Monday, May 30, 2005

The Book Blog Tag Challenge -- Tag, I'm It!

Last tagged: James Landrith

1. Total number of books I have owned.

Hm, for the sake of having something amusing to blog, I will admit I have probably owned less than 20 books in my life. Because I am the Director of ISAA, people do send me books for review, so I do (technically) presently own some books, but I could probably only list about half a dozen.

Do comic books count? I was a huge comics fan for the better part of 20 years, until their quality tanked and prices skyrocketed. I was a big X-Men fan, back in the day. I also scooped up all the "Death of Superman" and "Reign of the Supermen" titles back in 1992-1993.

2. Last book I bought

I'm a big library nut, when I'm in a perusing mood. As I stated above, more people send me books than I actually buy. I think the last time I bought a book was at book fair in elementary school -- and that probably doesn't count since it was my parents' money. I would guess that the last book I bought (if you include comic books) was either an X-Men or Spiderman title.

3. Last book I read

I would have to say Preserver by William Shatner (with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens). Before that, I read the book which preceded that story, Dark Victory by the same writing team. Since this was all library fair, I did not ever find Spectre, which was the first in that three-part series of Star Trek books.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me

a. The Bible (King James Version) - this would have to be the all-time, most important book that means a lot to me. Coming to an understanding of this book, especially the Old Testament, has helped shape my world view and been a source of hope and inspiration to me every day. Let me add that I could not understand the Old Testament to save my life before the Holy Spirit came into me. Now I can truly appreciate the Bible, whereas before I could only theorize and debate about it. Lastly, I prefer the King James Version because I consider it to be the most accurate and least "watered down and fluffy" version that is currently available in English.

b. Bram Stoker's Dracula - An irony, considering my favorite book is the Bible, but I will explain. Dracula was the first book I ever truly LIKED and read all the way through. This happened during my mid-to-late teens, which was also a very dark period of my life. Had I not taken an interest in this book, however, I don't think I would have taken much interest in reading books. This would have made college much less bearable than it already was. Thank you, Mr. Stoker.

c. The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Otto Frank - This was probably the first book I had to read for an assignment in school and it made an impact on me. Even though, at the time, I didn't fully understand all the implications, I found it fascinating and extremely picturesque. I found myself sympathetic to a character and her plight.

d. The Name by Franklin Graham. I read this book from cover to cover in less than a week! Simply put, the son of Billy Graham is an accomplished author who weaves his amazing life experiences in with discussing the relevance of the name of Jesus Christ in times past, present and implications for the future. He is particularly gripping in discussing the Columbine Massacre, the 2001 inaugeration and the events of September 11, 2001. Equally incredible, however, is his compassion in addressing the AIDS crisis, the long-building Sudan crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This book is for everyone, not just Christians; it has something relevant for anyone who reads it and I highly recommend it.

e. The Case For Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Stoebel. What I like about this book is its merciless persuit of the truth. The perspective is that of an agnostic seeking definitive proof for the existence of Jesus Christ and Christ's claims to be God in the flesh. This is not a Bible-thumping sermon. The author questions highly accredited professors, archaeologists, medical professionals and skeptics, creating a "case" and it is the reader who is left to make the final decision on what the truth is, based on the evidence the author presents. Highly informative, entertaining and to-the-point.

Again, a book for everyone. Two huge "thumbs up" from me!

5. Tag Five People and have them do this on their blogs


Best Wishes,

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Some New IR Headlines Of Interest

New Biracial Club Promotes Diversity, Provides Community

Group, in its startup phase, aims to unite students with similar past experiences

by Rebecca Hyler, Photo by Lisa Johnson
May 09, 2005

The missions of the new Biracial Student Association are two-fold: To make the campus more aware that the world is becoming increasingly diverse, and to provide biracial students with a sense of community.
While the club is only in its startup phase, waiting approval from the Student Government Association, Jennifer Gordon, the co-advisor of the BSA and the director of programs for the Office of Diversity Resources, already has a goal in mind.

