Monday, September 7, 2009

A Change of Title, A Change of Heart

I decided to change the title of my previous post "Permission to be Exposed to Bigotry and Ignorance" to just "Permission to be Exposed". The reason for my change: A few of my friends have vehemently challenged the presumption that this controversy has anything to do with race. Because I respect these friends vehemently, I wanted to change my title. It does not change the fact that I am saddened that my child had to be exposed to the permission slip sent home, the permission slip that caused her to doubt others' value of Obama's words based on his race. (Yes, she did assume that it had something to do with race.) But, I also am saddened that my friends might think that my title accused them of being bigots and ignorant. I titled it to grab attention, but that attention is not worth making others feel belittle by me.

My friends' reasons to shield their children from Obama's speech may, in fact, be completely ideological (which I still have issue with. AND many parents weren't boycotting the lesson plans, they were boycotting the speech itself.) However, I do ask that my friends also consider how my child, and all other American children, have the great privilege to be encouraged by a our first minority president. For most children, this is the first minority role-model who is not an athlete or entertainer. The reason why my child, and many others, might assume it has to do with race is not hard to understand. Never has America chosen to put itself under the leadership of a person of color before (brown, black or purple.) Now that it has, people are refusing to let their children listen to him. Its not a huge stretch. My 9 year old made it.

No, I do not think this is only about race, nor am I the one making it about race. However, it is, in part, about race. I just would like my friends to acknowledge that part, to know that I am understood. That my child's assumptions and fears are understood.


  1. I will not lie to you and say that I readily understand where you are coming from. However, as I was in bed last night trying to unwind my brain, I asked the Lord to help me understand, and I think I got a glimpse of where you are coming from. It's hard for me to immediately see how in the world anyone could think that racism is behind what I see as a huge difference in political views. But then I realized that if racism is something you live with on a pretty regular (if not daily) basis, then it would be hard not to see an element of racism behind the politics. So while I still disagree that racism has anything to do with this issue for most Americans, I do get where you are coming from. The idea that Ellie would wonder if this was all about race really breaks my heart, because I'm so sad that racism has obviously been a part of her life experience so far. It makes my stomach clench up just thinking about it.
    And on a totally different note, you can load all kinds of backgrounds for your blog for free from There is a button on the top left corner of my page linking you there, which is automatically added when you use their stuff.
    I miss you friend! Glad you are blogging again, because it makes me feel like I've talked to you!

  2. Mindy,
    Thank you soooo much for your response! I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you would take the time to wrestle with trying to understand me. Part of me wants to make my points with a sneer toward those who dont understand me. However, I know this is not what God wants for our community. And having such wonderful friends who, I know, have the desire to be loving and to view all of life through the lens of the gospel, I am compelled to share my views honestly, but with grace and humility. I will be changed by your views as well and am doubly glad that I can share with my friends, who dont understand your side of the issue, that your response to me has been honest, graceful and humble. Love you!

  3. You and I have gone 'round about Obama for a long time now....mostly in light-hearted banter, sometimes a bit more vigorous. It has always blown my mind, and opened it ironically, that you and I can simultaneously both believe in God's every whisper, love Jesus wholeheartedly, have a mutual respect for each other, and share a friendship that, atleast speaking for myself, I consider both having a precious history and newfound growth and strength (i love you, girl!).....yet also so completely and passionately disagree on Obama. I need to tell you that as I read your words, my heart sank. I felt sad for Ellie for sure, and I felt sad and frustrated at myself for still being so blind to the fact that race is a very real and daily issue for so many people. I truly had clung to the hope that Obama being a minority signified deep and genuine change in the hearts of the majority of people in our country. In fact, I can honestly say that Obama's race has been the one and only thing about the man that I find to be positive. I can tell you without pause and without doubt that I do not like or agree with Obama because I disagree with him politically on every single issue - some of them so passionately that I can not even watch TV if he is on or read and article about his lovely family. I did struggle with whether to let my kids hear the speech. I struggled because God says to support and pray for our country's leaders - how do I do that when I think everything he is doing or wants to do is wrong? Do I support him anyway when I feel that this would be in direct opposition to my faith? How can other people whom I know to be amazing Christian believers feel so differently? Is not letting my kids watch the "school" speech the appropriate way to show my disagreement with issues such as abortion and health care? I wrestled with this hard over Labor Day the end, I threw the little slips that would excuse them from the speech in the trash, and I can say without a doubt that the only reason I did this was BECAUSE OF his race. I wanted them to experience a minority President of the United States of America - wow, in spite of who it is, I find that thrilling. That night at dinner, I asked them "So, what were your impressions of President Obama today during his speech?" I thought this might lead to some great conversation with the kids. One of them immediately said "he said the word 'stupid' during his speech" - which started a whole different conversation on "bad words" and we never made it back around.