May 26, 2007

Breaking It Down

Rich said my post "It pisses people off" is too well written and not simple enough to be perfectly clear, that it came off as defensive, which is not the tone I wrote it in, so I'll break it down:

*I have had prejudice thoughts that I have shared with others and ignored for too long, hoping they would go away, that I would just one day wake up an not feel them, that I would get over them

*Watching the movie "Crash" almost a year ago was a catalyst for me becoming acutely aware of those thoughts and no longer able to ignore them

*One Friday night a few month ago, an incident on the way home unlocked the door for all that ugliness to come through and finally be dealt with

*God has dealt tenderly and swiftly with my heart and my thoughts

*I know that I am not alone in the thoughts I had and wanted to post a challenging blog so that others might become aware of their prejudices and be motivated to deal with them in their own life

*I am deeply saddened and frustrated for being misunderstood by people I dearly love, and don't know how I could possibly make my heart more transparent and vulnerable on this issue

Thanks again, to all the people who continue to contact me, call me, speak to me about your reactions to this whole process. It is so encouraging and the more we talk about it, the more we change our mindset, our world view, and the more we are able to alter cultural patterns that are unacceptable yet unfortunately rarely dealt with


  1. I would like to register my deep offendedness and moral outrage at your honesty.

    Far worse than having thoughts of prejudice is, of course, admitting your thoughts of prejudice, which just makes everyone feel guilty.

    In fact, I have never had a hint of prejudice until I read this blog, at which time I felt instantly prejudiced at your prejudice, which you have already confessed to being yourself prejudiced against, which leaves me...confused.

    In all seriousness, never be afraid to stir up a little intra-personal controversy, causing people to take inventory of their own attitudes and beliefs is never a bad thing.

    I support in you in your struggle and exploration.

  2. Jenn, you have been a shining light to me in showing how very prevalent prejudice still is in our world. I still shake my head that people actually come up to you and say how glad they are that Maisie is a white baby. I treasure these written words of yours, and your heart, your beautiful heart, that so desires for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done here on earth, now, as He longs for it to be.

    Oprah sured nailed this topic well on today's show, "Children Ashamed of the Way They Look". Settle in - it's long recap because it is just so good. Most of the text below is pasted together from

    Have you ever noticed whether or not someone had a crease on their eyelid? Asian MTV host SuChin Pak shared how she was literally handed around her family at age six to discuss where her eye creases should have been. The crease, a fold of skin that some people have on their eyelid, makes the eye appear larger. This crease is so highly valued in come cultures that it is the number one plastic surgery in Asia. There is a widely held "belief that if you looked a little more Western [and] a little less Asian, it's like having a great degree from a better school. Or it's like having another skill. It was something to put in your portfolio. ... My whole life, all I ever wanted was this stupid centimeter of a freaking fold in my eye." After seeing an actual surgery, she decided she would never have it - but still try to make her eyes look bigger on camera. Her and her mom talk about it when they watch tapes of her work. "Rather than a good hair day, I have good eye days or bad eye days."

    People, all this for a CREASE!

    But you know what the most shocking part of the show was? Watching the portion of Kiri Davis' documentary "A Girl Like Me" where she did the "doll test". Re-conducting a famous 1940's experiment done by Dr. Kenneth Clark, a number of black children were asked to show which doll they wanted to play with, which was the 'good' doll, which was the 'bad' doll, and which doll looked most like them. Child after child after child picked the white doll. The white doll was the good doll, because it was white. The black doll was the bad doll, because it was black. The most poignant was one beautiful child who, when asked "can you give me the doll that looks like you?" started to push her the white doll. The child stopped, looked over at the black doll, looked back again at the white doll, and then sadly pulled the white doll back and pushed the black doll forward. It broke my heart, and still brings tears to my eyes hours later. I wish I could understand, but I don't. Somehow, somewhere this precious child, this beautiful, wonderful child was told that white people are better. This is SO wrong people. SO WRONG!!

    I know I need to take the time to watch Kiri's entire documentary. (http://www.mediathatmattersfest
    .org/6/a_girl_like_me/) Most of the film is the hard truth of what a number of black young women are experiencing today. The doll test is around 1/2 way through the video.

    I encourage you to watch this Oprah episode online. In addition to the pieces above, they also discuss how the black community is one of the biggest offenders in causing other blacks to feel inferior. For example, when Oprah was very young and visiting her mother (who lived with someone else at the time), she had to sleep on the porch. Her half-sister, who was less black than she was, slept in the house. To me, this is crazy - to some, even in 2007, it's just real life.

    Jenn, like you I don't know how to change this, just that it must change. All I know to do is to ensure I am instilling worth into each child I come in contact with, regardless of anything but the fact that he/she is a beloved child of God. I pray our hearts will never grow hard to the sufferings of our fellow man. That Jesus would be given permission to shine through us, if only to that one person, in that one moment. For that one moment, that one person, is enough to change the world...their world.