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October 15, 2020 2:00 am
One perspective says "We're all just people and race doesn't matter." Another says "Ethnic heritage is all that matters." Jasmine Holmes, author of the book "Mother to Son," wants her son to understand he is made in the image of God, to understand the beauty of diversity, and to be a hopeful optimist centered on the gospel of Christ.
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If you are a minority living in a majority white culture as parents. There are conversations you will likely have with your children.
That would be less typical in a majority white home hears Jasmine Holmes.
Lots of my children had a conversation of if the police pulled you over what you do, how you act how you respond for me anyways if there is a customer service issue when you're out how you act how you respond your black woman keep that in mind at all times. That's something that my parents instilled in me. It's something that I want to find my list for my son. I want him to be aware of his skin and I want him to act with awareness, but I also want to be able to be a kid.
This is family life today hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson and Bob. The pain can find us firstname.lastname@example.org it's good for all of us to be aware of some of the unique challenges facing minority families majority white culture to hear more about that today from Jasmine Holmes's welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us.
I want to know if your wife was a shoot a mama bear, would you have used that expression about her when you were raising your voice. I think every moms a mama bear at some point. Yeah, she wasn't some things but not other things but yeah gather some there some sort of fierceness that you do remember when your mama bear instincts came out as you were raising your sons. Was there anything that happened that caused you to just say over my dead body kind of stuff. I feel like it's more as they got older with coaches is pretty laid-back and I'm pretty intense. I can like letter below the house. But then I would have to every time I have to go before God glory hears what and then he would always temperate like let's just calm it down because when I met my peak it just like everybody look out here she comes in to pray in the other room probably see this help her to calm down a little bit. Well we have got a mama bear draw is a peer to call your mama bears at all right yes definitely, Holmes is joining us on family life to the Jasmine welcome back that Jasmine has written a book called mother to son, which is a collection of letters you wrote to your then three-year-old son when you're now a mother of two.
Langston was born right after you had submitted this to your publisher and and this was a collection of letters about what you wanted how you wanted to be guiding your boys as they grew some of it related to the fact that your living as minority people are majority white culture. But that's really not all that you are writing about.
You were writing about what their identity would be beyond their racial or their ethnic makeup right absolutely. So as you think about the non-ethnic themes in this book.
What was most important to you as a mom that you wanted to make sure you were communicating and guiding your son with we talk about the city.
It's very easy to talk about it as though it's the most important thing, especially right now in our culture, and I think that there's a ditch on both sides of the road. There's a ditch on one side that says it doesn't matter what color you are colorblind your heritage as a matter like it's just you would just tell people nothing else is important, and in this edition of the other side that says that your heritage and ethnicity is the most important thing it's all that matters in you should be judge solely based on that level of nonlinear skin and so my goal for the book wise even though it is a book about ethnic identity. I wanted to remind my son that the most important part of unity is in the fact that he's made in the image of God, and I hope that the older that he gets the most important part of his identity becomes his identity in Christ and there are character qualities that all of us want for our kids as they grow up. I'm just wondering I kind of have a sense of what those character qualities were for my kids like I want to make sure that my boys were hard workers that they would all take responsibility, not the passive truth tellers. Yeah, I'm just wondering in a minority environment. Are there other qualities that stand out that you say we just have to emphasize other things.
Because of the unique nature of being minority or not.
I think overall, there are similar emphasis. There's a similar emphasis on things like the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.
I do think the black mother. Sometimes I major a little bit more on certain things because of the color of my son skin so when it comes to teaching him. For instance, how to regulate his emotions, how to be a self-controlled and patient young man because he's a boy). We know that gunmen are specifically told to work on self-control. That is something that, as a male. It's really important for him to have down pat had a daughter wouldn't be important for her to something that I'm really in the sizing with him because he is a boy in a similar way because he's young black man.
