I haven't blogged about a serious, controversial topic in a long time. But today, I have a lot to say. And I think it's something we need to discuss, because shoving it under the rug and pretending it doesn't exist because it's uncomfortable is why we're in the place we are now. Racism exists. Hate exists. And we can't even begin to understand where we are or where we should be until we talk about it.
Ephesians 4:2 - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
A while back, I read an article about the doll test. It was a study done on children sometime in the late 80s I think. White and black children were asked to point to either a black doll or a white doll when asked questions like "Which doll is the pretty doll? or "Which doll is the good doll?" For all of the questions with good connotations, like which one is smarter, prettier, or "the good doll", the kids chose the white doll. And when asked why, they answered "because she's white." When asked which doll was the bad or ugly doll, they chose the black doll, and that just breaks my heart. It makes me want to hug all the little precious black babies who are made to feel second best for something as insignificant as their skin color or the texture of their hair. Because these kids are just sweet babies who are barely kindergarten age, who are beautiful, and wonderful, and loved, but already they have been taught that they are inferior, and I think that is what breeds hate. Because they already feel like they are being judged on something out of their control, not as an individual, but as part of an inferior group, and there is nothing they can do about it. It's like they've lost the race before they even started running. So I can understand the anger, and frustration, and hate, but we have to be better, all of us.
It is so sad to me, that we judge people, and by judge I mean change how we talk to them, treat them, and empathize with them, based on something so simple as their skin color. It makes me want to cry to think of little black girls and boys feeling that they are lesser than little white girls and boys based on something so basic and so uncontrollable as their skin. Of all the things that matter in the world - intelligence, kindness, humbleness, compassion - we choose something that no one had any control over to be the basis by which we judge, and I just don't understand it.
If I'm being honest, I think that distrust, preconceived notions, and judgement go both ways. I think there are people who make assumptions about me and treat me differently because I'm white, just like I have done before because someone is black. It's a hard thing to admit, but when we cut the bull, we all do it. And we've go to stop. I don't know how to fix these problems, but I know it's not fair to judge people based on something they had no control over. It's not fair to label a whole race of people "second best" because their skin has more melanin. I think it starts by being patient, and humble, and kind, and getting to know people as individuals, wholly themselves, not as a member of a group we've already defined.
"Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions." - George W. Bush
I have become more aware of racial tensions and the way I treat people since the recent protests in Baton Rouge and many places all over the US. I have noticed though, that I've met some of the sweetest, kindest people in the last few days who happened to be black. I feel like I put more effort into smiling and being kind, holding doors, and telling them to have a good day because I know that I should've been doing that all along. And I've got to say, these interactions only reassure me that's it not a "color of our skin" problem, it's a "personality" problem, because all of the individuals I met were sweet and kind to me because that's who they are, not because they're black. And I was kind back because that's who I am. So the people who spread hatefulness and create division do so because they have hatefulness in their hearts, not because they are one color or religion or ethnicity.
In closing, I'd just like to say that the main focus here, and in all the tragedies that seem to keep happening every day, is that someone's brother, or father, or mother, or daughter, or sister, or son, is never coming home again. Families are broken. So it doesn't matter who was wrong, or what their criminal histories were, that's not for us to decide. It is our job to love them, and empathize with them, and try to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.