_labor_in_the_United_States#Hired_convict_labor

    2) With few exceptions, the prisoners are paid and for all I believe, the time worked counts as credits towards a reduced sentence.

    Indentured servants were part of the colonial landscape and it was understood that was different than slavery.

    Remember one’s rights can be taken by Due Process (see 14th Amendment), which would a judicial decision in a trial.

  14. Outside T. Fold says:

    JoelG, the book is good. I’ve moved on to read about some origins of abolitionist thought in the colonies

    yay Germantown Quakers/Mennonites. In 1688 they created a petition that said:
    April 18,1688. “There is a saying, that we shall doe to all men like as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent or colour they are,” they wrote. “In Europe there are many oppressed” for their religion, and “here those are oppressed” for their “black colour.” Both oppressions were wrong. Actually, as an oppressor, America “surpass[ed] Holland and Germany.” Africans had the “right to fight for their freedom.”

    Alas, their petition was opposed by those that had financial incentives to maintain the practice of slavery.

    13th and Prison: Yes. My research on the topic is limited, but Convict Leasing was a definite practice.

    (also, OMG we will set the cops on you, call you a vagrant, bust you, convict you, imprison you and then find ways to profit off your labor. Same thing happened in California with California Indians. Ouch, started to look up the basics to refresh my memory and there’s a deep rabbit hole with history of oppression, forced labor, genocide, and more. But yes, somewhere in there was a method of arrest then forced labor.)

    The whole school-to-prison pipeline that is geared toward steering different outcomes for Black people is huge. It is a continuation of plunder and exploitation of Black people for the benefit of capitalism. So, (ahem, directambiguity) it is pro-capitalist, it is pro-police, it’s all about full employment for police and prison staff, and it is very anti-family.

  15. Outside T. Fold says:

    One last thing about the carceral state, and “due process” I Highly highly recommend the movie Just Mercy, the story of Brian Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative. It’s available for free rental on several streaming platforms for the month of June.
    Amazon Prime, iTunes Store (Apple TV), Google Play, and maybe even YouTube. A little over 2 hours. Highly highly recommend it.

  16. JoelG says:

    Thank you CM and OTF. There’s much to consider there. I must say that whatever it’s original intent was it doesn’t seem morally acceptable today in light of the racial disparity in incarnation rates. Just my 2 cents.

  17. Outside T. Fold says:

    From Ibram Kendi’s chapter entitled Great Awakening, this, from legal doings in Massachusetts in 1705, “new racist codes to prevent revolts and secure human property up and down the Atlantic Coast”:

    “Virginia lawmakers made slave patrols compulsory for non-slaveholding Whites; these groups of White citizens were charged with policing slaves, enforcing discipline, and guarding routes of escape.”

    X., I. (2016) Stamped from the Beginning. [ebook] Bold Type Books. Loc.14.0122

    Compulsory slave patrols. That, right there, is a 300-year old legal precedence that we are STILL living with. There is not a lenten season long enough to do penance for such an act as this.

  18. Outside T. Fold says:

    Formatting glitch from copying from an eBook. Apologies. Let me try again with that quote:

    “Virginia lawmakers made slave patrols compulsory for non-slaveholding Whites; these groups of White citizens were charged with policing slaves, enforcing discipline, and guarding routes of escape.”

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    OTF and Joel G

    Highly recommend the documentary “13th” (Netflix) and the book from a few years back, “Slavery By Another Name”. Both are insightful, especially concerning penal servitude.

  20. MM says:

    If any want to learn about persecution and forgiveness read this book and the comments include in the appendix.

    The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, Simon Wiesenthal

  21. CM says:

    JoelG. A number of states have abolished that exception in their state constitutions, and I expect more will do so.

  22. Babylon’s Dread says:

    What is the systemic ism in our nation that has destroyed the black family at a rate since 1964 heretofore unseen?

    I keep hearing about ‘systemic racism’ but what is it? Slavery was a system, Jim Crow was a system. Those systems have been dismantled. If equal outcome is what people mean by a system they have made a deal with the devil that will end in the violence of the 20th century. That system is far worse and it seems to be the system we are seducing.

    The American experiment is overheating.

