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brettfish:

Bruce Collins is one of my best friends in the category of ‘people i have hardly spent any time with at all’ – our spirits seem to connect strongly when it comes to God and life and relationships and things and i just love his passion and wrestling and honesty… he has a great gift for writing too which is why i am reblogging this post of his which feels like something i could have written… so much doubt and wrestling combined with so much of knowing…

i believe… help me overcome my unbelief…

Originally posted on Barista Bruce's Brews:

I’ve read so much lately that challenges the central tenets of what I believe: mostly articles and posts ranging from the horrors perpetuated in the name of “Christianity” to the rational short falling of what we hold to be true a followers of Jesus.

I must contextualise this post a little, too: on a purely cerebral level, there are many things that potentially bother me about faith in Jesus. There are many “so-called logical” arguments that challenge Christianity that seem to make perfect sense to me; when viewed in isolation, of course. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the church has always allowed us to engage with our doubt. Doubt, in my experience, has always been frowned upon. Guilt has ensued. I think, however, that doubt is an integral part of authentic belief.

I digress.

Despite all this, I believe now more than ever before in the reality of Jesus: God…

View original 229 more words

Changing tack a little bit on this whole race conversation as we bring a little humour into it.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu appears on the David Letterman show and shares some race-related humour which becomes deeply insightful when you take a moment to realise some of the truths that the comedy is bases on and especially as he dives into the highly insulting idea of group of people from different races or cultures being classified simply as ‘Other’:

 

 

Have you ever been referred to as ‘Other’ in any context? 

 

[To return to the beginning of this series looking at different aspects of Race, click here]

 

DAY 40ish

Wow! Day 40. We made it… ish. Easter is still a few days away so may still add a post or two but it has been fun [and only slightly overwhelming] to do this journey with those few of you who have joined with me.

The Bible mentions seven things that Jesus says while hanging on the cross. I found this online site that looks at each statement [calling each one a 'word'] and thought it would be a great resource for us as we head towards Easter.

Task: Meditate and reflect on ‘The sixth word of Jesus.’

The sixth word is based on Jesus’ words in John 19. 30 “It is finished!”

I have also heard “It is accomplished.”

Spend some time reflecting on the words of this Powerpoint presentation looking at these words of Jesus.

finished

[To return to the beginning of this series, click here]

tshego

When this topic first came up, I chose not to get involved because I knew the controversy it would cause. People on all sides are generally exceptionally sensitive when it come to the topic of race. We can never just talk about our differences without an argument ensuing. Someone always has to overact out of offense and someone else will always have to pay by taking the blame. The conversation is almost not worth having because no one is ever willing to just listen and learn. Over and above that, I never considered myself a contender in the game. I was brought up differently, so I thought I had no say in the matter, but after reading the first post, I figured I could give it a shot.

I am a young black South African female who happened to be raised within the realms of the very popular western culture. Our parents wanted us to live and learn from the world without the restrictions and/or limitations of tradition. They wanted us to become who we were destined to be and not what culture dictated us to be. I was confused – but then again you would be too if you were expected to “hate” the enemy when they were the only friends you knew. While my sibling comfortably embraced some of our culture (speaking our mother tongue and befriending people of the same race), I chose to comfortably adopt the culture I was brought up in (white friends and speaking only English). It was tough because I never really knew where I fit in – when you have your feet in two different camps, there is always going to be a conflict of interest, but I’ll save you the sop story (and besides you’re already judging me)….

From my experience, I have realised that the question really shouldn’t be “What I Think A Specific Race Should Know” but rather “What I Think Everyone Should Know”. We’re all different and are influenced by our varying backgrounds, and it’s easy to just get angry and point fingers but it’s beneficial to learn and understand. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to know and/or relate to your past, your feelings or your point of view, so it’s your job to educate them. Instead of playing the oversensitive he said she said offense blame game, why not let curiosity be a teacher.

I have learnt through babysitting that kids will ask questions in order to gain understanding. Their intention is never to offend or hurt, but when they see something out of the ordinary; something they deem to be different, they want to know why and are brave enough to find out. And the answer you give them never changes their outlook or opinion of you. They don’t mock or tease you about it (well for the most part anyway), in fact, more often than not they leave having learnt something new and they respect you for it. You teach them what’s right and wrong and they will just go with it.

