Today we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What shall I say?
Thank you, Dr. King. I have so much to thank you for. You taught us. You inspired us. You made us stronger. All of us. …well, most of us.
The truth is the war is not won. There is still more work to be done.
Last week, it was discovered that a group of 9th grade boys at Mahtomedi High School made some pretty disturbing videos, where they made up rap songs about several of the girls in their class. They called them fat, ugly, sluts, whores, among other things that were more personal, according to each individual young woman.
A video was made about my daughter. She wasn’t called ugly or a slut. She was called the n-word.
I refuse to use the word. Dictionary.com says “The term ni**** is now probably the most offensive word in English.” Yep. IT IS.
Thankfully it didn’t really faze my daughter. I don’t think she really understands the weight of the word. She laughed at their ignorance. “Yeah, I am mixed. Tell these people something they don’t know about me.”
But they didn’t call her mixed. They called her a ni**** – the most offensive term in our language. The terms mixed/black/African American and ni**** are not synonymous. I shudder to think that somehow she’s come to think they are. I am proud, however, that she doesn’t let these boys and their stupidity shake her confidence and self-esteem.
The boys were suspended for one day and required to write each girl a letter of apology. I don’t know that that was enough of a consequence. I mean, one set of parents are pressing charges.
Last week, during my staff devotional/small group time, we were asked to answer the question “do you struggle with a certain people group? Do you have any fears or issues around certain types of people and if so, what do you need to do to engage with that group more?” I struggled with the question because I don’t feel like I have issues with any specific group of people.
But the truth is, I guess I do. It’s with people who hate, judge, discriminate, differentiate or make epithets or derogatory comments regarding race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc. I have very little tolerance for them. In the last couple of weeks, I have called out a few people for sharing racist jokes or comments on Facebook.
Now I realize that people are often a product of their experience and upbringing – maybe they just don’t know any better. Racism is often a generational sin. So for some reason, they believe their behavior is justified.
I am here to say IT IS NOT. I will continue to call this type of stuff out for what it is. And for those of you who share my intolerance, I’m asking that you would too. In love, of course. Dr. King says “”Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Honor the legacy of Dr. King. Fight injustice. Do something. Say something. Be light.