Excerpted from Scenes from the City: Poetic Pictures of Urban Life
Available on Amazon or wherever books are sold.
by Lena Arnold
Oh faithful man who would not bow under
the cruel crushing hand of the enemy.
Though long you suffered, still privy to know,
the coming defeat of his foul cruelty.
Feeling deeply within your heart the call
of God’s men who as slaughtered lambs faithful;
did envision the day of Jim Crow’s fall,
urging you to press forward standing tall.
Hearing God say, “March on my dear son.”
Hearing God say, “Press on my people.”
Halls of Lady Justice echoed loudly,
with the shrill cries of dark earth’s hunted men.
Faces of amoral men look proudly,
disbelieving their cruel reign must now end.
The proud though, never give up nor give in.
Against the Divine they fail to desist.
Hatred as their friend—-yielding to its sin.
Evil in their heart—refuse to resist.
Did you o’ faithful one envision this;
When on the mountaintop you stood and said,
“Free at last.” True freedom your lips did kiss.
Till they found subtle ways to kill us dead!
Even now God is still to us saying.
“March on my dear sons and my dear daughters.
Press on my people. Press on my people.
by Lena Fields-Arnold
January 15, 2018
By all accounts actor Aziz Ansari did everything the feminist taught him to do. He responded to a woman who came on to him and sent her home when she said no. This temptress was weaned on the teats of the feminist agenda of sexual empowerment and suddenly in the wake of the #METOO movement, she now sees herself as the victim.
Are you kidding me? I don’t know about her, but one of the first dating skills I learned was never go to a man’s house on a date because you put YOURSELF into a compromising position. I learned this lesson the hard way after going on a double date with my best friend. I was sitting on the couch downstairs with my date and she was upstairs with hers. While my date was very respectful, it appears hers was not as respectful because the next thing I know she was running downstairs yelling, “Let’s go!” My date and I exchanged worried glances as we saw his friend running behind her asking, “What did I do?”
Initially I was terrified because I thought she had been raped and I realized that it was quite possible that we had willingly placed ourselves into a dangerous position by agreeing to go to their apartment. This was the days before cellphones so that made our decision to enter their ground even more-STUPID!
It turns out that she was not sexually harmed in any way, but rather was adamant that she was not interested in the same thing he was. She wanted to get to know him intellectually, and he only wanted to get to know her physically. In effect he was being a normal guy. Was he trying to convince her to change her mind-of course? Did he force himself upon her? No. Did she decide no meant no? Yes. Did she play games with him or allow him to persuade her? No because she and I had made the decision a long time ago that we would never allow anyone to make us go where we did not want to go.
Once we knew she was okay I turned to my date and said, “You should take us home now.” Sadly he agreed. At my door he asked if he could see me again and I said “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” It was too bad because he was a nice guy and I liked him. He didn’t have to ask why. He understood his friend had ruined it for the both of them.
Did we cry, “Foul!” afterwards? Did we go around putting these guys on blast and try to ruin their lives and label them as sexual predators. No, because they weren’t horrible creatures and we weren’t victims.
So now back to Ansari who is in the unfortunate position of having to respond to an allegation of sexual assault by a woman he went out on a date with in the fall of 2017. By all accounts whatever happened was consensual except for the fact that afterwards she claims to -not be okay, alleging she felt “pressured” by Ansari to have intercourse, (which they didn’t-because apparently he does understand that no means no), and to perform oral sex, (which she did-probably because why? I don’t know-because maybe she doesn’t understand that no means no”).
According to the article in Babe this anonymous woman who doesn’t even have the courage to use her real name, used verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate she was “distressed.” and “I cried the whole ride home.” (After Ansari called for a ride to take her home.) “At that point I felt violated,” she said. Note: She only felt violated AFTER he called for the ride.
So let’s translate her statement into a language everyone can easily understand.
I cried the whole way home after I acted like a whore and then got treated like one. I felt violated because as I was on the drive of shame home I realized my fantasy of having a real relationship with Ansari was not going to come to pass. Now I am too embarrassed to admit the truth so now that I have the power of the #METOO Movement I will pay him back for making me feel like a slut.
“It was actually painful to watch him win and accept an award,” she said. “And absolutely cringe worthy that he was wearing the Time’s Up* pin. I think that started a new fire, and it kind of made it more real.”
You know what’s painful, you wanting me to feel sorry for you. My best friend and I were still in our late teens when she came running down those stairs. You want me to believe that you-a grown woman, don’t know how to tell a man no? Yeah, I’m not buying it.
