So, on my walk yesterday, I saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said: “PROUD WHITE BOY.” I’m not going to describe the physicality of this man – other than to say that, obviously, he was White.
But his shirt got me to wondering. Was he proud because he was White? Was he proud because he was a “boy”? And… why would he be proud of things he has no control over? It’s like being proud of being human, or being proud of being born in this country. Being born here, and being born White, and being born male are not things that anybody has to earn. They are not achievements. They are not proof of your courage or evidence of your hard work. They are just the happenstances of your start in life – a part of earth’s crap shoot. And there’s no reason, in my mind, to be proud – or ashamed, either – of the happenstances of your human start.
It’s what comes after your start – the life you build here – that shows the most important things about you: Are you living a life of kindness? Of moral courage? Do you stand up for others? Are you generous with the good Life gives you? Are you honest? Are you living a life of integrity? Are you using your talents and gifts to make the world a better place? To me, those are the things that matter.
A t-shirt that says “PROUD TO BE KIND” would make more sense to me. Or maybe “PROUD TO BE HUMBLE.” 🙂
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23
“Covering iniquity will prevent prosperity and the ultimate triumph of any cause. Ignorance of the error to be eradicated oftentimes subjects you to its abuse.” -Mary Baker Eddy
I taught history for two decades. My students learned about the Holocaust, slavery, the Trail of Tears, attacks against Chinese railroad workers and miners, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the killing of Charlie Howard. They watched “The Grapes of Wrath” and learned about the struggles and inequity the poor faced during the Great Depression. They learned about the Constitution – about their rights and the rights of others. They practiced being lawyers defending clients against injustice. They created their own presidential candidates out of construction paper and words, and learned about the qualifications their candidates would need to run for president. My students learned about heroes in history, too – they learned about Georgio Perlasca, Irena Sendler, Oskar Schindler, Ghandi, Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Susan Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and the unheralded acts of kindness “common” people showed to others during times of challenge and struggle.
My students learned about these things and people to help give them tools to be heroes themselves one day.
To force teachers to skip over the ugly parts of history – injustice, inequity, racism, political and corporate greed and dishonesty – is not a help to our world, our country, or our students. It is not preparing our young people for the challenges they and/or their friends will be facing in their lives or helping to create the heroes our world so desperately needs. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“The history of our country, like all history, illustrates the might of Mind, and shows human power to be proportionate to its embodiment of right thinking.” -Mary Baker Eddy
A couple of my Facebook friends have talked about the rioting and violence that have occurred concurrently with some of the Black Lives Matter protests. I’ve been responding individually to their comments, but I thought it might save me time if I just did a copy and paste of my last response to a friend and saved it here:
Yeah. I hear you. CHOP in Seattle was a mess – I ain’t going to disagree with you there. But… if you scroll down my wall you’ll see an interesting post about who’s actually been causing the mayhem – and, according to a story in the Washington Post, it is apparently not “antifa” – it’s been caused mostly by ‘local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.’ According to the article, the alt-right “Boogaloo” movement has played a part in the violence, too.
From my own experience participating in the local BLM rally in Burlington, the only maybe threatening and intimidating element I saw there were the half a dozen Trump supporters standing off to the side with their rifles, self-appointed to “keep the peace.” The actual police officers there – whom I thanked for their support – were very calm and friendly – and the protest was entirely peaceful.
The racism and hate crimes in this country need to end. Now. None of us who are true Americans can allow it to continue for even one more day. And when the bulk of our president’s Fourth of July speech is loaded with division and hate for his own constituents – instead of the compassion and understanding we all sorely need right now – we need to call him on it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
If you don’t have to worry about looking suspicious when you walk around eating Skittles, wearing a hoodie when you go on a run through a suburban neighborhood when you carry assault rifles into a government building then you know white privilege – Karen Molenaar Terrell
Missing Dad and Moz today, but so glad they’re not here to see what’s happening to our poor country.
