Tag Archives: stereotyping

Generational Divide

26 Aug

I’m starting to accept that there will always be a divide between generations. For eons, the youth have been blamed for the separation due to our “colorful language” and taste in music and clothes (among other superficial details), but I beg to differ.
I find that in many cases, it is our elders that perpetuate the divide with their preconceived notions that they are hopelessly dedicated to, while convincing themselves that we are selfish, egotistical brats with no respect for the past or our predecessors. The main issue I see is that our elders are set on lumping us all into one “ungrateful” group despite our individual differences. Where we as the youth have been raised to shun and defy labels, they are determined and in some way dependent on those labels in order to grasp this generation of people that they do not understand. I had to accept this as evidence when my grandmother compared me to my older cousin who outside of us being related, shares very little in common with me.
In no way do I think the youth of today are asking our elders to embrace all that we are without understanding it, I certainly am not trying to force my beliefs and existence on my parents or those before them. I just want the respect in acknowledging the possibility. The possibility that in youth there is this natural resistance to the status quo and a longing for understanding and acceptance of our desire to be individuals. This does not however compromise all of our reasoning or intellect. 

Regardless how the music has changed, we are no different from previous generations in that we all march to the beat of our own drum and rarely feel like we have to explain our reason for doing so. Instead of being treated like social deviants, all we want is to be understood and the first step to that is accepting that despite our generational divide, we all want the same in the end because we are all people (despite age). Our methods of attaining such may differ, but the basic needs do not differ from those of our elders.

Let Me Out

19 Aug

I may live in the suburbs, doesn’t mean I’m blind to the plight of others.

I’m a woman, doesn’t mean I blame my attitude on PMS.

I’m beautiful, but it doesn’t mean that I am shallow, and just because I straighten my hair doesn’t mean I’m not proud to be Black.

I’m intelligent, but that doesn’t mean that I think I know everything.

I’ve made poor choices, but that doesn’t mean I am lost.

I know which fork to use and when as well as where to place it when I am done, but that doesn’t make me bourgeois.

I speak my mind, doesn’t mean I’m not open to other perspectives.

I’m a romantic, but that doesn’t make me hopeless.

I’m a Christian, but not damning others to hell.

I love fashion, but not thriving off materialism.

I appreciate my body, doesn’t mean I’m obsessed with my image.

I’m liberated and liberal, but that doesn’t make me a freak.

I love hip hop and tattoos, but that doesn’t take away from my refinement nor make me rebellious.

I defy labels because they’re unnecessary in getting to the core of me. They won’t aid in the understanding of my behavior, my thoughts, or the woman I am. Labels limit me and I’m not one for impediments on my growth. I’m determined to prosper until my last breath and I’ll be damned if I let man put a finite cap on who I can become.

The Problem With Christians…

13 Jul

Knowing that you’re part of a group that is demonized daily is hard, but pointing a finger at the very group you belong to is even harder.

I belong to an online forum for free-thinking which encourages people to share ideas regardless of your lifestyle preferences, choices, ethnicity, religious beliefs etc. Despite the random posting of some, it does provide the opportunity to network with others and actually dissect some pressing issues within generational peer groups. This week I was really disappointed when a verbal war of words culminated in a (outspoken) Christian referring to an (equally outspoken) Atheist as one of “satan’s warriors”.

Christians like this make it challenging for Christians like me. I automatically get thrown into a group including judgmental sensationalists whenever I proudly proclaim my faith in a group of mixed religious groups. What it seems that a lot of Christians are missing is that the God we believe in, teaches love above all else. Some of us either missed that commandment (which is virtually impossible) or we have a twisted way of showing we love others. The requirement to love others was not intended to be one in which we decide if the other is worthy first. It is something that we are supposed to just give

Now I could be wrong, but last I checked calling someone “satan’s warrior” was not a loving phrase at all. And while it may be tempting to lash out when defending your beliefs, those who fall victim to such are just further validating why people dislike and shy away from Christians in the first place: We are an exclusionary group of judgemental scripture quoters, set on condemning people to hell. That is not who I am. And ironically enough many of my peers who also proudly proclaim to be Christian don’t base their faith in such ludicrous principles.

As Christians we have to do better. Love first. You’d be surprised with how far that alone can get you in your spiritual relationship with God and your relationship with others.

Independent Woman

3 Jul

I’ve often been accused of being “too independent”.   I find that the term often gets hurled if a woman doesn’t fulfill a man’s expectations or asserts her preference, or expertise. That implication is never said in a positive way and most often is followed by some qualifier/explanation as to why “women” are single, or deemed un-loveable. It is viewed as an inhibitor to male/female relationships as opposed to a contributor to our success. I find myself wondering: Can someone really be “too” independent? I mean is independence really something that can exist in excess?

