Woodlawn: Race and Recociliation

I took too long to write this post.

I am white. I have always been white. I am highly unqualified to write about racism in America.

But the only thing I have watched or read recently to write about is Woodlawn.

Woodlawn is a movie about racism, football, and the power of the gospel.

What stuck out to me most, though, is the first scene of revival. The first persons to realize how wrong he was was a racist.

Ending racism is not the responsibility of black people. It should start with us. We created a nation where it is easier to be white than it is to be black, and we created a nation where we pretend that racists don’t exist. Black people do not have that luxury. We should not either.

Confront racism, in yourself and in others. Reconciliation starts with repentance.

Captain America: Civil War ~ Team Iron Man

Captain America: Civil War ~ Team Iron Man

TONY STARK: If we can’t accept limitations, we’re boundaryless, we’re no better than the bad guys.

Earlier this week, you got to hear from Team Cap. Now it’s Team Iron Man’s turn. I must admit that I am not your standard Tony Stark admirer. I’m naturally more inclined to side with Steve Rogers, the cleancut idealist. I hated Tony Stark from the minute I met him, and it took me years to get over his arrogance.

So why am I on Team Iron Man? Simple. I believe that anyone, even superheroes, can convince themselves that their good intentions are worth a little collateral damage.

How much is one person worth? Can we sacrifice one to save the many? Is collateral damage a moral necessity? These are the questions Tony is weighing. Because for him, the loss of one human life at his hands, even indirectly, is a failure. He is haunted by the lives he has cost. That’s why he stopped making weapons. That’s why he became Iron Man. He wants to save the world.

But Tony knows better than almost any of the Avengers what it is to do harm when you’re trying to good. He has seen the negative results of his good intentions. He’s never been the golden boy. He’s the playboy. When a playboy starts suggesting some oversight, it’s probably time to listen.

Remember, of course, that this isn’t Tony’s ideal solution. Would he rather the Avengers self-police? Yes. But he recognizes that any person left to their own devices can spiral into justifying even the most disturbing actions. That’s why he says the Avengers would be no better than the bad guys. Not because they’re bad people. But because they each have the potential to become bad people.

No man should have as much power as these do. But they already have it. And to avoid World War Avengers, they need an outside perspective to offer guidance. The Avengers function under no law, and that’s Tony’s concern.

Near the end of the film, Tony faces Steve and asks a very simple question.

TONY STARK: [about his parents’ deaths at Bucky’s hands] Did you know?

STEVE: I didn’t know it was him…

TONY: [struggling to keep his temper] Don’t shit me, Rogers! Did you know?

STEVE: [hesitantly] Yes.

Here is is, plain and simple. Tony loses his self-control. Hard to blame him, frankly. Who knew the day would come when Cap was anything but honest? But volatile Tony isn’t the only one who lacks restraint. Think back to that that final fight. Tony is lying there, broken. And Cap slams his shield into Tony’s arc reactor.In context, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say Cap left Tony to die. Yes, Tony made it. But that’s not the sort of self-restraint he seemed so confident he could provide. This isn’t the Cap we’ve trusted.

Why Team Iron Man? Because I know the darkness of my own heart. It’s not a pleasant reality, but I can’t ignore it.

Captain America: Civil War ~ Team Cap

Captain America: Civil War ~ Team Cap

Steve Rogers: This job… we try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody. But if we can’t find a way to live with that, next time… maybe nobody gets saved.

The sad thing is, it should not be a Team Cap/Team Iron Man thing. A civil war should never have happened. But it did.

So why am I Team Cap?

In a word: people.

First, I am more likely to trust a person than a government–or a committee–any day.

Each of the catastrophes that was listed as a reason for the Accords–New York, Washington D.C., Sokovia, Lagos–were not caused by the Avengers. They were caused by people the Avengers were trying to stop. The governments that we are supposed to trust with oversight attempted to blow up the entire city of New York. The governments we are supposed to trust with oversight repeatedly choose to try and take power wherever it is found rather than to protect their people.

Given all of this, why on Earth–or anywhere in the galaxy–would we choose to let them control the Avengers?

Second, because people are people–with their own choices and their own hopes and dreams. They are not objects or weapons of war. Ross summarizes everything I disagree with early in the movie:

Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross: Tell me, Captain, do you know where Thor and Banner are right now? ‘Cause you can bet if I misplaced a couple of 30 megaton warheads, there’d be consequences

And lest anyone think this is a strawman, Tony about Wanda:

Tony Stark: She’s not a US Citizen and they don’t grant visas to Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Captain America–Steve Rogers–believes in the power of the individual to make their own choices. People are not assets. People are not objects.

And really, that is the true reason I am Team Cap: Because Steve Rogers believes in self control–not in controlling others.

And I would rather be responsible for my own mistakes any day than responsible for the mistakes of others–or have others responsible for choosing my mistakes.

Vision: [straining] If you do this, they will never stop being afraid of you.

Wanda Maximoff: I can’t control their fear. Only my own.

I am for Captain America because I am for the individual. I am for the defenseless. I am for the defender.

I am for the human being.

Was I Born to Be Tame? First Installment

First: Strong Women are Good Stories

Why do I call myself a feminist? Because I believe that it is still necessary. This will be the first in what will hopefully become a series of articles about people that give me reason to believe that feminism is still necessary.

Dear world,
More specifically, dear condescending males who pretend that they are the only ones who speak truth,
Greetings. I am a woman. You may not have noticed that—I am, after all, neither little or dainty—but I am. Once I would have called myself a lady.
You’ve killed that term for me, thank you.
I am tired of holding my tongue and ignoring your blatant ignorance and air of superiority.
I’m drawing the line, though—you may not be worth my time and energy, but there are so many women and men you are warping with your bombast and supercilious rhetoric who are worth my time and energy.
I am writing for them.

NASA (International Space Station Imagery): JSC2006-E-42720 Author
Because they, like Anousheh Ansari, are not bound to this earth by gravity.

Continue reading “Was I Born to Be Tame? First Installment”

On the Nature of Love

“So, having found a lady, could you not have come to her aid, or left her alone? Why drag her into your foolishness?’

‘Love,’ he explained.

She looked at him with eyes the blue of the sky. ‘I hope you choke on it,’ she said, flatly.”
Neil Gaiman, Stardust

Audiobooks are a beautiful thing, when done properly. I recently finished listening to Stardust, read by the author (who refuses to do that stupid thing that male readers do to female voices where they make them all identical, high pitched, and petulant.) I highly recommend it both as fiction in and of itself and as an audiobook, to spice up those dull commutes that seem to be an unavoidable aspect of adulthood.

Some spoilers under the cut. Continue reading “On the Nature of Love”