It is no secret that I fixate. It is one of the reasons I do not drink, smoke or gamble and try to keep my vices down to abominable cursing and biting my nails. I delete games off of my phone because I am easily distracted and they drive me to it. If you’ve been here for any length of time, you’ve seen the frantic pace that I process and can fruit (that, as it turns out, they no one really likes), or the speed at which I can turn out a quilt when I leave everything else undone. I used to read books obsessively (a habit I am trying to pick up again) and I am currently fixated on how to justify purchasing a very fancy espresso machine as an eventual cost saving apparatus. I can be relentless and unyielding in the face of real or perceived injustice. I will defy decorum and cuss someone out in defense of my children.
Sometimes I try to search out all the facts before I leap. Sometimes the facts don’t really matter.
People occasionally say that I am strong willed or determined when they are searching for polite ways to describe why they find me frustrating. I love big and deep, but I have a suspicion that I can be a tricky one to love.
I have been accused of being obsessed with race and privilege and I would argue that obsession would mean that I have meticulously carved racism and white supremacy out of my life, but that would be a lie (see espressos machine). It shows up in ways that steals joy and creates chaos. I can’t, therefore, claim their insult/compliment but refer them back to the mirror or to their private FB groups where they discuss how to best get the most for their child within a system meant to serve all children. I do admit to being consumed with Whiteness: the way it works, the way it shows up, the trauma it leaves in its wake. And of course, I am full up on that.
I am obsessed with thinking about how to let My Boys Live While Making Sure They Stay Alive.
I am obsessed with the way America normalizes patterns of abuse, racism and tyranny.
I am obsessed with trying to root out the reasons that my Black children do not receive “Meets” or “Exceeds” on their report cards, while my White children do.
I am obsessed with children running from police.
I am obsessed with the way some folks and nearly all systems protect Whiteness.
I am obsessed with people who like to play “devil’s advocate”.
I am obsessed with the Myth of Good Intentions.
Let’s talk about our legacy, yes? From the DeNeen L Brown for the Washington Post:
“Along with ongoing rape and the use of the whip to discipline human beings,” Fernandez said, “destroying families is one of the worst things done during slavery. The federal government maintained these evils through the fugitive slave laws and other rules which defined African Americans as property with which a slave owner could do whatever they wanted.”
Each of these U.S. policies, Fernandez said, begins with the assumption “that the idea of family is simply less important to people of color and that the people involved are less than human. To justify ripping families apart, the government must first engage in dehumanizing the targeted group, whether it is Native Americans, African Americans or immigrants from Central America fleeing murder, rape, extortion and kidnapping.”
I have been struggling with a personal history grounded in White Christianity, which by default was also ground in sexism, homophobia, racism, patriarchy and colonialism. And love. But let’s hold all of those things in a single hand. I am trying to have compassion for my former “people” but am so deeply dismayed that even the most compassionate among us still believe in a kind of passive resistance where love will conquer. I’m not saying it won’t. But it gets muddy when I am expected to love someone who cosigns to racial violence. My loving will not stop a lynch mob. I studied Liberation Theology in college (much to the chagrin of my conservative professors) and devoured Oscar Romero and Rosemary Radford Ruether. I had not thought about any of this in a decade a friend referenced this article by Gregory Stevens:
The cognitive supremacy of the Western expansion chose Christianity as its divine right to domination. The Christianity of the Spanish Empire used Theologies of Domination to “disseminate a characteristic ideology through all segments of society, propounding a set of fundamental values and principles which, while expressed in terms of lofty abstraction or eternal truth, nevertheless serves to further the interests of those who hold power” (Lincoln 269). These religions of the status quo replicate and co-produce the ideologies of capitalism: competition, hierarchy, racialization, epistemicide, and patriarchy. If Christianity was the religion of the colonial project, is a decolonial Christianity even possible? Is it possible to develop a Christian theology that subverts, challenges, and decolonizes its recent historical use in crafting the Western expansion of colonialities of power?
I am consumed with the BIBLICAL proportions that children are being trafficked across the country under the guise of being protected or rescued and I am begging us all to interrogate ourselves, our ways of “fixing” situations or people, and the power of capitalism.
And because joy may be a fleeting commodity in your life:
(Please let me come back as a hype man in my next life)