(This is the same as the TinyLetter I just sent out.)
I opened this page to write a letter to y’all and it’s just stayed empty for a while. Sorry if this doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m all feelings right now…feelings and direct quotes.
I have all the words and none of them. I wrote a post last week on Facebook about Charlottesville, even though I don’t believe in long Facebook posts. But it’s here if you didn’t read it and want to.
Between white supremacists marching, all four kids’ being in school, and starting a new medication, not to mention the stress of ministry life, I feel like I’ve been turned upside down, shook around, and rolled down a dusty hill, maybe kicked a little too.
When I took the Enneagram personality test, I was very surprised to find that my dominant emotion (?) was anger. (this is connected to something called the triads — caveat that I haven’t really gotten into the enneagram because I got so mad at how well it described me.) I don’t think of myself as an angry person. When I’m exhausted and the kids disobey me, though, I realize how much anger is inside me.
I want to punch people right now. (But I won’t.)
Every time someone says “white supremacy is not American” I want to punch them. While Thomas Jefferson did write “All men are created equal,” our country at the time made sure that they acted like only white men were equal. I just did some googling into Jefferson’s quotes and letters, not enough to really get anything helpful like I wanted, and found in a list of his enslaved people who worked at Monticello’s nailery, this: “Those who work in the nailery, are Moses, Wormly, Jame Hubbard, Barnaby, Isbel’s Davy, Bedford John, Bedford Davy, Phill Hubbard, Bartlet, and Lewis. They are sufficient for 2 fires, five at a fire.” I don’t know about you but um, to see my family’s last name there… well, I want to punch someone. Was Thomas Jefferson stealing the labor and lives of my children’s ancestors? There’s white Hubbards who were slave-holders in Mississippi, so it’s more likely they were the thieves and oppressors, but still, I’m trying to catch my breath. Another quote from Jefferson’s letters reveals he viewed the children born to enslaved women as capital, as money: “I know no error more consuming to an estate than that of stocking farms with men almost exclusively. I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man of the farm. what she produces is an addition to the capital, while his labors disappear in mere consumption.” Even if Jefferson thought he believed all men where created equal, he was perfectly happy to profit from a system that was founded on a myth of inhumanity. In Jefferson’s book Notes on the State of Virginia, he says other nasty stuff about people of color but I’ll save you that. I just want to point out that Black enslaved people were brought North America in 1619, and our white forefathers allowed slavery to continue as they started our country. White supremacy *IS* American. It’s one of our oldest most cherished attributes.
And when we say that these Confederate folk were just “men of their time” — I’d like to point out that there are LOADS of people AT THAT TIME who were against slavery and viewed Black men as their equals. Not every abolitionist was also not a white supremacist, but some of them were.
In short, please read Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs if you have’t. There’s lots lots more that could be said and I’m sure it won’t be new to all of you. I just…just… the election of this current president has emboldened people who don’t believe in the humanity, the value, the inherent worth as images of God OF MY FAMILY. And I’m so mad at people who chose to prioritize other things when they were in the voting booth — the primaries and in November. (I mean, that’s their right, blah blah blah, it’s fine to justify choices with God and not me). But 81% of evangelicals voted to elect a man who said “But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” Now, Jesus’s death has the power to atone for all the sin, but I can’t say that anyone who would see my family as an affront to the white race, or folks who would see Roy in the street and automatically lock their doors — those people aren’t “fine people.” Like I said, turned upside down, shaken, rolled down a dusty hill, kicked.
And these are just my white lady feelings. (Also I want to be clear that none of this is original to me. Lots of people have pointed these things out…I don’t get any credit here.)
I’ve labored over this for hours and I kinda need to go feed my kids, so I’m going to shut up now. I’d really like to talk about how I’m starting seeds even though it’s August and what it’s like to have everyone in school and the eclipse coming but I just can’t right now. May we all find joy and may we condemn every kind of white supremacy, including housing and school segregation.