Racism, Race Relations, Imus and our world

I have a dear friend that really wanted me to get my boxers in a bunch over the entire Imus and Rutger’s women’s basketball team story. I do not feel the need to provide a link being that unless you live under a rock, you have probably already heard the story. So, he is suspended for 2 weeks beginning Monday after his charity events this week. Do I think the punishment is accurate, not really as I like fines in the sense that when one’s pocketbook (proverbially) is hit they are more apt to take notice of their actions. This dear friend felt that as a woman, a black woman at that, that I should be upset. Well…I am not. Do I think he should have said what he said, by no means because it was insulting and degrading. However, my boxers are not in a bunch as from the beginning of time, people have called others names and I do not believe in allowing someone else to define me. I was born with enough of society’s labels, adding or taking away another doesn’t change who I am at the end of the day.

Now, what does get my boxers in a bunch or really chaps my hid (I love that phrase) is the fact that once again, black people wanted an apology. For what?????? An apology is defined as an acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon for a fault or offense. If it wasn’t for the firestorm that has now erupted from the grumblings of a few, Imus would not have felt one bit of regret for his offense. If you listen to his comments, he isn’t truly sorry because he has continued to justify his remarks as being said in a “comedic exchange.” In other words it is okay to be insulting and degrading as long as it is a part of a comedic routine. I do not believe that he is remorseful for his actions, I think he is just sorry that he got caught. The thing that still irks me is that no one is addressing his cohort that started the exchange and the use of the word for a garden tool. What is his fate?

It is common place now for people to issue an apology and then usually enter rehab. Apologies and rehabs are just excuse villages for many people. Deal with the real issues that are in the heart because as God said in Matthew 12:34 – For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. (NASB) As people, our mouths reveal what is in the deep recesses of our hearts and therefore what Imus and his cohort said is a revelation into what is in their heart.

A strange story from Canada struck a chord. A family purchased a couch and the couch color was brown and with brown, the n-word was used to further describe the color. One of the family’s small children found the label and asked her mother about the n-word. How disturbing is that?!?!? The couch was made in China so I guess the n-word is truly universal.

We live in the year 2007 and yet we have not figured out on a whole how to truly just get along. While cruising the web, there was a story about a high school in Georgia that if finally planning to have a school-wide prom where blacks and whites can party together instead of the usual planned white prom and black prom. You mean to tell me that they go to school everyday together but this is the first time that they are planning a school wide prom. This same school usually elects a black homecoming queen and a white homecoming queen…..this blows my mind. The same backwards racist ideas of their parents and forefathers are being perpetuated in these children and then we wonder why we can’t get along. I must share that this year they decided to elect 1 homecoming queen and she was of mixed race..I guess they figured blacks and whites could be happy with that young lady. It is sad to say but it may be those that are considered mixed race to finally help America deal with its issues of the heart.

I still have some thoughts brewing on this one…stay tuned.

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Parenting 101

There are a ton of books and advice that is shared with expectant parents. Books that tell what to expect, when to expect it and what to do when the expected happens. There are also books that tell what to do when the seemingly unexpected happens, yet none of these books have all of the answers and many of them could be condensed into one verse from Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (NASB)

As a mother, I know that I am included in this admonition to fathers and parenting has taught me that there is much wisdom in this one verse.

The first point is – do not provoke your children to anger. At first read, you may wonder what does this mean? Let’s take a moment to dissect it…provoke is a verb meaning:
– to incite to anger or resentment;
– to stir to action or feeling;
– to give rise to; evoke; and
– to bring about deliberately; induce.
These definitions shed more light on the first point….do not do anything that will stir your children to anger, that will give rise to them being angry and do nothing deliberately to your children that will cause them to have feelings of anger/wrath/resentment/fury/irritation and I am sure that you get the drift. As a parent, we have to be mindful about how we treat our children and the feelings/emotions that can be a result of our actions or in some cases inaction.

In the midst of parenting, I often forget this part of the BIBLE as I have normally been provoked to anger. 🙂 God’s word is still clear that even in the midst of my emotions that I must not deal with my children in a way that will provoke them to anger. In other words, I must practice self-control and do whatever it is I that I need to do (pray, count to 60, relax, relate and release) before I attempt to deal with the item that needs my parental attention. Have I mastered it…not at all. Am I still working on this, yes I am and that is the beauty of God’s grace that he saw fit to bless me with His children in the midst of my imperfections.

The second part of the verse – but, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. I love the word “but”…God doesn’t leave us at not provoking them to anger, He tells us what to do, we are to bring them up. Yes, we are to raise our children. I am familiar with the African proverb that it takes a village but the reality is that not all village members hold to the same beliefs and God doesn’t ask us to turn over raising our children to the village but He tells us that we (the parents) are to raise them. God created the family unit when he created Adam and Eve (Genesis 2) and as a result, the family was created long before the village. The family has the responsibility to raise the children and raise them how – in the discipline of the Lord.

Oftentimes discipline is mentally associated with punishment. However, the American Heritage Dictionary defines discipline as training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. Raising children in the discipline of the Lord means training your children, it is a process that when done properly will produce a specified character (Godly) and pattern of behavior. Everyday interactions reveal to us those that have had “home training” versus those that have not as their behavior is dramatically different. Olympic athletes train to be the best at their sport and often their training is lengthy and it involves their entire body, mind and soul. Raising children involves the mind, body and soul of the parent in order to raise a child with a Godly mind, body, and soul.

We are also to raise them in the instruction of the Lord. Instruction is imparted knowledge and that means that we are to impart knowledge of the Lord to our children as we raise them. Our children need to know who God is and parents need to live in such a way that our children know that we walk with God. The King James Version uses the word admonition which is mild, kind yet earnest reproof. When we teach our children who God is we also need to teach that while God is a forgiving God, God is also a God that chastens to bring about correction just like a parent chastens a child to bring about correction.

Parenting is job that no amount of books can prepare you for yet it is a job that provides continuous rewards and benefits. I am still working on my parenting and will continue to pray that God will continue to chasten me as He molds and shapes me into the mom that He would have me to be.