"We want members to feel connected--finally," Gordon said. "There's a need for us to feel connected to people like us because we all have a lot to deal with, and we identify with many of the same experiences."

Gordon said she felt an instant connection to Taylor Walker, president of the BSA and a junior sports management major.

Both women are biracial, and they both grew up in racially isolated Long Island neighborhoods.

(Click on headline above to read rest of story)

Other Campuses: Christians, Colleges Deal With Mixing Races, Cultures

(U-WIRE) WACO, Texas - The Old Testament prohibited marriage between Jews and gentiles, but according to the associate professor of religious studies, A. Christian van Gorder, the idea wasn't to prevent marriages between people of different ancestry, but to keep the Jews from worshiping foreign gods.

Van Gorder, who uses the term "intercultural" rather than "interracial," said Christians who are against intercultural marriage aren't dealing with a religious issue, but with an issue "that relates mostly to European-American racism."

He said the Bible doesn't teach the concept of race, but rather warns against inter-religious marriages in passages such as Deuteronomy 7:3, Exodus 12:48-49 and 2 Corinthians 6:14.

(Click on headline above to read rest of story)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mother's Day Afterthought

A belated but nevertheless sincere Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers! I've been waiting for an interracial (IR) topic to blog on and this is a good one. I mean, given that discussing current headlines, politics and the state of the world in general has been so depressing and/or discouraging that I had no desire to even attempt to comment on any of it. Thus the lack of blogging for awhile. Trust me, you would not have wanted to know my opinion on any of that.

We had a good Mother's Day weekend. One of the most special elements of my relationship with my wife is the fact that we are parents of biracial children. I am proud of my wife as the mother of our kids. We occasionally walk the line between two cultures with our children. I'm glad that most of the time we -- and our kids -- don't see any kind of daily clash between cultures. We make a point not to deny them access to either -- or any -- culture.

I think a parent's job is not to isolate their kids to only the parents' culture or community. I think that really limits a child's understanding of the world around them, which can follow them into adulthood and the rearing of future generations. I see way too much "cultural self-segregation" in virtually every culture.

I personally believe the unintended consequence of this is culturally institutionalized racism. It's subtle because it usually doesn't result in name-calling or violence or direct harm. What you do get is an unwillingness to learn other cultures, other communities, other foods, etc. And if people are not careful, this can result in the type of "cultural pride" that results in people avoiding and even looking down on other cultures. To me, that's racism.

To further clarify, I don't think there's anything wrong with being proud of the culture you come from or the accomplishments of people of one's culture or one's ancestors. What I mean by the racism is when one develops aggressive "cultural arrogance" and actively looks down on people of other cultures. I have seen individuals and families of all cultures do this, so it's not just any one culture that engages in these practices.

So, tying this back to Mother's Day, especially mothers of biracial or multiracial children, many of the ones I know or have met, tend to be more open to other cultures -- or at least the culture of their children's father.

I have also seen the sad example of IR couples where only one culture is infused in the children and the other parent's culture is minimized in the upbringing. These are "One Drop Children," using the "One Drop Rule" mentality (one drop of [insert race here] blood in your veins makes you [whatever race]).

We, as parents, have such an incredible responsibility to our children. If at all possible, we owe them two parents, a mother and a father, to help them feel loved and protected and properly nurtured.

Will we make mistakes in raising them? Absolutely, that's a part of being a parent: recognizing and learning from our mistakes and doing our best not to repeat them.

I am not saying anything negative about single parents. I have seen wonderful examples of single parents, female and male, where there was a divorce or a death. In all fairness, I have also seen good single parents who were never married; they just had to do much more to rise to the occasion of single parenthood. Parenting is always more difficult, though not impossible, with the absence of one parent.

Are there examples of bad two-parent families? Definitely! Half of all pregnancies (probably more) are not planned and some should have been planned. Some people just aren't ready to be parents or should not become parents, period.

Understanding all of this, I thank God for my wife, the mother of my children. She loves our children with a pure love, the same love she has for me. We are an IR married couple with biracial children and a truly special family.

Best Wishes,