Saturday, September 27, 2008

Black Girl, Light World I: Myth of the Melting Pot

For the last few days I've been mulling over a conversation I had with two friends about 1.5-2 years ago about the various cultural "prefixes" (African/Chinese/Cuban/etc.) to American and whether or not they are necessary or actually more hurtful in the scheme of becoming a cultural melting pot of Americans. My friends' position was that these titles separate us and that everyone should just call themselves American and have it done with. Doesn't the constant reminder of different backgrounds distract us from our common goals now that we're here as well as exacerbate racism and discrimination, making us weaker and more divided as a people?

At the time, my only response was to say that in remembrance of history it's valuable. How can you know who you are if you don't know where you've come from? The very thought that you can try to erase your background with new uniform title is ludicrous to say the least. We ended the conversation at a stalemate with me unable to adequately explain what I was thinking. Over the years, this and similar topics have come up but I the other day I found a blog and
a particular entry that better explained my thought processes:

I will never forget the words I heard come out of the mouth of one of these guys in response to the tensions between blacks and native americans:
“It’s nuts, you know? All these tensions based on race it’s just…stupid. Life’s too short, you know? This is America. We should just forget all this bickering and just become one culture!”
The last sentence of his claim sent me into fits of laughter in a discussion that was otherwise utterly un-funny. I fell BACKWARDS out of my chair, and rolled around on the floor of the classroom howling with laughter and clutching my stomach until I was thrown out of class and told to report to detention (this happened in high school)...
White people make the ‘one culture’ argument in front of minorities all the time, and they do it because they think it’s what we want to hear**. What they don’t know is that this argument enrages us for two reasons: 1.) It allows white people to forget about the consequences of historic racial injustice (which would persist, even if we were ‘one culture’) while continuing to reap the benefits of historic racial injustice 2.) ‘One Culture’ implies a melting pot, which is COMPLETELY impossible. For there to be one culture, there would have to be forced assimilation into an existing culture*, which is something that minorities (blacks and indians above all) are all too familiar with (think ‘YO NAME IS TOBY! and Indian boarding schools with the mission ‘Kill the Indian, Save the Man’, like the one attended by my father) The One Culture argument implies ignorance of minority issues on the part of whites, and an entirely self-serving agenda.

* White culture, to be exact.
**(my own note, not apart of the excerpted post above)
I don't think that all say this b/c they think it's what we as minorities want to hear;
some people genuinely believe this, and think it's the best way to confront racism.
While I respect the desire for racism to be a thing of the past,
I must say that I totally disagree with this point of view for the reasons stated below.

Basically, the idea of a melting pot culture means that someone else's culture is going to be totally oppressed, represented as inferior, and the people from that culture discriminated against. This brings to my mind a documentary I watched on Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. In history he is credited with uniting China and creating a common language, monetary system, building the Great Wall, etc. An often overlooked aspect of his unification is that he suppressed the cultures and language of the other five Chinese states and establishing his own as the "common" one. This is the same thing that happens in almost every human manufactured "unification" of cultures. The stronger really suppresses the weaker and makes it anathema. When my friends are saying we should just call ourselves American and see ourselves as one culture, the truth is that it's a white or white dominated culture that, of course, is affected by the surrounding minorities-it can't escape unscathed-but it's a definitely a culture that is geared towards the majority and looks down on the minority. But the majority (whatever majority we're talking about) can get away with not even thinking about this fact anymore because we are now calling ourselves a "melting pot" and have a "common culture". These differences don't divide us anymore or shouldn't anyway. Can't we all just get along?
My goal is no to "exacerbate racial tensions" or whatever you want to call it. My goal is to point out that racism isn't done and over with and, to be honest, I think it is now at the best it's ever going to be, noting the way the Bible describes the End Times as an outpouring of sin and hatred. Racism is definitely apart of that and I think we are living in the days close to those times. To be honest I already see it increasing from when I was younger, particularly speaking of antisemitism.

