Posts Tagged ‘racism’

  • Virtual:  At one time this word meant that a thing was essentially the same, or equivalent to another.  But after a couple of years of 1st hand experience, we can all testify that virtual hugs, virtual meetings, virtual doctor visits, virtual reunions… are nothing like the real thing, and that virtual reality isn’t anything like the real world.
  • Privacy:  The demise of our privacy is the convergence of our cultures voyeuristic bent, with the advancements of technology.  We now live in a world where everyone carries their own personal electronic tracking device, which traces our every move, records every picture/ text/ meme/ video… we look at, and actively listens (i.e. Siri, Alexa) to every conversation.  Just about every significant piece of data related to our lives is now available to any person with the skills to access it.   On top of that, our entertainment includes “reality” shows with cameras mounted in places like the bathroom / bedroom, apps for hooking up with complete strangers for casual sex, and platforms for soliciting / selling nude photos /videos.
  • Justice:  The root of the word justice is “just”, which is related to the concept of right and wrong, but in our culture, that element has largely been eliminated.  In the modern vernacular, this term has become completely subjective.  When people declare, “Justice for enter name here” they’re not asking for a fair judgement, based on an unbiased review of the facts, they’re demanding a ruling in their favor, regardless of the facts.
  • Hero:  This word used to be reserved for people of high integrity and character, those who had gone above and beyond, who sacrificed, and overcame, and/or whose virtue worked to the greater good.  In recent decades, it has been attached to anyone who champions our own personal agenda, regardless of character/integrity.  As such, the word increasingly means little or nothing.
  • God Given Rights:  This phrase seems to be a favorite among those of the Judeo-Christian persuasion, but a review of the sacred texts doesn’t seem to support that many of the claimed rights come from God.  Indeed, the Bible speaks extensively about sacrificing ones worldly rights in order to fulfill a more eternal purpose.
  • Racism/Racist:  There is no doubt that tribalism and racism have plagued mankind throughout its history.  These are serious topics that warrant thoughtful consideration.  Applying these terms to things that don’t have anything to do with race, and/or using them as a stick to poke or beat anyone that disagrees with our perspective only dilutes their meaning, and short circuits the potential for meaningful dialogue.
  • Friend:  Perhaps no word has suffered a greater assault at the hands of social media than the word, “friend”.  Without malice, Facebook used this term to describe anyone you might connect with on their platform, and the meaning has steadily eroded from there.  A relationship that is devoid of privacy, physical interaction, meaningful dialogue, genuine affection, or shared experiences should hardly be described as a friendship.
  • Hate:  Hate is not merely the absence of love, it is an extreme form of malice with an endless potential for destruction.  It is not passive or haphazard.  It is active and fueled with intent.  But in today’s world, anyone who disagrees with my point of view is considered a “Hater” and anyone who tries to address my wrong behavior is “Hating” on me.  These arbitrary applications only serve to trivialize the profound nature of genuine hatred.
  • Dialogue:  It is a popularly held idea that protests draw attention to an issue and create dialogue; but I’ve noticed that depending on the nature of the protest, it more often distracts us from the real issue and creates rhetoric. Dialogue is talking to each other, presumably with the intent of reaching some new level of agreement, while rhetoric is talking at each other, generally used to establish the superiority of our position.  One has the potential to move us forward together, while the other can become the basis for civil war.  It can’t rightfully be considered dialogue if neither side is listening.
  • Unprecedented:  Thousands of years ago, King Solomon observed that “there is nothing new under the sun”.  No doubt his conclusion was based on man’s nature, and the repetitive pattern that human history illuminates.  But we live in an era where the emerging generation has been taught that their technological advancements, and evolution as a species have somehow exempted them from the lessons of the past.   Even a cursory review of history, or an incisive look at other cultures around our world would reveal that there is little that is “unprecedented” about the challenges we currently face.

Read Full Post »

I grew up in a military family, normally living on Air Force bases with other military families. After high school, I joined the Navy, and for another decade lived/worked amongst people with differing backgrounds, diverse ethnicity, and varying belief systems.  The military made little allowance for our differences; once you donned the uniform you were expected to work together toward the greater mission.  I didn’t recognize it at the time, but this dramatically affected my understanding of community and family.  Even decades later, I still have many friends (and family) who don’t necessarily believe the things that I believe.  They grew up differently than I did, their life experience has led them to draw different conclusions than I have, and ultimately they view the world through a different lens than I do.  To me, this is not only how it’s always been, but also how it ought to be.  This doesn’t mean that we have nothing in common.  They love their families, value their communities, and hope to live in peace, just as I do.  I find my life is enriched, and my understanding is expanded, by remaining engaged with people who don’t necessarily think, act and live like I do.  Thus, I continue to seek the common ground that we all share.


When social media platforms like Facebook emerged, I found them to be a great way to stay connected, especially with friends and family who are literally spread all over the world. At its best, it has allowed us to remain connected in ways we couldn’t have otherwise.  No doubt, I want to celebrate their joys with them, and pray for them when they’re in a struggle, and to honor them when they’re gone.  But these days there seems to be a lot of pressure to use social media (and every other available platform) as a bully pulpit, where we exalt our preferences, ridicule those who have a differing point of view, and dare people to “Unfriend” us if they don’t like what we have to say.  People who refuse to participate in this battle of angry rhetoric are increasingly being criticized for not taking a side, accused of remaining “neutral” on the important issues of the day, and even being compared to those who stood by in Nazi Germany, doing nothing to stop the Holocaust.  As it goes with all the other points of view floating around cyberspace, they’re entitled to their opinion, and they’re also entitled to express it, but I don’t find their arguments compelling.


I believe that finding and cultivating the common ground that we share makes for stronger and more united communities. Building and strengthening these bonds of community is an essential first step in addressing the larger social issues we face.  Standing on opposite sides of the street, throwing rocks at each other isn’t going to achieve anything other than our eventual destruction.  I’m not sure what people think their vitriol achieves, but if posting an angry meme on social media is the extent of one’s activism, they’ve not done much.  Getting a bunch of folks, who already agreed with you, to “Like” your post doesn’t really effect change. If there is genuine oppression, it’s going to cost a lot more than some heated words to stand up to it.  If we are successful in alienating everyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like we do, we’ll have simply set the stage for civil war.  If we want to better understand the issues, we need to engage in meaningful dialogue with people of diverse viewpoints.  If we want to battle racism, we need to engage in meaningful relationships with people of other races.  If we want to battle poverty, we need to engage in the process of creating opportunities or providing aid to the underprivileged…  If we were that committed to change, we’d probably be too busy to spend so much time on Facebook.

Read Full Post »

Francis J. Grimke was the byproduct of relationship between his white, plantation owning father, and a mixed race, enslaved mother.  He grew up to be a passionate supporter of the civil rights movement in the early 1900s, and was also a Presbyterian minister in Washington DC.  I recently ran across a couple of his quotes, which I think speak directly to where we find ourselves today.


“The secession of the Southern States in 1860 was a small matter compared with the secession of the Union itself from the great principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, in the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, in the Sermon on the Mount.  Unless we hold, and hold firmly to these great fundamental principles of righteousness, … our Union… will be only a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.”


He also said, “Race prejudice cannot be talked down, it must be lived down.”

Read Full Post »

The person who presumes that all middle aged white men harbor some secret racist agenda renders themselves guilty of that accusation.

Read Full Post »