The Danger of Colorblindness In the Christian Community

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. 

the same God who made me in His image made my skin the color of glistening copper-2

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

We believe that God is an intentional Creator and Father.-2

 

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!

#WakandaForever

20 Comments
Leighann

Twenty-something, lover of Jesus. I like animals (esp. dogs), Fun-Fetti cupcakes and yoga. I love God and do my best to love others. I hate too-warm weather and socks that fall into your shoes when you walk. I'm a huge fan of Christian rap and cold, sunny days.

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20 Comments

  • Asha

    This is a tricky subject, but you explained it so well. When it comes to colorblindness, I think people choose to make their own reality. Kim K, for example wants her kids to be colorblind I believe, and that’s her right. I can’t say I agree, though. Our color is what makes us unique, and I feel like being aware of people helps us be considerate.

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Your example of Kim K is one that got me all flustered when I first heard it. But you’re right, she has every right to raise her kids how she sees fit–but I personally don’t believe that believing we live in a colorblind world is helpful, but rather detrimental to our society as a whole. Thanks so much for sharing, Asha!

  • Kathleen Forrest

    This is beautiful, such a salient statement that God is an intentional creator and that colorblindness is loving someone despite their skin color and not for all of who they are. Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing and writing this 🙂

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Kathleen–you already know this, but you are a GEM! Thanks, friend–I so appreciate you reading and supporting me!

  • Thoughts in a moment

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a digestible and positive way. Your perspective is valued! I believe this is such an important discussion and I really like how you’ve discussed it here. As someone in an interracial relationship, there are certain waters I am unsure of how to navigate. I also wonder how my children will grow up and identify with both cultures. Finding a community is so important! I am often worried about how I am perceived in my situation and I don’t want to be someone appropriating or assuming things just because of who I have chosen to be with. I also think this concept is lost on many people and it can be a hard discussion to have.

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Shannon, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, fears and experience as a mother to biracial children! I am not a mother, nor am I biracial or in a interracial relationship, so I cannot speak to those experiences directly. I can speak to my experience as a black woman who grew up in a predominately white community, where the idea of colorblindness was deeply rooted and perpetuated. All I know is that being colorblind doesn’t work. In fact, it adversely impacts people of color and supports the idea of “otherness” within our society.

      You’re so right, finding community is imperative and more important now more than ever as the waters of our ever-changing world continue to change. I think we can learn so much from others and community can help us in forming a better understanding of ideas we once had about a subject, or even help shift our perspectives.

      Thank you again for sharing and reading!

  • Meghan Tschanz

    Love this perspective and it’s one that I have been trying to share with my white counterparts… would you want to guest post this on my blog?

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Meghan, thanks so much for reading! Yes, please–I would love to guest post on your blog–thanks for your support and for desiring to get this message through to others.

  • Amber Nutter

    Glistening copper! 🙌🏾

  • Tisha

    Absolutely loved this and completely agree! So many gems in this post- I can definitely relate to your thoughts on having a Christian experience for your ethnicity. As a Christian myself, I have worshipped and fellowshipped with a variety of different groups and although I love them all, they are not the same. People worship and absorb God in different ways and often this is influenced by culture, it isn’t always about ‘fitting in’. You’ve said what many are afraid to- thank you!

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Thanks so much, Tisha–that means so much that these thoughts resonated with you. I so appreciate your kind words of encouragement and support!

  • Em

    I love your post! I don’t think God has made anything by accident. If we look like that it’s because he choose to make us that way. Diversity is also God creation so being colorblind is like rejecting what he did. ( English is not my first language so I hope you get what I tried to write 😁)

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Em, you stated it perfectly! Thanks so much for reading, lovely–I’m in complete agreement with the thoughts you’ve shared here.

  • Okizia

    My fav line from this was “They maintained their beliefs about how this was the way the world was intended and supposed be”. This couldn’t be more true & its amazing how we try to cover that fact up with many other theories & movements that take away from the many issues and refusing to accept where all our issues stem from -its a spiritual matter. And once we realize that the issues we face in loving, racism and so many others are rooted in the spiritual realm & asking Christ to really transform us, it’s then a lot of change will come about.

    PS. I’m from St. Lucia! Hey west indian sister!

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      I love this so much–thank you Okizia, I so appreciate your thoughts and for reading! You’ve touched on some really important points, and I’m so grateful to you for sharing. Hey, West Indian sis, hey!

