Tennessee

February is African-American history month. 

Somewhere in America, 1934, oil on canvas by Robert Brackman

Somewhere in America, 1934, oil on canvas by Robert Brackman

I’m not African-American. There are many things I don’t understand about how racism is experienced. While I would very much like us to get past race and just treat everyone as human beings, the atrocities the African-American and other communities have experienced leave deep wounds. Will they ever heal? How can all of us help?

In an effort to open a dialogue and help bring some understanding to this topic for everyone, myself included, I’ve reached out to a few friends to share their stories this year. The first is the kind and lovely “psychologist-turned-momma in a multiracial family” Ellie of Musing Momma. You’ll read her guest post here tomorrow. 

If you’ve been around this blog awhile, you know I like to link to songs at the end of some of the posts. One time I was looking for a link to Arrested Development’s song People Everyday. Seemed a good way to explain my use of “everyday” versus “every day” in the blog title. It’s a grammar thing.

I’m a fan of Arrested Development, but somehow I’d missed many of their videos. That day was the first time I saw Tennessee. I watched it with my son, then had to try to explain it to him, a child.

I knew the song had something to do with injustices against African-Americans. What I didn’t get until I watched the video (and may never fully get) is the legacy and fallout of those injustices. When the woman at the end mournfully sings, her grief calls out loud and clear: “Won’t you help me understand your plan? Take me home! Take me to another place!

Grief. Same as any family might experience for generations after trauma. Manifested, demonstrated differently by individuals. Anger, sadness, despair, silence, denial, resolve, survival. 

somewhere in America

somewhere in America, photo credit: Creativity + Timothy K Hamilton

My assessment may be completely wrong. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m not African-American. I don’t understand it all, but I want to understand it better. Watching that video, watching how we wrestle with issues of race in our country year after year, I am grieved.

Why are many of our communities still segregated, not by law but by choice? Why, oh why, are our Christian churches segregated? A difference in worship styles or language is one thing. But a congregation of all black, all white, all Asian, or all whatever doesn’t reflect the true make up of The Church.

So we’re going to broach this subject. Here. Together. Respectfully. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey Him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:14 NLT

Tennessee by Arrested Development.

Please join us tomorrow for Ellie’s guest post.

photo credit: cliff1066™ via photopin cc
photo credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc

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6 Comments

Filed under America

6 Responses to Tennessee

  1. So very true. Looking forward to Ellie’s post tomorrow!

  2. Excellent piece. I am with you in this Aimee. What an honorable focus and message. Looking forward to Ellie’s story…

  3. I don’t think I had watched that video since middle school and it gave me goose bumps watching it now. Wow – there is so much more to that song than I understood as a kid (when I just thought it was a song about, er, Tennessee). Perfect video/song for this post.

    • It may seem silly to some people, a simple video for such a profound issue. But it raised my awareness in a way I hadn’t realized before. Helped me empathize–not with complete understanding–but at least with some connection.