  23. CM says:

    Duane and others,

    Being more libertarian minded than most, my take is that a large part of the problem has been the War on Drugs. How many people are in jail and have criminal records to possession of a substance that was perfectly legal at the Federal Level less than 90 years ago and has only been the focus of LEO efforts in the last 50-60 years?

  24. CM says:

    Michael,

    In regards to coronavirus, have you seen this?

    https://apnews.com/b2d7a8af05e862dc3e1d1c3d0cf0afd0

    I am tempted to say something about this church’s likely theology and the political views of its members, but I will refrain for now.

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    CM

    In the distant past I served on a presidential commission (National Commission on Drug Free Schools) of which Dan Coats was the chair. We found that the so-called “war on drugs” was a failure from the start. The differentiation of crack from cocaine and the imposed unequal sentences resulted in devastating communities of color while doing nothing to actually address the problem. Black leaders and friends knew this at the time, but their voices were not heard…

  26. Michael says:

    CM,

    I saw that…thankfully, it’s out in the middle of nowhere.
    Should the same thing occur in a more populated area, it would be devastating.

  27. Michael says:

    Duane,

    As my late, intensely lamented, hero Charles Bowden said, it’s a war for drugs…and drug money.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Indeed. I remember a commission meeting in Detroit at which black community leaders testified to exactly that… most of the members of the commission did not believe them…

  29. CM says:

    Michael,

    I found this interesting article on what has been discovered as weed has been legalized in more states:

    https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/how-legalizing-marijuana-securing-border-border-wall-drug-smuggling

    Basically as more states legalize weed, the drug smuggling into the US shifts from between ports of entry (weed) to ports of entry (fentanyl etc).

  30. CM says:

    The Dec. 2018 article I linked provides number and some statistical analysis and I think complements what Bowden has said and written

  31. CM says:

    Michael,

    Not be a PITA, but DACA is safe for now per SCOTUS:

    https://reason.com/2020/06/18/conservative-chief-justice-john-roberts-saves-daca-and-dreamers/

    No doubt all the Trumpistas and nativists will be foaming at the mouth, but the bottom line is that because Trump did not follow the Administrative Procedures Aact (APA) and went about the rescinding DACA in a completely half-a*s manner in terms of administrative law, SCOTUS ruled against it.

    You would think they would be smart and do things not half-as*ed. But remember, Trump only hires the best people. /sarc

  32. Michael says:

    DACA is not safe.
    The court left the question of legality open…they simply ruled that proper procedure wasn’t followed.
    Without legislation, DACA is still on life support only…

  33. CM says:

    Michael,

    That is why I said safe _for now_. There is no way DACA will be rescinded before the election. And per SCOTUS, they have to follow the APA (which will take more time). But leave it to Trump and his “knowing more than anyone” and doing this half-a*s, only to be hoist by his own petard as a result. But then Trump is good at that.

  34. Bride of Christ says:

    “The war on drugs” conversation has piqued my curiosity. Someone said that it really was a “war FOR drugs” Does that imply that the powers that be wanted people to buy the legal drugs such as oxycotin to enrich our countries big pharmacy companies in the U.S.? It is a sad but terrible truth that ordinary citizens were jailed for peddling drugs when the American doctors and pharmaceutical companies that did the same thing by pushing oxymoron and getting people hooked on that have not been prosecuted to the same extent. Even big tobacco lied about the known dangers of cigarettes and peddled their “drugs” to American youth and received little more than a slap on the hand.

  35. CM says:

    BOC,

    That is because of the “Baptists and Bootleggers” form of regulatory capture.

  36. Bride of Christ says:

    CM, I googled that and yes it sure explains much of the reason why the U.S. has such a high incarceration rate. Students who never learn to read well have about double the rate of incarceration than those who graduate from high school reading at a high level. The last 15 years that I taught I was a remedial reading teacher and more that 2/3 of my students were boys. Reading is key. Voting, reading the Bible, finding work; it all depends on good reading and thinking skills.

  37. Michael says:

    My apologies. We’re being spammed by a coward. I wouldn’t want anyone to know my name either if I didn’t have the courage to speak clearly in my own name.

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