  • Indca Johnson Mitchell

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and you shared them so wonderfully. I totally agree, that God makes no mistake. I love the original design of me. No, I will not be colorblind to the fact that I am beautiful in the skin I am in and I will not be subjected by someone else view or opinion of being less or invisible to who God created me to me. Thank you so much and God Bless You!

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Thanks so much, Indca for reading and sharing your thoughts! I am in total agreement–we are made exactly as God had planned, no mistakes. God bless you too, sis!

  • Sharon

    Thank you for your article, Leighann. I connected with your description. Across our country and our planet, we are so much more alike than different. But we need to consider our differences and all the perspectives we collectively bring to any discussion. These originate through our culture, region, family and organizations – like church or Girl Scouts – that we participate in throughout our lives. I’m in my 60s but still learning to be a better reflection of Christ’s love daily!

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Thanks for your support, Sharon! You’re so right–I appreciate your honesty and feedback. Thanks for reading!

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  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 16 𝑜𝒻 31

Hot. No, it’s not what you think. As a matter of fact, when I first saw this picture I was horrified. I saw all that was wrong with my body, my hair and my skin—ugh. 
But you know what? No one’s perfect. And thank God I don’t have to be. Plus, my body was/is working just fine, my hair was moisturized, and my skin was poppin’. Trying to shift my moments of self-doubt and body-consciousness to thankfulness and positive self-talk. 
Also, the day this was taken was HOT, so it still counts towards today’s #augusteyecandy.

I don’t know if anyone’s told you today, but you’re made splendidly and you couldn’t be more perfect than you are right now—yes, even in this heat with your mascara running down your face. ttys 
S/O to @kayzilch and/or her awesome fiancé, Michael for this pic 📸
  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 14 𝑜𝒻 31

5pm. 
It’s crazy to think that I’ve actually posted one picture on IG for TWO weeks straight. Especially considering all that’s been going on around me: moving back across the country for school, moving into my new place, actually starting school, remembering how to (somewhat) adult—throw in a little bit of anxiety, and you’ve got yourself the past two weeks of my life. 
All that to say—we made it, folks. We made it to today. And that is enough. You’re doing great—ttys
  • TW: Anxiety/Panic Attack

Anxiety is like a shadow that’s been following me around since I was about thirteen. I guess puberty marked the onset of racing thoughts, subtle hyperventilation and that queasy feeling you get when something’s just not right. I had my first panic attack at nineteen, during a new hire orientation. It felt like I was having a heart attack—my heart inexplicably began to race, my hands shook and I felt warmth all around me. 
I excused myself to the reception area and, in a panic, asked the receptionist if she could help me. She said to place my hands above my head and breathe. I paced around the lobby and breathed, eyes closed. Inhale. Exhale. I worried for a moment that I would die. Then gradually, my heart began to beat at normal pace again. My breathing deepened and my body cooled down to normal as I continued to pace, slower this time. The kind receptionist gave me some water to sip and sat me down until I was ready to go back to the meeting. 
Anxiety can feel like a high-speed train. Going 5mph one minute and 150 mph the next. It can also be subtler, feeling like you can’t quite catch your breathe and you begin to hyperventilate, in a way that is only recognizable to you. 
Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, anxiety has taught me the importance of coming back to the present. And how allowing myself to feel what is presently around me, can ground me and remind me that I’m alive. I’m safe. 
I share this story in order to start the conversation. Anxiety is a part of my life, whether I like it or not. I hope you know that first of all:

1. You are loved beyond measure and valuable even with your anxious thoughts and actions 
and 
2. You are not the only one 
ttys
  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 13 𝑜𝒻 31

Home. For now anyways—is Georgia. The most asked question I get lately has been “Well? Are you gonna stay out there, or move back to California?” So, to help answer anyone’s burning question about my plans for the future, here it is:

Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s just get this last year down and then talk specifics, shall we? Here’s to one of my last first days of school. 
To my fellow cohorts: May we grow. May we care for ourselves and others a little better each day. May we get up the hills to our classes in one piece #UGA
  • Wait, I can’t believe summer is over and I officially start my last year of my MSW program tomorrow! What is life? Time is flying by, and I’m just trying to soak up every moment ☀️
  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 12 𝑜𝒻 31

Sunday morning. 
Mmmm, tacos 🌮 so far, I’m learning to enjoy this new life stage: also known as adulting. I’ll admit, at times it’s a little scary and a whole lot of trial and error, but I know it’s all a part of the plan—even if it sometimes feels like nothing is going according to plan 🤷🏾‍♀️ #adulting am I right? 
Faking it ‘til I make it since ‘92.

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