(ThyBlackMan.com) Let’s get to it. Politics, race, religion, and sex are the topics you usually avoid discussing in public regardless of your ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, level of education, occupation, system of faith, or age. Some of you aren’t comfortable discussing these issues privately. Here’s the thing, though. Everyone is affected by them – known or unknown, seen or unseen, positively or negatively. How you’re affected by politics, race, religion, and sex informs how you feel about these topics. How you feel about these topics also determines how you view friends, family members, colleagues, peers, institutions, and even the government. It’s much deeper than you think. Today, let’s discuss what I refer to as the intractable 4.
The word intractable is an adjective – and is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to mean “not easily managed or controlled.” Word synonymous to intractable include: stubborn, inflexible, unyielding, and uncooperative.
“When I believe in something, I stand for it.” The hip-hop artist, Drake, said that recently. I concur. Love me or hate me, agree or disagree, I speak from my mind and spirit and heart in this space. I mean everything I say, and I say everything I mean. My photo and my name are prominently displayed by my words. You cannot pretend not to know where I stand. Once upon a time, such a stance generated a certain degree of respect and/or nobility. Alas, that was then, and this is now. But I digressed.
Let’s talk about politics. You belong to your political party, whatever it is. That’s great! You vote a certain way, you follow certain leaders, you donate to certain candidates, and you have certain issues which are of great importance to you. You have a certain vision for how you think America should be headed. These things are precisely as they should be. Here are my questions for you. How flexible are you politically? Which is greater – your country or your party? Is your political affiliation in alignment with your faith – or not? Do you hate anyone/everyone who disagrees with your political philosophies?
These questions are existential. They speak to the core of who you are and what you believe. I believe that you’re my brother or sister
Let’s talk about race. I’ll be brief here because I deal with this issue frequently. It is both reckless and foolish in 2015 to operate under the assumption that racism in America is a thing of the past. Show me a person who genuinely thinks that, and I’ll show you a person who is immune to the professional, societal, and/or financial ravages of discrimination. If you’re not a person of color, then why persist in perpetually spreading the falsehood that you’ve walked even an inch in their shoes? You can’t ever know firsthand, but you could learn a lot by listening. You could learn a lot through empathy. Oh what a joyous day it will be when our politicians, captains of industry, and members of the criminal justice collective avail themselves to seek understanding.
Let’s not talk about religion. Wars have been waged in the name of religion. For thousands of years, genocide has been unleashed upon entire populations for religious purposes. Spirituality is what truly sustains us as God’s people. Faith is essential. The King James Version of Hebrews 11:1 states: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” My friends, what do you believe in? Are your words and actions demonstrative of your faith in that thing, that person, or that institution? You know faith without works is dead.
Finally, let’s talk about sex – or rather gender. Men, do you view women as your intellectual equal? If not, how can you legitimately view them as your equal in other ways? Perhaps that’s why our society won’t trust women’s reproductive rights. Maybe that’s why gender pay equity remains a non-starter. Faith, hope, and love abide; but the greatest of these is love.
Unless we evolve, we are what we think.
Politics, race, religion, and sex – the intractable 4 American topics. Since we need to talk, consider this an icebreaker. You’re welcome.
Staff Writer; Arthur L. Jones, III
This talented brother is a local Minister, weekly featured Democratic Op-Ed columnist, non-profit advisor, and sees the Braves winning it all this fall. Rev. Jones welcomes your comments! Please email him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.