Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Race" as a social construction

"Race: The Power of an Illusion" is a PBS series and website that tackles the tough questions about "race."  This resource has helped me tremendously in clarifying my discussions and writing. Understanding the concept of a "social construction" takes time.  Realizing that "race" is not genetically or culturally-based is sometimes a new idea for many folks.  I can't explain it better than these folks have, so here is this resource again.  Enjoy!

References

Herbes-Sommers, C., Strain, T. H., & Smith, L. (2003). Race: The power of an illusion [Television Series]. San Francisco, CA: California Newsreel & Independent Television Service.

Race: The Power of an Illusion Website. (2003). PBS. Retrieved August 14, 2012, from http://www.pbs.org/race/

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Blog Wordle Word Cloud

For those who like graphic organizers, or a way to figure out what I blog about the most:


Wordle: Urban Restoration blog

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another confession

The other day I stopped my brother in the middle of the kitchen, breakfast in hand, to ask him point-blank, "Do you think I'm a heretic?"

He answered fairly quickly (good thing), "No, but you are proud."

I think I responded something like, "Yeah, well, look who's talking." Or maybe I just thought that in my mind. (Oops.  Sorry, brother!)

This blog post will not be about whether or not I am proud. I'm not quite ready to concede that point.  Instead, I am going to focus on another flaw that I recognized myself recently and feel, in fairness, I should confess.

Inconsistency. 

I recognize in myself that I, like others, have the potential to have pet peeves, "favorite" sins, and certain groups I bash more than others. (For example, my brother recently told me that I use the word "evangelical" with the same force as a four letter expletive. There might be something there on that one.)

I think I realize this more recently with the blog from Rachel Held Evans about abortion. Or maybe another example is yet another recent conversation with my brother, in which he described the contextual background for a man who cheats on his wife, and whether I would still consider adultery a sin in that case. I found I had no sympathy for that man. However, I have a lot of sympathy for a woman considering abortion. Potentially, this is not completely consistent. And I do mean "potentially," but let's focus on the inconsistent side of it. 

I find that people keep pressing me on the issue of whether or not I think homosexuality or abortion is a sin. Oddly, I don't have anybody sending me frantic emails or messages telling me they need me to decide whether or not opulent wealth is a sin, or asking me to clarify my stance on gluttony.  But I digress.

Because this perhaps leads me to another flaw that I realize I have in abundance:  

Stubbornness

When people keep asking me adamantly to come over to their side, I dig my heels in. I reason (perhaps that's not the right word), if you won't concede my point, then I won't concede your point. If you don't recognize my pet sin, then I won't recognize yours. This potentially is not the best method by which I can win friends and influence people.

So okay, I admit it. I've been inconsistent. I've been stubborn. 

I'm sorry. 

I recognize that there is sin in the world. I admit that despite complexities, evil is wrong. No qualifying statements. There it is. Take it as a victory.  I concede. 

I suppose I get worn down by people constantly insisting that I admit that there is "absolute truth" and "absolute sin" (if that's even a term).  But there also is a part of me that wants to ask, "Do I have to?" (said in a slightly whiny voice).

I mean, what do we really gain by admitting that homosexuality is a sin, for example?  And when do I assert that knowledge?  At what point do I interject into the conversation, "Hey, did you know abortion is wrong?" In what context do I shout my knowledge of what I believe is right and wrong and when do I keep quiet?

Again, this could go back to my inconsistencies. Because in most situations recently, I have been pretty adamant that racism is wrong. I keep telling people, "Hey, did you know that racism is still a problem? Did you know that you actually might have some racial bias?" So I guess it's just the same coin, different side.  

And I have had friends who say to me, "Maybe it's not what you're saying, maybe it's how you're saying it." Or, "Maybe if you just said it differently, or not as often, or not on social media, it would be better received." So I think they have a point. But then potentially that also makes my point about their pet "issues."

This brings me to my conclusion, and the moral of my reflection. Probably we need to all try to live in harmony more than we do. Probably I need to try to understand where other people are coming from more than I do. And hopefully other people would do the same for me.  And by "probably" and "hopefully" I mean, we should.