I was ten years when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
I remember the night so vividly. My mother and stepfather had gone to a meeting and my younger brother and I were watching television. It was an episode of “Bewitched” and we were eagerly watching to see how Samantha would, with a combination of charm and magic, extricate herself from another sticky situation.
Suddenly, the episode was interrupted with one of those “Breaking News/News Flash” type of announcements and the newscaster reported that Dr. King had been shot.
When the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision was handed down in 1954, most white people and school systems in the South viewed the notion of white and black students attending school together as nothing short of the apocalypse. In 1955, when Brown II said that desegregation had to occur “with all deliberate speed,” southern school districts took that language to mean that they could use all sorts of tactics to delay compliance. Even the use of federal marshals or the National Guard to protect black students seeking to enroll in “white schools” did not convince the majority of southern school districts to desegregate the public schools.
With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the filing of additional school desegregation cases by the federal government, many southern school districts grudgingly began to realize that doing nothing with respect to desegregation was no longer an option. My county, Meriwether County, Georgia (the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Little White House) decided on a two-pronged response.
First, as was being done in so many counties in the South, the white parents decided to create a private school for their children. In the fall of 1967, Flint River Academy opened in Woodbury, Meriwether County, Georgia. The official dedication was done by none other than the Governor of the State of Georgia, Lester Maddox, who, prior to becoming Governor, had achieved hero status among segregationists when he and his supporters wielded ax handles as they turned away three black students who were seeking to be seated and served in his restaurant. In fact, that episode was largely responsible for the launching of his political career.
This post by our own Dr. Fatimah Salleh, a woman called and anointed by God and who speaks truth and power, was originally posted at feministmormonhousewives.org on November 10, 2016. Its message is so compelling that we felt we need to share it here, as well.
As I sit here and reel from the recent results of our election, I find myself heartbroken, scared and infuriated—nothing new to this brown American woman.
What baffles me the most is how, just how, many of my Christian brothers and sisters voted for Donald Trump. So, naturally my mind and heart try to make sense of how a people who claim to love their neighbors vote for a man who instills hate.
Why is it that white American Christians fail to grasp the deep disconnect between their political leanings and the teachings of Jesus Christ?
This piece is a guest post by Shannon Hall-Bulzone. It was originally posted in BuzzFeed Community:
Learning to be silent is crucial if you want marginalized groups to consider you an ally.
“I can’t wait until Trump gets rid of you fucking faggots.”
These words were hurled at a close friend as she walked into a bathroom at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Ten days after the election there has been no shortage of bigotry fueled attacks by those Hillary described as the “basket of deplorables.”
Well, they’re speaking up and making it known those of us who are not cis straight white men or women are unwelcome. Minorities are largely fearful, angry, and unsure if and when they’ll be on the receiving end of these attacks.
It was with these attacks in mind that I created a thread intended to be a space for people of color to heal, share their stories without intrusion, and to feel validation in a world that normalizes racism and intolerance. I shared my friend’s story and stated – “Don’t comment on this thread if you’re white. I’m sorry. I don’t want to hear your solidarity, your regret, or your apology. Too little too late, get your people and go to work – save the kind words for now because they’re empty when we are being targeted. Words and safety pins don’t fix a damn thing.”
The exclusion of my white friends from this thread was inevitably ignored, and that is a problem.
(A picture of a white dove against a bright blue sky, with white clouds and a slight rainbow with the words: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV))
Several years ago, I accompanied my youngest daughter, who was then in undergraduate school, on a trip to Cherokee, North Carolina. By the time we arrived back at her school, it was already getting dark. She suggested that I stay with her or that I stay with my oldest daughter who lived about an hour away. I insisted that I needed to head to my mother’s house, which was about two and a half hours away on some rather dark, long country roads.
About halfway through my journey, at one of the darkest and most lonely spots, I had a blowout. I was able to safely stir the car to the side of the road. However, despite the fact that I had four (count them) phones with four (count them again) different carriers, I was unable to call either AAA for assistance or my mother to let her know what had happened. Since I was not sure of my ability to change a tire and it was very, very dark, I felt I had no choice but to drive (on my flat tire) back towards the nearest town.
As we are assigning blame for the massacre of our LGBTQIA siblings in Orlando, let us not forget to look at ourselves.
If any of us has ever done any of these things —
- Remained quiet when someone (including a member of our churches) made the comment that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve;”
- Laughed nervously at jokes about the LGBTQIA community because we wanted to continue to do business with or interact with the person telling the joke;
- Used phrases or words like “sugar in his britches,” “he/she,” “lesbo,” or “fa**ot” to describe members of the LGBTQIA community OR allowed those phrases or words to be used in our presence —
Then we have contributed to the ignorance and “othering” of homophobia.
We need to stop. We need to speak out. We need to do better.
I voted in my first presidential election in 1976. I proudly cast my vote for Jimmy Carter for President. I have voted in EVERY election (in which I was eligible to vote) since that time. I have taken taxicabs and public transportation to my polling place; I have begged and cajoled friends and relatives to take me to my polling place; I have driven through blinding rain and other inclement weather to get to my polling place; and I have stood in very long lines to cast my vote (even when I had to wear a back brace to do so).
I have enthusiastically supported my favorite candidates with donations to their campaigns — with their bumper stickers on my car — with their yard signs in my yard — with their T-shirts as part of my wardrobe. (In the 2008 and 2012 elections, there were so many bumper stickers on my car that my friends (and a few frenemies) referred to it as the “Obamamobile.”