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Posts tagged ‘race’

Party Politics, Part II

Apparently, Adonis and I had similar takeaways from the dinner party, but mine was more analytical and his more personal. 

Me: Wow. Prejudice is everywhere. Everyone is the same. Heh. 

Him: I can’t believe my friends were not accepting of you! 

Huh?

Initially, this caught me off guard. I suppose it was because the party had a different purpose for me than it did for him; I wanted to be with him and get to know his people. Honestly, the reverse didn’t even occur to me because I do not open up if I do not trust in the exchange of ideas/emotions. I ask questions, I politely engage, I actively listen, but it ends there. 

I reflected upon my bringing Adonis around my circle of friends. I can’t think of an instance where anyone close to me hasn’t made an effort to get to know him and be excited for us. I guess finding the love of your life and an upcoming wedding IS dinner party conversation if you haven’t seen a friend in a while, but it didn’t come up. He lamented that he believes it’s subtle prejudice and that he thought the people he knew were different. “Why?” I said. “The whole conversation last night was about how some people are better than others.” 

Adonis’ reaction reminded me why I get more excited every day to be Mrs. Katsopolis. I hate that he was upset, but I love that he knew there was something over which to be upset. I love that we can be honest in a non-threatening way with each other despite our different backgrounds. While the idea that we live in a post-racial society is complete nonsense, when I am out and about I am likely to assume mistreatment/lack of interest is due to self-absorption or insecurity, a lot of which I saw last night. It’s just not a far leap to think that if you think you are the best thing to happen to civilization that I would be looked at as inferior. Solomon said it best:  

“A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I think it really sucks for Adonis that by choosing to marry a black woman he will likely not be able to show me off in the way he wants to. He’s losing some of his privilege by choice! How amazing is that?! He sees things in people he wouldn’t have seen if he were not with me. I say this because it humbles me – he is proud of being with me and wants others to appreciate me, too. It’s not that the feeling isn’t mutual; I think life has just taught me to expect less from people. No matter what is on my inside, I’m simply not going to be seen as a catch by society. Not everyone in my family grasps what a catch I have, either. The only difference between he and I is that I was prepared for this. I’ve been prepared all of my life for this kind of foolishness, from all sides. I know that I’ve hit the freaking jackpot, but if you don’t see that it’s really not my problem. What can we do other than that get married and start making cinnamon babies to piss off more people? 

 N.B. I feel like Adonis would want me to tell you that he is actually taller than I am. Don’t let my heels fool you. 

Party Politics, Part 1 

I did something a little crazy on Friday night. 

Per usual, I was talking to Adonis throughout the day when he drops this bombshell on me: 

We’re invited to a dinner party. Tonight.

  
If you know me, you know that 1) I am the type of person who plans her spontaneity and 2) I am not one for large, non-family gatherings. Make no mistake – this is not because I am uncomfortable around a lot of people, as someone recently surmised as I turned down a different invitation. It’s that I like real, intimate, BS free conversations with individuals and it’s difficult to get past small talk at these parties. I get that it is an important way to show love to people, but it burns me out. Moreover – what’s with the 6 hours notice? Clearly we can’t be that important to these people. That being said, Adonis rarely asks me to do anything like this, and he accompanies me to fun things like races and concerts, so I didn’t put up a fight. Though we’ve been together quite some time, I haven’t met too many of his people because of his crazy chef schedule, and I knew this was a golden opportunity.

Because the party was located in between us geographically, we met there. I also figured that I would be able to leave when I needed to in order to sleep on time; I hate being held party hostage! Basically, nothing was of note until the after-dinner conversation, which turned to politics. “Finally!” I thought. “Some action.” Greeks are like Jamaicans, in that every conversation eventually turns to politics, so I was very comfortable. 

For the next hour and a half, I think I spoke maybe – 5 times? 10? I sat mostly in silence. I am one not to speak unless I feel it will be productive, and it was the type of conversation where I knew it would not be. It’s quite normal for people discussing politics to have an agenda and not really listen to what the other persons are saying. Basically, it seemed like a d*** measuring contest. I smiled to myself as I earned good fiancee points and listened to his friends talk about everything wrong with Greece and all the people they blame. 

My favorite part of the evening was when the conversation turned to “good people.” They were talking about “real” Greeks and how people on certain islands are no good and how their not being “truly” Greek explained it. I laughed inwardly. People everywhere are the same – everyone thinks they are the best and everyone else is second class. 

As bedtime approached, I excused myself for the night. Adonis said he would follow soon after. Not gonna lie, another reason racing is one of the best things to happen to me is that I have a legitimate excuse to escape social foolishness. However, I can’t say it was a wasted evening; in fact, it was quite interesting as sociological experiment – the way I believe a dinner party should be enjoyed. 

In Garmin We Trust? 

Look at this. 

  
Apparently, my watch has a lot of faith in me. I have not achieved anything close to ANY of the above times. I’ve done a significant amount of running with the watch, so I’d say it knows me pretty well. Yet it says I am capable of so much more than I have done. 

What does this mean? Am I not working hard enough? If I were to get any of those times I would be beside myself with glee. I worry that after only 2.5 years of running that I have peaked, but Garmin seems to think otherwise – that I have a long way to go. 

Tomorrow, I have a 10k and I am NERVOUS. It is the longest race I have attempted in 2015. Since starting my HR training, I would be ecstatic to get 1:15 or less. Hah. 56:24. Why doesn’t Garmin tell me exactly what I need to do in order to achieve this? Moreover, why doesn’t it tell me when this could be possible? 

