My friend Rob was a social worker and hated his job around the holidays. You would think there would be more peace, but exactly the opposite, as families fought worst than cats and dogs ever would. He stated the reason was because people are together only for holidays, when they normally avoid each other the rest of the year. Tempers begin to flare, words get said, booze is flowing, then fists start throwing.
However, if you and your child’s mother live in separate houses, you may know a little about those types of sparks during the holiday season. If you have not had that blow up yet, trust me, you probably will. Perhaps you buy the kids with your current wife/girlfriend (don’t date single mothers, there, you’ve been warned) more stuff than you bought for the child you two have together, you might get a phone call (or text these days I guess). Perhaps you do not have the money/gifts she wants to give the child you two have together because child support has you tapped out, or because it needs to be split with your other kids as well, then you will definitely get a phone call or text!
The advice by Rich Cooper is great in this short vid. I love his channel (and he’s a car guy as well so that helps) as Rich is all about telling men to focus on themselves, “Do the Work”, and focus on excellence, not booty. However, he’s also divorced and has a lot of good content on dealing with ex-wives and parenting, so I can’t recommend his channel enough.
If you have any advice on how to avoid, cope or just a story about “Baby Momma Drama” in your past, feel free to share in the comments below!
Men – I certainly haven’t been around much at Furious Fathering. Homeschooling, shifting home priorities and the focus on becoming a better man for 2017 has made me cut my computer usage dramatically. Too much time on the keyboard and not enough time building a better life and relationships were impacting my world.
That said, I’m going to let some of you guys know that I’m not going to be mixing words very much on this page. I’ve been a bit cautious in what I say to not alienate anyone, but that’s about to change. There are too many men, especially young fathers, that need the straight truth, because no one is really giving it to them, and no one ever gave it to me. I cannot sit idly by and address the issues the same way many in society do every day. In the end, it is producing wimpy men that do not deserve to have their kids, because they will produce little skinny jean wearing confused “men” that will soon be used to destroy the rest of our community. Also, their special “baby momma” will have her ego fed even more and pull the same lame but effective game on the next guy she traps, urrrr loves, or needs as she’s hitting 30 and realizing nobody is checking for her anymore. So it’s time to settle down with that “nice guy”.
Are you that guy?
So if you aren’t ready for some iron-sharpen-iron discussions, you may want to drop out. If you think your life will be better if your special little snowflake that trapped you and pumped out your golden egg came back to you, you might wanna drop out. If you don’t want to see comments that rebuke the belief that your wife or your momma are the next best thing to Mary mother of Jesus, you might want to bounce. You’ve been warned. However, if you want to stay around and see where things go, challenge and exchange, then let’s get Furious with this dialogue, and become/build a better place for real father’s to come and learn how to lead.
Today it has been one year since my father-in-law (FIL) made his transition to eternity. My wife wanted to spend the day at the city zoo because that was one of the places he would meet her and the kids during the day for outings. I took the day off of work, gave the kids the day off of school (reason, 32,499 to homeschool), and dedicated this as a memorial day for his life, especially because it has been a year after his passing.
Make Your Own Family Holidays and Memorial Days
Monday, my main hustle gave us the day off to honor President’s Day. I decided to work and take today off instead. First, History.com describes Presidents day as, “Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.” Personally, I’ve never been a fan of celebrating someone who would have me working on the plantation as a slave if they were alive today, and my family does not celebrate many of this nation’s holidays because they really are not for us. It is said that Mr. Washington “owned” over 300 “slaves” at the time of his death. After he died, I’m sure he had a good reason before the Creator of Man how he could own something that he did not create, and whether or not he treated them justly as human beings. Therefore, we ignored this day (notice that as with most “holidays” as well, honoring the person isn’t the primary reason, but monetary gain to the nation), and decided to give a day to someone who really meant something in our lives.