I emphasize it even extra even more so me and my brother we were learning how to drive better than me. Lots of black children had a conversation of if the police pulled you over what you do, how you act how you respond. For me it was if there is a customer service issue when you're out how you act how you respond your black woman keep that in mind at all times that something that my parents instilled in me something that I want to find my list for my son. I want them to be aware of his skin and I want him to act with awareness, but I also want you to be able to be a kid right even though he is a little black boy he still boy with thoughts and feelings and emotions and I don't think that it's fair that he should have to work extra hard because the color of his skin and balancing act, starts with me so I'm still figuring that out for him. I want him to be exemplary because he's young and he's being raised by people who love Jesus and not have to feel like yesterday exemplary just because he's sometimes the only battle in the room. They talk about because I found it in your second chapter you talk about the identity that you are God's. And then you list three things you want to you want your son to know and then again I even as I read the book I thought meant every mother and father need to read this book every son and daughter because it speaks to every son and daughter, not just yours, which is a beautiful thing you wrote it for your son but we all get the benefit from it. But you say about identity three things you are made in his image and I'm thinking I will tell my son that I have told my son that you are his beloved son, but the second one is you are black on purpose and I'm like well that's unique because that is so important to understand that for a little black boy.
I never thought of telling my white son, you are white on purpose that wasn't sunk into my mind, but it's distinctive so talk about that so we can understand that.
I think again this last time allotted me talking my son is talking to younger me things that I wanted to hear things that parents told me things that were true with me. Even I can always feel then and so often being the only black girl in the room was hard and it was really easy for me to wipe how come I have to do this to be different and really changing my mindset. The fact that God is purposeful in his making of me, just like he is purposeful in his making up my friend just blissful in putting me in whatever surroundings I was in and really understanding that when God created Adam and Eve, he made them so that in their genetic makeup.
They have all of the genetic material necessary to give birth to every single ethnicity that has ever existed, which is like it's mind-boggling. It's mind-boggling to me but like from the beginning when he said I need you to. And this is good all about potential inside of them to make all these different kinds of people with good and reminding myself of that has been so important and I really want my son to understand that as well to see you know not your black and it's better not better. But it's good talk about the goodness I think there are some folks who again would look at our cultural situation go how can you call this good ledger minority living in the majority culture and that means oppression.
There's nothing good about that. My son his name is Langston Hughes, named after my favorite poet Langston Hughes and his first name is Dr. Ezra Jack wrote the snowy day, and Langston Hughes and two writers, two very different writers who lived during very different time. I have always a love that my history includes Langston Hughes. I think that he really meant everything time that I read one of his poems. I just walk away, especially his poems that have to do with heritage and hope. I just walk away and I'm saying just the way that he describes our heritage is so beautiful and Langston is one of those writers who just puts me in a mindset of being grateful for how far we have come in this country and how many blessings the Lord has given us. When I look back at the founding of this country.
I look back at the devastation of the slave trade. When I look back at Jim Crow laws in the South. There has been so much overcoming and so much beauty, and so much purpose is so much potential, wrapped in brown skin.
In America, and against all odds be able to give birth to a beautiful and vibrant culture that's full of expressions of God's faithfulness is a gift. I think it also helps to to remember that our view of history is short. I teach a classical Christian school and I had a parent once asked me. I teach medieval history, a lot of the time, and so parent asked negative or hard T-20 will history because you don't like to teach about a lot about black people and you really teach about white people, conquering and taking over all the stuff and like knowing I teach about one part of history in history is really long and there was a time when your ancestors were painting themselves blue and attacking neighboring tribes and my ancestors were coming up with the first bronze weapons like it's just we all go through our days as we all have at times we all have our moments as I think having a longer view of history does help because of course if were only looking at the small little window with history it's really easy to lose hope.
But looking at the huge picture and looking at the diverse picture of what it does mean to be a black American to look back in our history. I think he can't help but see how beautiful it is.
Jasmine is there ever a part of you as a mom raising black sons are you afraid for them.
