Showing posts from June, 2020

Miseducation of White Supremacy

This is another example of what White supremacy looks like, what it does, and what it continues to do.  I grew up in Indiana, a state literally named after the indigenous people who originally lived on this land. I have always lived in Indiana. I currently live in a city that is named “city of Indians” - Indianapolis. There are cities, towns, and historic sites that dot the landscape of this state (not unlike many other states in the United States) bearing the names of the first nation peoples who lived here, grew crops here, raised children here, died here, and were buried here - Mississinewa, Muncie, Salamonie, Miami, Mishawaka, Delaware, Wawasee to name a few.  As a part of our elementary and middle school education, every child in Indiana takes obligatory classes and units of study the history of Indiana. During these classes and units, we are taught how Indiana became a state, what role the citizens of Indiana played during important moments in the history of the United States, cr

Unpacking Stories

We create a universe every time  we tell ourselves,  we tell one another,  we tell our children, we are told a story. Our examination of the stories heard, overheard, created, told, must be deep  and may even cause us discomfort. Let us ask our stories, our storytellers, our selves these questions and more.  Who are the protagonists? Who are the enemies? What are the worlds that are  built,  defended,  reformed,  destroyed? What is the quest? Who comes out the victor? Who dies  at the hands of the conquering hero, at the hands of the dominant culture? Who “needed” to be “saved”? Who is the “savior”? Where do we discover self within the narrative arc? What are the stories  behind the stories  that inform the stories we tell, that inform the stories we are told? What are the mythologies  that are called truths  embedded in our psyches and hidden in our stories? And then  we must not fail to follow each question with a necessary why. If we are to grow, to understand self, to learn our emb
What is it that frightens you so? The color of his skin? The ambition of her spirit? The depth of their soul? A reality you can never understand? A truth you will never live? A love you cannot fathom? Why take what is not yours? Why deny others the possibility of being fully alive? Why destroy the opportunity to thrive? Or is it you? Is it you that you are running from? Is it you that ultimately frightens you most? -bshivers 

My Team, My Friends, and a Racist Welcome

I grew up in Marion, Indiana. Even though I haven't lived there for over 30 years, I still call this Central Indiana town home. One of my favorite parts about growing up in Marion was the opportunity to play organized sports from a very young age - PAL Club basketball, T-ball, and flag football. But in Marion, basketball has always been and likely forever will be king! Hoosier Hysteria can be seen in all of its glory in Bill Green Athletic Arena. Even the water tower used to list all of the State Basketball Championships won reminding one and all of what was of ultimate importance. I often say that the most prominent tree in Marion was the basketball goal. Every block had at least two or three. It seemed as if every little girl and every little boy grew up dreaming of one day becoming a Marion Giant donning the purple and gold. Before I got to Marion High School, I went to McCulloch Junior High from 1980 through 1983. Our mascot was the Bears, and our school colors were purple, gol

A Not So Well Kept Secret

I grew up in Marion, Indiana. During the industrial era, Marion was a busy factory town. Many large companies had facilities in the city that employed thousands. For its size and location, Marion was and still is racially diverse. I was a child in the late 60's through the 70's. I became a teenager in 1980 and graduated from Marion High School in 1986. I love this town. I always will. I made amazing friends in Marion. I was formed there. I have incr edible memories there. My mom still lives in the house I grew up in. However, Marion held a not so well kept secret that lived in its collective psyche. In August of 1930, Marion was the site of a public beating and lynching of two young Black men - Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith - and the ruthless beating of a third - James Cameron. This lynching at the hands of a mob of thousands took place on the county courthouse square in downtown Marion. This lynching became the subject of a poem and song by Abel Meeropol, Strange Fruit, which w

Sacred Text

I want to be clear. I love the Bible. I have been and continue to strive to be a student of this text. I am challenged by it. I am encouraged by it. I am confronted by it. I am angered by it. I often find myself in its pages and its often conflicting and complex words. I discover the divine through the stories of the people whose lives, journeys, and mistakes are recorded there. I feel the echoes of the cries of the oppressed, imprisoned, marginalized, hungry, and needy in the poetry and songs. I meet the Christ who calls us toward one another, the outcast, the left behind, the wounded, the weak in its pages. I feel the Spirit of God move in, move out of, move within, and move through these pages. But I also want to be clear on this: This text is not a toy! This text is not a prop! This text is not vehicle to garner popular support! This text is not to be used to proof text a point! This text is not to be used as a hammer! This text is not to be used as a tool of division and hatred! T