Get ready. We are going there.
Let me start by saying I know I will fail at this. I know I will piss people off. I know I will make people angry and probably hurt people’s feelings. I’m human and it’s impossible to please everyone. If you please one person, you make another angry. That’s the nature of people, no two are alike. And well, I’m not sharing this for the approval of people, but in the hopes that it helps someone like myself.
As an ice breaker…. Here is a non-conclusive list of reasons that people have been unhappy with me for what I say, do & post on this site.
- Being on my phone while riding in the passenger seat of a car. Huh?
- My built-ins in my living room. #terribletaste
- Complaining about anything. How dare I.
- For not posting links. GIVE US THE LINKS.
- Eating Jimmy Johns.
- For not having a thigh gap.
- For discussing my lack of thigh gap.
- For laughing at myself.
- For posting expensive items.
- For posting cheap items.
- For having eyebrows that are different heights. Never forget.
- For filming my kids when they fall. Bless their hearts.
- For getting botox. #poison
- For taking pictures that apparently make me look fat.
- For having large thighs.
- For looking for the positives of quarantine.
- For having a husband that hunts.
- For eating plant-based.
- For giving my kids melatonin.
- For giving my kids McDonalds.
- Did I mention Jimmy Johns?
If people argue with me for trivial things such as those, I’m highly confident that an issue as serious and as worthy of attention as the state of race-relations in our country will ruffle some feathers. I have a feeling I’m in for it with the feedback. But alas, I will carry on. At the end of the day, the internet is a wild ride, and it is one I signed up for. I’m not posting this blog to earn some stamp of approval or gold star, to check my “look guys I’m anti-racist” box, but rather to explain my heart, and share some things that have been helpful to me over the past few days of praying, listening & learning.
The Purpose of This Blog
Let’s start with the facts. This blog is NOT a political resource, a news outlet, a religious site or a social issues site. The mission of cristincooper.com is to share beauty, everyday style, affordable finds, travel tips and motherhood hacks from a relatable, upbeat and non-assuming mindset. I get it that some people think that is dumb, but here we are. Since I operate digitally and via social, I am constantly going to be in the same space as your news feed and current events. I simply don’t think it is my job as a blogger to tell you who to vote for, how to worship or what to believe, and I do not plan on starting. (People who desperately want to tell other people how they should behave will be really mad at that one). What I do believe that I should do is use this platform to share my experiences as I learn and grow.
Since I share a lot of my life with you and plan on sharing resources that I am learning from, I also wanted to share how recent events have changed my perspective. Maybe it will help you too! For starters, I don’t think it’s enough to post a black square and share some stories and check your moral box. I would even argue that the more important things that you do during this time are what goes on behind the scenes of your social feed. In your own heart, with your own family and as you continue to walk towards bridging the racial gap. On a personal level, I am a follower of Jesus. This means that I believe that we are ALL created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), that I am called to consider others more significant than myself (Philippians 12:2), to love my neighbors (Mark 12:31), to speak up against injustice (Provers 31:8) & to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). It is heartbreaking to me that the reality of our world is that we need a movement to help people understand that black lives matter. Any other notion or thought or mentality is just so incredibly evil. It is heartbreaking to me what happened to George Floyd and countless others like him. It is heartbreaking to me that evil cops paint a negative light for the thousands of good men and women who protect and serve with the best of intentions. It is heartbreaking to me that political groups and anarchists want to use this time to divide instead of reconcile. It is heartbreaking to me to watch the violence and destruction of looting and see it overshadow the peaceful moments and progress that is happening. And it is heartbreaking to me to see the pain that so many black people in our country live with.
What I’m Learning
I am fortunate that I was raised with black people in my life. I went to school with black kids, played sports with black kids, and presumably the most influential figure in my life, aside from my parents, was my club soccer coach who was a wonderful black man who I loved like a father. I was messaging him yesterday and just thanking him because that one man shaped so much of my youth. He shaped my relationships with men in general and with future bosses, but also in my relationships with black men. He paved the way, I honestly believe, for me to have great friendships with black guys throughout my life. Even though I have had healthy relationships with black people, I am still fearful to address race, talk about race or ask questions about race. It makes me uncomfortable because I know that I will get it wrong and even though I can be hard core sassy, I am terrified of hurting someone’s feelings. But I have learned that asking questions (even if they are the wrong ones), not being 100% right and the risk of offending someone is much better than silence.
So what does that mean for me? I will continue to lean in, to listen, to learn, to have tough conversations and to grow. I also think that the only thing that truly has the power to change hearts and minds is the Gospel. You can vote for candidates you believe in and donate your money to worthy causes, but if we want real and lasting change, it starts with our hearts. There will be people that think this is a political issue, and that is their prerogative. There will be people that hate me because I think that this is a heart issue and a Gospel issue, and that is ok, too. But as a believer of Jesus, I know that He is the hope of the world and I want to learn from wise men and women of God on what they have to say about race and religion and how I can be a better follower of Jesus and ally to my black brothers and sisters.
How This Affects CristinCooper.com
As far as this blog, I’m going to keep on posting about the things that I normally talk about and that you all come here to read. I think that the best course for me is to live through the tension and continue to do my job, fulfill the purpose of this site and do so while navigating the tensions of the world around us.
Yesterday I spent the day ingesting as much content as possible, finding resources to be a better friend to my black friends and a better mom to my daughtes and praying like crazy for our nation, our policemen, the protestors, and yes, even how to word this post. I’m not going to tell you who to donate to, how to act and how this should play out in your life. I think that for this to be a cultural shift then it will take everyone doing the work in their own life, in their own hears and in the own homes. I am, however, going to share with you some things that I have done and some ways in which I am hoping to learn and grow. Here are some resources that I found helpful. I hope they help you, too!
I have been loving leaning in to @priscillashirer, @drtonyevans, @lecrae, @ohhappydani, @kristieanyabwile and @theconsciouskid over the past few days to soak up as much information as possible! I really think that you can’t go wrong spending time on their accounts and this might be one of my favorite clips for a great perspective.
I ordered this book, this book and this book to add to my summer reading list! My goal is one book a month this summer. I also added this book, this book, and this book to add to the girls reading lists.
You can find more books for teaching your children anti-racism here. This is a huge list from a Greenville, SC artist that I got sent via email if you are looking for more resources!