I Dreamed of Being White

by Lena Arnold

Last night I had a dream.

i have a dreamIt was nothing like Martin Luther King’s Dream.  Mine was more rooted in today’s current reality.  See because last night I dreamed I was white.  In this dream my family and I drove to the park via a rural township and we weren’t almost run off the road because the person driving in the truck with the giant tires and confederate flag noticed brown arms in the window.

In my dream I walked through life never being called a nigger.  My children were never called spic, wetback, or sand nigger because people couldn’t figure out their nationality so they just called them whatever they thought they were.

We were never told to “Go back to Africa, or Puerto Rico” or debated against when we tried to say “We’ve never been to Africa and we aren’t from Puerto Rico, but even if we were, why should it matter since your ancestors came here from someplace else and Puerto Rico is a US Colony.”  But in my dream I never had to argue against stupidity.

In my dream I never had to explain to my Darwinist believing friends that Darwinism by its very nature of being an “ism” is divisive and more importantly it is a pillar of racism because it supports the erroneous notion that man evolves to a higher order of man and at the top of this evolutionist food chain is the white male.  In my dream I was okay with that because I was now the one living at the top of this chain and as such I never had to:

  1. Fear being lost in a rural area and not breathing a sigh of relief until I saw at least one living face who looked like mine…
  2. Worry that in the blink of an eye my world could be turned upside down by one person saying, “I just saw a black guy with a gun…”
  3. Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
  4. Struggle with the automatic anxiety that kicks in whenever a police car is behind me, wondering if I will be pulled over, and if I am, will this be the time…
  5. Panic and run when a police officer says “Stop” because the fight or flight mechanism has been encoded into my DNA from slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism…
  6. Be apprehensive about taking the medicine my white physician has just prescribed because of the routine practice of experimenting on my ancestors both recent and long ago…
  7. Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
  8. Wonder why the KKK is not labeled a terrorist organization and allowed to exist on American soil.

This dream was so liberating because in it I never had to check a box asking my race or ethnicity and when I did I could check white and I always got called in for the interview and even if I didn’t get the job I never had to wonder if it was because I was black.  My family could go on vacation and not be stared at like Zoo animals, with people thinking in their heads “An intact black family! OMG They do exist!”

In my dream OJ was guilty! Emphatically and automatically! G-U-I-L-T-Y!

This was not Martin’s dream and in it I did not care if little white boys and girls could play with little black boys and girls could play together. The mountaintop was all mine and I did not have to care whether or not other people made it up there with me.  I could say and believe that in America anyone could make it if they just “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” and I didn’t have to care whether or not they even actually had boots.

I had the luxury of saying things like,

“Most people are not racist and I’m tired of hearing about it!”

“All lives matter!”

“What are these people angry about? That cop was afraid for his life even if the guy was running away, his back turned, and he had no weapon.”

“Well, black people kill more of each other than cops do.”

“I’m not racist.  I didn’t own a slave.  Why are you looking at me like it’s my fault?”

“My (one) black friend agrees with me and they said…”

silentOh to be able to ignore institutionalized racism and all its myriad complexities! (Contented Sigh!)

In my dream I could go anywhere and breathe free.  Walk where I wanted without fear of reprisal.  I could dream big! No matter how mediocre or evil I was I could be PRESIDENT!

Then I woke up!

Then I cried!

Then I rejoiced!

I rejoiced because God reminded me that I am not an accident.   My family and I are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image despite what some small minds think.  I was reminded that I am a member of a CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, and A HOLY NATION.

God reminded me that evil does not escape His eye and He will punish evil and reward righteousness.  In the end, the only question that really remains is whether or not the non-oppressed parties will remain silent, or will they stand up for righteousness and fulfill Martin’s dream, for despite my dream, his really is the one ordained by God.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Star Wars Day!

wallup.netToday is Star Wars Day.

Yes, by the very fact that I am writing this post I confirm I am a Star Wars Geek.

I own that.  I’m cool with it.

Initially I thought I was the only one, but over the years it has been confirmed-I am not alone.

I will never forget the first time I saw the movie.  Mind you, at 11 years old, I’d been to movies before, but this was different. This was magical! Majestic! Grand!

It was the first film to make me feel like I was there. I still get goosebumps thinking about those words scrolling up the screen into the black void, then seeing that starship creeping across the sky like it was right above me. It wasn’t 3D but it felt like it!

