BlackFace 101

This is a detour from my normal posts, but I think it’s important that we have an open and honest conversation. I’m black. I’m a woman. I’ve made no secret of that. However, we can’t be afraid to talk about race.

I’ve been blessed to have friends of all nationalities and races. Let’s have a frank discussion about blackface. I’m entitling this BlackFace 101. I recently read an article about a white teen who dressed in blackface to ask a girl to prom. He believed he did nothing wrong.

If that is true, then his parents failed him. Why? Because as a parent, you have an obligation to teach not just tolerance, acceptance and empathy but history to your children. The school’s don’t do a good job of it anymore. They are literally omitting and changing history in the textbooks.  You need to fill in the blanks. Just like I have to do.

Our job as parents require us to encourage and educate our children every step of the way. If you are a parent in 2017, why would you think it is okay for your child to dress up in blackface? If you knew it was wrong and you don’t think it’s a big deal, then stop asking for forgiveness for your child’s ignorance. You failed them. Plain and simple.

I’m black, but I have to teach Munch about all cultures. Not just our own. Not the watered down versions that the schools are teaching now. It is my responsibility to make sure that he knows and respects everyone’s culture. That’s what we seem to be lacking…respect for other cultures.

If you don’t teach your children this, then you are ill preparing them for the real world. We are a melting pot of many cultures and nationalities and ignorance isn’t bliss. I don’t care what anyone says. Preparation for the future is key.

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. Mahatma Gandhi

The history of blackface is not something that is ever appropriate. In short, white America’s conception of black entertainers were overly exaggerated. They were mocking us as the socially and racially inferior race. It was pure ignorance.

The fact of the matter is that if you choose to wear blackface after knowing it’s offensive history, you’re in essence telling me that you don’t give a crap about my feelings as a black woman. I’m supposed to take it as a joke. The thing is though…you can’t forget history. I can’t wipe off what happened to my ancestors like you can your painted blackface. It isn’t acceptable and if you do it, at least be man or woman enough to not ask for forgiveness over your ignorance.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Bad Things Will Happen

This week I read an article on Huffington Post titled “Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds” and was taken aback at some of the comments that I read.  It wasn’t a relatively lengthy article, but it had amassed over 757 comments in just two days.  Disclaimer:  I know I shouldn’t read the comments, but I can’t help it.  I like to know what other people think about a particular article and well I was floored.

I was floored because people were saying that they found the church stuff skeptical.  I understand not everyone subscribes to a religious view, but how can we not have faith in light of everything that we have seen or experienced in this world?  I’m not trying to convert you to Christianity or make you subscribe to my point of view, but what I am saying is that my faith is the foundation for everything I believe and I how I raise my son. The article said that of the 66 children who were between 5 and 6 (same age as my munch) who went to church or were enrolled in parochial schools were “significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional.”

I’m not surprised, but I’m not offended.  In my house we serve God. That is what I am teaching my son. The end and that’s all.  That is exactly what I posted in the comment section of the article and another commentator replied to me asking “How could you teach him to believe in a God who would allow Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to be shot down? Does God really do that? How does God allow all those children to die?” I sat there and said a prayer before I simply responded…”Was it God or Evil? Aren’t we taught that there is a balance to everything which creates the understanding of harmony? A battle between good and evil?  The fact that we believe in God and teach our children about God doesn’t absolve them of bad things happening.  Bad things will happen, but God will protect your mind and spirit while the enemy may try to destroy you.  It is simply faith.”

I went home that night and really thought about how important it is for me as a mother to teach my son about God and faith.  It is an important lesson that has to be taught, one that I have never regretted, because it is one that was taught to me by my mother.  My mother was taught by her mother and she taught her children that our God can handle it all and will never stop loving you.  We didn’t grow up with a happy life absent of trials, tribulations or death.  We just knew to never stop believing and that prayer changes things.  Faith of a mustard seed is what she said.  Belief in God was the greatest gift she gave me.

Even when life knocked me down and I ran from God believing that He didn’t love me, want me, understand or could hear me, she prayed.  People prayed.  When I hit rock bottom, I prayed and I knew at that moment that He had never abandoned me.  Nothing would make Him leave me.  So, it is easy for me to teach my son to love a God that has always protected me even in my darkest hour because it is embedded in the very fabric of everything that I believe and go through.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Prayer is not asking.  It is a longing of the soul.  It is daily admission of one’s weakness.  It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”  

There were 298 passengers and crew members that were killed on that flight and 80 of them were children. This is a horrible tragedy and we must continue to pray for the families of the victims and this nation as a whole. Longingly and truthfully because we need God now more than ever.