What to do with Righteous Anger
A Native News online article on August 27 told of five-year-old Malachi Wilson enrolling for kindergarten last June and being denied admission on his first day because of his long hair. He was finally allowed to attend on the second day after his mother proved that he was Native American and that cutting his hair went against religious and cultural beliefs, but even then the principal took it a step further.
According to April, Malachi’s mom, “The principal asked me if I could pull his hair back and even tuck it into his shirt to hide it,” said Wilson. “I braid it all the time, so that was not a problem to keep it confined. But, I would not agree to have him put his hair down his shirt collar.”
Ohhhhh this article made me angry on so many levels, and I’m sure it does you too!
What we do with that anger is what is important.
First, let’s look at why it makes us angry.
1. The length we choose to grow our hair …
…really should be nobody’s business but our own. It makes us angry that someone thinks they have the right to judge the worth of a person simply because of the length of their hair.
2. Not allowing a five-year-old boy…
…to attend his first day of kindergarten because of the length of his hair? That makes every mother’s heart angry…or, at least, it should. We all know that one day at school with long hair is not going to “pollute” the minds of other five-year-olds.
3. Let’s look at that word “pollute” or “contaminate.”
Isn’t that what this school seems to be implying by their rules? That a five-year-old boy wearing long hair might infect the thinking of other five year olds? Just what are they afraid of here?
4. And that brings us to the real reason for our anger.
This act is clearly one of discrimination in the worst sense of the word. We know this because when the principal is aware of religious and cultural reasons for the hair length, she asks the mother to hide the hair. What? Now, that makes us really angry. She is stating here that her choice of hair length for a five-year-old boy is preferred over the choice of an entire Nation. And it brings us back to not so long ago when Native American and First Nation people were torn from their homes, sent to government run boarding schools and “made” to cut their hair and not speak their language. Of course, we will not put up with this! And we shouldn’t.
But what to do with the anger?
Instead of letting it tear your soul apart…turn it into affective action.
Ranting and raving over this will not change things. It will simply embitter our own hearts, robing us of peace and causing more unrest and discontent among our people. BUT speaking out in the right arenas is a good thing. Policies at this school need to be changed.
We applaud Malachi’s mother, April, for several things:
1. Bravo for not cutting his hair!
Strength and beauty are found in keeping the hair long. Bravo for not cutting it ever, except to trim it and keep it healthy, and bravo for not cutting it at the demands of this principal and misguided school rules.
2. Bravo for coming back with all the information…
…needed to get Malachi going in his kindergarten. It would have been much easier to turn tail and run.
3. Bravo for not “hiding” Malachi’s braid …
…as the principal insisted.
We also applaud Malachi for keeping his hair long…
…and being brave enough to attend this kindergarten.
With that said, we need to pray:
1. For Malachi…
…that his thinking has not been “contaminated” by this principal and others behind the school rules who don’t know true beauty when they see it. Pray for Malachi to remain courageous and strong as he faces this kind of thing in the future.
2. For Malachi’s mother, April…
…that she will remain strong and not become bitter toward all “whites” because of this one school’s action. That she will continue to move forward and get things changed for the better at Malachi’s school, so that others will not have to go through this. That she will be aware of any changes to Malachi’s sense of well being and worth as a Native and nip it in the bud.
3. For the principal and whoever else…
…is a part of the rule making to experience a dramatic change in their attitude toward Native Americans.
4. For the school to change…
…their policies on length of hair.
5. For Creator to do a miracle…
…in restoration among these people, which includes all of our hearts.
Speaking out in the right arenas, staying on top of what is happening and getting misguided rules changed, praying for specific things…these are all ways of turning our anger into something that can be used for the better. The Sacred Writings do not say to never get angry…they say, “In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesian 4:26).
The choice is ours. Once we hear of these types of things or experience them first hand, we must choose whether we will allow our anger to change us for the worse or the better.
It is the enemy of our souls, that evil trickster as Ghostdancer Shadley says, who darkens the thinking of people like this principal. We can pray against the trickster and his ways and ask for the blood of Jesus Yeshua to protect our own hearts from any root of bitterness.
While we’re at it, let’s thank Creator Yahweh that he has created us unique and has set us aside for a very special purpose.