Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: History of the USA

Our original sin yet again

I wonder…
Does each nation
Each country
Have an original sin
The seed of its
Particular ignominy
Running through veins
Shot full of raging
Hormones escalating
Into tragedies
Of historic proportions
Played out in
Unnumbered permutations
Of seduction and flattery
Designed to deceive
And subdue?

It isn’t just the daily revelation of predatory behavior by public figures and officials. It’s the reality that various permutations of predatory behavior undergird the earliest foundations of our nation.

I’d describe it this way: The subduing and disappearing of some in order to pursue the welfare of a select group that viewed and still view themselves as more entitled than others.

Layer upon layer. Decade after decade. And now we’ve come to this juncture in our history without a clear understanding of how we got here, and how many were and still are subdued and disappeared. Buried beneath mountains of inspiring proclamations, and promises not kept.

I first wrote this in November 2017. Here we are, well over three years later. Damage to our nation has sky-rocketed, and disparities have intensified. This time aided and abetted by many white churches looking for an earthly savior who will do their bidding.

No matter who is in the White House, we can’t expect miracles. This long-term unfinished business still haunts us singly and together. Especially in our churches and in our neighborhoods. Are we up to the task?
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 November 2017; updated and reposted 23 February 2021
Photo of Great Dismal Swamp found at smithsonianmag.com
The swamp, located in Virginia and North Carolina, once served as a refuge for Native Americans and fugitive slaves.

Our original sin

I wonder…
Does each nation
Each country
Have an original sin
The seed of its
Particular ignominy
Running through veins
Shot full of raging
Hormones escalating
Into tragedies
Of historic proportions
Played out in
Unnumbered permutations
Of seduction and flattery
Designed to deceive
And subdue?

It isn’t just the daily revelation of predatory behavior by public figures and officials. It’s the reality that various permutations of predatory behavior undergird the earliest foundations of our nation.

I’d describe it this way: The subduing and disappearing of some in order to pursue the welfare of a select group that viewed and still view themselves as more entitled than others.

Layer upon layer. Decade after decade. And now we’ve come to this juncture in our history without a clear understanding of how we got here, and how many were and still are subdued and disappeared. Buried beneath mountains of inspiring proclamations, and promises not kept.

So what am I doing about it? Besides writing, I’m reading. Today I’m focused on books that invite me to open my mind and my heart. Not simply to what happened when our country was founded, but what’s still happening today. Unrecorded, unexamined, and unacknowledged.

My newest book is Sing, Unburied, Sing, written by Jesmyn Ward. I’m also reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. One painful chapter at a time.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 November 2017
Photo of Great Dismal Swamp found at smithsonianmag.com
The swamp, located in Virginia and North Carolina, once served as a refuge for Native Americans and fugitive slaves.

shallow wastelands

Flat earth theory
bodes ill for spiritual vision
reducing God’s glory
the grandeur of creation
and deep shadows of history
to shallow wastelands
of pseudo-patriotic myth

Give us eyes and hearts to see into
this bare outline of a country
populated and interwoven with texts
and subtexts lying open to us the people –
old-timers and newcomers charged with moving
beyond treacherous monochromatic vision
into the aching depths of our discontent

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 October 2017
Photo found at shutterstock.com

Daily Prompt: Risky

a pretty sure life

The rights and responsibilities
Of a pretty sure life
Hang weightless around her neck

She glides fairly easily
From one scene into the next
Wearing privilege on her skin

Without effort she blends in
Sometimes anxious but rarely for her life
Mature, sweet and polite she passes easily

A charming married woman with children
She meets the gold standard
Against which womanhood is weighed

No need to check her credentials
Her language or demeanor
No need to run a background check

She’s one of us
Sometimes unruly and annoying
Yet harmless
Because her heart beats white

I’ve been the beneficiary of many opportunities. Not strictly because of who I am, but because I’m a white woman. And because I’m not a rabble-rouser or revolutionary. I’m just a steady, dependable, meticulous, relationally gifted white woman who gets along with just about everyone. What more is there?

I don’t regret the opportunity to be part of an academic faculty and administration. I do, however, regret how oblivious I was to my white privilege even though I was part of an unusually diverse community of students, staff and faculty. Only with the Rodney King event and its aftermath at our seminary did I begin to scratch the surface of my white privilege.

I’m reminded daily of how easily our country ignores, suppresses and tries to bury our history. Mr. Trump has made visible what’s been there all along. No secrets here. Just inconvenient truth, and an opportunity to seize the moment.

My heart beats white. I’m still unpacking what this means for me.

Thanks for listening!
Elouise 

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 August 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Visceral

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