I will admit, it’s painful for me to know he wears that pin as well, but for different reasons. I’m sad he’s supporting a movement designed to emasculate him and all men. A movement whose very nature is to deprive them of their strength and vigor; to spiritually weaken them and socially and publicly castrate them.
Feminist author Jessica Valenti tweeted: “A lot of men will read that post about Aziz Ansari and see an everyday, reasonable sexual interaction. But part of what women are saying right now is that what the culture considers ‘normal’ sexual encounters are not working for us, and oftentimes harmful.”
Bullcrap! You can’t have it both ways. On the one had you want men to respect you and that these “normal” encounters are not working for you, yet you constantly support ideas, shows, music, and media promoting a reshaping of cultural norms where women are free to flaunt their sexuality more often than not being the aggressors. Further, you fail to support men in those instances where they are actually the victim.
I am more inclined to agree with Caitlyn Flanagan, who wrote in the Atlantic that Ansari is being “professionally assassinated on the basis of “one woman’s anonymous account.” Nothing was stopping this grown ass woman from leaving his premises and calling her own cab. C’mon, she even let him pay for the ride!
Molly Roberts in her op ed for the Post Partisan writes, “We know how it happens. A man wants sex after an evening out, and a woman feels obligated to comply…” Obligated? I thought we were talking about grown women here? Did he buy her a Lamborghini? She continues, “…Even when she’s not enjoying herself, she thinks she should be, and she tries hard to convince herself nothing is wrong until — maybe that night, maybe the next morning — it becomes too clear to ignore.
Seriously, it is really time out for this bull. Women today are on the police force, in the militarily, they carry guns, jump out of planes, scale buildings, build bridges, lift weights, play professional sports, wrestle alligators, take martial arts and do a whole lot of things my grandmothers woman never did and you are trying to tell me she is still so weak that she can’t resist a man’s pressure to have sex? Maybe the problem is her, not him?
Roberts ends her article by posing the question of whether or not Ansari deserves the shaming and if his shaming should even be the central focus in a broken system.
I’ll end my post by answering Roberts’s question. No, Ansari does not deserve this. Stop being mad at men for being men; we all know they are going to try. It has always been our job to determine how far they are allowed to go. Ansari did what he was taught by women to do-respect their boundaries. She said no to one thing and yes to other things. By all accounts he did not force himself upon her nor did anything she didn’t want to do. What’s he supposed to do about her regrets? In a criminal case he would have the right to face his accusers. How is he supposed to defend himself in the court of public opinion?
As women of the 21rst century who want to be respected and taken seriously we must first start by stopping playing the victim when no crime has taken place. The stakes are too great and the potential consequences of crying wolf are too high. Everyday there are women who really are being victimized, raped, and abused and who have the courage to file criminal charges when necessary. Claims like these by “anonymous” victims make it harder for women who need our sympathy to get the justice they deserve. That’s what makes me sad.
Lena Fields-Arnold is an author and motivational speaker whose work has been featured in numerous papers and periodicals. As a writer, Lena seeks to push people past their comfort zones and engage in meaningful dialogue that moves beyond the boundaries of political correctness, and leads to real understanding and mutual respect-even for opposing opinions and beliefs. Lena received her master’s degree on Executive Leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and her bachelor’s in Mass Communications Wright State University in Dayton, OH. As a journalist, she has written for several periodicals and was endorsed by the late CBS News Correspondent Ed Bradley for “…being a thoughtful writer who goes beyond…” To read more of Lena’s Work visit Stuff Inside My Head- the Official Blog of Lena Fields Arnold at: https://lenafieldsarnold.wordpress.com/
Time’s Up is a campaign by women in entertainment to heighten awareness of gender inequality issues and curtail sexual harassment across industries.
Extraído de en la Ausencia de mi Padre por Lena Arnold
Libro disponible en abril de 2018
El Padre Bueno
Por Lena Arnold
Él es más noble que cualquier rey humano.
Y sirve por mucho más motivos de nobler.
Su sacrificio sirve como el testigo,
contra aquellos que cometen la traición paternal.
Para el sonido que su hijo hace,
cuando él aspira por la noche.
Para la sonrisa de su hija,
cuando el sol arrojó su luz llena
Para la mirada de la luna
cuando ellos persiguen a luciérnagas.