There is only--and I do mean ONLY--one superior overriding super-culture, and that is the culture of Christ. It doesn't discriminate against any culture, for all are valued in some aspects and all must give up some aspects of their culture that are fleshly and geared towards love of the world rather than love of Christ and His Church. Everyone has something to contribute to the Body culturally, and everyone has some things in their culture that detract from Biblical function of the Body.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What Your Bed Says About You
Outward appearances aren't important to you at all. You think that the over emphasis on looks to be shallow.

You try to be an organized person, but you often fall behind. Certain parts of your life tend to fall into chaos.

You are not very high maintenance in general, but you are high maintenance about a few things.

In relationships, you tend to kick back and let the other person be in charge.

You tend to be a dreamy, head in the clouds type of person. You think in terms of possibilities.

You are a bit of a homebody, but you can also make yourself at home anywhere.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My heart hurts. Not for myself only, but for others. It hasn't in a while, but this is good. It's good to realize that the people I pass on the street aren't props in the movie of my life. They have their own lives, their own problems, their own feelings, their own hurts, and God cares just as much for each of them as He does for me. He is interesed in their choices and their hearts. There are things that hurt them and that they do to hurt others that matter. And I should care. I am suppposed to pray for them and speak to them and speak into them, from the resevior of what God has given me in my times of study, prayer, and contemplation with Him. I want to walk in love and power to change people's lives; to have the evidence of change in my own life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Steam Punk and Other Eclectica

Something I Do In My Spare Time

Romans 12:1-2

I'm in a creative, make-something mood, but nothing I put to my hands seems to be the right thing. I feel restless because I'm an idiot and I know it. I run and hide, from what the best things. It is hard to kick against the goads and I don't want to anymore. Nothing is too hard for Christ who is God, and the Holy Spirit which has been placed in me. i wish I wasn't afraid to hear the truth and "do the right thing". Caught in the non existent catch-22 of my own making. It wouldn't be hard if i would just surrender, just let go.

Just. Let. Go.

Maybe it won't be as bad as I think.

Maybe it will be worse.

Maybe He isn't asking what I think He's asking.

I'm almost sure it will be the very thing that tears me in two--into nothing.
Tears me into nothing.

But I know it will be best.

The discipline the "sacrifice".
Finally a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable.
My reasonable (showing reason or sound judgment; "a sensible choice"; "a sensible person"; fair: not excessive or extreme; "a fairish income"; "reasonable prices"; marked by sound judgment; "sane nuclear policy) service.

Reasonable service.
Even the thing I don't want to be asked is quite reasonable.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Now For Some Silliness

Ashley is sitting on the couch and I'm telling the whole world about it. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! Ashley and Charlie the Unicorn sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes strange mutual atrraction through the vortex of darkness. Then comes a joint rulership of the Bo-nan-o Kingdom. Then comes strange and extremely bewildering children that are red and blue unicors, though you'd *think* that they'd be half-human half-unicorn, also known as hunicorns, but they're not. That's not all. That's not all. Then comes the school of fugu fish drinkin' alcohol.

Friday, September 5, 2008

So school has started and I have a great schedule--all Tuesday/Thursday classes--so that I can work more easily. Now if only I could find a job. Well, another job. Eight hours a week at min. wage isn't going to cut it.

This week in poetic technique two girls came to my class to hype the wonders of study abroad, and I have to say that they did a good job, but i don't think I'll be able to do that next year and take any of the classes I need to graduate, which is disappointing. The the course offerings are quite broad, esp. for the Valencia and London study centers, they still don't have my classes. But I do so want to go. I was also thinking about changing my foreign language from Latin to Italian, but I also think it's too late for that I should have thought about that last semester. I may still take a class or two though.

Sometimes, it's good to just talk about my day. No huge meaning of life/worship/living Christianity questions, though they are just under the surface of my thoughts, begging to be released. Maybe in a few hours after I've had some sleep. I am tired. More than I should be but I almost never go to bed at a reasonable time. I should, but I never do before 12am.