And so it should be with us adults, if someone is offending you or being uberly inquisitive, instead of pulling the race card or getting overly sensitive on the matter, why not respond by explaining why you don’t like it or why it makes you feel a specific way. There’s no point in getting angry and holding grudges over it – it helps no one and only creates more division among us. How will anyone ever know that something hurts you if you don’t explain it to them? There is nothing worse than having to walk on eggshells around a topic because we’re too scared of what the reaction might be… That’s just stupid!

We’ve got to put our fists down (stop being defensive) and have an open discussion about our differences. It’s time we learnt a little bit about each other in a safe non-threatening environment. Yes! Let’s discuss what my white friends should know and why, then turn the tables and discuss what my black, coloured, asian and indian friends should know and why. Let’s make it a group effort instead of a “them vs us” scenario; let’s get to know each other (what makes one person tick, may be a big fat joke for another – we’re ALL different like that), because the more you know the better you understand; and the better you understand, the more comfortable the interactions.

We won’t always get it right, but that’s why it’s so important to keep the lines of communication open, so we can continually learn along the way. It’s a never ending life lesson and we’ve got to see it as a journey, never a destination. It’s not a free ticket to be rude, judgmental and/or stereotypical… (try to see the bigger picture here) it’s an opportunity to gain knowledge and build relationship through understanding…

[To return to the start of this series and hear more thoughts and stories from other people, click here]

i came across this article,  ’21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis’, posted by Heben Nigatu on Buzzfeed, made me unbelievably sad, and in the context of the conversations we are having at Irresistibly Fish, felt like something worth adding in here so that some more people will hopefully have that ‘Oh’ moment of getting this a little bit more.

‘The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.’ 

Click on the link to see all 21 pictures that were displayed, but here is just a sample to get a taste of how painfully some people get it wrong sometimes:

microaggression1

nortonism.tumblr.com

 

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What is the solution or at least the next step forward from here? What is the way forward in any of this race stuff? 

i would suggest that a good next step [and maybe my friends from other culture and race groups can back me up here?] would be to have a conversation… to ask a question… to listen to a story…

# listening to someone’s story always seems like an excellent place to start

# asking people you are friends with whether there is anything you say or do that causes them offence from a racial/cultural perspective, and then being willing to listen to what they say if there is something [this could be such an important one]

What else is there? If anyone has comments or suggestions or thoughts on any aspect of this Race conversation, i have created a little place over here for you to come and have your say if you would like.

p.s. Moving it a little closer to home, take a look at this selection of similiar pictures [some heart-breaking] done at the University of Cape Town, as shared by my friend, Tsholo…

[To return to the Intro and a whole growing bunch of other conversation pieces on Race, click here]

 

 

 

 

so yesterday i got to go to Six Flags, which is a rollercoaster [and animal it turns out] park in California and had the raddest rollercoastering day!

and i also got to ‘meet’ Odin the Bengal tiger who was a most beautiful and majestic animal [sorry lion!]:

odin

That picture doesn’t really do him justice – Odin was a beast! Beautiful, sleek, with big flabby paws that thumped around on the ground as he majestically wandered around

…his tiny little tiger space.

SNAKES ON A PANE

it actually started with the snakes. there were these six tiny compartments and four of them had snakes in them behind the glass and the spaces were really small.

then i saw the tiger and was bummed by how much [little] space he had – he would basically walk up to the glass [where all us tourists could gawk at him, great word 'gawk'] and turn around and walk maybe five or six steps away and then have to turn around and come back and continue doing these little laps.

this has never really bothered me before, but for some reason it did yesterday and i told Aaron who was with me that if there wasn’t the danger of the tiger eating me and everyone else – and quite possibly the legal ramifications of freeing a wild animal at Six Flags – i would have loved to have freed Odin. that dude needs space.

for the first time ever, animals in captivity really bugged me. 

and i thought of the beginning of the world and God creating all these beautiful animals and inviting mankind to manage and be lord of the earth and all of the creatures and i can’t help thinking this is not what He meant.

let us take these wild beasts of nature and let us stick them in cages and make them perform shows for our pleasure. with not much thought of them at all and what they might need to be who they really are.