Para el viento libre en sus pies,
cuando ellos corren rápido con cielos azules.
Ya que el dulce susurran de la arena,
durante un día de verano caliente.
Para las bolas de nieve frío frígido,
durante el juego del invierno de diversión.
Para la alegría ellos le traen realmente,
con canciones tontas; bailes extraños.
Para la vida ellos lo aspiran,
con sus caminos locos y payasadas.
Para decir chillando ruedas en el pavimento,
cuando sus motos se estrellan a la tierra.
Para el golpe en su pecho,
cuando él da vuelta hacia el sonido.
Para los latidos del corazón él siente,
cuando él los sostiene estrechamente.
Para el amor en sus ojos penetrantes,
cuando él venda rodillas peladas.
Para abrazos incondicionales,
al final de día difícil.
Para amor incondicional, y
por una razón de rezar.
Tan para cada padre dentro del sonido de mi voz;
Para cada padre que hizo la opción optativa;
al hombre y aceptan la responsabilidad,
Quien anted; funcionamiento desinteresadamente.
Le saludo hoy y para siempre,
Le armo caballero cuando usted nunca ha sido antes.
Un noble más valiente que cualquier fila en de la mesa redonda,
Constante en compromiso, estable, seguro y estable.
Usted héroes de zanja verdaderos paternales.
Partícipes de esta ceremonia informal.
Quien viendo palabras sobre el pergamino impersonal,
Merezca más que el reconocimiento superficial.
Ya que usted sirve por mucho más motivos de nobler que
patriotismo, venganza, o honradez.
Usted simplemente sirve, como usted ama.
¿Qué podría estar más espléndido alguna vez que esto?
Posted by Permission from Diane A. Sears, Global and USA Coordinator for International Men’s Day, the Managing Editor of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD
Diane, thank you so much for this heartfelt review that brought tears to my eyes.-Lena
IN THE ABSENCE OF MY FATHER: GIVING VOICE TO THE UNSPOKEN PAIN OF FATHERLESSNESS AND UNVEILING THE POWERFUL GIFTS THAT FATHERS BESTOW
BY: Diane A. Sears
There are 2.3 billion children occupying this space and place we know as Planet Earth and 320,000,000 of these souls are making their journey from childhood to adulthood in a single parent home. For many reasons – reasons they did not create – these souls are Fatherless. They have become casualties of extenuating circumstances beyond their control. And our communities have become casualties of the absence of Fathers in our children’s lives. It’s all about the “hands that rock the cradle” and the “hands that do not rock the cradle”. Who speaks for these 320,000,000 souls? In The Absence Of My Father (www.amazon.com) is a powerful body of work penned by prolific author, publisher, and consultant on family and youth issues, Mrs. Lena Fields Arnold. It is an instrument through which Fatherless children can see their reflections and hear their own voices. Mrs. Arnold’s masterfully crafted literary work — In The Absence Of My Father— is an instrument that provides society with an unabashedly honest look at the devastating impact Fatherlessness has on the soul and spirit of children who are the “heart and soul” of our communities and our global village. In a poetic narrative which bears the same name as the title of her book, “In The Absence Of My Father”, Mrs. Arnold unearths the “excess baggage” of unspoken emotional and spiritual pain and the persistent and weighty feeling of “unworthiness” that the global village’s 320,000,000 Fatherless souls carry around. It is “excess baggage” that plays out in their decision making, behavior, and professional and personal relationships and in the lives of everyone they are connected to.
At the same time, through In The Absence Of My Father, Mrs. Arnold speaks for the 1.98 billion souls who are children who have either a Father or a Figure Father in their life. Through a succinct poetic narrative, “Father”, Mrs. Arnold pays homage to the Men throughout our global village who are positively shaping the minds and souls of our children – the global village’s “heart and soul”. While In The Absence Of My Father paints a graphic picture of the devastation that Fatherlessness visits upon children and communities, it also unearths the unspoken impact and importance of Fathers who positively shape the minds and souls of our children – the “heart and soul” of our global village. And the unspoken far reaching impact and importance of Fathers are the powerful gifts they bestow upon our children. Through two soulful poetic narratives, “Sonnet in September” and “Sweet Surrender”, Mrs. Arnold unveils these powerful and positively transforming gifts that Fathers bestow upon our children – gifts which are, to a degree, taken for granted. Men who are able to remain in the lives of their children have a powerful impact on both their child and our global village. These Men constitute the important pair of “hands that rock the cradle”.
