Your policies suck, that’s why we have a problem

Your policies suck, that's why we have this problem | Sedruola Maruska

We moved a lot when we were young. My immigrant father was focused on getting an education, and providing for his family. So, wherever the opportunities were, that’s where we went.

Which is why in the summer of 1977 we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. My dad was accepted into the University of Utah’s doctorate program so we moved into family student housing. I was 9 years old.

When my brother and I started school we were the only two Black children in a school of over 200 students. We stood out at a time when I didn’t want to stand out.

Salt Lake City

During our time in Salt Lake City I remember wondering a lot about the way I looked. I asked my mom why I couldn’t wear my hair down instead of in braids. I’d stand in front of the bathroom mirror and pull up my nose to be more “pointy” like my friends. At nine years old we’re formulating our perceptions of ourselves. We’re figuring out where we fit in the world and I didn’t fit.

One day (and this is relayed to me by a friend I found on Facebook years later) while in class a boy was teasing me about my color. He started talking about how I looked like poop, laughing and carrying on. As I’m enduring this abuse, I begin to cry and complain. Instead of the boy being disciplined, the teacher told me “If you can’t stop disrupting class, you’ll need to go out in the hall.” I’m nine years old and I have to control my reaction to the abuse being inflicted on me by a white child.

I was sent to the hall.

Personally, I don’t remember that moment. I remember others with the same theme. I’m the problem so I need to suck it up. Endure what’s happening. Be strong. Be the bigger person, the better person. While those who are inflicting the pain, go unpunished. Because they’re white and so therefore they must be right.

Your policies suck, that's why we have this problem | Sedruola Maruska

Ignoring The Signs

As I look around the country right now, I’m reminded of that ignorance. We watched as armed white people storm the capital building with no repercussion. We watched as police officers looked the other way to allow these terrorists to cross barricades, take selfies with the perpetrators and claim overwhelm, while the lawmakers inside had to cower for their lives.

All over social media parallels are being drawn on the different responses to acts of terrorism when the perpetrators are white vs. when people of color and Black people are protesting policies that threaten their lives.

Just like in my fourth grade classroom where I became the problem and I was disciplined, Black and Brown people are always dealt with harsher than white people. Here’s the kicker, it happens all across the country in every discipline and industry.

It starts with students and goes through the workforce. It’s easier to punish the victims than it is to confront a system that benefits you and demand that system change.

White terrorism

What’s the consequence? The consequence is white terrorists running around the country killing with impunity and being treated as human. While those they are terrorizing are treated like the problem.

White people are allowed to do as they please when they have a “bad day” while the rest of us must swallow our pain.

White people are allowed to have mental health issues while the rest of us are “too sensitive” or “genetically prone to violence.”

White people are allowed to be angry, protest, lash out maim and kill while their vegan, vacation and huger needs are taken care of. The rest of us better be happy we didn’t die at the scene.

The consequence, as I wrote in this article is a country where everything and everyone suffers because of tolerance rather than justice. We, all of us, are left reeling and wondering what’s the next logical step to take? What part can we play in creating change?

Proof in Policy

Companies are creating products to placate when we know it’s changes in their policies that create real change. Yes, we appreciate removing “Aunt Jemima” from your products, but what does your C-Suite look like? Thanks for putting out that statement, but are your employees of color comfortable in your culture?

Corporations have the power to push governments to make real policy changes needed to move the needle. Yet, in Georgia, and across the country, where these giants with power are headquartered, voter suppression laws are running rampant. The wording is more nuanced and vague, but we know, we ALL know they’re intentionally directed at people of color, especially Black people.

It’s time to stop pretending we don’t know what do to, and do what we do know. Do the hard things. Corporations are made up of people. Those people need to stop hiding and do better. Say NO. Look to the future and make the hard decisions in the present. Invest in your people, your policies and revamping your cultures.

We the people appreciate the surface stuff, but we’d all, including yourselves, be better served with real policy changes and more bravery.


Christian Doctor? Thanks, I’ll Pass

Christian Doctor? Thanks, I'll Pass | Sedruola Maruska

There was a time when I thought having a Christian doctor was beneficial. Growing up Christian I felt they were more likely to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate, understanding and in the favor of God. I’ve grown up.