  
I love how God can even speak to me through my watch. I may never see any of those times, but I may see some even faster! I must be thankful for every day that I am able to run. Maybe strength and speed are like money – God blesses us with that which He knows we can handle. How will I be a good steward of the strength and speed I have? 

Race report tomorrow! 

See all this melanin? I STILL got pre-checked by TSA. Racism must be dead: Part Two

So, I went to Jamaica and ran. The trip was exciting to me from the get go, y’all. I looked at my boarding pass and saw something I had never seen before: Pre-checked by TSA! Pre. That seems important. As I walked toward security, I noticed that there was the line for the proletariat and the line for pre-checked. Friggin’ sweet. I was through the line within moments instead of wondering if I was going to make my flight. Ah, the good life.

If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone, right? I mean, I AM darker than a brown paper bag. If you see “Lady J” on a flight manifest you probably won’t think ter…see. I don’t even want to finish the word because I want to be pre-checked again. I know y’all are watching, WordPress. Of COURSE the government doesn’t screen people based on race, sex, or religious affiliation. Because people are fair everywhere, right? Especially those with power.

I found it ironic that soon after I was in the air, I watched the video of Eric Garner’s death in sheer horror. Apparently, selling loose cigarettes warrants paying with your life. I say this is ironic because I know with great certainty that like my amazing TSA pre-check, that would not happen to just anyone. There are classes in this country that are simply more privileged than others. Who is the most uncomfortable with this? The privileged.

It’s like the feeling I got today when I was getting my nails did at the salon. My tech and I come from VERY different backgrounds. I am definitely more Hilary Banks than Florida Evans and the tech was talking about not having earned her GED. I don’t want to pat myself on the back for not having pat myself on the back, but I will say this – I understand that many things were in place for me to be able to achieve what I have. The vast majority of those things were completely out of my control – the family I was born into as well as the way my parents raised me. Yes, I absolutely have free will and I’ve made some pretty good choices. The environment was set up for me to do so. It is by God’s grace that I am where I am. If tech were to say to me, “Lady J. I could be where you are if I had had the opportunities you did,” what could I say? “Probably.” You know what I wouldn’t say? “Where you are is your fault.” I don’t have enough knowledge to say that. However, I DO know enough to know that I, Joan, am incredibly blessed.

Why is it that many who purport to follow Christ have such a problem admitting they benefit from things over which they have no control? I thought when you accept Jesus into your heart you acknowledge that there’s no way you could receive grace and mercy by your own doing. You know why some people were less disturbed by the video of Eric Garner’s death? Imma tell you why. Because some people KNOW it will never be them or their child whom the police would kill like that. And it’s not because no one else’s child is above selling loose cigarettes.

Those of you who insist you have everything that you do because you’ve pulled yourselves up by your own bootstraps seem to take for granted that you were given shoes in the first place. Not everyone gets Pre-Checked, y’all.

And perfect eyelashes, apparently.

And perfect eyelashes, apparently.

 

Seventy Point Free: Pre-Race Report, Part II

Like many active people, I wear a Road ID. You know, the “if I collapse before the finish line, call…” bracelet. On it, I have a line from one of my favorite Bible verses: “Run with perseverance.” It’s funny what can happen when you see something frequently. I can look down at the bracelet as I am training and think to myself, “that says run with perseverance.” Then I go back to hating what I am doing, or wishing I hadn’t committed to doing whatever race is coming so I can stop in the middle of my workout. As the weeks before my race turned into days, I started to reflect upon why I had chosen that phrase to be on my bracelet. I would go to the Bible and study the verses –

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ NIV) (emphasis mine)

The writer of Hebrews continues –

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭3-4‬ NIV) (emphasis mine)

When I arrived in Augusta, the hype was high. Because I am a head case, I cannot feel support from others without simultaneously feeling pressure. “Oh, man. All these people believe in me. If I don’t finish for some reason, I’m not just letting myself down. I’m letting all these people down, too!” Truth be told, I was already planning my next move if I didn’t finish. “Well, I’m signed up for an Olympic in November. I can just upgrade to the half-iron distance then.” Well, what if I don’t finish THAT? Oh, dear.

This pressure support was around to remind me to think positively. “You WILL do well. You WILL finish. You have trained enough. You’ve earned it.” While I think that focusing on the positive is absolutely necessary for sanity, I believe it’s also important to be real. Here is what is real:

1. While I have swum, biked, and run the full distances, I’ve never done them consecutively. I do not know what my body will do.

2. I do not know what the weather will do.

3. I do not know what Red Rocket will do. If she does anything other than move forward when I pedal, I won’t know what the hell to do with her.

There are a million things that could happen on race day. I have absolutely no control over the vast majority of them.

How liberating.

I stop to consider Jesus. Indeed, I have not resisted anything to the point of shedding blood. My charge is to run free – free from the things I cannot control. I cannot allow what may lie ahead to entangle what is immediately before me. This may sound strange, but knowing that there is no guarantee of my finishing helps me to race more freely. I am not guaranteed even one more stroke in the water, an additional hill, or one last step. My race is marked out before me, and it’s my job to get there because – while I don’t know that I can, I also don’t know that I cannot. God knows what lies ahead and is with me. I’m still living and therefore must press forward.

This medal would be pretty neat, but the most important battle is already won. Because of Him, I can run free.

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