Inasmuch as In The Absence Of My Father is an instrument through which Fatherless children can see their own reflection and hear their own voice, it is also an instrument through which children whose journey from childhood to adulthood has been guided by a Father or a Father Figure can speak to the powerful gifts bestowed upon them by Men who were able to remain in their lives at a time when they were needed the most.
In The Absence Of My Father is required reading for Fatherhood Practitioners and Advocates, social services professionals and providers, health care professionals and providers, educators, school administrators, parents, legislators, legal professionals, law enforcement professionals, community activists, social entrepreneurs, and public policy professionals.
Diane A. Sears is the Global and USA Coordinator for International Men’s Day, the Managing Editor of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® (http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com), a quarterly international Fatherhood and Men’s Issues journal; a member of the University Council for Men’s Studies and Fatherhood Program at Akamai University (www.akamaiuniversity.us) a member of Leading Women For Shared Parenting (www.lw4sp.org) , the host of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, a blog talk radio show (www.blogtalkradio.com/gumboforthesoul), and the Editor/Author of a Fatherhood book, In Search Of Fatherhood®–Transcending Boundaries (www.amazon.com)
Available on Amazon, CreateSpace, or anywhere books are sold. Buy it Now!
How to Talk To Your Child about Bullying
By Lena Fields-Arnold
It was 1970 something and while it wasn’t my first experience with bullying it was certainly my most memorable.
I was about nine years old and I was being bullied by a neighborhood boy and it was threatening to take an ugly turn. I raced home in search of my father who I knew would protect me from this bully, only to find the door locked and him looking at me from the other side of the door.
“You cannot come back in until you have stood up to the bully. Now go back and fight.” That was when I learned he had been watching the whole time and also that there would be no rescue for me. I was on my own.”
It sounds like my father was being cruel, but that’s how many parents taught you to stand up against bullies back then. For many years I thought he had made the right decision because over the years if I encountered a bully that’s just what I did. Not only did I stand up for myself, but I often stepped in on behalf of others who were being bullied.
It wasn’t until I became a parent that I began to wonder if he’d really made the right call. Was there another way it could have been handled that didn’t require a litte girl fighting in the street with another boy?
See because here’s the thing. The bullying didn’t end with that fight. Not only would we fight over and over again over a period of several years, but another neighborhood boy started in, followed by another and I found myself constantly fighting, and growing more angry with each encounter. One of the the three boys stopped when my mom discovered him trying to bully me and she chased him home with a broomstick to his backside. He never bothered me again.
I often wonder what might have happened had my father stepped in at that moment and did something similar. I can state for a fact, as a person who grew up fighting-A LOT-it’s no fun. It is a terrible feeling to go outside each day, never knowing if today will be the day you wind up in another fight. There is no pleasure in spending your childhood wondering if the bullying will ever end. Frankly, it’s kind of terrifying going through life believing that no adult will step in to help you and that you are on your own.
I know my father thought he was teaching me to be strong. I understand he believed he was helping me see that you had to take care of yourself because you can’t count on other people to be there for you. I firmly believe that he believed it would be good for me.
I wonder though, if inadvertently he actually taught those boys that they could treat me badly because there would be no consequences for them? See because many, many, years later a neighborhood boy thought he could treat my daughter that way and he got a quick lesson from her parents that he most definitively COULD NOT! He made the wise choice to not come to our yard to play and to leave our daughter alone.
Our children will stand up for themselves when they need to, but they also know they have advocates who will be there to ensure that their childhoods are as stress free as possible.
It’s our job as parents to protect our children and parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. StopBullying.GOV provides concrete advice to parents to help with bullying. Some advice includes talking to your kids and teaching them how to stand up safely, making sure they understand what bulling is, and letting them know that help is available when they need it, especially when bullying is cycling past a safe point.
Your kids need to know you are there for them. My father and I never talked about what was happening in my life after that day. He probably thought the bullying had ended. It didn’t. It just made me believe I was alone. Fortunately I was strong (physically, mentally, and emotionally) I come from strong stock, as the old folks used to say, but I feel bad for the kids who don’t have my physical strength, or emotional resiliency. Those kids never fight back or can’t fight back. They are constantly beaten, and they give up. Some end up on drugs or commit suicide. This is sad, because bullying is preventable and solvable.
As adults, we must openly discuss bullying and encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are being bullied or see others being bullied. Like grandpa, we can offer comfort and support, as well as give helpful advice. We can help them solve the problem themselves, and we can step it when it spirals beyond the scope of their control.
