Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 397 ~ I Am Second Challenge Day 17 of 22

This is Day 17 of my challenge... {and} my seventeenth video... 

... Ken Hutcherson... was raised in Alabama, in a time that racism was not only blatant, but flagrant as well.  At a mere age of five he was given a life lesson by his uncle which not only took his innocence, but planted hatred in his heart.  He practiced racism for years with such anger and hatred, and it wasn't until many years later when he learned that Jesus died on the cross for everyone... every skin color... that his heart softened.  Today not only is he a Pastor {in Washington state) in a multiracial church... but he is Second. 

After watching today's video I hugged my daughter for what seemed an eternity.  Why?  Because she is five {and a half} years old and I can not even begin to fathom someone taking her innocence away... let alone let it be a family member... let alone filling her heart with hatred.

My heart literally ached for Ken.  This little boy's life was changed and his heart was replaced with a heart of stone.  No child should feel or experience hate... ever!

At about the same age I learned about prejudice and racism myself.  I am Latin as you know (Argentina/Peru), however I do not look as if I am.  I was made fun of by all the "white" girls because I had a last name that wasn't American (whatever that means) and spoke funny (Spanish accent)... and I was not accepted by the few Latins that existed at the time in Los Angeles {late 60s early 70s} either, because I did not look the part.  

Yes... you read right... there weren't very many Latins in Los Angeles at the time.

Anyhooo... as I grew older and my English perfected, I still was not easily accepted by schoolmates (girls)... but that did not stop me from standing up for those who did not have a voice.  No... I did not get into fights or anything like that, I just preferred to hang out with the underdog as opposed to the popular bunch.

Today, I still experience racism.  I live in town where the majority of its residents are Mexican.  As I mentioned I do not look Latin... however I do speak Spanish fluently and understand it just as well.  

I can not tell you how many times I have heard remarks made of the racial persuasion...  
I can not tell you how many times I have responded back to these people really sweet in Spanish (funny, each time the person being ugly has been an older woman).  
{and} I can not tell you how many times I wish I would have taken a picture of them as their chin dropped to the ground!

I don't get mad or even... I just strike back with kindness.

We are Second when we put Jesus First.  Seconds are bold to lift up Jesus and tell others.  Are you ready to become a stronger Second?

I challenge YOU to take the I Am Second [22] Day Challenge... Can you spare maybe fifteen minutes in a day?
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  ~John 13:34-35 (NIV)

[here's to you finding your... ]


... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Took It... Making It... Living It... My Life .  © 2012  U.S Copyright Laws apply.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Carla, and so true I pray everyday for my children to be protected from the enemy walking among us, to not let them be put in that category because then they will have hatred and unforgiveness in there hearts and thats not Gods way of living. Thats my motto also hit them with kindness!

Wendy said...

I just love how you share your heart in these posts friend. Thanks so much! Blessings!

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Beautiful article Carla. I haven't even looked at the video yet. But to address "the older" that you spoke of, I hope in some ways an friendlier generation is being raised. When my husband and I were stationed in Okinawa, Japan you wouldn't believe the racism we experienced from older Japanese. They simply did not like Americans and weren't very friendly in trying to do business. The younger Japanese were very friendly.

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

Just goes to show how strong you are as a person. Retaliating with kindness isn't as easy as it sounds. Definitely not for the weak of heart, spirit, or faith.

Cheers, Carla!
Enjoy the weekend! :)

T. Lorraine F said...

Thank you. Through your posts you are encouraging me to give more of myself in my blog, which I have been very hesitant to do up to this point. I am determined to get there

Claire Jennings said...

While I am not a religious person, I have enjoyed reading the “I am second” serious and how you reflect on the different videos. I truly believe that the positive themes in a religion are true and the same in most religions, as God gives people what they need to do right in their lives if they choose. Just because I say I am not a religious person does not mean I am not spiritual. I am deeply spiritual, and feel I have a strong connection with God through daily prayer and meditation, though I don’t believe he will answer me.

Your videos feature people who have made a positive change in their lives, and have a positive underlying message that can be adapted even by those who are not Christen. If you do not believe in Jesus, putting the overall humanity needs above yourself or any one person is a path to fulfillment, even when your path is much harder than any path should be.

I never expected one of your videos to hit so close to home, but this one did.

You see, in 2005, I worked at Microsoft. I found that on the whole, Microsoft accepted cultural and religious differences. It is a global company, so it is not uncommon for people of different backgrounds to work together. And if an arranged marriage works for a friend, who am I to question it. They had a strong anti-discrimination policy, and supported making it illegal in Washington State to discriminate against someone for who they were in love with. This was an action wanted by most in our state.

Yet, for a short time in 2005, it looked like Microsoft would pull its support, all because of one man – a pastor at a large, local church. ( ) Microsoft reversed its withdrawal of support a few weeks later, and has stood strong ever since, despite repeated attempts by the pastor to force Microsoft to reconsider its position.

I remember not understanding at the time how someone could have so much hate in them that they would actively fight to support discrimination against some simply for who they fell in love with. This was not about asking his church to accept gay marriage. Shoot, this was not even about asking the state to accept gay marriage – the right to see your partner in a hospital when your partner needs you most, the right to keep your child when your partner dies and your child needs you the most. This was just about not getting fired because your employer found out that as a woman, your partner is a woman.

It has been years since this event has happened, but I think I finally understand where that hate comes from. In an event that should have never happened, when the man was a young boy of 5 years in Alabama, he had hate beaten into him by his uncle, literally, because he was black. Yes, the man that actively campaigned to allow discrimination against some of my dearest friends and some of the kindest people I know, was Ken Hutchernson. I can also see that he has come a long ways. He has accepted that a skin color is not a reason to hate. Hopefully, he can accept that who you love is also not a reason to hate in time.

As always, your reflection on the video is thoughtful. No one should have to face racism, not for how they look, not for their accent, and not for where they come from. Yet, you not only face it, but face it extremely well. Striking back with kindness – how wonderful! Your daughter is lucky to have you, and will be better because of the example you set.

Blessings to you and yours.

Sharon Ruggieri said...

I hate this stuff...really. And up until recently I never experience these things directed towards me until people found out I am a conservative Catholic.

You would not BELIEVE the names I'm called now :(

Carla Karam said...

Wow Clair... I sincerely hope that Ken has truly lost that hatred. I may admit, although it may have been "sweet' but I should clarify that I was being a little sarcastic knowing that I had just caught them completely off guard with my responding to them in Spanish. They didn't see it coming. They were caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. :)