How can I put this in the most respectful way possible?
Color blindness is not the answer to the whole racial inequality problem.
So, let’s stop saying it is, shall we?
You see a lot of posts about race, racism and even colorism going around on social media during January/February. And rightfully so. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday falls in January, and right after that, we enter into Black History Month.
I recently ran across a post on my Facebook timeline (insert dramatic eye roll here) which admittedly, nowadays probably shouldn’t even still be on my social media radar. But here we are.
The post came across my timeline on MLK Jr. Day. It depicted a video of two little girls playing, sharing laughs, hugging, smiling and just loving one another. As little girls often do. In this particular video, one of the girls was black and the other, white. Above the re-shared video, originating from a local news station, the poster shared their thoughts about how beautiful the whole concept of the video was.
They maintained their beliefs about how this was the way the world was intended and supposed be, not the poor excuse for what we call post-racial America today. Beautiful sentiments, truly. But what stopped me dead in my tracks was not their passionate verbiage about the necessity of us human beings to come together and bring racial reconciliation as Dr. King’s never-ending vision suggests. No, what got me was their comment underneath their initial statement.
That true love is color blind.
And it got me thinking.
How can that be true–that true love doesn’t see color? Because that sounds like I am loved despite the color of my skin, and not just for who I am.
Don’t get me wrong–I can understand where this line of thinking comes from. If I’m honest, it’s because I too used to have this opinion on race and diversity. I didn’t grow up around many other black folks, but I did grow up around a lot of white folks.
Fitting in as a young girl–no matter what your race–is a priority, and for some, a necessity. For a long time in my adolescence, I didn’t understand the importance of embracing my brown skin and Jamaican heritage. It was just another part of me that made me different than the rest of my white friends–and who wants to embrace that?It was just another part of me that made me different than the rest of my friends... Click To Tweet
In college, all of that changed.
I was a part of and at one point even led, an ethnic-specific ministry at my small, liberal state-college for three years. Honestly, at first, I didn’t understand the significance of having a separate Bible study or conference for individuals of a shared ethnic background.
And, I wouldn’t blame you if at this point you’re raising your eyebrows, glaring at this screen skeptically. I’ve been there too, friend.
But just keep reading…
It wasn’t until I attended my first conference for BCM (Black Campus Ministries) in Sacramento, California that I came to understand the significance of embracing my ethnicity and relating it back to my faith. The experience was unlike anything I’d known before. For the first time, I found a place where people looked like me, loved Jesus like me and shared different, yet common stories like mine.
I guess you could say that was my first, real awakening. I had the chance to experience my race and my relationship with Jesus in a whole, new way. And it was, without a doubt, one of the most impactful encounters of my life–not only as a Christian woman, but as a BLACK Christian woman.
The memory of this experience came back to me as I watched the aforementioned video. And it brings me back to my main point in all of this talk about colorblindness:
When you deny the color of my skin, you strip me of a part of who I am. Ultimately yes, we are all made in the image of God. And that truly is the greatest identity I bear. However, the same God who made me in His image, made my skin the color of glistening copper.Yes, we are ultimately made in the image of God. And that truly is the greatest identity I bear. However, the same God who made me in His image, made my skin the color of glistening copper. Click To Tweet
I implore my fellow believers (and non-believers, too) not to discount this truth. We believe that God is an intentional Creator and Father. We then must also believe that the way He made each one of us was not a trivial endeavor…If we believe that God is an intentional Creator and Father, we must believe that the way He made each one of us was not a trivial endeavor. But an intentional design. Click To Tweet
But, an intentional design.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions on this piece. On a personal note, I’m working to be more intentional myself. I hope to do so by writing pieces that not only reflect my ideas as a millennial or woman, but also those that touch on my identity as a black, Christian woman.
Let me know your questions or thoughts in the comments below!