Mar. 11, 2016

People of great value...

Jesus cares about everyone. Regardless, our current societal and cultural climate seems to be one of contention. We stopped complimenting one another. We grew past competing with one another. Yet, instead of getting better, we moved into just being mad at anyone and everyone who doesn’t look like us, believe like us, think like us or accept life through the eyes in which we see it.

I can’t think black. Jesus can. I can’t think male any more than a male can think like a female, but Jesus can. If I am rich, have worked hard all my life, am a self-starter and view myself as successful, I may have a very low tolerance towards the poor, the depressed, the overwhelmed and the undereducated.

I worked for Jefferson Davis County Hospital for almost six years. I experienced reversed discrimination because my very pale white face was the minority in the midst of a sea of black and brown. I was pushed up against lockers and questioned for why I, someone from the suburbs who wore “fancy clothes,” would care about the poor people of Harris County.

Is this a blog about race? I don’t think so. What I want to scream is “compassion.” What I hope to portray is “respect.” What I wish would happen in our world; in our nation is “teamwork.” Instead, we continue to take sides. We draw lines in the sand and we refuse to entertain the fact that there is always another side to every story.

I haven’t cried over a TV program in a very long time. Mainly because I don’t watch much TV anymore, but also because there hasn’t been anything on TV that moved me for many years. I am watching the series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” I am not watching it because I want to see if I really think he is guilty.  I am not watching it because I want to remember how awful that period in our history was with race taking over righteousness. I am watching it, quite frankly, because I admire just about every actor who chose to be part – most especially the black actors. What courage!

Still, that isn’t what made me cry a few nights ago and kept me crying as I re-watched the most recent episode.  What brought tears to my eyes is to see how a woman in America was (and still can be) judged and demoralized. How a professional woman was criticized for her looks, her hairstyle, and her choice to work outside the home. My heart breaks because a woman with many talents who had so much to give was called things like, “bitch,” and “unfit.” Nobody judged the suits the male lawyers wore, but there was constant commentary on how Marcia Clark looked, what she wore, how she wore her hair. The tears come back as I think about how women are always held to a different and higher standard – one that is based on appearance and very seldom built on abilities.

We don’t like strong women. We need to get real enough to do some self-examination and a great deal of self-reflection and honestly say to ourselves, “I think women need to be gentle and graceful. I think women need to focus on family. I think women need to stay out of public life and let the men handle all the heavy lifting.”

As a Biblical feminist, I realized after watching this episode of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” that I, too, allow the media to mold my opinion of women in public service. I want to comment on the way she wears her hair. I want to question her loyalty to her family. I want to believe every single ugly thing said about her, especially if it said by my most favorite TV news station.

Why do I want to do this when I know better? Because that is what I’ve been taught to do: value strong men while devaluing strong women.

I am no better than the black nurses who pushed me up against a cold locker in a rundown change room on the rough side of Houston. I just like to pretend that I am.