I spent an hour today driving around to the places Dad and I used to go on our drives together – feeling the echo of his presence still there, talking to me. I had a flashback of a time when a young black man in a hoodie stopped to open the door for Dad, and I remember how Dad took the time to stop and thank him before he went into the building. It was a brief exchange – very quick – but the power of the brotherly love I felt being exchanged between Dad and the young man is still with me.
Thinking of Moz and imagining her shaking with indignation and anger at the injustice and racism we’re seeing – just as she did when I was a little girl and we encountered a racist at the Sears store. The man had nodded his head towards a little black family and said they should be shopping in their own store. When Moz understood what he was saying she was furious – “They have as much right to be here as you or me!” she told him, trembling with rage. The man realized, then, who he was dealing with in Moz and got all red in the face and scurried away. That was a moment I will never forget – it had a huge impact on me. I remember feeling very proud to be Moz’s daughter.
I remember how Moz and Dad celebrated the night Obama got elected – they were both so happy. Dad said he never thought he’d live long enough to see an African-American in the White House – his whole face was lit up with pride in his country. Moz had tears in her eyes with the joy she felt that night.
I’m so grateful I was raised by these people – so grateful I was brought up to see beyond the color of someone’s skin to what was in the heart of people. My parents gave me a kind of freedom with that.
You can’t argue with Love. There’s nothing in Love to insult, offend or attack. There’s nothing in Love to be hurt or to hit back. Love doesn’t see skin color – not white or black. Love fills all space – and that’s a fact. – Karen Molenaar Terrell
How many black men have to die for things to change?
What’s on your mind? Facebook asks. And I look at the little box and wonder how I can possibly put into words what I’m feeling right now – I’m not sure there are any words big enough for my feelings. Our world is in desperate need – in desperate need of love, of honesty and kindness and wisdom. And my heart breaks for our world and for all its creatures. Love bless us all – each and every one. – Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.” – Mary Baker Eddy
I’ve been struggling to find some way to respond. I’ve been tempted to stay off the internet, dodge every source of news, isolate myself in every way from the world. But I realize none of that is going to make this go away. So. Yeah. Here we are.
When Ahmoud Arbury was chased down a suburban street in Georgia and shot in broad daylight – that was murder – plain and simple. He was innocently jogging. He had committed no crime. He had done nothing wrong. The only reason he was chased and killed was because the people who killed him didn’t like the color of his skin.
The murderers were (finally- months later!) arrested. And now there’s a group on Facebook called “Christians Against Google” that supports Ahmoud Arbury’s killers. There is so much wrong with that I can’t even wrap my head around it. “Christians”?!! What part of Jesus’ simple instruction to “love your neighbor” is so hard for his professed followers to understand?
The group’s description says: “These 2 God fearing men were only trying to protect their neighborhood” and “this man… did not comply with simple commands.” WHAT THE HELL?!!! Ahmoud Arbury was under no obligation to “comply” with the commands being given by these racist sociopaths intent on killing him – and if you’ve seen the video you know it wouldn’t have helped Ahmoud Arbury to “comply,” anyway.
The inhumanity, the hatred, the insanity, the sheer brutality and senselessness of it – there is no way for this to be justified. No excuse for Ahmoud Arbury’s tragic murder.
It needs to stop. There’s no place or time for racist hatred in our world. We were all made for better things. We were all made to be DOing better things.
You know, this stuff didn’t start with Trump. The greed, the racism, the me-firstness, the bullying, the dishonesty, the corruption, the mean-spiritedness – that stuff has been a part of our society and politics for a long time – the only difference in the last couple of years is that it’s come out in the open – people almost seem proud of their hate and greed and dishonesty now. And to see all of that being played out in front of us – in the open – is disheartening, yes. But… here’s what gives me hope: It seems to me that if there’s been a rise in acts of hatred, there’s also been a rise in acts of kindness in the last couple years – people seem, to me, to be more conscious and deliberate about kindness.
And that’s where it all needs to start, doesn’t it? The healing and progress? It needs to start with us, as individuals. In our own acts of kindness to others. In our own generosity. In our own integrity.
Alrighty. That’s where I am right now. Carry on then…