Sometimes sometimes I am. I think my more immediate fear for my son's rather than being afraid for them bodily. My more immediate fear is for their souls. I am so afraid of raising young men who are cheated by a the state of things in the world right now. I am so committed to raising boys who know how to hope boys who are optimists in spite of knowledge that might prove to the contrary, boys who are centered on the gospel of Christ, as it means I never think that I never see these hashtags and headlines and never put myself in his mother's positions, but I think my more immediate fear is for their souls and how do you keep them from being jaded. I have such a good community here in Jackson. I realize not everybody has that I have just been able to surround our little family with people who understand the gospel who understand the beauty that God created in diversity to love us and let us well and I think that surrounding my boys with this community is a huge step in showing them that the world has more to offer than what we see on headlines is so easy to get wrapped up in twitter debates and wrapped up inthe common threads in wrapped up in hashtags wrapped up in media but when it comes down to the actual data day of living in community with brothers and sisters in Christ, and learning how to love them well. I think that I do find more reasons for optimism that I might find looking at headline you know I found a interesting quote in your book about fear that am a mother spirit that was so insightful read it to you and I love to have you come it is longer.
You wrote, as I'm sure you remember, but you said my fear for you. My son is not so much that you will be lynched like Emmett till. Make no mistake, I will train you as I was trained to respond to authority in a way that will make you appear as nonthreatening and compliant as humanly possible and I will hope and pray that this compliance will serve as some kind of barrier against brutality that your young black form and incur what I fear most is the way that the politicizing of that violence and of the black bodies. It sometimes harms will impact your mind will you become desensitized by the death of black men shrugging off injustice because it makes you uncomfortable will you become paralyzed by the death of black man locked in an endless downward spiral of fear and grief I hope not mean that is a fear that you articulated that I'm sure many moms relate to, and many don't self talk about that. That's a unique fear. Yeah there's a lot of conversation every time that a death happens to a black man at the hands of law enforcement.
There is a lot of kickback about a lot of pickup about it justified. But I do think that when these things happen.
We have a tendency to dehumanize the people who are the victims of these deaths and we no longer see a model are buried.
The man we no longer see George Floyd, the man we see hashtags that either support don't support our preconceived political ideals of why they got shot. What we should be doing what they should not be doing things just go from being human. Go from us morning a death morning a loss and seeing a person who is made in the image of God in the face of the fallen and in the face of law enforcement and instead seeing different political ideologies on whatever side if I'm on one side, then I am seeing it as mounting evidence against stomach racism and brutality in our country if I'm on another side I'm seeing it as mounting evidence that, for instance, you know, George, Floyd, to pick apart his past so that I can make sure that what he knows that okay yes he did get killed by law enforcement, but he was a good person so he shouldn't be hero or okay you and so it starts to devolve into just this kind of political chess game and moves away from being a conversation about human being who is made in the image of God. I want my sons to stand outside of that political chess game and to truly see people and see their worth outside of the back-and-forth that's so often happens around these deaths and it's hard it's hard for me. I even had a friend who on Facebook was a K everybody who's passing on this video George Floyd dying your posting video of a man's soul leaving his body.
You haven't asked his family if it's okay for you to put that video you have thought about what his family might be thinking this video, you're just posting this video trying to proclaim like this person has died in the watch and it impacted me because even though I hadn't showed the video I hadn't had that thought I was saying this is really sad but I haven't seen myself as the spectator that I was being and I want my sons to be like that friend and to see an image bearer, not just a political moment. I'm thinking about the inspiring famous quote from Dr. King, who said that he dreamed of the day when people would be known by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin that quote is being kind of reconsidered in our day deconstruct that for me on and as you raise your son is upside is that of value that you would teach your son or does that need to be as her another side to that.
We need to be considering Dr. King often gets quoted out of context. People love his I have a dream speech, but they don't really talk much about his letter from Birmingham Jail and his superstrong words against white moderate words that are actually being acted out a lot. Some people right now. I do feel like that quote in and of itself can't offer a complete view of even Dr. Keene's thoughts on the issue because he was a complex man who had a whole body of work that often times gets ignored in the quest for upholding certain coats of his. However, I want my son to be judged by the content of Christ's character as I want him to be a person who has been bought with a price.
I want him to be a person who walks in an identity that is in Christ above all else, and I think I said it already. One of the ingredients of identity is that he's a black man. I think that's beautiful, wonderful, one ingredient in identity is that he is a man housing unit. It would be like you know when like I know that you're a man, but I just want to ignore that and I want to just treat you like you don't have any gender or sexuality at all that silly. He's a man I think is equally silly to say well when you know I want to overlook know you're talking about your unique struggles or unique transit like management overlook that. I think that looking at that is part of looking at the whole picture and part of looking at the whole man and and appreciating him so he has that ethnicity as a beautiful part of him not something that needs to be ignored but also not something that needs to be preeminent. Was fun this morning Jasmine I was on Instagram and I just happened to be scrolling through and one of my good friends daughters had posted a cover of your book and she said every mom needs to read this this is amazing and so I text her. She's a white mom that his adopted black son. He's five years old and so she's really trying to learn and so I text her and I said hey were going to be interviewing Jasmine today if he sat down with her across the table. What would you want to ask her and she was like this is amazing I'm so excited for you.
I love her I love her but still instantly I get like five questions from her that she's like this is what I would want to hear from her.
One of the questions was your teacher and your mom how are you practicing racial reconciliation in your church in your school in your neighborhood, but is that look like practically speaking a lot of time surveying takes place in school. I'm the only black teacher at my school and I've been there. It is my fourth year teaching there and I never had a black that the school and I teach most of MIT's medieval history of my first year teaching there, and now this year teaching there will be teaching American history and every year that I teach ministry, we do a whole unit on the civil rights movement in Mississippi and I am one of those people who can fall into the trap of thinking that the answer to everything is more education because I'm a teacher and that's what we do but one of the major ways that I practice racial reconciliation is through education and through teaching these kids in Mississippi about their history, not in a way that shames them or makes them feel bad for being white Mississippi kids, but in a way that makes them aware of the history of this state and ways that things can change and things can be better so it's such an interesting experience. I'm from Texas. I thought I was from the South before I moved Mississippi and I realize that I am not from the South and Mississippi is the place where history is always closer to us here that it is anywhere else. And so there's a power in teaching history that I really enjoy.
So that's the major way and I said I go to a church I think were talking earlier. That's very ethnically and politically and economically diverse and they just try really hard to just reach across there in a predominantly black lower-class neighborhood, and that my churches school is specifically geared towards kids in that neighborhood where the church is which is great so they have what they call their covenant kids in the church and they have that community kids in the neighborhood and so they're all going to school together, learning together learning alongside each other and I'm super excited to my son, be part so those of us who are not history teachers and who don't have that same approach. How can we be practicing majority culture families. What can we be doing to help encourage racial reconciliation as we raise our kids relationships are so important. I have living in Mississippi and part of it is just you know being a pastor's kid. There are certain boundaries to relationships that I have not experienced as an adult is really cool to be an adult and not be like the pastor's daughter or the pastor's wife just get to have these really deep relationships of people. But I have so enjoyed friendships with people in our community and our church. The cool thing again about living in Jackson Mississippi is that I know like 10 people in my neighborhood also go to my church, and so people in my neighborhood when I church like the same people and we all kind of things.
Even from just having a really difficult conversations that are uncomfortable sometimes to checking in on each other when things are happening in the world like things that happen over the last few months I have a book club. I do like bookclub things where we read things that are you know that bring up these issues. Everybody just kind of find their own way to engage in these issues, so maybe people were more politically involved. Like my husband is more politically involved and I am he's part of an organization that focuses on school choice and ending mass incarceration and to his area that his focus is on a teacher but he is getting go to these board meetings and talk about school choice and how education is impacting the black community and this is an example of how to utterly different and we can interact with these things in different ways.
Speaking of your husband from a mom's perspective, how important do you see the role of a dad with a son in identity and hope so important. My husband was not blessed to have a dad who was actively involved in his life and one of the most beautiful and redemptive things about being a parent for me has been to be able to see him be the kind of father to his sons that he was not blessed to have himself. He delights in his sons, and they know that my son when he does this thing where he I mean it's mocking us basically.