So in honor of Star Wars Day I want to acknowledge some of the coolest things I loved about Star Wars.

star wars

Awesome Intro’s-in bringing back the 21rst Century intro just before John Williams musical intro was BRILLIANT and totally set the stage for what was coming next.

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away-Move over tired fairy tale story introductions, you are played out.  When those words came on the screen George Lucas effectively dropped the mic when it came to setting the stage for the story to come.

Giant Words Scrolling Up  A Screen-Seriously, who would have ever thought that could be so exciting.  It’s a good thing most kids had 3rd grade reading skills back then, or you would have been messed up.  Sure words scrolling on a screen had been done before-BUT NOT LIKE THAT.

2nd mic drop in less than a minute.

BAM!

landoLando Calrissian-As if the original cast of characters wasn’t enough, they had to go and cast one of the coolest black men to ever grace the screen and effectively make him the black version of Han Solo!  Do you understand how amazing that moment was for every black female on the planet?  I promise you, if I was the only black Star Wars fan before the Empire Strikes Back movie (and trust me I wasn’t) I knew I was no longer alone.  This was confirmed when my cousin and I went to see the movie THREE TIMES IN A ROW! FYI, I have since seen it several more times alone, with my BFF, hubby, kids, dog…You get the picture. It is rumored that Donald Glover is to play him in a standalone film. If so-WHAT!  Who the heck decided that? Certainly, no one asked me, my cousin, my BFF, or any other black woman on the planet.  Donald, you are a good actor and I like you, but no offense, you are no Billy Dee Williams.

A Bad Ass Space Princess in the form of Leia Organa.  Disney didn’t want to make a princess doll of you because you didn’t fit their image.  BOO Disney! Forget those other wimpy, whiny damsels in distress with their dainty skin and perfect hair. Give me that blaster shooting, smart mouthed, bad hair day having, tough cookie, who wasn’t afraid to get dirty and still get her man princess any day.  That’s a princess I can identify with.

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader-Get an A+ for having three of the eight coolest names in movie Dom-EVER!  If there were an academy award for coolest names in a movie these would definitely be nominated for best names possibly only losing to Indiana Jones, James Bond, Hannibal Lector, Lex Luthor, or Keyser Söze. Hmm, I just noticed four of my top eight are bad guys.  Bad guys have some cool names.

Characters, Plot, Visual Imagery, and Family Friendly-Star Wars has it all! I like the fact that the franchise has stayed true to being a movie the whole family can enjoy.  It is great to know that to this day I can take my kids to any Star Wars movie and don’t have to yell-CLOSE YOUR EYES QUICKLY.  Just wish I could say the same about those annoying previews.

A Hairy Walking Giant Dog-who can fly a spaceship, fight, shoot, and have people understand his grunts and gestures.  Hey, I’d be happy if my dog would just stay when I say stay!

Okay, I am going to stop right now because I could write all day about what makes Star Wars and all the subsequent movies AWESOME, but I will give other fan-atics a chance.  I’m sure they are all blogging their favorite memories as well.

So here’s to you George Lucas! Thank you for not giving up on your dream of bringing Star Wars to the big screen.  You brought excitement to the screen in a way no one had ever done before and I, along with millions of others appreciate that.  Thank you 21rst Century Fox.  Because of Star Wars we will forgive you for also owning Fox News. Thank you to the cast and crew of Star Wars, even to those of you who thought it was going to be a stupid, trite piece of celluloid because in spite of your feelings, you performed splendidly, a testament to your never ending professionalism.

Finally, thank you to all the fans-who keep the spirit of Star Wars alive allowing new generations to enjoy the A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away.

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Princess Leia and Tanka Challenge

Transgender Boys Wins Texas State Title: the Right and Wrong of It

“Mack Beggs identifies as a boy, but his birth certificate says he’s a girl. In Texas’ University Interscholastic League, that means that the high school wrestler can only compete against girls, even though he takes testosterone as part of his transition.”-Chuck Schilken, Contact Reporter, Los Angeles Times

The article further states that Mack won the state title with a 56-0 record for the year.  Some of the wins by forfeit because some competitors refused to wrestle against her; not because she identifies as a boy, but because she takes testosterone supplements which they feel give her an unfair advantage because as the physician quoted in the article stated the treatments “are in the same family and have the effect of increasing muscle mass and strength gains.” (Mines 2017)

In light of MMA fighter Fallon Fox routinely crushing her opponents before revealing a sex change operation, and giving one of her opponents a concussion and a broken eye socket; their fears may not be unfounded.