I would like to encourage all of the Furious Fathers to consider doing the same. First, consider some significant days in your life or the anniversary dates of impactful moments and people in your life. Maybe it’s the birth/death of your parents or friends that are no longer with us. Maybe it’s the anniversary of a significant family event or for some men, just taking their kid’s birthdays off would be a great start. Whatever you can find, I encourage you to give it a try. This is a great time for the family to come together in the evening for a meal, and reflect on why the day is special, handing down memories and lessons from the one honored or from an event, all with the intention of helping shape your family’s present and future.
Seven Lessons from My Father-In-Law
On that note, allow me to share with you seven lessons that I learned from my father-in-law, as I reflected on our relationship today.
If the Good Lord woke you up, it’s a good day – In the final years of his life, as I think he began to see that he did not have the energy and ability to do what he once did, I would ask my FIL how he was doing and his response was always, “The Good Lord woke me up this morning, so that makes it a good day.” How we love to “wake up on the wrong side of the bed” or immediately allow ourselves to get swept up in the cares of a day and thinking life is so miserable, never just being thankful that if our eyes opened, the day is good. That certainly doesn’t mean that we smile with joy when bad things happen or life does not seem to be waiting like a towel when we get out the morning shower to not dry us off, but add more water, the last thing we need. That just means that if you have the mental ability to know that it is another day (and not all people have this ability), it is off to a good start. This is truly a glass-half-full mindset. My FIL had an apartment in one of the more swanky cities in the area, known for being liberal, having a small downtown to party in, and trendy restaurants, but he lived on the 11th floor and could see above the city’s tree line and would not move from that location. He had his view to see the sun come up in the east, and the ability to go sit on the corner and people watch, and he had seen that town change so much in all the years he lived and worked in the same area. He found contentment in the “little” things we often take for granted, the real treasures that make each day a good day.
You are never too old to change – When my FIL first heard about this so-called Black guy dating his daughter, he put down an edict that still has ramifications to this day. He said I was not allowed to come over to his house. I guess he felt superior as a hard-working so-called White man that the thought of his daughter being interested in someone Black after having her born and raised away from Black people, and the fact that this guy was working a dead-end job and already had a child, didn’t help as well. Needless-to-say, the latter two I’d have a problem with if my daughters were dating someone in the demographic. But over the years, I guess as he saw I was still in his daughter’s life after many years and was not afraid of him in any way, he seemed to change. Now this change wasn’t (at least outwardly) the usual go-along-to-get-along because my FIL never seemed much like that, but one that seemed genuine after his ideology was challenged and what seemed like some introspection on his part. Obviously, the fact that I am blogging about him right now says much, and after a few meetings, we quickly become quite close. I think he respected me and knew I respected him, even if we disagree with each other’s position on a topic, more we also discovered that we had so much in common and, as most father’s learned, his daughter may have married a man just like him despite being completely opposite in skin color. In the last decade of his life, my FIL and I grew pretty close, and at family events, we talked constantly. When he stopped attending those, I pretty much did as well! Our relationship was then built outside his immediate family, and sometimes he would call and we would talk for minutes (cause y’all know ole dudes don’t stay on the phone for hours) and when he came the kid’s games and over for holidays, we would talk more than he would talk to my wife…even about race! Perhaps it was having grandchildren. Perhaps it was God. I’m not sure what is was, but this guy seemed to do a complete 180 and it has taught me that some leopards do change their spots, even at an old age.
Attend EveryGame – One reason our relationship strengthened so much was because of the amount of time we spent together. This was not a planned meet-up, but because he always wanted to be at my kids’ ball games to support them. He was at the baseball games and basketball games, even the dance recitals which no man wants to sit through! I can’t recall a time he left early or arrived late, he was just always there. During that time, I heard many stories, and I loved the sports stories the most, as he was alive to see Willie Mays (and my FIL was a serious baseball fan) and Ted Williams. When he said Ted Williams was his favorite player, but Willie Mays was the best player to play the game, that statement had weight to me. When he criticized today’s players and spoke of problems in the game, I knew it was with the knowledge that would match any ESPN analyst with Google right at their fingertips to do research. He would often tell me that he knew the starting line-up of the 1957 Detroit Tigers, but not what he did last week. A feeling I now know very well, as I can name the starting line-up of the 1983 California Angels but struggle to nearly everything else in my life as well. When he attended, he just wanted them to know he was there and he never criticized their game, just that they were playing hard. After every game, regardless of the outcome, they came over for their high-five and “good game!” I don’t think they will realize the effort it takes to have that kind of attendance record until they have to make the effort to go watch their kids and grandkids play, no matter you feel or “meaningless” the game.
