india arie–i am not my hair
i’m not one of those women who thinks that oprah is jesus. i think jesus is jesus. but today’s oprah (the link has a clip of today’s episode) featured a panel of leading african american social justice and civil rights leaders. leaders such as: india.arie, dr. robin smith, rev. al sharpton and a variety of other strong leaders.
i was excited that dr. robin smith was on because i find her deeply empathetic, wise, self-assured with a depth of character. after oprah sort of raised up dr. phil (who i really can’t stand for too long) it was nice to see someone who wasn’t shoving her brand of therapy down people’s throats.
anyways, dr. robin’s points were sound, succinct and solid as always. she addressed the ‘-isms’ in america as spiritual issues. when people and industries (for example the rap industry and culture) quote “freedom of speech” and “artistry” as their reason or right to oppress women, denigrate african-americans or any other race, and shoot out garbage–it is foul.
she asked, what is the freedom of speech for? is freedom our right to tear down another person’s dignity? or are we freed for building up? it correlated with a biblical understanding of freedom–that we are freed to free others. we are freed from bondage so that we can free others for life. we aren’t just free to walk around and cause pain. she also talked a lot about artistry and how can you say something is artistry if it is taking away from the beauty of another. wow. deep stuff here.
she also talked about how american culture has served foul trash for so long we have stopped noticing. if someone offered us garbage for consumption we would probably not eat it. but if they dressed it up in a sound-byte, glamorized and in the best digs–we might not notice and we would start eating. and this trash would slowly etch away at our spirits. she said that you cannot consume something and not become it. slowly but surely.
i was also really challenged by a group of african-american young women who have boycotted most rap music–they don’t listen to it, buy it or dance to it. i have to admit i enjoy the rhythms of hip-hop but it really got me thinking. i haven’t made any decisions but i agree that it is horrible to consume anything that tears down someone else’s dignity.
as an israeli-american (first generation american) and little person–i find myself in two minority groups. it is important for me to think about these issues more and stand in solidarity with those who are being oppressed. what do you think? i think everyone can be a part of the solution.