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Let Me Introduce Myself

BY: TIMOTHY A. VALENTINE

Overview
I just wanted to take a moment to share something with those who
choose to read what I have to say. I share this primarily for those who
may not know me as well as others. I believe it helps when you have
some idea of a person’s history in better understanding why they say,
think or do the things they do now and strive to do in the future.

The issues I tend to write about the most are all social issues. That is just
what interests me the most. I enjoy other subjects such as music, sports,
food and places. But if you want to get to know who I am or my
motivations, you only need to engage me in an open discussion about
race and religion or race and politics or race in general. Now I can talk
about religion only or politics only, but keep in mind that I’m more of a
liberal in my approach. I’m not trying to argue with you or even prove you
right or wrong, but to consider.

Without going into explicit details I will highlight a few experiences that
helped developed my consciousness on these issues I so frequently
talk/write about.

My Daughter Doesn’t Play with Niggers


I apologize for the section title, but this was the line that the father of a
classmate of mine when I was in kindergarten said to me. This was how I
was introduced to racism. Someone pointing out that I was different or
unacceptable in a way that I couldn’t even play childhood games with
their daughter. Racism is taught at an early age.

The irony of racism is that it doesn’t do what it does. What I mean by that
is that it has no boundaries, even though it causes boundaries and
limitations in so many levels in a person’s life. It doesn’t do what it does,
because anyone can be a racist regardless of race. Although racism is
the practice of seeing color, it doesn’t limit its practice to any one color.

Since that early age I have been very aware the role race plays and how
people of all races play their roles. I can tell when someone has a full
grasp of the issue of race or not. It is confusing and can be tedious to
comprehend.

This Has Nothing to Do With You


As I fast forward to my teenage years, I remember the only fight I got into
during Jr. High School had nothing to do with me.

A classmate who had a locker beside mine was being harassed by two
guys. They started using anti-Semitic language and it was offensive to
me. So I told them to leave him alone and go on somewhere else with
that. They kept on calling him various anti-Semitic names and I got told
them I’m not going to sit and listen to you talk about someone because
they’re Jewish. He said the words, “Whatha gonna do about it?” and
that’s all I needed to hear.

Needless to say I got in trouble for fighting, but when I told them why I
was fighting the principal who was a descendant of immigrant parents
himself understood and told me that I should not fight with my fist.

She’s Not Good Enough For You


Jumping several years to early adulthood, I recall probably the most
hurtful experience I’ve had with racism. The racism I personally felt from
Black Christians is probably what hurt the most. It hurt because I
expected more of them. Many simply did not realize what they had done.
It got to the point where there was nothing I could say to even defend
them and unfortunately was unfairly, but understandably grouped with
them because of my association with them.

I have long since forgiven them. But now I make it a point to be among
the first to personally welcome someone who is not Black or even
Christian because I have personally felt the sting of racism and bigotry
from my own community, both cultural and spiritual towards them
because of their race or religious preference.

No One Said It Would Be Easy


So this issue is close to the heart of why you hear me speak/write about
consideration for others so often. When I talk/write about the redeeming
and reconciliation power behind forgiveness regardless of the offense and
people still are unwilling to accept or recognize the meaning within that
message it gets frustrating.

You try to explain why a person shouldn’t do something or should do


something and they give you countless of reasons why they should or
shouldn’t tells me that they are either unwilling or have not considered
others beyond their own understanding.

Racial Politics
So when I see what the Republican Party is participating in along with the
Tea Party I get upset, irritated and discourage, but I try not to give up
hope.

When I tell them that the Tea Party is a sophisticated deceptive moral and
political cancer on the Republican Party I am not trying to just be political,
but warn them that what they are doing excludes and pushes away so
many people that it is detrimental to the Party. You may make a gain in
the short-term, but still lose the race in the long-term. Then time and
history will place a judgment that can not be removed that is tied to your
name.

Democrats to a slight lesser extent must remain vigilant as well, because


of its history on the same issues. Jim Crow may wear a red suit and sip
tea today, but his blue one still fits and he sports it every once in awhile
having a beer. You’re not immune to what your opposition may be
experiencing. So pay attention to what you’re suppose to be doing and
stop worrying about what they’re doing, because the same thing can
happen to you.

If You Don’t Like Them, Then Stop Acting Like Them


There are many other instances where race has played a role. Whether it
is on the job, school, home, church, friends, family or even online, you
can’t give up. There are people who I disagree, but I try not to take that
out on them. I may push back a little, but I won’t hit you over your head
until you cross the line of decency and consideration.

Those who are Christians that criticize or even avoid someone who is not
Christian should look at what you’re doing and the message it sends.
Those who are Muslim that criticize or even avoid someone who is not
Muslim should reconsider your motives. Those who are Atheist, who
criticize or even avoid those who believe in God, should think about how
you may be contributing to the problem. Those who are bisexual or
homosexual who are irritated in how you’re treated by heterosexuals
should reexamine the approach taken.

What I am saying by this is that we can not continue damning people


because they are not like us in some way. Take the opportunity to learn
before you begin to teach.

I am more like you than you realize. If you could only see beyond your
own limitations you may just see me.
Conclusion
The past few months I’ve told my wife that I was just tired. I’m not trying to
be a minister, because I understand the burden that comes along with it
that people hang around your neck. I don’t want that burden, but I must
admit that I am simply compelled to talk about the things that I often talk
about.

We are so scared to death of everyone and everything that we can’t live


the way we are suppose to live. So I can damn you and you can damn
me, I can hate you and you hate me without either giving much thought of
why we do the things we do.

Consider others beyond your own understanding. Accept people for who
they are more than what they are. Forgiveness makes way for so many
things in life that will only strengthen you, so stop being so weak-minded
by continuing sophisticated variations of hate.

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