I went to a small private Christian university in Michigan. Let me back up. I went to a small private Christian high school. I had many friends and no boyfriend. That transitioned to going to a small Christian university where I had many friends and no boyfriend.

Unlike some “Christian” girls I’ve read about who’ve made pacts to stay virgin, yet do everything else, I made no pact. By the time I graduated from college the most I’d done was kiss a boy. To be completely frank, I didn’t so much as get fondled. So, I was truly a virgin by the time I graduated college.

How to Discover Your Brilliance

The Rash

In my sophomore year of college I developed a rash on my torso. I developed an itchy, burning, painful rash that makes you question your ability to stay sane through the discomfort. After a few days of dealing with the rash, I noticed it was spreading, I went to the campus doctor to find out what it was and what I could do.

“Well, have you been in cheap motels?”
“No.”
“It looks like scabies, are you sure you haven’t been in a cheap motel.”
“Yes.”
“I’ll prescribe some ‘kwell lotion’, but you should be more careful where you go.”

Remember when I told you I was a virgin? Well, I also would never stay in hotels because it wasn’t my norm. I had no money and in college you have friends to bunk with for vacations and weekends away. No hotels needed.

The implication was rude and a bit over my head. I didn’t understand why the assumption would be that I was in a cheap motel. . . until I looked up “Scabies”. My doctor was essentially implying that I was going to cheap motels to have sex and that I picked up this parasite in said motel. YUK!

Christian Doctor? Thanks, I'll Pass | Sedruola Maruska

No Help

The “kwell lotion” used to treat scabies & head lice made things worst. The rash exploded and became even more itchy. When I went back to report the results, the good “Christian” doctor dismissed me. You see, I must have been some kind of harlot getting what I deserved.

Let me pause here to say this, I was also a black female at a predominantly white Christian university. I was expected to be promiscuous . . . racially speaking (but that’s another post).

Fast forward to today and Christian doctors, the ones I thought would be filled with love, compassion and have a direct line to God, are refusing service to patients. They feel morally challenged if their patients are gay, in need of an abortion or they’re transgender. These so-called Christian doctors are taking people’s lives into their hands and playing judge and jury, when what they’re supposed to be are healers.

In Texas, Senate Bill 25 legally allows doctors to lie to their patients based on their “moral” convictions making it harder for parents to make an educated and vital decision about theirs and their baby’s future.

This gives me pause. I look at it and I understand what happened way back then in college, and at times along the way. My eyes are open to the piety.

I’m more likely to trust a doctor who isn’t “Christian” rather than one who is. The one who believes himself to be morally “better” may cause me harm for the “good” of . . . ?  I’d rather trust a doctor who sticks to science, facts and integrity to treat me and mine.

Serene Coaching

Oh, remember that rash? Turns out it was a physical manifestation of the stress I was under that year. One of my best friends lost her sister that year. We were roommates, I was the closest person to her, so I bore the brunt of her pain. I understood her challenge, I bore her pain, which in turn manifested in a rash.

How do I know? Because as I went to counseling to deal with the pain and hurt I was feeling the symptoms subsided. To this day, when I’m in a situation where I feel unable to vent my feelings, the rash reminds me to release my angst.

The guilt and shame I was made to feel because of my “lacking morality” distracted the doctor from finding out the root cause of my discomfort. Instead of judging me, he should have taken me as a young patient, in school struggling with a very painful situation. He never took the time to talk to me. He didn’t care to distract himself with my case.  I was left to fend for myself and figure it out.

My sophomore year in college was the year I realized  “Christian” doctors did not extend the love and grace of God, they sat in moral judgement of those they treated. I don’t look for Christian doctors. I look for compassionate doctors. I look for doctors who’ll treat me as a human rather than a “woman” or even a “black woman” and give me the respect, compassion and understanding due all humans. To me, that’s not found in a “Christian” doctor, but in a compassionate human.

Let me be clear, I do not believe all Christian doctors are pious, I do, however, believe that they are more likely to treat me from a place of moral piety. When I meet a doctor, if he comes off as “too Godly” I move on, I have no time for that kind of judgement upon my life.