I just finished reading “Nothing To Lose, Everything To Gain” by Kathy Barnette – someone I had never heard of until recently, I’m embarrassed to admit.
All I can say is…
Indescribable. Unbelievable. A game-changer! Maybe even a life-changer!
Books, to me, are like conversations. A few you can remember for the rest of your life, but most of the time conversations are relatively superficial – “How are you doing?” “What’s new?” etc., etc.
Well, THIS book was different. It’s been hours after I finished reading, yet the impact from reading it is still reverberating inside me.
What do we ‘expect’?
This book helped spell out a vague unease, a sense of dread that I’ve been feeling recently … our America is changing, and not necessarily for the better.
I say “our” America. That’s important, because America doesn’t belong to one race, or one ethnic group, or one group of people at any one particular time.
Everyone, you have to read this book.
Even if you don’t agree with everything Kathy has to say. In fact, especially if you don’t agree. I don’t care what skin color or political opinions you have.
Kathy is touching on universal truths here, on the common denominator every one of us has – we are all human.
And if you don’t agree, at least explain to me (in terms I can understand) why you disagree. And please, endeavor to do so with respect and humility.
My goal is to enter every conversation knowing that the person I’m talking to is a wonderful, glorious, unique human being, who has graced me with a few minutes of their precious time.
I expect nothing less from you.
And speaking of expectations, Kathy powerfully draws on her experience meeting with a political opponent (see chapter nine) who says,
“Black people don’t expect much.”
At first blush, the statement seems preposterous. It’s stereotyping. How dare he say something so negative, so … ?
And yet, as Kathy reflects,
“Yet I suspect we each know there’s some truth in this man’s statement. My Jewish friend hit a sore spot. He wasn’t rude. He wasn’t condescending. He was blunt.
Black people don’t expect much, which is not to be confused with wanting much. We want a great deal. But because we don’t expect much or demand much or believe we deserve much better, politicians and powerbrokers don’t do much to help our crumbling communities – offering only their verbal promises and assurances to keep our votes in the column.”
This is only one of many micro-revelations this book drops throughout its pages … like mini bombs embedded in every paragraph.
Which is why I (again) encourage everyone to read it.
Racism, Black Lives Matter, and more
Much of what Kathy writes is hard to read, especially her deep dives into racism, slavery and the wounds it has inflicted upon our nation and history.
I found myself tearing up a number of times, especially as she describes the horrors of injustice done to her family.
In the introduction, she bravely reveals: “I’m the by-product of a rape.”
And yet, she ultimately sees herself as a victor, not a victim. From growing up on an impoverished farm in southern Alabama, Kathy has overcome incredible odds by going on to higher education, serving in the Armed Forces Reserves, becoming an adjunct professor of corporate finance, and now homeschooling her children.
(Almost forgot to mention she’s currently running for Congress.)
As a mom to two beautiful, multiracial children who have a strong dose of melanin, I’m acutely aware of the horror that is racism. I fear for my children and what they may face just because of their skin color. Nothing can justify it.
Kathy doesn’t shy away from racism, but tackles it head on. And the conclusions she draws are shattering … and stunning.
When I, a black woman, stand and decry the unacceptable behavior of another as racism, I want people to take notice. I want to be heard. I want to elicit a response from my fellow Americans that causes them to come along side me and say, ‘Never again!’
But with white liberals overusing the word to influence elections because they can’t effectively argue the merit of an issue is weakening a very powerful tool to push back against real acts of racism. (emphasis mine)…
We primarily see white liberals explain almost every single issue we are contending with in this nation through the prism of racism, and thus they’re cheapening the word in the process. …
We, as a nation, are all growing tired of the overuse or misuse of the word. It’s losing its potency and relevance in our nation.”
Kathy also talks about Black Lives Matter. From her perspective, they are missing the “real plight threatening to destroy the black community.”
Where are the marches to combat the devastating effects of the high fatherless rate that’s ravishing black communities – seven out of ten black children growing up fatherless?
Where are the riots in the street for illegal immigrants moving into already at-risk communities, sucking up limited resources, receiving more favorable treatment under the law than the black citizens who live there, and stirring up even more violence?
But what about police brutality?
Here are the facts. According to the 2018 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the total number of black deaths by homicide were 7,407. Of that number, 229 blacks were fatally shot by the police. That’s roughly 3 percent of black homicides being attributed to police shooting.
But, wait – there’s more. Out of the 229 blacks who were fatally shot by a police officer in 2018, only eighteen were unarmed. The eighteen do not distringuish between those who violently resisted arrest and those who did not. So now we’re talking about 0.002 percent, not 100 percent, not even 3 percent.
If the narrative is that on every street corner a police officer is standing there waiting to shoot a black man, the facts just don’t support that story line. (emphasis mine)
Wounds from a friend
Reading Kathy’s book reminded me of Proverbs 27:6 (NLT) – “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
As a culture, we seem to have an increasing aversion to wounds of any kind. I mean, nobody likes to be wounded.
But we have lost the collective wisdom to prefer wounds, from a “sincere friend” who wants our best, rather than kisses from “an enemy” who ultimately wants to hurt us.
Kathy outlines how a culture of poverty has left many people settling for the “kisses” of a complicit, agenda-driven political policy that has us trading our individual freedoms for the fake promise of a better (in what way, exactly?) future.
I’ve watched from a front row seat as these misbegotten liberal policies have been introduced to and perfected in many black communities. These policies have decimated neighborhoods, destabilized the family structure, slaughtered whole generations and victimized those left standing.
What we’re witnessing in the black community today is a dire warning shot across the bow of America’s future. … If we don’t heed this warning shot, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren. …
As a harbinger of things to come, these failed liberal policies, though first perfected in the black community, are now spilling over into the larger American community. And sadly, I predict the results will be the same on a national scale. Failed policies, failed promises, and failed “progress.”
This may hurt, as Kathy is brutally honest in her book and raises many uncomfortable issues.
Just think of her as your sincere friend who is helping you become a better person!
Ultimately, wounds from a friend are to be treasured, not avoided. They are meant for your good. And what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
There is so much more I could say, but … you can read it all for yourself in the book!