Here is where the league/district got it wrong.

In an effort to be fair to one student, they were unfair to the rest of the students. The article states that Mack’s use of testosterone were “well below the allowed level,” according to the Washington Post. Did the other students competing against Mack know there was an “allowable level” and were they given the opportunity to take that “allowable level” if they so desired?  Is the district opening themselves up to reverse discrimination lawsuits as a result?

According to the article the reason Mack did not compete against the boys was because the rules expressly state that one must compete according to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Here is where the district league got it right.

To eliminate all the confusion over gender issues they keep things simple.  If your birth certificate says boy.  Then you compete with the boys.  If it says girl, then you compete as a girl.  I don’t know much about how that all works once the change is complete, but I believe once a complete sex change has taken place, meaning all subsequent operations have been performed, then the person undergoing the procedure can legally have their name and gender changed.  If you want to certify this, I suggest you consult with an attorney or conduct further research on your own.

School officials have it tough today.  The rules were simple 50, 30, even 20 years ago. Not so today. Therefore we should have some compassion for the people who have to sort through all this stuff and make decisions on complex issues.  Sometimes the best way to do that is to keep it simple.

Here’s where the parents got it wrong

I wonder about the wisdom of allowing any young person under the age of 21 making  major, life altering decisions at critical junctures of human development such as adolescence. I don’t know the personal details of this family, but I hope that counseling and mental health services are being taken advantage of to ensure that this is the best option for this young person.  There is and will always be debate on whether or not LBGT’s are born that way or made as a result of some life altering occurrence, but no one can argue that the decision to become transgendered in preparation for a complete sex change is not something to be taken lightly, and I’m not comfortable with allowing a young person under the age of 18 to begin this process. We have laws designed to prevent young people from underage drinking that were set up to protect them from becoming alcoholics.  Why do we not do the same for life altering procedures?

Here is where the parents got it right

Parenting is a tough job.  Sure books on parenting abound, but there is no book to teach you how to raise YOUR child.  I may not agree with how these parents are handling this situation, but I applaud them for trying to be supportive of something they may find frightening and difficult to understand.  These are uncharted waters for them as well so it may be they have no clue what to do or how to handle it.  I know what I think I would do, but then, it’s not my child. Obviously these parents love their child unconditionally and in a world that won’t, isn’t that one of the most fundamental jobs of parents?

Here’s where the crowd got it wrong

You don’t boo young people. Unless the person is exhibiting crass behavior, acting a complete fool, or being totally disrespectful, adults should not be booing young people who have achieved a well earned victory.  We may not like how Mack won, but by all accounts this young person attempted to follow the rules set by the adults.  Now that the adults see the outcome, they should set about working together to make the future fair for everyone. Some are attempting to do that with a lawsuit that states she should either be able to compete against the boys or “prevent him from taking part the girls’ postseason competition…“I don’t know if that is the proper solution.  By forcing her to compete against the boys I wonder what Pandora’s box will be opened as a result.  We have already witnessed the potential for carnage of allowing a former male to compete against females in the MMA. Neither do I think a person who works hard should be denied their right to compete.  Might a better option be to prohibit the use of the testosterone during the sports season?

As a person of color, I have experienced first hand the inequities of sports.  Our sports teams were routinely cheated against by unfair, corrupt, and racist officials and we were hurt and angered by the injustice.  Our coaches taught us to work harder and pushed us further because they knew the only way we could beat that unjust system was to be better.  As a result, our teams won back to back state titles in basketball and football; and were consistently  ranked amongst the top in our league.

For those female competitors this unfair competition sucks!  I get that. I’ve lived it. I encourage you to work harder.  Find your advantage and overcome this obstacle.  To Mack, growing up is tough.  There isn’t  person on the planet who hasn’t struggled in some way with finding their personal identity.  I pray that God will guide you to His place of peace.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but here’s what I know.

God desires to walk with us during our struggles.  If we allow God to be the center of our universe, He will guide us through every problem we face. Whether it is gender identity, or unfair competition we should seek the face of the one who made us and ask Him to help us, to guide us and our decisions, and help us to make sense of a world that sometimes seems to make no sense.