I saw this picture today and although the conversation attached to it was one I wasn’t interested in engaging, I did see a story from it. I am from the African Diaspora. Seeing this iceberg of Africa made me reflect on many conversations I’ve had and many posts I’ve read.
I was taught that there is only one perfect place, jennatil-firdaus (the highest heaven). Therefore, although people may want to think there is a heaven on earth, it’s non-existent. It was interesting when someone told me that I am in a cage because I do not feel the need to migrate from the US because our ancestors were brought here and we should not die on the land where our ancestors were raped, tortured, and murdered.
This statement bothered me because the person who made a snap judgment about me doesn’t know me and this was the first time having any communication, heck, this was the first time I ever saw the person’s name. Why is this important you may ask? The importance of this is that many people, whether they’re young, middle aged, or young make snap judgments about people. This is defined as prejudice.
Sometimes as a writer writes, it may be necessary to define specific terminology used so the audience is aware of the context of the word. According to dictionary.com, the following are definitions of prejudice.
Very good explanation on the stigma of mental health issues.
Recently I saw a post on Facebook that said “When cancer takes a life we blame cancer. Depression is a disease. Don’t blame the victim for losing the fight.”
I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Partly because mental illness has touched our family, and partly because I’ve just submitted a story to the Defying Doomsday Anthology. Obviously I have no idea if my story’s good enough, or if it’s what they’re looking for, but I’m glad I’ve written it, because it made me attempt to hop inside the head of someone suffering from social anxiety and claustrophobia.
I found myself breathless, as I wrote about panic attacks, and almost nauseous as I wrote about the terror of being inside a confined space. I don’t suffer from mental illness myself, but I did run the content of what I wrote past someone who does.
Sufferers of mental illness often…
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“The hell it isn’t. I feel as if you all are trying to accuse me of inciting a riot. I am not going to stand here and be accused without proper representation.”
Mr. Bruce dialed the receptionist and told her to get Mr. Bingham to come to his office. Daria was looking at the three of them shaking her head. As long as I say let’s have black t-shirts for Black History Month they are okay with me. However, when I start really teaching the students I get pulled out of my class. My grandmother always taught me, “Don’t trust a white person as far as you can throw them.”
Mr. Bingham walked in and saw no smile on anyone’s face.
“Mr. Bruce, you called for me?”
“Yes, Ms. Van requested representation. We told her that it wasn’t necessary but she insisted.”
“Okay, that’s what I’m here for. How may I help you Ms. Van.”
“I’ve been teaching my students US History while incorporating African-Americans within the lesson. These three are telling me that I have to reserve teaching anything about African-Americans until February.”
“The lessons that you’re teaching, do they align with the standards?”
“Yes, they do. I would not do anything to jeopardize the students’ success in school as well as my future as an educator. Also, instead of Mr. Bruce sticking his head in my classroom and ordering me to his classroom, he could have called me or came to me with an air of professionalism and requested me to come to his office. He just cut the respect I had from my students down to nothing.”
“Is this what happened Mr. Bruce?”
“Is this what happened? Are you serious? I thought you were here to represent me.”
“You white folk really stick together. I didn’t do anything wrong and I’m following the curriculum and standards. If you have any additional problems with me, please do not use my lessons, just state what the issues are,” Daria said becoming more and more frustrated as she sat in the office.
There is a lot of discussion about Rachel Dolezal. This blog will not be about whether I agree or disagree with what she decided to do. However, this blog will encourage the readers to reflect upon the history of the US. Trans-race, passing, or race trading is part of the fabric of this country. Have you heard or read about black people deciding to be white? If not, go back and read many primary source documents regarding the actions some took.
Some may say, “Okay, back then I can understand why people decided to change their race, but why would Rachel decide to change her race?”
Only Rachel knows why she selected to identify as an African-American woman. However, this phenomenon transcends the black/white dichotomy. Have you known any Arabs who said they were Hispanic? How about Jews who said they were white, non-Jews. What about Africans trying to pass as being Jamaican. I am sure there are a plethora of examples of trans-race/race trading.
These United States were founded upon racial differences. Sometimes it is difficult for people from other countries to understand this. However, in the past, it was difficult being an African-American. Before we place judgement upon Rachel, let’s reflect on our own pasts.
We can think of those who are of different religions not identifying with that religion in certain settings. It is time for us in the US to have the conversation of race. Not an argument and not an assault, but a conversation. My final question, who was the first to distinguish the difference between beings? Let’s talk.