According to the Oxford Dictionary/Thesaurus: The definition (and synonyms) of independent is: Not ruled or controlled by another. Not relying on another; not connected (syn: autonomy, self-determination, freedom, self-sufficiency).

The true definition of independence in and of itself is not corrupt. However, the use of the term as an insult is. I’m proud to be independent because being so enables me to make decisions for myself that are necessary for my development and survival. I appreciate my ability to be a free-thinker and not base my choices on those of others, making me uneasily influenced. Being independent can at times set you apart from a crowd of followers. What intrigues me is the irony of being labeled an independent woman.

Why would a man want a woman who can be controlled? Wouldn’t that make her easy to be controlled by others outside of him?

I find that those who are attracted (not just in the physical sense) to me, are, because I defy expectations and labels in a myriad of ways. I don’t believe that I have to be any one way or do any specific things because of who people think I am and what they believe I should do. 

 The truth is, being independent got me to and through college. I valued my intellect when others believed I should value (and therefore focus on) my beauty. I am not afraid to assert my opinion which in many cases can be educational and sometimes even show you a shortcut to avoid traffic. Being independent has contributed to this music loving, travel channel and basketball watching (sometimes even shooting), stiletto and Nike wearing, self-proclaimed nerd who is an artist that also reads and cooks, all while balancing beauty and intellect. I am all those things because they are important to me. I don’t think any of these elements are in excess.

Being that independent woman does not mean that I do not want or need a man in my life. I believe that women and men need each other regardless of how independent we are because we will never truly understand what it means to be in each other’s skin (just based on science alone), and we need to guide each other through the differences as a means to better understanding and appreciation.

If we look at the true meaning of independence and its value, I ask, who wouldn’t want to possess that? If independence is a means to sustain and is imperative for survival, why should being so be viewed as an obstruction to healthy relationships?

“Preacher’s Daughter”

15 Jan

Newsflash: Yes, I am a preacher’s daughter.

This may be a surprise to some, fascination to many, puzzling to others. I understand all of the reactions.

Let me clarify first. My father does not have his own church. I wouldn’t actually call him a preacher, (but for the sake of most understanding, the title will stay). My dad was “called” into the ministry when I was young (probably still in elementary school) and I have never been excited about the idea. He has spent the bulk of his ministry, not actually preaching but counseling married couples and doing mission trips to Africa and Asia.

This role that I was thrust into by no choosing of my own has brought about several dimensions of conflict, being that I am a modern adult who was once a “regular” teen who does believe in the importance of faith, but also believes in the importance of self-realization, actualization and many other -tions, isms, and necessary possibilities that make me a walking contradiction in the eyes of the church and sometimes those of my dad. But I’d like to call it human. What my father does, has always in my eyes been his choice and while some of my life choices mirror his expectations of me, some definitely defy his beliefs and wishes.

I find that these conflicts of life plague many people, not just the other PKs (preacher’s kids) that I know. We are often held to some unrealistic and unfair standards that personally has resulted in me not even bringing up the fact that my father has this life path. I am an individual who thinks that my best learning in life has come out of actually living and while I do not take pride in every decision that I have made , they are mine. However the discrepancy between my decisions and my father’s expectations of how I should live my life at times seem to have put a very clear wedge between me and the father whom I would love to have a transparent and honest relationship with, because simply, how can you tell the preacher that you don’t really think its wrong to live with someone before you’re married (sure it causes drama in some cases, but it is not wrong). And honestly some Sundays, I’d rather go to the beach, and run in the opposite direction of church. I like to party on Saturday nights in dark clubs with my girlfriends and I don’t shy away from the occasional martini. On my iPod, I have the spiritual and the dirty. I unwind with both. I have tattoos, and piercings and in a lot of ways am pretty liberal. But I walk the line. My respect, love, and need for God and a true sense of a “higher calling” are requisite parts of my life’s blood. All of these things combined make me who I am and I cannot fathom denying any parts of it. However, I often find myself asking What Would My Father Think as opposed to What Would Jesus Do? And both can contrast with What do I Want?

I realize though that there are many of us who walk this line. The one of pleasing others and pleasing ourselves. Living the life that other’s want for us and the one we create for ourselves. It was a fight when I was 15 and wanted to date just as much as it is at 31 and want the same.  There is no true definition of individuality and while so many of my peers may have begun to accept this, it is imperative that generations before us do as well. Never have I signed up to be a preacher. My father did. And that was his choice, just as being the head-nodding, praying,  and tattoo branded individual is mine.  Yes, I am a preacher’s daughter. But first, I am me.