Tag Archives: Equality

Sherrod Charade

As I have thought about the unfair treatment of Shirley Sherrod, I remembered my post on Equality vs. Fair Treatment. In white racists and angry white male sympathizers’ attempts to show that they, too, are not racists, both groups immediately condemned Sherrod for what they believed was equal to the discrimination some whites have been guilty of. Every situation is unique. That’s why I believe being treated fairly, not equal, should always be the goal. Read this Continue reading


Boys Rule

The following is not an excerpt from my book but continues to illustrate the concept of how the spirit of Jezebel fuels strong black woman fires.

“Boys rule. Girls don’t,” Joshua exclaimed from the other room as he was watching some commercial that showed children somehow interacting. After asking what he meant, he said, “Boys rule because they can be husbands and girls can only rule their children.” You know I was taken aback. He understood the assigned roles of husbands and wives in the home, gathered from the structure of our home, and expressed this in his 7-year-old way, but I was not impressed with his theology; I was concerned about his sexology. His domineering tone of “boys rule” hallowed my gut and made me think “He’s a little sexist in the making” and all I wanted to do was tell him all the ways that I, a “girl,” ruled beyond overseeing my children.

I wanted to tell him that I led my classrooms as a teacher, ran my department as a director, organized my team as a department coordinator, rallied my sorors and church members as committee chair for several committees and with most of these I was leading women AND men. Then I thought to explain how “only” ruling my children was the most important, exhausting and rewarding job that I ever had so now it tops the list of my daily responsibilities. But I didn’t say any of this because I recognized that Jezebel was haunting me and trying to scare me into standing up and taking my place in the eyes of my 7-year-old. She urged me to make him see that I, too, was worthy of broad-based rulership recognition in his eyes. I may have wanted him to say “Boys rule and girls do, too,” but Jezebel wanted Joshua to say “Girls rule and boys don’t.” She wanted me to displace my husband all so that my son could see another “boss” side to me (1 Timothy 2:12).

Though I am clear that my husband should be leading the home and am pleased that he’s not a tyrant, I want to listen to Jezebel. Though I have no doubt that my role is to manage the home, including being the primary manager of the children, I want to follow Jezebel’s ways. Though Joshua has acknowledged “you pastor your disciples,” I want to choose Jezebel’s words so that Joshua can see through me that “girls rule.” Besides talking to my husband about our need to be more purposeful in teaching our sons about gender equality in personhood, I kept my mouth shut with Joshua. I realized that I wouldn’t be trying to lovingly teach him about gender equality. I wanted to right the wrong of his thinking, to get him to see that girls rule too. But really it wasn’t about being right; it was about being recognized. When you want to be recognized you follow your own standards; you do what you think is necessary so that you are recognized even if it’s just in the eyes of your 7-year-old son. But when you want to be right, you follow God’s standards. You do what He told you to do no matter what anybody thinks about it. When you want to be right, you accept what God has for you and don’t seek approval from man. When you want to be right, you humble yourself and wait on God to exalt you, even in the eyes of your 7-year-old son.

So I waited, but I guess subconsciously I thought God was taking too long to exalt me. Over the weekend, I stopped waiting and went along with Jezebel, and it was not pretty. Tune in next time and I’ll tell you all about that then.

Copyright 2010 by Rhonda J. Smith

Test Your Mama

Someone once said something like this: “If your mama says she loves you, check it out.”

your mama

your mama

This is the reason why I posted the Alice Walker quotation on Monday and will post other poets’ thoughts, too. Alice Walker is considered a mother of black feminism. I want you to check out even what your mothers say. You might not consider Walker a mother, but many in our American and Christian cultures do; she is an icon. Often we take the words of icons as pure gospel just because we love the people. Let’s scrutinize and never be hoodwinked from sweet sounding words that move our hearts. Let’s also scrutinize so we can give credit where credit is due. Someone may not be a Christian, but they can speak truth, and all truth comes from God.

The Alice Walker quotation was provocative to me because at first reading it seemed anti-biblical. I agree that animals exist for reasons apart from for humans; they help to balance the world’s ecosystem, but it’s arguable whether or not animals were created for humans. After God created animals he placed humans (Adam and Eve) in charge of them (Genesis 1:28). Walker was right about black people not being created for white people. God created us all in His image for His good pleasure not for one race to demand pleasure from another (Revelation 4:11).

Finally, Walker was right in one sense about women not being created for men. All women weren’t created for all men; in other words, women weren’t created so men could dominate them, but women were created for men to have as wives. So the woman who becomes a wife was created for the man who becomes her husband, and vice versa (see 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and 11:11-12). Man was created first but men cannot continue to be created without a woman. There is definite interdependence with a man and woman, the husband and wife. So you can see I didn’t totally disagreed with Walker, but I just wanted to get you to think without inserting my opinion. Thanks to the many of you who read the previous post and the brave one who responded. I always want to hear from you so tell me what you think of this post or any other one. Can’t wait to hear from you.

Woman Created for Man?

Alice Walker

Alice Walker

    The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men”–Alice Walker (taken from About.com; emphasis mine).

