Racism & the Sins of Diversity

Project 2, Post 3: Racism & the Sins of Diversity

(Project 2 is all about the battle between good and evil.)

Racism is (a) the belief that race accounts for the difference in human character and/or ability; (b) discrimination or prejudice based on race.

 

Prejudice is (a) dislike for people of a specific race, religion, etc.; (b) the act or state of holding preconceived beliefs/judgments/convictions without adequate information.

 

Discrimination is treatment or consideration based on class or category, such as race or gender, rather than based on individual merit; partiality or prejudice.

Reflection:

I decided to add a little color to the background of my painting for bit more variety in tone. As I swept my brush across the canvas leaving behind small touches of blue and brown, the word “color” blinked inside of my mind, the letters made of bright, showbiz lights. Color! Color! Color!

…….My mind then leaped right into the heavy topic of skin color.

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I recently ran across the above post, by a person named Paul Noble, on Facebook. I literally gasped out loud. Few examples of present day racism are so obvious and unapologetic.

There you have it, my fellow Americans… Our society now values the wrapping paper more than the package inside! Gee…What could go wrong?

The “diversity” (or the lack there of) which is alluded to in this Facebook post is not true diversity, but is instead the new, elitist, limited form of diversity that is strictly confined to what you are on the outside; what you look like (or more specifically your skin color and what equipment you have between your legs). That ol’ saying, “Beauty is only skin deep,” has been thrown out with the bathwater. That’s right… You are now only as good as the color of your skin and your genital package.

New Diversity Definition: (Noun) (a) a tool used to bestow and to designate an individual’s or group’s value/worth based on race and sex; (b) a means by which a subgroup(s) of humans effectively shames, denigrates, and gains control over another subgroup(s); (c) a method for justifying one’s own racist inclinations toward a group of people.

Beware! This is a tool of evil! This “diversity” has no resemblance to love. Love does not seek to diminish others. Love does not keep records of wrong. Love fights against our human inclination to hate and to disparage. Love treasures one’s character, no matter the exterior. Love frees us from the weight of anger and blame, while hate wallows in it.

Make no mistake! Satan (Lucifer) is the force behind such fixations on our exteriors: after all, he was the most beautiful angel in Heaven and was enormously self-absorbed. Let’s take a moment to review exactly who Satan is so that we may more readily see his influence upon our world.

Created by God, Lucifer (meaning brightness) was one of the two angels seated beside the throne of the Heavenly Father. (Ezekiel 28:13, 15; Psalms 99:1). He is sometimes referred to as the morning star or day star. He was created perfect; glorious in splendor, beauty and wisdom. “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty… Every precious stone was your covering” (Ezekiel 28:12,13). Satan was also gifted with song. However, Lucifer allowed his beauty and pride to corrupt his wisdom for the sake of his own splendor. (Ezekiel 28:17). He sought out to exalt himself above God. Subsequently, a celestial war broke out in heaven. One-third of the Heaven’s angels joined Lucifer’s devious army. “Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in Heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole Earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

*It was Satan’s inflated ego and obsession with his own exterior that ultimately caused his fall from grace. Now, we too are heading down the path of Lucifer into a skin-deep hell-whole where the stakes are high and the ultimate cost will be our own souls’ fall from grace.

Right now, make a decision. Will you surrender your soul to the idolatry of diversity – of judging people by their skin color or sex? Or, will you remain true to Christ, closing off your heart to the creeping hatred of Satan and his evil sin of vanity? Deep down, we all know what the right choice is. There are no gray areas here. This is a matter of right and wrong; good and evil. Choose good!

Artistic Process:

Using a broad brush and keeping it damp, I smeared blues and browns onto the canvas, being careful not to apply too much. I kept white paint and black paint on hand to blend the colors as needed.

DO YOU LOVE? Or….

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                           DO YOU LOVE?

OUR WORLD NEEDS MORE LOVE!

While often read during Christian weddings, there is no mention of romance, marriage or other coupling within 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. True love is not an affection for or attraction to another person. True love is an action; something we each must do– outwardly and at all times- for all our fellow man. True love is a verb that, when practiced to the fullest extent in our power, benefits the whole of humanity.

*We all need to reflect on our own actions and motives. I created the below table so that we can all focus and dedicate ourselves to filling the world with more LOVE through our own lives! 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 LOVE IS / DOES: LOVE IS NOT / DOES NOT:
“Love is patient…” Enduring, does not give up, lasting Fail, die, transient, fleeting, short-lived, brief, temporary
“…Love is kind. Charitable, good, respectful, gentle, nice Cruel, malicious, malevolent, maleficent, mean
“It does not envy…” Gracious, content Jealous, covetous, grudging
“…it is not proud.” Humble, meek, unpretentious Prideful, boastful, self-congratulatory, dominating, smug, egotistic, conceited, condescending, cocky, pompous, hubristic, arrogant, patronizing
“It does not dishonor others…” Respects, honors, credits Slur, brand, shame, disgrace, discredit, brand, condemn, stigmatize
“…it is not self-seeking…” Selfless, benevolent, considerate, self-sacrificing, generous Selfish
“…it is not easily angered…” Peaceful, patient, calm Volatile, hypersensitive, demanding, irritable, snappish, impatient, hot-headed, petulant, excitable
“….it keeps no record of wrongs.” Forgives, unburdens, liberates, pardons, remits, passes over Resentful, avenging, vengeful, retaliatory, punishing; blame, begrudge, abominate
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Rejoices – Glorifies, celebrates, exalts, triumphs, jubilates, exuberates

 

Truth – Virtue, righteousness, correctness, actuality, authenticity, morality, honesty, facts, good, right, ethical, just, pure

Evil – Deceit, wicked, libertine, sinful, poisonous, menacing, falsehoods, villainous, perverted, wrong, illegal, unwholesome, defiling, condemned, dishonest, depraved, obscene, cruel, sordid, snide, mean, contemptible, vile, vicious, unrighteous, unlawful, nefarious, rotten, deadly, hazardous, harmful, hostile, noxious, detrimental, damaging
“It always protects…” Conserves, preserves, forfends, guards, defends, safeguards, shields, secures, resists Assail, assault, attack, bombard, besiege, cave, submit, yield
“…always trusts…” Believes in, confides; faith, sureness Suspicion, distrust, mistrust, doubt
“…always hopes…” Awaits, anticipates, believes, expects, envisions; positive Doubt, question, despair; cynical, negative, discouraged, nihilistic
“…always perseveres.” Persists, carries on Quit, give up, bow, falter, succumb
SPTR

*Notice that in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 there is no reference to: affirmation of, agreement with, acceptance of, political affiliation – nor of race, color, gender, etc.                               Love is for ALL the world – no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.” We must work to love ALL people.

You can be part of the solution or part of the problem. Which part will you play?

Project 1, Post 6: To Pee or Not to Pee… It’s Complicated

Project 1, Post 6: To Pee or Not To Pee… It’s Complicated

Preface to Reflection:

In my last post I described my intention to paint “simplistic” blue flowers, as well as the fact that simplicity isn’t one of my innate artistic abilities. Well, my blue flowers have now turned out more complicated than I intended for them to be. Yes, my three, blue flowers are still somewhat simple, but far more complicated than I had imagined in my mind. This is often the case with my artwork.

Note: In my next post, I will test my original hypothesis and will try to UNCOVER the aluminum foil that I laid underneath my painting. I shall see if it actually works! Gosh, I sure hope that it does!!!

(Read the Artistic Process below the Reflection.)

Reflection:

It’s complicated…

In life, there are few issues that are simple, black and white, and straight forward. Most of life’s journey leads us down complicated paths and requires us to make decisions regarding complicated choices, complicated issues. …Such is true for the North Carolina “Bathroom Bill.”

Celebrities, sports organizations, large companies, politicians, etc. have decried North Carolina’s law requiring people use the restroom that coincides with the sex on their birth certified, which in almost all cases is one’s biological sex.

It’s discrimination! It’s bigotry! It’s hate!  –  Or is it?

There are several key elements/points one must examine to determine the answer to this question:

  • North Carolina state law was already in place prohibiting localities from enacting their own anti-discrimination rules. Thus, the city of Charlotte broke state law by doing so. The only reason the state legislature even acted on this matter was a direct response to a municipality disregarding state policy. This, the state has attempted to restore uniformity.
  • Why is it important for municipalities to align with the state? As a human development professional, it is easy for me to understand why. Humans being flourish and society too flourishes when there is a clear set of rules and expectations, called boundaries. *These are the good kind of boundaries that are vital for our well-being, children and adults alike. In government, the state sets a particular set of boundaries. It is important for municipalities to work with those assigned boundaries to prevent chaos within the state itself, ensuring civic/government functionality. For example, a state citizen may move from one city to another already knowing the rules. Sally won’t have to fear possible fines or jail time for breaking a law that she never knew existed simply by changing her address. Johnny won’t be able to move from one city to the other just so he can purposefully commit an offense that was illegal in his original city of dwelling. So, this uniformity guarantees accountability for all citizens and it also guarantees protections for all citizens within the state.
  • Subjective ideas driving laws ignores factual evidence, thus creating laws that were formed with little higher-level, critical thinking or considerations. Case in point, human beings are prone to taking full advantage of situations entirely for their own benefit.

Two examples:

  1. At a restaurant when I was 11 years old, I can remember my mother “identifying” me to the waiter as being 10 years old in order to pay the discounted meal cost for children “10 and under.” Did she forget that I was 11? I doubt it.
  2. At an event a couple of years later, I can remember my father “identifying” me to the Doorman as being 13 years old so that he and I could attend the event which prohibited children twelve years and under. At the time, I was 12. Had my dad mistakenly aged me up by one year? I doubt it.

These harmless examples show how every day, good, normally honest people will sometimes be dishonest for their own gain. Do you know anyone who used a fake ID in high school or college?

*The point is that it is foolish to presume anything contrary to the absolute, concrete fact that there would most definitely be people jumping at the chance to “identify” as one sex in order to gain access to the restroom used by people of the other sex simply for perverse, personal gain.

  • Privacy and Safety for All State Citizens: Fact- Men and women are physically different. Men are naturally stronger, even those who possess a slight, unassuming, physical stature. Fact- Bathrooms are closed, secluded spaces usually consisting of only 1 exit. It is entirely reasonable for women to feel uncomfortable and fearful at the idea of being alone in confined, isolated spaces with men who are strangers. Women are taken advantage of by men every day in this country, often in spaces incompatible with the ability for an easy escape.
  •  Fact- People like privacy. Apple refused to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone for privacy’s sake. Fact- Gender and sexual orientation do not always match. Many transsexuals are still attracted to people of the opposite sex, to the people of the very sex the transsexuals are trying to become. Thus, simply because a man is living as a woman does not mean he is not still very much “straight,” attracted to women. Given these facts, for the average person, changing in front of a transsexual still renders the same level of emotional discomfort, fear, and feelings of complete exposure as would changing in front of the opposite sex. So, would it have been acceptable for the state government to force modest citizens into humility and strip them of their integrity and privacy by requiring them to undress in the presence of the opposite sex? Should we all hand over our phones and most intimate moments to the government to put on public display? Of course not. Acting to protect the physical privacy and integrity of citizens should be understood as a highly valued virtue of any government.
  • Emotional Suffering from Both Sides: Transsexual individuals say they would feel uncomfortable using the restroom of their biological sex. I understand that. If a man were living as a women, I can easily see that using the men’s bathroom would cause someone fear and emotional distress. Yet, the same is true for the general population. Would it be wise for the government to demoralize the masses to appease a few? Is that just law? More importantly, is that a characteristic of a genuinely representative government, one that disenfranchises almost all of its citizens? Would a representative government only extend its empathy to a few?

Would a representative government rank and determine the innate value of its citizens by the amount of corporate money it receives? Does Apple determine your personal worth? Of course not.

  • Is granting special privileges based on subjective ideals about someone’s identify the only way to accommodate this small segment of society? No.

 

This is a complicated issue that has little, if any link to acceptance and discrimination- the black and white clarity that some would prefer us to believe. As a minister I feel it is my duty to point out the truths that are often hidden beneath the emotional hysteria of public outrage.

In conclusion, when considering – and I mean honestly considering – the above points I believe it is extremely difficult to deny the evidence that North Carolina in no way acted in a discriminatory, bigoted or hateful fashion. Instead, I argue that the state should be commended for its common sense, critically composed and conceptualized policy: a policy that far more adequately represents its own citizens than any pretend-policy that may possibly be proposed by the “vocabulary-stone” throwing, loud mouths attempting to degrade the very human worth of all who oppose their subjective, ever-evolving views.

I pray that the leaders in North Carolina will be given the strength needed to stay the course and that those so filled with anger and misinformation find the peace and openness of mind to consider the truths of some views contrary to their own. I also pray that all of us are able to understand and consider just how complicating some issues are and that we seek that information in order to be informed citizens. Amen!

The Artistic Process:

To add depth, I used bright, light blue and white to define the outer edges of the petals, especially where the petals overlap. To further accentuate this, I used deep, dark blue directly next to the bright blues and whites, giving the illusion of shadow upon the lower petals. To add a pinch of color variation, I used my fingers to smear yellow paint onto the petals in small areas. Later, in keeping with a contemporary-impressionistic approach, I used solid black to outline the flowers, adding a few black flecks upon the petals where desired. *Note: If you have difficulty with placing lights and darks, just reference a picture of a flower and focus on the shadows and brightest points on each petal.

In the background, I added tall reeds using long, smooth strokes. I brought in the yellow from the petals by creating the illusion of wheat/cat tails. Using quick, rapid, “conscience—free” strokes of the paint brush, I striped/flicked on the paint to create the feathering bristles of tall wheat grass.