Here’s the 1957 Detroit Tigers Opening Day line-up! Source: Baseball-reference.com
Always Be Teaching and Learning – Whether it be a game, family gathering or phone conversation, my FIL was always learning something and teaching. Looking back, like many men of his generation that did not complete his high school education, he never made it to high school. So I think he made it a priority to always be learning something new to cover up any lack of knowledge people might perceive that he had when speaking to him. He seemed to know quite a bit about nearly anything and if he knew I was into a particular topic, we would see each other the next time and he had some info for me. He was always teaching some lesson or sharing how some event from the past will visit us again in the future. But he could be in this position because he was always learning. For his birthday, he loved to get a gift certificate to the bookstore. He gave me boxes and boxes of books that he picked up from the Salvation Army for $1.00 or less, and the topics consisted of sports, philosophy, religion, reference material and on and on. He seemed so proud that we were homeschooling the children and even more proud of what we were teaching them and the people they were becoming. No one on either side of my family was as much of a champion for my kid’s education than he was, and he was so optimistic at their future because they were out of the system.
“Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later” – Dave Ramsey said it, but my FIL truly lived it. If you would have met my FIL and heard of his shopping habits, you’d think he was an elder man that was barely getting by. Quite the contrary. Where did he shop? The Salvation Army or any second-hand store that had deals. He’d bring bags over all the time with nothing but the free stuff he received from the drugstore with coupons. Some items had expired, some we still have, and some we gave away, but he viewed it as, “Hey, it’s free, so I figured someone could use it.” He drove around so long in a plain white rental-car-looking Ford Focus. He put approximately 2,000 miles a year on the odometer. Now, it wasn’t that he didn’t like or couldn’t afford a more flashy car, as he always wanted to have an Audi R8 and lamented often how he had to get rid of that ’67 Camaro with a stick because my wife’s baby seat was on the floor next to my MIL and he couldn’t drive it without hitting her seat. But he kept saying, “I cannot see paying that much money for a car I’d never drive. I can take the bus if I really need to go downtown, and the car I have takes me anywhere else I need to go just fine.” He loved to chat about the press cars I’d bring home and would give me car mags he bought from the store with good articles. But if it did not make fiscal AND practical sense, there was no purpose in him parting with his cash. So he kept that flip-phone till the end.
The last testosterone producing ride my FIL owned…that had to go because of my wife
When my FIL talked about the R8, you could hear the excitement in his voice
Being alone for a man is not something to fear but embrace – My in-laws divorced shortly after my FIL retired. Many men I know at my age cannot stand to be alone, let alone a man that had been married for three decades. But he seemed to take pride in being a bachelor, with his “pad”, frugal life, and discovering new dishes that he could make and eat in his crock pot. Sometimes as men, I think that we avoid and fear of being alone after many years of marriage, so we jump right back into another relationship for more security. However, I think he was an excellent example of how to be content with one’s own thoughts, failures, and dreams. Dr. Robert Glover of No More Mr. Nice Guy says that we as men need to know that no matter what, we will be okay and we can handle it. It is a lesson I’m still learning.
We all have to die someday – In a few weeks, it will also be one year marking the time my FIL and I were to meet again. I saw him in January of 2016 when visiting the old neighborhood and I honestly thought that due to the short notice, he would not meet with me. My FIL took each day as it came, so if he wasn’t in the mood to chat and chill, it’s a no go. Surprise visits were even worse, as he has always been an early to bed and early to rise guy. But turned out, not only did my short notice not matter, he really wanted to see me. It was like he knew it was the last time we would see each other. When kicked it in his place for quite a while and even though I knew the doctor’s opinion was that his months may be numbered, his spirit and zest said otherwise. When I asked him how he was doing, he said that, “You know, this is tough, but hey, we all have to die someday.” I then asked about his relationship with God and he said he was at peace with his Maker, knew where he was going and was ready to go. During his battle with cancer, knowing that we had to die someday seemed to make him appreciate just one more day so much more. He said, “That Good Lord has given me a lot of years and a great life, great kids, great grandkids, a job I enjoyed, you know, what do I have to complain about?” I left his place saying that I would be back in March when I had to return to speak at an event. He said to definitely come back by and see him, but I didn’t know if he would make that meeting myself. I left his presence with tears in my eyes and basically saying to him how much I appreciated all of the things you get to read about right now. As a man who admitted to making many mistakes in his life, and some that he paid the price for till the end, I wanted him to know that our finish after a horrendous start is something I will never forget and truly shows God’s grace to the two of us. Ever humbly accepted and agreed, and encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing, because it’s my kids show that it is working. But I told him that he played a huge part of that as well, and it was one of the few times the old guy got speechless. I think we both parted ways unsure if that meeting, just less than two months away, would ever take place. I left having nothing unsaid to him, as who knows, I could have died instead. He at least seemed to be relieved at our honest exchange. All hearts were clear because we all have to die someday.
I don’t know.
Now I wonder, what DO I have to complain about?
That’s why we honor my FIL today and it’s good to think about the wisdom he passed down to me.
Other meaningless holidays come and go, but tomorrow, I’ll wake up thinking, “Thank you Good Lord for waking me up, and giving me a good day.”
After a long time away, I’m finally back with a podcast.
But not just any podcast, but a mix to my grandson J-ICE.
Old-school hip-hop heads know that bouncing with some hard beats is always a challenge, even with rap pre-1995. My son likes to roll with tunes that were out when he was still in a car seat, and is now facing that challenge when he’s rolling with my grandson.
I’ll post up the playlist pretty soon, but for now, just turn up that bass, grab the kids, grab your bible, and lets ride…
How big was Idlewild? “By the 1950s and early 1960s, Idlewild reached the height of its popularity. During those years nearly 25,000 vacationers made their way to the community, temporarily overwhelmingly the permanent year-round population. During this era Idlewild boasted more than 300 black-owned businesses.” – Blackpast.org
Looking forward to The Comeback!
“Morton’s has been home to music greats such as Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops and Della Reese. Our comfortable, recently renovated guest rooms – some with kitchenettes – Great Room with adjoining large kitchen and cable TV, outdoor open space dotted with lawn chairs, picnic courtyard with umbrella tables and canopied patio are some of our attractions. We provide a warm, inviting place…”- http://www.michigan.org/property/morton-s-motel/
“While the clubs attracted black patrons, they were often examples of interracial mingling. As one Idlewild resident recalled, the clubs filled to capacity every night, and on some nights, “there were more white people in there than blacks. It wasn’t about race, it was about fun…
Idlewild, like other all-black resorts, would not survive the civil rights movement. As formerly white-only clubs and resorts across the nation integrated in the late 1960s, Idlewild went into decline. Its clubs and hotels closed as blacks began to frequent other resorts.” –blackpast.org
“Judith Griffin now lives in New Jersey, but her family would drive from Chicago to Idlewild resort in Michigan every summer. Griffin recalls one trip where her father—one of the few black gastroenterologists at that time—pulled over to save the lives of motorists in a very bad accident. ..Because of discrimination, families like Griffin’s were forced to use what was called “The Green Book.” It was a directory of stops that would serve African Americans on the road.” –http://wmuk.org/post/black-travel-during-jim-crow-illustrated-green-book
First, Happy Father’s Day to all my CSDs out there!
You know, it seems just like yesterday. The years I spent as a single-dad when my son was between 10-15 years old were the worst compared to the other 13 years. During this time period, I was struggling financially and trying to finish school to earn my degree, with the hope of coming up in this land of milk-n-honey. I was also trying to provide for my other children that were being born with my wife and also going to work at various places meant days that never ended and stress that felt like I was carrying a weight 24/7.
