The Racist Button

A classmate in grad school was recounting her semester in Seville, Spain, where she met up with a group of American guys.  They invited her to an island for the weekend and she went.  With these strangers.  I was a bit shocked and asked if she was in the least bit afraid, to which she batted her long lashes and replied in her wispy voice, "They were really nice and they were American!"

Lest anyone judge her as being shallow and foolish, I find there are many who associate superficial appearances with deep character traits.  "Character flaws" like being a rapist, or murderer.  We want our crazies to look like Ted Kaczynski, not Timothy McVeigh. We want our crazies to be unkempt, rambling incomprehensibly; not like the nice young man at the Sunoco down the street. 

Most of us have learned that looks can be deceiving, but it seems when faced with it in our lives, we forget.  Maybe we want to forget.  We want life to be simple and worked out for us.  If you are bad, you will look scary.  A scary "badge," as it were.  It's almost an urban lore to have the murderer/rapist/molester's neighbor say, "He was pretty quiet.  Seeemed like a nice guy."

I think we have a primal instinct to identify people that are like us, and therefore deemed safe, while we look at others dissimilar to us and automatically get our guard up.  I talked about this with respect to race before.  But we have evolved, haven't we? And being in an integrated culture, don't we have to think a little harder?  Maybe just even think, for a minute, instead of going to the automatic place?

Sin knows no racial, ethnic, class, gender, or national border.

When the Nazis were rounding up Jews, the neighbors watched.  "Neutral" countries turned their heads.  We'd like to think those German neighbors were hate-spewing, racists sneering at what was going on.  Some were, to be sure.  But I'm betting they were neighbors and merchants and just like you and me and your aunt and your neighbor.  The one that is so nice.

Because you know, no racist thinks they're racist.  They consider it Truth.  Guised in Right and Wrong.  Some dare to base it on the Bible.  The Europeans who ruled Africa did not see themselves as racist.  They just knew that the black natives were lazy, not to be trusted and violent with no rule of law.  It was a Truth.  And to rule over them and force European Law on them, to make them work the land to benefit Britannia was a matter of Right and Wrong.

Do you find people that are a little too quick to believe a story about an angry black mob attacking an innocent white man?  Shake head, "Those blacks...."  They're a little too quick to believe the myth of the "urban single mom," who sucks our taxes by popping out babies for welfare money.  [I grew up in central Pennsylvania and I saw a lot of women with food stamps at the grocery store and none of them were black.]  Do you know someone a little too vehement about illegal immigration?  Now don't be accusing me of approving the breaking of the law. I'm talking about the heart, here.  Have you heard a contempt in their voice for the illegal immigrants themselves, instead of the laws and processes?

Racists(and murders and rapists) don't all live in southern Georgia.  They don't wear uniforms, although there are some that wear those sheets.  Or Nazi paraphernalia.  They don't wear a button.  They wear Dockers and polos and live down the street.  They play with their kids, attend a house of worship.  And seem like a nice person.

...behold! a great multitude that no one could number, **from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,** standing before the throne and before the Lamb...                                                               - Revelations 7:9


Bad Enough

I've drastically altered how and what we eat in our household over the years.  I believe what we eat is really important, which may sound really obvious.  But if it's so obvious, then why don't more people eat healthy?  I have faced many crossed-arms of closed-mindedness and sardonic looks of disbelief, verging on the eye roll whenever I bring up the notion of Real food or Slow Food, as if I were some far-out Birkie-wearing crunchy granola.  WHICH I'M NOT!  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Anyone who writes for a fashion blog by definition, can't be!!

It's not just about whether the food is organic or not, because it's about more than that, but for argument's sake, or a brief blog post's sake, let's say organic food vs. industrialized food.

I realized it's not just that people have to believe organic is better, because I think people do.  It's that they have to believe the industrialized food is bad, or bad enough to make the extra trip, make the effort, pay the extra.  Otherwise, why change?

Why fix somthin' that ain't broked?

I had a long talk with a friend today.  She's seriously considering breaking up her very serious relationship.  He has a serious, congenital health problem that can be dramatically improved by lifestyle changes.  But he won't.  Seriously.  I guess he wants to keep cheating death, but he has to buy into the notion that the lifestyle he's living now is bad, or bad enough to make the change worthwhile.  Right now, he doesn't believe that it's bad enough - for his children, for my friend, for her children...for himself.  It makes me wonder if he values himself.

A former boss wanted to write a little book on change.  He wanted me to do some reseacth and thinking about it.  I was really stumped.  Within the context of Christianity, long-lasting change with regard to the essense of who we are, is impossible without Christ.  We have a Genesis-borne tendancy to deny God's importance in our lives and do what is good in our own eyes.

Change, in terms of day-to-day habits that do not go to the core of our Nature, can be accomplished,  because WE VALUE OURSELVES over all else.  If we believe that what we are doing/saying/living/eating is bad, or bad enough, we will change, to survive..  Maybe it's just the primal survival of the fittest.

These are my thoughts of the day.  More to come...

Until then, enjoy the holiday weekend.  Be positive, be useful, be safe.