God

I accepted Christ at the age of 13 under duress and the looming threats from my mother. No one was going to live under her roof and not believe in Christ and not be a member of a church.

It was laid out to me like this by my mother, “either walk up to the alter and join church or I will take you by the hand and walk you up there myself“. The easiest way to motivate a teenager is to threaten to embarrass them in front of their peers. Given the options presented to me and the fact we attended a neighborhood church with children whom I went to school, I went to the alter on my own accord and professed to believe Christ as my savior.

For years I attended church, eventually joining the choir as an adult all while having serious questions about Christianity. The more I sought answers, the more questions came. When I began to approach my religion from a logical perspective very little made sense to me nor could I reconcile what I felt tin my heart with what I was taught. (I wrote about this before – HERE)

  • The Bible is the word of God. – According to whom? Men from 2,000 years ago whose intent was to control the masses? Men, who by all accounts, had their own agendas? This word of God has been revised, re-written and interpreted again and again. You can take one verse from the Bible and ask ten people what it means and you will get just as many answers. so it is the word of God to be interpreted by man depending on his/her views.
  • The only and only way to see God, and thus “heaven”, is through Jesus Christ. Even if you live a life in service to others, don’t lie, cheat, steal or commit any of the sins as outlined in the Bible, you will go to Hell (if these places even exists). If you’re Jewish, you’re going to hell. Muslim? Hell. Hindu? Hell. Buddhist? Hell. If you have no religious beliefs? Hell.
  • Creationism vs. Evolution. I do not believe the earth was created in 6 days. There is far too much scientific evidence to the contrary. I believe the prophets attempted to explain Earth’s creation the best way they knew how given their limited knowledge at the time.

Some may wonder if I believe in a deity at all. I really don’t know if God exists or not and I refuse to debate that with anyone, specifically Christians. Hell, just writing and posting this is enough to make some believers’ heads explode and break out the oil and holy water to begin praying over me while speaking in tongues.

It has taken years for me to find the courage to take a step back, and away, from Christianity and I am still breaking free from the shackles of its indoctrination. I know there are more people out there like me. Many of whom are still holding on to those beliefs out of fear and under duress and the threat of an eternal life in hell.

Beliefs and fear are real. If strong enough, both can make the most illogical and  irrational…real.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~Buddha

 

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I gave myself the name Chocl8t. It came out of a need to celebrate and embrace my dark brown skin and to finally accept it as a positive attribute of my physical appearance.

Tar Baby

I thought I would make it through my blogging life without writing about this. However Senator Harry Ried had to open his big fat mouth leading to everyone else weighing in on the, often times, touchy issue of  “complexion” within the Black race. Allison Samuels hits many of the salient points in her article at Newsweek. (Click HERE to read) The subject is as old as slavery itself and for me it hits uncomfortably close to home.

For longer than I care to admit I did not look at my dark skin as a good thing. In fact, I was 18 or 19 yrs old before I really “looked” at myself in the mirror. How could that be you ask? Let’s go back to New Orleans, circa 1970s.

I was growing up in a city steeped in racial prejudice – racial prejudice within the black community. The same city that had black “social” clubs and bars that you could not gain entry if you were darker than a brown paper bag. This was before my time but the attitudes remained.

I have memories of the little school boys who flocked to the lighter skinned girls in school, little girls like Tanya Graham with her cafe au-lait colored skin and baby doll like hair. The boys were mesmerized by her. It remained the same through junior and senior high….different girls but the same “look”.

It was also during these elementary school years that I was teased unmercifully by school mates and family. I was called, among other things, Little Black Sambo, Tar Baby, or lil darkie. My dad’s favorite thing to say was that I was his little “ink spot” which originated from me sleeping on the bottom bed of a squeaky bunk bed set. The “joke” was one day my parents would come in the room to find that the top bed had fallen and smashed their baby girl leaving nothing but an…”ink spot”.

Yeah…go ahead….laugh. It’s all fun and games until someone goes through childhood, adolescence, and most of adulthood thinking she’s too dark and ugly.

Little Black Sambo

Can you imagine the havoc and damage this teasing wreaks on a young black child’s self esteem? I would look at the pictures of the Little Black Sambo and Tar Baby caricatures and think “this is what I look like?” So not only am I black as tar, but I’m ugly too? No wonder the boys flocked to the “Tanya Grahams” – the high yeller, redbone, high premium, highly sought after girls.

As I got older, I lost count of how many times I was told “Oh, you’re cute for a dark-skinned girl”. See, God didn’t make attractive girls in darker hues. That back-handed compliment used to annoy me. Now, on the rare occasion I hear it, I just feel pity for the ignorant bastard who says it.

Then there was the time my sister bought my niece a black Cabbage Patch doll. My paternal grandmother, in all of her color struck glory, asked my sister “Why did you buy this black doll?”

My mother immediately chimed in, “What’s wrong with the black doll?”

Well, nothing…but couldn’t you have bought the white doll and pretended she was light-skinned?” replied my grandmother.

****CRICKETS***

When Sen Harry Reid‘s statement became public and flipped the lid off the proverbial can of woims (yes…woims), he not only gave the political pundits fodder and a call for his resignation by republicans, he also spurred journalists and bloggers to re-visit some painful history…mine included.

I gave myself the name Chocl8t to celebrate and showcase what has taken a lifetime to LOVE.

My complexion.

My Beautiful. Brown. Skin.