In the Focus on the Family article “Back to School with Purpose,” the authors cite research telling us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. The article offers concrete advice on how to start conversations with our children. With regard to the specific topic of bullying some questions to ask are:
- What does “bullying” mean to you?
- Describe what kids who bully are like. Why do you think people bully?
- Who are the adults you trust most when it comes to things like bullying?
- Have you ever felt scared to go to school, outside, or to an event, because you were afraid of bullying? What ways have you tried to change it?
- What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
- Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
- What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
- Do you ever see kids at your school being bullied by other kids? How does it make you feel?
- Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?
Kids do need to stand up to bullies, and sometimes that may mean fighting them, but that should not be the first line of defense against a bully. Often the bullying will stop when a person stands up for themselves, but it’s not a guarantee the bullying will end. It ultimately stops when an adult gets involved and helps the young person deal with and manage the conflict in acceptable ways.
Research shows that “When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable… this stops bullying behavior over time.” (E. 2015)
So let me tell you how my story ended. The scene in Jackie’s Way, where she was in Renaldo’s kitchen (not his name in real life) was real. That actually happened to me and it terrified me because that was the moment that I realized if something didn’t change one of us was going to be hurt really badly or wind up dead.
I made the conscious decision to try to figure out another way to deal with this conflict. I wish I could say I had a grandpa to ask. I didn’t. I did however have faith. I was raised to believe that there was a God who cared about our problems and who would step in and help if we asked. I can’t say it was a deep moment like I went to church and fell on my knees and saw a vision or something super spiritual like that. No it was really a simple moment when I just whispered, “I need help. Something has to change.”
The change began in me.
- The first thing I did was resolve to not put myself in a situation in harm’s way on his turf. I would no longer go to his house to play with his sisters. They would come to my house, or we’d play on neutral territory.
- I would no longer allow myself to be goaded into fights with him.
- I would ignore his taunts and not let them get to me internally.
- I would only defend myself if it became absolutely necessary.
- I would tell my broom wielding mom what was going on.
Want to know what the most ironic thing was? This same bully later came to my defense in high school when someone said something out of line to me. How about that! Today that former bully is a preacher who teaches love, respect, and care for others.
As a parent, the most important thing you can do for your child when talking about bullying is to let them know they are not alone.
Bullying can be an incredibly isolating experience, and many victims feel that they are alone–that something about them, specifically, has brought this on. Explain to your child that bullying is something that can happen to anyone: boys, girls, preschoolers, high schoolers, kids’ at large schools and kids at small schools. This means there is a large group of people impacted by bullying, and if we all work together, we can certainly make a difference. (M. Deziel. 2013)
Back to School With Purpose. (2015, July 10). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/schooling/bullying/how-to-deal-with-bullying.aspx
Bullying. (n.d.). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.parents.com/kids/problems/bullying/
Deziel, M. (2013, October 07). How To Talk To Your Child About Bullying. Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/how-to-talk-to-your-child_0_n_3984511.html
- (2017). How to Talk About Bullying. Retrieved from https://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/talking-about-it/index.html
LEARN HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT BULLYING! BUY JACKIE’S WAY TODAY!
In my final installment of Leadership Lessons I learned from Peanuts I thought it only fitting that I end with Charlie Brown since of all the Peanuts characters he is without a doubt the real leader in the Peanuts universe despite his plethora of self doubts and self deprecating remarks.
I like the way Wikipedia describes Charlie Brown as “the central protagonist of the long-running comic strip Peanuts … who is a “lovable loser…one of the great American archetypes and a popular and widely recognized cartoon character. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown). The site’s writer further states that “Charlie Brown is characterized as a person who frequently suffers, and as a result is usually nervous and lacks self-confidence. He shows both pessimistic and optimistic attitudes: on some days, he is reluctant to go out because his day might just be spoiled, but on others, he hopes for the best and tries as much as he can to accomplish things.”
The character’s creator, Charles M. Schulz, has said of the character that “[He] must be the one who suffers because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning.” Despite this, Charlie Brown does not always suffer, as he has experienced some happy moments and victories through the years, and he has sometimes uncharacteristically shown self-assertiveness despite his frequent nervousness. (Wikipedia 2017)
Yes, I did quote a lot from Wikipedia. The reason being is that they did such a great job describing Charlie Brown so, let’s keep it real, why rack my brain trying to figure out how to say it better. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown)
I will only add that it is these very characteristics that actually make him a leader. Perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time.