My poor sociology teacher had to read all about my struggles, as I poured my heart out in essay after essay. My son was at an age where he could choose (he was not given that “right” by me, but by his mom and the court) whether he wanted to come over to my home or not, and oftentimes for various reasons, he would not. Perhaps the ultimate knife in my chest was when he told the referee that he did not want to come to my home, as there were too many rules, he did not have fun and all we did was go over his grandparent’s house. My heart stopped beating that day in the court room, as I was fighting to maintain the visitation rights that I fought for when he was just a baby. I thought, “And this is how I get paid back?” “I’m being treated worse than Cain who said, ‘It ain’t mine’ and bounced. For those who have seen Menace To Society, they know what I’m talking about.
But it was all of those experiences that moved me to create this blog years later.
The essay below was one that I wrote in 2001 for my Social Science Theory class. My superb professor had us all develop a theory by the end of the semester, as she knew that social and psychological theories that change the world are not only born when you have a Ph.D.. So it is in the environment above that I have described, that my Alliance Theory was born. When I performed my research for the paper (yes, done without the internet and we had just got a computer for me to type this on), I learned that my theory had basically been previously presented and was known as Parental Alienation Syndrome.
I’ve never shared this publicly, and I’m posting pictures of the essay until I can type a more recent edition. Therefore, you get to see all of my grammar mistakes, the faded paper, etc.. But I wanted to share this on Father’s Day to once again encourage those of you struggling as well. You may not get to see your son or daughter today, as they may choose (or the mother may choose for them) to spend it with a new guy, with mommy or a step-father instead.
I know it hurts. It hurts to watch you and your child’s relationship melt and you seem to be the only one that cares. You know your child has no idea the impact that this is going to have in his or her life. But you hang in there. Never give up and cry to yourself if necessary. Emotions usually spring forth in the only way society allows men to grieve, and that’s through anger and violence. But you probably know that when you lose control in those arguments, you lose. She can just pick up her “toys” if you will, and go home. You look like the bad-guy, and to your child, you are that bad guy. Why? Read the essay below.
Make today a special day for yourself. It’s special because you are still there, whether your son or daughter understands right now or not.
Now this was written 14 years ago, but what do you think? How has your life experience been and does this theory fit your situation? Let me know in the comments below or email me.
So again, if that phone doesn’t ring or no one comes to visit, you at least get a heart felt Happy Father’s Day from CSD my man, and may God bless you.
Happy Fathers’ Day to all of the CSD’s putting in that work holding down your family and Happy Juneteenth Day!
Sadly, none of my schools taught me about this day.
I did not even know about it until my uncle in CA told me about it at 22 yrs. old!
I don’t want others to be as ignorant as I was, but the 4th of July wasn’t about the independence of everyone, as the slaves were certainly not given their freedom. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Frederick Douglas who said,
“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout…
Why have I been blogging about race and police violence so much? Because it is kids that look like mine that are dying and most in this country do not care, because it’s not their problem. But I fear for my sons and if you have darker skin and are reading this, yours as well.
No matter how much we teach them “proper manners”, how to dress and give a firm handshake, home school them and teach them to remain sexually pure…when the LEO sees them walking, riding a bike (yes, look it up), and of course driving, those lights are getting tripped because our boys are seen as the face of criminal behavior regardless of what the statistics say. It’s in our country’s DNA, and this is why we cannot ignore, and I will not on this blog, the racial component. Therefore, any action even viewed (e.g. Tamir Rice) as defiant can end in death. At best, the LEO will approach them like they’re dealing with a gang member, not the 4x per week, active youth group, mission-taking, home schooled, authority-respecting young man that you’ve tried to raise.
That part, I can tell you from experience, has never changed in this country.
That leads me to today’s post. This is the best article that I’ve read so far concerning the police violence that we are hearing about regularly today.