Many of you may know that April is National Poetry Month. This is the reason behind my posting audios of my poems the last two Fridays. I plan to do the same for the next two Fridays. But I also thought it would be interesting to take quotations from some famous (and not so famous) poets to examine their thoughts in light of what I believe God’s Woman (what I am temporarily calling the recreated strong black woman who is a Christian) should be considering. So consider the above quotation from womanist (black feminist) poet, novelist and essayist Alice Walker, particularly the part I’ve emphasized. What are your personal thoughts about it? What are your thoughts about it when considering Genesis 2:18 and 1 Corinthians 11:8-9. I’ll tell you what I think, but you first.

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith

Marital Roles

I remember reading an analogy in PB Wilson’s Liberated Through Submission about the daily requirement of submission from all people. She talked about driving and the need to yield (submit) to other drivers, particularly when merging in traffic. It’s not that the other drivers are better than you; it’s just that for the safety of all, yielding is necessary. This helped me see my role in submission in marriage differently. Her description in no way gave a picture of a doormat to be stepped on, but an act necessary for the benefit of all. This is the picture that Scripture paints.

Men and women in general, and husbands and wives more specifically, are the same in value in Jesus Christ’s sight (Galatians 3:28), and He requires mutual consideration in marriage, but each spouse has been called to different functions. I believe this is so for there to be order in the marriage (1 Corinthians 11:3-12). Two main functions for the husband are provider and protector and for the wife, submitter and respecter.

The husband was called from the beginning to be a provider and protector when he was told to dress (work) and keep (protect) the garden (Genesis 2:5-17). God didn’t change his mind about man’s responsibilities in marriage when he laid out the duties of sanctifier, nourisher, cherisher, cleanser and lover in Ephesians 5. Each of these duties fall under provider and protector and require the husband to do so spiritually, physically and emotionally (See also 1 Corinthians 7:3, Colossians 3:19 and 1 Peter 3:7). The husband is compared to Jesus Christ and the woman to the church (Christians). So just like Christians are to submit to and respect Christ, so are wives to submit to and respect their husbands. Jesus Christ is the perfect provider and protector, and through Him a husband can seek to fulfill these roles in marriage. And Christ was perfect in submission and the respect of others, and through Him we can do the same for our husbands.

The major roles of each spouse don’t exclude the other from operating in the other’s roles from time to time when appropriate, but they are not the other’s primary responsibilities. So strong black woman, you don’t need no man to provide for or to protect you, but if you’re married this is what God requires that husbands do for you. Don’t let a bad attitude or a confusion of roles keep you from receiving blessings from your husband. Remember, each spouse seeking to fully operate in their function is biblical equality.

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith

Marital Oneness

“I don’t need no man,” many a strong black woman has said. And she is right. In fact, if you look at why God made woman, you could infer that the man needs a woman (Gen. 2:18-23). But I don’t think this is what God wants us to get from that passage. It’s about two whole people coming together to enhance each other’s wholeness and being on one accord. This is what I think typifies oneness; two people can come together knowing their strengths and weaknesses and contribute and accept enhancement from the other (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). The two agree, based on God’s word, how they will develop this oneness.

Oneness wasn’t even in my mind when I was demanding a new family structure from what my husband-to-be was accustomed to (see previous entry). I told him that we were not going to his people’s house. I didn’t tell him what I thought and ask him what he thought so together we could decide what a new family custom might be. I was also drawing the line between what’s his and what’s mine, by referring to his birth family as his people instead of seeing them as our people. Being one means his family becomes my family. He leaves them and becomes one with me, not being under his parents’ rules anymore but operating based upon the guidelines of our new family (Genesis 2:24). Our oneness now requires synergy based upon a scriptural model. And part of the scriptural model for marriage is the different roles assigned to husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:21-33). I’ll talk about that more next time, but for now, in what ways may you have disrupted oneness in marriage? What about others you know? You know I want your feedback. I look forward to receiving it.

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith

Marital Equality

I had it all figured out. I told my husband to be: “When we get married, we ain’t going over to your people’s house every week for dinner. And I’m still going to present at academic conferences. I’ll just have our baby strapped to me, but I’m going.” There was no way that I was going to be obligated to his family’s idea of together time, and there was no way that I was going to stop my career aspirations. I knew the scriptures told a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and I knew that God had gifted me to work just like He had gifted my man (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). I wanted to assert myself, make sure that he knew how things were laying before he gave me the ring, before I said I do. I wanted him to know that he couldn’t make all the decisions because we were equal. But none of my thoughts considered what God had to say about marriage, namely that the two shall be one and that husbands and wives have different roles. I’ll discuss both more fully in future entries.

I didn’t consider what God had to say because I thought what I had to say was more important (Proverbs 3:7). My wisdom told me that we could still operate married like we were single and that we were equal in how we should function. And though I talked about the 50/50 split in marriage, I always wrestled with that one because my common sense let me know that would be impossible (though it would be ideal, I thought); the only way you could split everything 50/50 in marriage is if you marry your clone.

Marital equality calls for each spouse to seek to operate fully in their functions, not to perform the same functions. And sometimes these functions require what you’d rather not do, like submit to attending a family dinner or postpone an academic career to properly care for children. Initially both seemed hard, but God’s wisdom has proven that my notions were the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith