Finding Strength for Ignorance: Walking through Prejudice

There are moments that happen and I often wonder if it is the wrong place at the wrong time or the right place at just the right time to inspire my thoughts and remind me of my mission. This week has been full of those moments and although they are sometimes painful or disheartening, these moments are also a part of the building materials that have made me who I am. Having varied experiences that evoke emotion within me have pushed me to claim my Priestesshood, become a counselor, work in inner cities and become a writer. These tears are drops of gratefullness mixed with disdain.

After a week of Occupy Oakland images, coupled with the sounds of helicopters overhead at work, I find that I really needed a moment of serenity and balance. As a Priestess of the craft I have some ways I can kick my practice into overcharge and decided to spend some time in one of my favorite local shops with some awesome Pagans at the monthly meet and greet event. I have gone plenty of times before and enjoy the company of the friends I have had for some time. Tonight was a small crowd due to the abundance of Samhain activities happening at this time.

Two new faces were in the group of discussion and that is always a treat, especially when it adds to conversation and a sense of community. Introductions of one another showed a commonality between one of the new guys and myself; we both have ties to the city of Oakland. The shifting normal meet and greet conversations often went in and out of awkward moments but that was fine. I took those moments to get up and walk around the store and talk to two of my friends.

Nothing appeared strange until he got up to leave. He came over to my friend and I and was saying goodbye. Randomly he turned to me and said something about having two teenagers at home who wear their pants pulled down (sagging). He says, “the first thing I tell them is… Pull up your pants, you’re not Black!”. I stood there and said nothing.

He went on to talk about explaining to them how every year there are Black kids in Oakland who are selling weed and when chased by the cops they have to reach down to pull up their pants and are shot and killed. After a moment of shock, I eventually asked him if that had worked for him. He dismissed my question and went on to say his goodbyes and left.

I could talk about that dark, warm, nauseous feeling that comes in the pit of one’s stomach after encounters that trigger every internal sense of wrong. Or I could talk about all the words that flew threw my head while I was imagining what I should say in response. What I would rather talk about is far more important to me personally since my feelings nor my self talk have ever protected me from ridiculous, ignorant and judging actions of others. My sense of internal protection instead comes from a sense of knowing, a strong belief in the strength of my ancestors and the Lord and Lady themselves.

There is power in acceptance; a knowing that the world continues to judge and no one is immune to it. People want to believe (myself included) that there is no place for racist prejudices in our spiritual community but as long as we are human, we will continue to judge. Racism is still alive and many times people don’t even see that what they are saying is racist. My knowing of this helps me to take a bit of the fire out of an otherwise explosive visceral reaction.

My ancestors are strong within me all times of the year and at this time their presence is even stronger. My mothers birthday is at the peak of the thinning of the veil, Samhain, and it is clear that her essence now radiates through my spin when I need to stand tall, through my heart when I need to implore empathy and through my lips when it is time to shut my mouth and keep my integrity. The years of history in my ancestors have passed down a line of lineage that leaves no choices but to be a warrior priestess, it is in my blood.

The connection that I have with my Gods show up everyday for me. While sometimes it is easier for me to accept this marriage with divinity than others, I know there is no separation between myself, their mission for me and the experiences of my life. I don’t have to fight it, I just have to learn from it. I stood there, felt the strength of my ancestors mix with the calm of Yemaya and the wisdom of my God; I knew no words were necessary. Yemaya spoke in my mind with the gentle words of “speak peace” and it was done.

I thanked the Gods for the reminder of my mission and the chance to continue grow towards who I want to become in services to them. And with that I can leave the ignorance of others to their own path and I can just continue to follow my own.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry that this happened to you.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry that this happened to you.

  • Meia

    Oh I love this.  Thanks so much.  I encounter this behavior a few times a year and it is disappointing, and through it I have come to realize that we are each other’s teachers/students, and at these times you are the teacher.  Whether or not the other person, as the student, has learned anything isn’t for you or any of us to necessarily know.  The situation is there and we learn too.  We gain more insight into the heart of man.  And this insight helps us to help those who come to us looking for spiritual growth.  Knowing this helps me to calm my spirit and take a “higher” road if you will.  I admire your intelligence and discernment. 

    I recently had a conversation about “judgment” with a friend.  I always had trouble with not judging because we judge all the time.  We need judgment to make daily decisions on all levels, so when those in the spiritual community say “don’t judge”, it just doesn’t sit well with me.  Well, my friend and I discussed this because she too had the same issue, and we both determined that it isn’t judging that is so bad, because yes, we make judgments everyday, and we need to do so to live our lives and attempt to make better choices for ourselves and our families.  The issue is the “energy” or “charge” behind the judgment.  This makes more sense to me and now whenever I am in the middle of making a judgment, I check to see if there is a charge to it.  What is behind that judgment…if anything.  This man lost a great opportunity to grow and to better understand exactly what it is that his children are so drawn to in the urban youth culture.  I too don’t like the pants below the butt thing, it comes from the prison culture and a negative aspect of it, but it has turned into an urban look that young people across the globe have embraced as something new and against the norm.  Every successive generation has rebelled in someway and it is a shame that this man lost the chance to talk about his own misconceptions about black people.  He assumes we are all the same… and he makes the grand mistake of needing to be right (as he dismissed you and then left).  So it is his loss.  And he doesn’t see the greater picture that we are all truly together in everything, a lesson I ultimately had to learn and accept.

    Wonderful article.  M

  • Meia

    Oh I love this.  Thanks so much.  I encounter this behavior a few times a year and it is disappointing, and through it I have come to realize that we are each other’s teachers/students, and at these times you are the teacher.  Whether or not the other person, as the student, has learned anything isn’t for you or any of us to necessarily know.  The situation is there and we learn too.  We gain more insight into the heart of man.  And this insight helps us to help those who come to us looking for spiritual growth.  Knowing this helps me to calm my spirit and take a “higher” road if you will.  I admire your intelligence and discernment. 

    I recently had a conversation about “judgment” with a friend.  I always had trouble with not judging because we judge all the time.  We need judgment to make daily decisions on all levels, so when those in the spiritual community say “don’t judge”, it just doesn’t sit well with me.  Well, my friend and I discussed this because she too had the same issue, and we both determined that it isn’t judging that is so bad, because yes, we make judgments everyday, and we need to do so to live our lives and attempt to make better choices for ourselves and our families.  The issue is the “energy” or “charge” behind the judgment.  This makes more sense to me and now whenever I am in the middle of making a judgment, I check to see if there is a charge to it.  What is behind that judgment…if anything.  This man lost a great opportunity to grow and to better understand exactly what it is that his children are so drawn to in the urban youth culture.  I too don’t like the pants below the butt thing, it comes from the prison culture and a negative aspect of it, but it has turned into an urban look that young people across the globe have embraced as something new and against the norm.  Every successive generation has rebelled in someway and it is a shame that this man lost the chance to talk about his own misconceptions about black people.  He assumes we are all the same… and he makes the grand mistake of needing to be right (as he dismissed you and then left).  So it is his loss.  And he doesn’t see the greater picture that we are all truly together in everything, a lesson I ultimately had to learn and accept.

    Wonderful article.  M


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X