let’s do this thing that works really well for us even though it doesn’t work so well for someone else – that kind of selfishness feels like the root of all kinds of evil…

odincage

so i’m sorry Mr Odin, i wish there was something i could do for you, because you do not belong in that tiny space and you really deserve more than to have tourists come close to your window and take photos of you [and not even take a moment to just appreciate you as you are - like i literally saw people come and take pictures and that was their experience of you - so they will go home and have in their possession pictures they could have downloaded off the internet which would have given them the exact same experience because they were so busy recording their experience they forgot to actually have it] and not even fully appreciate you. you should be out in the wild somewhere being a bengal tiger.

and you should be in a space that allows you to stretch out and be at your full length without hitting a glass pane mister snake.

sad face.

SAMSUNG

Every important thing has been said particularly by Tsholofelo Mpuru! You nailed it girl. I don’t even know why I am writing but Brett asked and I said yes.

This is my pet hate. A lot of white people may not be guilty of this. I hope.

I mentioned to a Zimbabwean friend of mine this month just how much I absolutely detest being asked whether I am Zimbabwean by a white South African or former ‘Rhodesian’ who meets me for the first time. It is often the second sentence after a greeting.

I look nothing like a Zimbabwean even on my best or worst day. I know that there are tons of Zimbabweans in South Africa but come on! This has only happened in Cape Town though often in an all white environment. It will often be one odd white person who meets you for the first time who will ask that silly question. It does not happen all the time but it happens. It often makes me mad because for crying out loud I am in South Africa. I have never set foot in Zimbabwe even if I had this is South Africa, a land full of many different kinds of blacks who actually belong here. I suppose it is hard to believe that if you are a white Capetonian.

My Zimbabwean friends will confirm that I am not xenophobic. The issue at hand is that even where I live in East London I was speaking to an Afrikaans white friend who was telling me about her domestic help. One of her friends has only employed Zimbabweans in her business, and she was telling me about how a certain Zimbabwean fixed washing machines and sends them to Zimbabwe. She was very impressed by how industrious he was. She said it with a tone that said: “not like these blacks.” Only that she did say it, she said; “you know Zimbabweans are different, they are not like these people here.” While she was elevating Zimbabweans as the better blacks she finished her sentence and remembered that I was black. I was boiling but what constructive words can come out of a furious person. I was furious not because of just her but of the general white South African attitude which in my books fuels xenophobia with these negative attitudes and perceptions towards local black South Africans.

The first time I ever came across this was a decade ago. Another Zimbabwean friend of mine was telling us of the despicable racism they experienced as a group of blacks by a white South African couple. She also said that the white racist couple treated them better than the black South Africans because they were told that they were the ‘better blacks’. Imagine that.

Needless to say, in Cape Town I have encountered many whites who have echoed this debasement of South African blacks as they elevate the non-South African black as the better black who must be protected from these hostile black South Africans. What I have also learnt is that some of the non-South African blacks hectically disapprove of the same white people. In fact a Malawian thought a Mugabe style of leadership was what we needed to get rid of the very white people that love them. I was shocked because I knew that the white people bent over backwards to protect the poor Malawians from these terrible black South Africans.

I have heard the same thing from South African whites who have been to America. I have heard complaints at times that the African Americans are not like us. Can we get a break?

What is this, a search for the most acceptable black? Why can’t a black person be accepted period?

Granted that human beings are slaves of comparison regardless of race, however other times it is more insensitive and hurtful than other times. In this case it is very destructive. I do wish that more people were sensitive to this.

The point is that if we are going to live together in unity in this country something has got to give. There is a reason that the black people in this country are the way they are. Some of it has to do with our difficult history. God placed us here. I know that is hard to believe but He thought this is exactly where He wants to place us. I understand that our past is quite involved and difficult but we actually do need to face one another and not wish for another breed of people that are more acceptable to you or me. This is it. Look close. We are not that bad in fact we are actually very beautiful people. The moment we connect with each other’s beauty we will not be able to see where one ends or the other begins. We have a great future as a rainbow nation but the walls of hostility and demonising one another must go away so that we can unite as one people.

You can read more of what Siki has to say by taking a look at her blog - madamemadiba.wordpress.com

[For the next amazing post in this series by Tshego Motiang, click here]

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