Personally, I’m tired of the ignorant straw-man arguments about LEOs. Many still use the “you don’t understand how hard it is…” like some Uno Draw Four card to win the discussion. First, that certainly doesn’t work on me, as I know that one doesn’t have to “be in the shoes” to judge right and wrong. If that’s the case, most of the people saying, “What about black-on-black” crime?” have no validity as many are not “black”.
That said, here’s someone who has been there, so what do you think he has to say? Here are some excerpts:
“On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with. That’s a theory from my friend K.L. Williams, who has trained thousands of officers around the country in use of force…”.
“And I worked with people like the president of my police academy class, who sent out an email after President Obama won the 2008 election that included the statement, “I can’t believe I live in a country full of ni**er lovers!!!!!!!!” He patrolled the streets in St. Louis in a number of black communities with the authority to act under the color of law.”
“It is not only white officers who abuse their authority. The effect of institutional racism is such that no matter what color the officer abusing the citizen is, in the vast majority of those cases of abuse that citizen will be black or brown. That is what is allowed.”
“The profession — the endeavor — is noble. But this myth about the general goodness of cops obscures the truth of what needs to be done to fix the system…Institutional racism runs throughout our criminal justice system. Its presence in police culture, though often flatly denied by the many police apologists that appear in the media now, has been central to the breakdown in police-community relationships for decades in spite of good people doing police work.”
“Beyond the many unarmed blacks killed by police, including recently Freddie Gray in Baltimore, other police abuses that don’t result in death foment resentment, distrust, and malice toward police in black and brown communities all over the country. Long before Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown last August, there was a poisonous relationship between the Ferguson, Missouri, department and the community it claimed to serve. For example, in 2009 Henry Davis was stopped unlawfully in Ferguson, taken to the police station, and brutally beaten while in handcuffs. He was then charged for bleeding on the officers’ uniforms after they beat him.”
“About that 15 percent of officers who regularly abuse their power: a major problem is they exert an outsize influence on department culture and find support for their actions from ranking officers and police unions. Chicago is a prime example of this:…The victims were electrically shocked, suffocated, and beaten into false confessions that resulted in many of them being convicted and serving time for crimes they didn’t commit. One man, Darrell Cannon, spent 24 years in prison for a crime he confessed to but didn’t commit. He confessed when officers repeatedly appeared to load a shotgun and after doing so each time put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Other men received electric shocks until they confessed.”
“This allows him to leave viewers with the impression that the recent protests against police brutality are baseless, and that allegations of racism are “totally wrong — just not true.” The reality of police abuse is not limited to a number of “very small incidents” that have impacted black people nationwide, but generations of experienced and witnessed abuse.The media is complicit in this myth-making: notice that the interviewer does not challenge Safir. She doesn’t point out, for example, the over $1 billion in settlementsthe NYPD has paid out over the last decade and a half for the misconduct of its officers. She doesn’t reference the numerous accounts of actual black or Hispanic NYPD officers who have been profiled and even assaulted without cause when they were out of uniform by white NYPD officers.”
“Instead she leads him with her questions to reference the heroism, selflessness, risk, and sacrifice that are a part of the endeavor that is law enforcement, but very clearly not always characteristic of police work in black and brown communities. The staging for this interview — US flag waving, somber-faced officers — is wash, rinse, and repeat with our national media. When you take a job as a police officer, you do so voluntarily. You understand the risks associated with the work. But because you signed on to do a dangerous job does not mean you are then allowed to violate the human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties of the people you serve. It’s the opposite. You should protect those rights, and when you don’t you should be held accountable. That simple statement will be received by police apologists as “anti-cop.” It is not.”
I’ve been studying Sundown towns quite a bit over the last few months. Therefore, this story really jumped out at me. James Loewen speaks of many towns that were still sundown as recent as the 2000s! So this isn’t some old civil rights issue that went out with MLK. No, this is STILL going on in America. Like all Sundown towns, there’s no surprise that this is in the north…New York to be exact:
“LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Blatant racism has struck on Long Island, as a black family got a letter imploring them to leave their town because of their race.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the case is being investigated by Suffolk County police Hate Crimes Unit.
Ronica Copes of Lindenhurst read the letter aloud. She could not stomach the shocking anonymous letter sent to her home this week.