So hope you like my mama and he'll go. I'll be right and I say you know what is that essay and he thought about it and then he goes that I says when I love you so much. I'm so proud of you is Dennis and see all the time and he can roll his eyes, he like he tells me all the time you don't understand what an important like huge deal that is that someday you will I think to for me as I watched our sons growing up I was amazed at the power that a dad carries. I realize that they were around me more than Dave but they were always watching Dave always watched what he did was with one of the boys went time in the car he was spitting out the window. My quick spit out the window because of dad tested all the time there with me there really watching a dad in that role as a dad so much power will just when this book and your writing is so helpful for every mother at the infirmary father for every Christian to understand the context understand the uniquenesses that you're facing to help us all one level we are all together in the process of partnering and raising your son because were part of the covenant community and we need to understand that responsibility better and you helped us do that with the book, thanks for this time and thanks for your writing. And I think we should close you want to pray for women, one I would love to father, thank you first of all, for Jasmine and for the passion that you've given her for her sons to know you and their identity in you, Lord.
And so, Lord I pray that that would sink deep into their souls, who they are as men of God, of who you call them. I pray that you laid on form then and that you would take their character and mold it into your hands so that they reflect the Lord. I think that's what we all want as mothers and fathers that we would reflect you and our kids would reflect you to impact their community and generation for your kingdom. Jesus so I pray for protection for these boys.
I pray for power over them, and I pray for Jasmine and Philip as they raised them and not only them, Lord, but for our other brothers and sisters for that are listening that you would anoint us and give us wisdom, Lord, that we need to raise these kids in an era in a time that they would stand up and proclaim your name in power and in reference of who you are because Lord you are the reconciler you are the one that has adopted all of us into your kingdom and Lord I pray that he would fight on our behalf to bring peace and to give us wisdom to know when to stand up and dish out and went to sit down and just pray Lord we need you and I thank you for all your doing, and I pray that you would give Jasmine more dreams of how she can use your gifts to encourage us and to prompt us to be closer to you, pray in Jesus name amen Jasmine. Thank you. Thanks for the time and thanks for the book to thanks for writing, mother to son letters to a black boy on the identity of hope. I hope this will be widely read, not just by other black moms, but by all of us to better understand the challenges that minority families are facing a predominately white culture go to family.today.com to get a copy of Jasmine's book mother to son. You can order it from email@example.com or call one 800 FL today to get your copy of Jasmine's book again. It's titled mother to some order among the family life to the.com or call 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today that we've had a whole bunch of you over the last several days who have gone to your app store for your device and downloaded the brand-new updated upgraded the family life app you can type family life is one word in the search bar in your app store and the new app pops up there, David Robbins, the person family life is here with us and David of this new upgraded app gives us a fresh opportunity to connect with our listeners about we're really excited about this because we know in a unique season like 20/20 are rhythms are all over the place and when people need help they need help at that moment when people need hope they need access to it right then we want to be a source to provide encouragement and biblical help and hope when you need it and that's why our team is really invested time in making this out my new habit has been coming home from taking the kids to school.
It doesn't line up to win family life to the areas his own in my city so I open up that and it is been such a refreshing thing and the time is perfect. I pull back in my driveway before I go jump on a bunch of Gauls and a listener that they show and I find myself praying specific prayers for my kids. Is there at school and as I walk back into my house and we're hopeful that this allows people to access typical truth when ever they needed.
I'm so grateful for our financial partners at family life to make it possible for teams to continue to innovate and the launch is vastly improved and relaunched out well and again.
It's easy and it's free to download.
Go to your app store for your device type and family life is one word and download the new family life app. Thank you, David, and we hope you can join us again tomorrow. Working here a conversation that our friend Kim. Anthony had recently for her podcast unfavorable odds. She talked with John Perkins. I think he's 90 years old now.
John is been the leader among evangelicals in the deep South talking about racial issues for years. Kim had a conversation with him recently here that come back tomorrow. Hope you can join us thinker engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson unpopular peen see you back next time for another edition of family life, family life to the production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas ministry help for today hope for tomorrow