Monday, July 20, 2009

Note to Readers, Lurkers & Nurturing Future Alliances

It's been an especially hectic two weeks at Acts of Faith blog. I know I have readers who are not black or live in "black communities" or have to deal with any of the issues that have been discussed. I bet it's been an eye-opener! I also am welcoming a lot of new readers who may have found me because I've been blog-rolled or due to extra interest from my guest blogging gig. 

I felt a fire had been lit under me and I had to speak out on these issues. It was with the best intentions. Often that means correctly and with utmost accuracy telling the unvarnished truth. We cannot grow without being willing to dig deep. We've covered some rather controversial and difficult subjects. I think we will all be better for it.

One of the nicest messages I've received in feedback is how many don't agree with me but find my arguments compelling nonetheless. I appreciate that. We are all coming from different perspectives and will not see eye to eye on everything. I'm not looking for a rah-rah chorus but to be engaged and challenged by others as well. One thing I will not do is claim I alone (or mostly) have all of the "answers" or have a condescending attitude. I'd never be so presumptuous, but I will be very firm about my thoughts on these matters.

I will analyze behaviors, choices and actions of the collective even as I look at my own. I don't need to have grown up in a completely different background to be able to properly think about how damaging or limiting some of those choices are. In fact I think there are times when only someone who's lived through a similar experience can adequately assess a situation. Ultimately, it isn't where we've come from but where we're going and how willing we are to get there. 

I also should state emphatically that I don't hate black men. It's quite the opposite. What I abhor is the behavior of an increasing majority and the total silence of those that have seen it and done nothing. Recognizing and removing those that devalue or obstruct you is key to living a full life. Some people are so loathe to hold others accountable there are times we have to be extra diligent to try to regain some equilibrium and protect ourselves.

There are men and women who engage in these destructive patterns (enabling or perpetrating) who don't want to analyze them or change. They do identify with each other and protect each other when they value a similar racial categorization over normative human behavior. That doesn't apply to everyone, but it pretty much covers a lot of black people. We are not enslaved anymore and don't have to circle the wagons from outside attack. Not when people on the inside are causing each other mortal wounds.  

So while I reserve the right to revisit these topics I need to have clear boundaries and resist the urge to wallow in them. I am spent. I don't look at this as some sort of scientific study on Lifestyles of the Pending Underclass. Not when I'm thinking of real-life flesh and blood people. Not when I know that I'll have to make some hard-line decisions about navigating limited contact with said people. Not physically (already done) but emotionally. Saying that you have to leave and actually moving on and leaving others behind isn't as simple as waving a magic wand. I don't want to end up like Lot's wife. I'm here to inform, not fight every slight or injustice 24/7. The point of discussing these matters is so we move on from them.

We had no say in the families we are born into. We have complete autonomy in choosing who we allow in our lives as adults. Choosing well will help add to the quality of our lives and sustain us in times of trouble. Choosing poorly will bring us nothing but trouble. Being a drag to be around will drive away a lot of great people as well. So will being a people-pleaser or a doormat. 

It's time to advance. We have to move at our own pace anyway. Some are still evaluating what we've been discussing. That's okay cuz so am I!! I hope many of you will continue to be part of this journey as I write about a wide variety of things I am passionate about. Which long term readers of this blog are already aware of. This week I want to discuss ways in which we build communities and how the best ones function. You'll still need a seat belt - not to worry.

So what is on your mind? What stories do you find compelling these days? Are there subjects you'd like some attention focused on? Don't be shy!

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Faith, I've got my latte ready and my seatbelt fastened. CHOICES! CHOICES! CHOICES! Each one of us adults have to make it our business to tell children (whether we gave birth to them or not) how much they are valued and loved. That simply has to be instilled. It takes so little to look a child in the eyes, speak uplifting words or to do an act of kindness that will change a life for good.

One child at a time. If each adult took responsibility for one child; things will start changing.

Love, peace & hope to all.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Faith.

I've been perusing the blog for a while and as you stated through a comment on Khadija's blog, I always knew something was terribly amiss/awry, but couldn't put it into words. Thanks to you both, Rev. Lisa and countless others, I'm thinking a bit harder than I used to. May need therapy again, but I (we) have to (re)start somewhere, right?

That's where I stand now...I'll help figure out something as my deprogramming progresses.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Bluebutterfly: If each adult took responsibility for THEIR child we wouldn't be in this advanced state of decay.

Rainebeaux: It took me a year of reading various blogs, trying things out, digging in deep and still being open. Until I saw the foul behavior of men I would've categorized as "decent" certain things hadn't solidified. Not only did I realize the black community was effectively over but that it had been for much longer and the damage was more complete than I thought. Regardless I was already on a path to divestment. The thing that changed was my sense of urgency and realizing how once on that path you have to keep it moving lest you get knocked off. No looking back!

Nia said...

I've been a long time reader of the WAOD blog and followed your guest posts over there. This is my first time reading your own blog and I am grateful that I found it. I am a black woman, but I am not African-American, I am Afro-Caribbean. By reading your blog I hope to learn how to be a better, more effective ally for African-American girls and women, while at the same time helping all black girls and women to take their rightful place in society. I am nearly forty, and I grew up learning all about the civil rights era in the US and this, along with black feminism, is what shaped and defined my identity as a black woman.
It has been a painful awakening for me to realize that the "black community" and what was gained during that era is dead. This is something that although I could see for myself, was really brought home through blogs like yours.
Equally painful for me was the realization that some non-African-American blacks sometimes complicate matters for African-Americans by "looking" like allies but not really being true allies (e.g. having their own agendas, etc.)This is something that Khadija spoke about on her blog. It was really hurtful for me to hear this at first, but it really has made me think, and I will strive hard not to be one of those.
I really appreciate your blog, I will continue to read and learn, and I look forward to contributing effectively as an ally and nothing more whenever I can.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Nia: Welcome. Whatever truths you come into can be painful when we've held onto certain beliefs or viewed things from one perspective. What's great is that we can then move forward with a renewed purpose. Thank you for commenting.