“Attn: African-American family. This is coming from the Lindenhurst community,” the letter reads. “Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don’t belong here. Please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can. It will be better for all of us. Find a town where there are more people like you. Sorry if this is rude, but it’s the truth.”
I struggled with whether I should write this post, but I’ve been continuously hearing about the “barbaric and savage” actions of ISIL, came out of seeing American Sniper to some guys saying, “If they want to give their country to some kids like that, then we should kill ’em…” and some getting upset at President Obama’s comments in which he truthfully pointed out:
“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. … So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”
Rush Limbaugh, someone who many Christians follow and align their beliefs with rather closely said, “Jim Crow’s not around today. A thousand years ago, yeah.”
Mike Huckabee and Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Fox, two self-proclaimed Christians, seem to take issue with the president’s comments as well, because he did not condemn Islamic terrorism enough during his speech.
While that’s certainly a conversation for another time, I’m more concerned about the complete ignorance by those who many Christians follow daily. Their position is even more appalling for many African-American Christians and even those who may not profess Christ (see HERE and HERE). Sorry Rush, no “ditto” here, but Jim Crow laws were in full effect until at least 1965. While I’m an old man, that’s less than a decade before I entered into this world, and I’m not a thousand years old.
The question becomes, is Rush that ignorant or does he know that most American’s are ignorant enough not to know their own history, or a combination of the two?
Jesse Washington, seen in the photo below, was murdered in 1916. For the math impaired, that’s only 99 years ago, during the other event we all must study in school called WWI.
In a report just released yesterday by the Equal Justice Initiative, it states:
“EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date…This was not “frontier justice” carried out by a few marginalized vigilantes or extremists. Instead, many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person. People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity. Not a single white person was convicted of murder for lynching a black person in America during this period.” (Emphasis mine) – See HERE
Please read that last sentence again if you wonder why, as late great sports journalist Ralph Wiley wrote the book, Why Black People Tend To Shout. Ralph wrote this when we were shouting about Rodney King (and having so-called honest discussions about race and taking down barriers…remember that?)
Today, we are still shouting about Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, John Crawford and so many more.
I wrote about going to hear author James Loewen HERE. During the lecture, Loewen presented a similar picture to those below and noted a few points.
#1 – Lynchings were so common, that many were unreported because it just wasn’t news. It was just something American’s practiced. Obviously, Loewen’s statement is backed up by the research above.
#2 – Lynching in America was so common, that Americans were proud. So proud, they took their children to watch, created post cards showing the brutality (who did they send those too?) and even smiled for the camera.
#3 – Lynching, the murder of another human life, was done with no fear of the law. Obviously, when you look at the photos and see that no one covered their face with shame or shielded their kids from seeing such a, dare I say, a barbaric and savage act, done by those who I’m sure also considered it their obligation to be in church on Sunday.
That last point, is President Obama’s point. The symbol of the KKK was and is the cross. Our Savior died on a cross to redeem mankind (John 3:16-17). In the comments below, since we have many sermons by Christian ministers from 100+ years ago, I would appreciate if anyone could list where I can find some messages of those ministers speaking against them using the cross and the other acts of terrorism they perpetrated from the late 1800’s to mid-1900’s.
I’m serious, because I can find you some African-American ministers who did speak out.
Trust me, if you’re a light-shaded Christian and you’re discussing the President’s remarks with a Christian from a darker people-group, they will likely think of the above, but likely not say anything as we just know this is the cost of “doing business”.
As a father, I protect my kids from many things, but history is not one of them. The last thing I want to raise in my house are children as ignorant as the talking-heads in the media, that feed many of those I work and even go to church with each week.
Take a look at the photos.
Take a look at everything in the photos.
Perhaps the true grotesque image is not the body hanging from that tree, but the smiling face looking at you in the picture.
I’ll leave you with what I always encourage my readers to do. Ask your relatives who were alive what they thought back then, ask what they remember. This history wasn’t a thousand years ago, that history may be sitting next to you on Easter Sunday.