John Maxwell, an experts on leadership describes the roles of the positional leader and the permissional leader. The positional leader is appointed and his or her power only lies within the appointment. People follow them because they have to not because they want to. Whereas a permission leader is one others willingly follow because they trust that person. (https://powermindscommunity.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-4-levels-of-leadership-john-c-maxwell/)
REAL LEADERS LEAD OTHER LEADERS
Virtually everyone on the Peanuts universe is a leader in their own right, and Charlie Brown leads all of them.
Think about it, despite how much the neighborhood kids might rag on Charlie Brown, every spring (dog included) they willingly follow him out to that baseball field. They know they are going to lose, but they go anyway! Go figure. Charlie Brown may lose, but he is certainly not a loser.
Charlie Brown teaches us all the importance of seeking help when we need it and that he price of therapy is never too high-although I do question his choice of doctors.
Nevertheless it cannot be argued that he is willing to see his faults and overcome them. He looks out for his little sister, he protects those who are smaller, he fights for the underdog, and he is a hardworking, responsible kid. He’s like the perfect boy you’d want your daughter to date. If that little red haired girl knows what’s good for her she’d be getting her dibs in right now.
REAL LEADERS MODEL TENACITY. They KEEP ON TRYING Despite the setbacks
What I like about him is that he NEVER gives up right? Not on baseball, not on kicking that football, not on kite flying, and definitely not on winning the love of that little red haired girl. he openly acknowledges his low grade depression (and I use the word loosely because what Charlie Brown calls depression is really the stuff that gets all of us down from day to day isn’t it?) but he does not let it stop him from living.
He might go to sleep worried, but he wakes up ready to face another day! That’s what’s up Charlie Brown. You taught me, and millions just like me the importance of tenacity. In the end he does kick the football (albeit only once), wins a baseball game, and actually gets the little red haired girl! You go Charlie Brown! You keep us all believing in ourselves.
by Lena Arnold
Last night I had a dream.
It 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:
- 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…
- 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…”
- Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
- 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…
- 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…
- 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…
- Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
- 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…”
Oh 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.
PEPPERMINT PATTY AND MARCIE-If there are two people in the world who have taught us the meaning of true sisterhood it is these two quirky girls. I have heard many adults today try to use their relationship to teach LGBTQ tolerance. While I don’t presume to speak for Charles Schultz, I am not sure that was his intent. Rather I think in all his characters he was simply showing us a fundamental truth that the world is full of strange, quirky people-and these very quirks are things that makes life interesting. I think his intent was to help us understand that we should not put people in boxes and decide for them who they are. See, ‘cause on the surface Peppermint Patty was a tomboy, and Marcie was not “super feminine” in the classic sense but they both loved them some Charlie Brown didn’t they?
They weren’t ashamed of that and they often openly competed against each other for his unreturned affections that he appeared to be completely oblivious to. Despite this unrequited love, there was a confidence found in these two, that wasn’t found in any of the other girls in Peanuts. I like the fact that Peppermint Patty was constantly worried about her looks (haven’t we all been there at one time or another?), while Marcie balanced Patty’s neurosis by never worrying about hers. My favorite strip is when they were talking under a tree one day and Peppermint Patty asked Marcie if she thinks they will be pretty in the future. (Forgive me if I am messing up the strip-it’s been a long time since I read it.) Marcie in a nutshell replies that in the future Patty is pretty and she is a supermodel. That’s what I’m talking about Marcie! That is some straight up confidence right there.
My favorite thing about these two is that no matter what they stuck together. They embodied the true spirit of the Best Friend FOREVER. They said what was on their minds, they openly and honestly communicated with each other, they looked out for each other, and they accepted one another unconditionally-both leaders in their own right, yet faithfully following the other’s lead. Every Peppermint Patty needs a Marcie and every Marcie should have a Peppermint Patty-how much better life would be.
Lesson Number 7.1-LEADERS ARE FUTURE ORIENTED-ALWAYS LOOKING PAST THE TROUBLES OF TODAY TOWARDS A GLORIOUS TOMORROW
Lesson Number 7.2-LEADERS FIND A GOOD BFF AND STICK BY THEM
If you have a good BFF I encourage you to share this post with them and thank them for being a friend and accepting you with all your faults, frailties, and quirks.
Photo Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/jenner44/peppermint-patty/