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Blog

These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: reflection

A Scapegoat Named Trump

jasmine banks

We are looking down the barrel of 4 years of Trump. So maybe we should talk about what he is and what he isn't. Throwing our hands up and declaring #NotMyPresident is a tempting approach. Isn't that how we got here in the first place? Donald J.esus-be-a-clue Trump is not an anomaly. He is a product of a collective ethical amnesia that leads us to believe we've made progress while we maintain the status quo, simply because we've re-branded forms of oppression.  We are so distracted by the shiny things, the progressive cookies, and the debates that political mindfulness drifts off and we are hijacked into ineffectiveness. We are responsible for the Donald Trumps of this world. 

We've glutted ourselves on systems of capitalism and anti-Black racism to keep keep white supremacy alive and well.

We've refused to stretch ourselves and wrestle down our egos in order to imagine a better world together. 

We've settled for the cheap and counterfeit intimacy that is offered in order to avoid an honest understanding of ourselves.

We've ignored the full stories of those whose lives are impacted most by systems of domination. We decided for them that what they have is good enough, they should be grateful to have something, anything, at all.

We've not trusted each other. 

We've not allowed one another the space to grow, evolve, and transform.

We've valued things over the dignity of people.

We have not been our best possible selves. So now we want to scapegoat good ole Donald Trump. "HE is the problem. HE is ludicrous. We must resist HIM." And yeah... those things aren't all wrong. Donald Trump is a trashcan fire of a human who exemplifies what happens when we forego ethical decency and guzzle down egocentric materialism (he also might be hella mentally ill). While we are resisting Trump's focus on the almighty dollar, shouldn't we also resist the ways in which we've internalized harmful systems ourselves? Doesn't the act of resistance start from a place of clarity within us? Or do we just feel better blaming Donald Trump without taking stock of the ways in which we've behaved exactly like him? 

We are not fighting people or a single person, we are fighting harmful systems that enslave us and rob us of our humanity. Donald Trump is only one person in that system. Sure sure. He is a fucking important person (I hear presidents are real important or whatever).  But are we waking up to our complicit actions? We are taking responsibility and making amends to one another.  Are we educating ourselves and dismantling the harmful systems we keep alive and in our hearts and minds? We are responsible for the Donald Trumps of this world, because we are or have been the Donald Trumps of this world. 

Standing in the Way of Equality Won't Increase Righteousness

jasmine banks

Equality.jpg

Today is the day that the highest court in the land made a move toward further equality.  Our status updates are full of celebration. I put on my Obama "I DO support marriage equality" shirt on today. A high risk move in my town. I get the side eye more than I'd like when struttin' in my equality and Obama gear. You don't get to freely discriminate against "the gays" anymore, that should be good news... RIGHT?!

It should... but amongst the celebration my Facebook newsfeed has begun to fill up with updates  also declaring,

"Sin is winning." <- According to theology, doesn't sin win on a regular basis, y'all?

"God is unhappy with history today" <- Did He/She tell you? Could I also speak to God? Do you have a cell phone number I could borrow?

"My heart is sad that we aren't standing for Godly Marriage in this contry [sic]" <- WAS God married, y'all? What is Godly marriage?

 

I don't want to get mired in the mud of this debate. I wish it weren't even a debate, truthfully.

But

When you don't speak your silence provides consent to those who ARE speaking.

So I have to speak.

I attend a University known for its Christian affiliation. I love and hate it. I was a youth group kid. My faith in God has been an integral part of my identity since I was 8, when I made an unprompted confession of faith. As I've evolved my child-like, and sometimes blind, faith in religious institutions evolved. The more life I experienced, the more I felt the sense of certainty I once internalized melt away. The more I learned the less I knew.  I can proof text like the rest of them. I am acquainted with the greek origins of words. I even, once, memorized the entire book of James. I wanted to commit it to memory because I struggled so much with the content and context of the book. When my life was dedicated to the church was deeply committed.

The more I learned the less I knew. Shouldn't it be this way in most areas of life? As we dive into the complexity of the world shouldn't we find ourselves rendered small, confused, and outnumbered by mystery? Christians want to be certain of too much. WE want to be certain of too much. I think we fear admitting our powerlessness in this world. The older I get the more I intuitively begin to belief that God is found in doubt. We are a people that crave order, structure, and stability. If what we know is turned on its head we struggle. We want an absolute yes or no. Sometimes or maybe were always answers that bothered me and I recognize that The Church wrestles with the same weakness.

I am on the fence concerning so many maxims associated with being an Evangelical Christian. So much so, that I've stop identifying as one. The church makes me angry.

Still I have to believe that grace, love, and redemption win.

If none of the words on this page settle in with you, please hear these:

In the matter of same sex marriage equality: You will not increase righteousness by limiting another person's right to choose to enter into a marriage that you do not consider holy. Rather you decrease righteousness in this world by creating inequality of power through social oppression: this is something, I've come to believe, that God is very against. Marriages with same sex partnerships will redeem and distort the world, just as heterosexual marriages continue to redeem and distort the world. God affords free will to you and welcomes you as you are. I think "Godly marriage" might mean affording the same level of power to exercise free will to others.

Featured on Brittany Gibbons' CurvyGirl Guide: My Fat Girl Rebellious Courage

jasmine banks

Hey y'all. It has been awhile.  If you are wondering. Bruce is doing well. He hasn't had many accidents and seems pretty chill so far. He also likes to give Paula Deen rides, so he is alright by me.

Recently Brittany of Brittany Herself asked to feature me on her site: CurvyGirl Guide.  She messaged me on Facebook, let me know she was a fan of mine. That she felt like I was a great subject to feature for her site. WHAT! ME?

I spent a good three weeks freaking the hell out because:

1. I've been a fan of Brittany ever since I saw her undress on stage

2. OMG why would ANYONE want to look at me or ask me about fashion.

But I did it, and received tremendous support.  The thing about having a body that society doesn't always embrace can sometimes mean that I internalize the message that my body isn't good, beautiful,  and valuable. We put a high price on being attractive. Sadly, the number on the scale that connected with me (270 lbs) gets told "you are obese, you are MORBIDLY obese, you need to change the way you eat, you are going to die."

We aren't told that we can be healthy and beautiful at size 20 (my pants size).

We aren't told that the rolls and curves on our bodies are just as desirable as their counterparts.

Brittany's message is one that I deeply align with. YOUR body is beautiful. Regardless of if you can or can't shop at Forever 21 ... that fact doesn't hold weight (pun intended) on how sexy or valuable you are. So I had Victor take amazing photos of me and I went for it. I was uncomfortable during the photo shoot. It can be hard knowing thousands and thousands of people are going to see your body and potentially judge you.  I tried to relax and remember the the voice that matter most was MINE.

What resulted were amazing images that reflected who I am. I completed the interview and sent them to Brittany.

Jasmine Banks

Brittany is doing important work in the world. She has impacted my life, and by proxy the life of my daughter. CurvyGirl Guide and fashion might seem, on its face, vapid... but the reality is that it is revolutionary. Which is sad and awesome.

CurvyGirls, nay, ALL girls are BEAUTIFUL.

OWN IT, yo.