Ferguson, Garner and Cop Killings through the Eyes of a Bi-Racial Family

racism

 

I sat on the couch breathless as the Grand Jury results were released on CNN. There would be no indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the tragic death of Michael Brown.  Brown’s death was tragic because it was unnecessary, no matter where we place fault. And the tragedy continued as small business-owner’s had their life and livelihood burned down, stores were ravaged and an entire community was completely ruined.

I watched until I couldn’t watch anymore.

We talked about it, for days. We muddled through the events, the quick shift in the tide of the Nation and how our world needs, well let’s be real, it needs Jesus. But we didn’t just talk about it from a middle-class, churched, Suburban America perspective. We talked about it from the perspective of black, Hispanic, white, mixed and law enforcement—because our family is all of those things.

I am white.

My husband is black—his background is in law enforcement, he is currently a forensic investigator with a Masters in Criminal Justice.

My two (step)daughters are black.

My son and daughter are half Hispanic, half white.

My youngest son is half black and half white.

We are a blended, bi-racial family.

We have learned that the world is very jaded and racism is alive and breeding right here, down your street, in your family, at your church. It is based on ignorance, and lack of respect for the whole of humanity.

We have heard comments like:

“What is it like to have a black step dad?”

“Wow, your kids look really Mexican.”

“Your mom is white? That’s not your mom!”

“How is that your last name, you don’t even look Hispanic at all?”

When my husband and I started dating, I was on the receiving end of racism for the first time in my life. I married a black man, and the black community has not always welcomed me.

Recently my son texted me this photo found on the wall in his high school, where the demographic is predominately Hispanic:

 

taft racism

 

When we walk into a restaurant, we get glances and blatant stares. People don’t know what to make of us.  My kids have fun with it. I was at Walmart with all five of them, and they convinced everyone I was their adoptive mom, who rescued them from the foster system. I walked out of that store a saint that day.

 

But I am their mom, 3 of the 5 came out of my womb. My husband is their dad—biologically 3 of the 5. We don’t see our race, our color, or origin. We are family. I don’t think about my husband being black, and don’t look at my kids as Mexican or Hispanic. They are just my kids. We don’t have to “work hard” at not seeing the color of our eyes or skin or hair as a definition of who we are.

So when these things happen—these racially charged issues, these murders, these injustices—we are forced to reconcile who we are individually and as a whole—and re-examine our worldview.

My husband’s perspective is unique. He has been a patrol officer, in dangerous situations with all races. He is military combat trained, he is highly educated, and considering law for his future. But he is also black, and has been on the receiving end of profiling of police officers, where respect and courtesy only come to him AFTER the police officer finds out he too is in law enforcement. Being a former officer, and a current investigator he also has great respect for law, and the reality of consequences for our actions.

I grew up in a predominately white family, although my step-dad is Hispanic and my younger brother is white and Hispanic. I lived a somewhat sheltered life, and my grandparents, who were influential in raising me, grew up in segregated Texas. They were loving and accepting of all people, yet traces of their childhood remained.

My son and daughter are also mixed with Hispanic and white.  They are influenced by both races, and are exposed to their Hispanic culture, yet don’t see themselves as anything but simply, people.

My (step)daughters grew up in a predominately black community. They went to an all black private school, and attended an all black church. As they have grown up, they have embraced the diversity of our world, and love people just because they are people.

Then there is the youngest: Half black, half white, with 2 black sisters, and a Hispanic brother and sister. He gets lots of questions, and I’m grateful that he has yet to experience any overt racism.

But as we sit and watch CNN and read the tweets—and we hear of police officers being murdered, it all hits us, because we are all of those things. We aren’t just the white cop who was the shooter, or the black teenager who was shot—we are both. We aren’t just the people angry at the injustice of the world or just the police officer who got killed leaving his family behind, we are both.

We can’t pick a side, because there is no side to pick.

I remember dreading time on the playground during recess when teams got picked to play soccer. That was the worst feeling, not knowing if you were even going to get picked at all. But it didn’t really matter as long as you got to play.

Somehow, our society believes that we have to pick a team, but by picking a team, we are leaving out the most important thing—the privilege of humanity. We watch the racial divide growing, and are stunned at the growing fire of racism because we know it’s possible…It is possible to look beyond stereotypes.

It is possible to look at a person’s actions apart from their skin color.

It is possible to embrace humanity.

It is possible to take responsibility for who you are, without blame.

It is possible to co-exist.

It is possibly to live in harmony.

It is possible to simply love.

I don’t have any other solution but this:

We must learn to love, in an unconditional way, with deep humility and passionate servanthood. We must teach our kids, and every other kid we are in contact with, ever in our entire life, that people are human—not black or white or Hispanic or Asian or … We must push our kids out of their comfort zones—we must push them into situations where they are forced to see the world through a multi-colored lens. (I know too many kids who live in middle-class bubbles whose parents won’t make the effort to expand their perspective on the world. Not just from a race perspective, but from a socio-economic one as well). We must take responsibility for our own thoughts, ideas, and the conclusions we jump to because it’s the way we have always thought.

We must challenge ourselves to walk through Samaria, and talk to those we wouldn’t normally talk to, regardless of how they dress, or what type of education they have or what they have done in their past. We can’t change this generation, but we can change the next!

But we can’t do that alone.

Until we admit that we need help, until we humble ourselves, and admit that we need the power of Jesus to flow into us and then out of us, we will remain the same—living in the impossible.

It is only in Christ that all things are possible.

