I will begin with this quote, "“Ignorance is the single greatest tool of oppression and …. the greatest despondency, is the greatest ignorance of one’s self… birds born in a cage think flying is an illness; it’s hard to free fools from the chains they revere.” Like Muhammad Ali, I had always wondered too . . . then I learned the truth. Everyone has a different version of it but I have always looked at the images all around me growing up and questioned them, I still do. Everyone and everything can't be one way, can it? Why is this? Why is that? I always knew that someone or something was controlling what I was perceiving through television, radio and other forms of advertisement; I just wanted to know why most of the influences seemed negative, when referencing people of color? The important thing to know is that there's a difference between knowing the truth, learning the truth and embracing the truth without degrading or ostracizing others. The hard thing about watching, even formerly oppressed people learn their truth, is that you have to be able to see them justified, redeemed and loved within that journey. Naturally, we are a victimized society and around every corner is someone who was raped, abused, drug infested and bipolar, gang tripped and back-stabbed, abandoned and cheated. Let’s be real though, every sin is equal but every act of abuse is relative. For some people who are abused, they go into a shell, some become promiscuous, some have trust issues and some spaz out and start kicking some butt! The truth is, some pretty bad stuff happened a long time ago, its called slavery. Along with slavery came a complete alteration in the beliefs, understanding and knowledge of a culture. It baffles most of our tribal sisters and brothers who travel from Africa, some of which have no awareness of the ancestors who played a critical role in the transference of people in those times. That process of degrading, defaming and attempting to create genocide on a whole ethnic group of people while generating forms of mental enslavement has surrounded nearly every moment since then. The interesting thing is, those who are glorified in the media and in the favoring aspect of media perspective often don't realize that they too have been enslaved into a believed entitlement. There are some of us who 'rise' beyond exile, negative influence and self-degradation, but we must never forget that for many of us, the shackles are on so tight, some people don't even realize they are indeed still enslaved. It is often stated that religion, race and politics are hard topics to address and naturally, everyone has the right to agree to disagree. I can love a person without loving what they do and the same is true in loving a person without doing what they do. Walking in truth requires a lot of research, a desire to understand culture, a thirst for knowledge and a lot of action toward embracing broken generations, especially those who think everything is 'just fine'. Within my specific spiritual journey, I can help but embrace that God places me in certain environments for a reason and this current environment teaches me a very sobering perspective of 'loving those who hate'. In 2014, I have many friends from around the world within many different cultures and I love every last one of you because you have shown me the definition of love in your interaction with me - denying yourself for the benefit of me - the way Christ loves us. People are innately strong, having endured much trial. Both oppressors and suppressed within many aspects of the fabric our economic, psychological and systematic obscure acceptance of each other has been dipped in envy, pain and deceit before wrapping us in iniquity. I can't think of anyone who chooses to be a victim and yet every person in this country within a bloodline of slaves, connected to slaves, former slave owners, bashers and oppressors of communities of people, have experienced some form of mental victimization, improper socialization, segregation and discrimination. I believe that there are too many people playing church and not enough people physically being the church within our society. There are too many different versions of God and not enough truth in who God actually is. I have attended churches that are considered 'Black' and I have attended churches which are considered 'White' and what I know for sure is that both of them are worshiping the same God but no one seems to know that! The charades, antics and performances associated with some churches looks more like a mockery of God, than praise. I have seen a prophet with my own eyes, walk into a church and tell every person's business, leaving each person amazed and immediately respondent in worship and adoration for some things, only God could know. I have seen people with ailments healed and a few were people I personally watched over years of hurt, be healed. I have seen with my own two eyes, spirits cast out and deliverance take place, so I know that it’s real. The unfortunate aspect of the spirit world is that it doesn't offer much for the reality of the human world, to the human world because very few actually believe it to be true in the 1st place. We are a 'see it' 'prove it' and 'do it' culture and unfortunately it cripples our understanding of how spiritually connected we all are. If we could all just see that we were created to be connected and we were created to love our differences as well as our similarities. So many Black people have been putting the liquid crack (perm) in their hair so long it is scary. You will start an all-out war if you dare say that the mental enslavement in straight hair being beautiful has impacted that desire. What's even more interesting is that when people see a Black person who actually wears the hair they were born with, it is comical and the head shakes, the push for change and the suggestions of 'how you should wear your hair' comes from everywhere (nearly 20 years ago when I 1st went natural). When people see images of beauty that look like them, when there are resources that allow people to embrace who they are, then there is no desire to look like others, instead the journey begins of the unique differences we must learn to embrace. I posted this point of view, not because I want to stir up trouble but instead, stir up a desire to seek more of the truth in how to live in truth. The acceptance of who you are, the naps, the curls, the tone, the pigment, the alignment of your presence to the creator of all people. The connection in us all to be riveting and astoundingly awesome has embedded a purpose stemming beyond ourselves and yet begins with each and every one of us. Where you can, evoke change. Where you live, build community. Where you love, be gracious and kind. Where you work, be aggressive toward your best foot forward and be a light within the environment. Be the example on which love is reflected. . .maybe then, beneficial change can be foreseen and inevitably obtained.
Toseima J is the author of this blog. The type of person who looks forward to encouraging those around her. This blog is dedicated to the stories, experiences, and people who help make us all better, stronger, and wiser in all the ways God intended. SPEAK RESILIENCE is a blog that will certainly encourage, inspire, and uplift you; no matter how you pray, how you live, or who you choose to be in your life! Thank you for stopping by, sharing, and posting your comments. Knowing you are here, matters; you matter.