I’m grateful for my possible– for my bi-racial, blended family. I believe, even in our imperfections and failures, we are a picture of the power of the love of Christ!

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To My Christmas Eve Shoppers

Fellow Last Minute Shoppers,

I look forward to running into you at Target on Christmas Eve. Christmas is only two weeks away but we have absolutely nothing to worry about.  Stores will be open just for us early on Christmas Eve, and hopefully awhile  into the evening (because we will run out of tape). Besides us, the world will be none the wiser that we waited until the last possible moment to buy presents for our family.

Our kids will be completely fine with Designer Impostor Perfume of Marc Jacobs Honey, and the leftover Xbox Games in the $19 bin. When you can’t find the exact Airsoft gun, then you can just pick from the pink one’s that are left and tell your kid he can paint it whatever color he wants.  And even though they will only have size 4x left in that shirt, I guarantee it will shrink a size or two or four in the dryer.

And if all else fails–gift cards.

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Whether you are a crazy procrastinator, or waiting on getting that last paycheck right before the big day, know that  I got your back.  I, too, will be up until 3 am wrapping gifts. And those beautiful gifts can sit under the tree for a whole 3 hours before they get ripped open. Then there is always the big, big decision to make: do I go to bed or just try and make it through until the kids wake up?

I know. I just go to sleep, too.

Friend, I am not sure when I got to the place where Christmas became so overrated for me. When I was younger I absolutely loved the whole magic of the day. I loved the family and the lights and the songs. But now, no matter how much you try and keep CHRIST in Christmas, we are swimming in commercialism and marketing, and the BS that is daily shoved down our throats.

And then there are our kids who we desperately want to re-create that magic for. But being a magician can be so exhausting. Can I get an Amen?!?

My Reindeer Game plan:  focus on spending time with my kids, sit around the tree, talk about Jesus. The presents can wait.

Merry Christmas,

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I NEED YOUR STORY

No reason for me being MIA on my blog, except for my laziness, and internal battles, and pizza eating. I’m working on something very cool, something God put on my heart to write years ago, but for some reason now is when it makes sense.

It’s Big.

So Big.

And so important.

And it is so much of not just my story, but of me.

But it wouldn’t be really me if it didn’t include YOU. People make me who I am. Your lives and struggles challenge me, encourage me and change me.

I want you to be a part of this project.

father daughter

Here is the deal:

If you

1. Grew up a majority of your life without your biological father,

2. would be willing to answer a few questions about your life

3. would be willing to possibly have part or all of your story published as told by me, but would remain completely anonymous —

then send me an email at tiffany@tiffanycrawford.org.

You will be contacted BEFORE using your story in anyway to give full permission.  If at anytime you wish to back out, then I will honor you completely. And any information will be kept completely confidential until we agree that your info can be used (anonymously).

I want to know your story.  I want your voice to be heard. I want the world to be impacted by YOU.

EMAIL ME TODAY. tiffanycrawford.org

and SHARE THIS SO THE WORD CAN GET OUT!

I’m so excited at what God is going to do!

Love God and His Peeps,

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The Harvest IS Plentiful… You Got This!

 

Move God’s love.  You don’t need to fly across the world to make a difference. People right here, in your country, your state, your city, your hood need love and prayer and someone to really see them.

 

Looking forward to to hearing your stories on MONDAY about how God used YOU –yes YOU– to love someone this weekend!

 

Read this fantastic post by a fellow blogger…be inspired! Do something with your life!!!

The Harvest IS Plentiful

 

LG | LP

Tiff

How To Not Be Like Your Parents

“You look just like your mother!”

“The two of you are just a couple of bookends.”

“You and your mom even sound so much alike.”

Every corner I have turned, I have stumbled upon someone who is shocked at the uncanny resemblance I have to my mom. We look the same, although I am much taller. My eyes are blue, and hers green. But we have similar mannerisms, and often say the same phrases at the exact same moment. My brother said once during high school that being in our house is like living with two of the exact same people, who speak in stereo.

Then there is this guy.

Zak ebrahaim

When his uncle uttered the words, “Like father, like son,” an entirely different curse was spoken into existence. But he took a stand, and decided to NOT be like his father. It will take ten whole minutes of your life, but take a watch:

Zak Ebrahim is the author of the book The Terrorist’s Son. He grew up in Pittsburgh with a school teacher mom and an Islamic extremist father who was on of the men responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A National Youth Convention, Busch Gardens and Jon Stewart challenged Zak to change his worldview. Although he grew up in a house of hatred, Zak has committed to living and spreading the message of peace. Zak has professed that he is not his father.

Even though we may look, sound and sometimes even act like our parents, we have the power to say no to carrying on any destructive habits they may have inadvertently passed on to us. Parents aren’t out to pass on their junk. In fact, most of them spend their entire lives trying to protect us from the very things that negatively affected them. But here is a TRUTH: Curses are a part of our history, whether we like it or not. VICTORY: We can choose what we do with that.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. now choose life, so that you adn your children may life and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deut 30:19-20

No matter how fantastic your mom is or how horrible our father is, make a choice to let go of anything that chains your heart, digs up the hurt from your childhood, or allows you to soak in unforgiveness. Like Zak who was doomed for a life of violence and instead chose peace, you have permission to not be like your parent. You can be a curse breaker. Choose life, choose blessing…there is freedom awaiting for you, and that freedom will allow you to love… and my friend, love is what it is all about!

Who do you look more like, your mom or your dad? Comment and share with me your story of breaking curses!

LG | LP

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