I AM NOT COLORBLIND
This week, I have asked the Lord to show me what I am to do with—how I am to feel about—the situations in our country right now. I asked Him to show me what He wanted me to see. I can’t say that I got a clear word on that, but I have gotten glimpses.
First of all, I have realized that I am not colorblind. And I believe that is okay. I do notice the color of people’s skin. It makes them who they are. It is how God created them. It is okay to notice. It is okay to not be colorblind. What a different—lesser—place the world would be if we were all colorblind. We would miss the uniqueness, the variety, the joy of being different. A colorblind world would be very mundane. So, how do we notice the differences without making automatic assumptions? I think it has to do with relationships. It has to do with a smile, a kind word, a question asked which conveys that another’s opinion matters.
I have a nephew who is Black. Yes, I notice the color of his skin. It is beautiful. An ebony color that makes his face so very handsome. And the contrast of that dark skin against his white teeth. Wow. Yes, I notice the color of his skin. But that is not a bad thing. I know him. I have a relationship with him. When I think of him, yes, I think of the color of his skin. But I also think of his courage, his perseverance, his intelligence, and his sense of humor.
I have two children who are Asian. Yes, I notice the color of their skin. It is smooth and dark with the perfect hint of yellow. I love their skin. Sometimes I just stare at their arms and legs, amazed at that perfect skin. Yes, I notice that their skin and eyes and hair are very different than mine. And I love that difference. I would not want them to look any other way. Because that is how God created them, that is what makes them, them. My relationship with them allows me to see them—and all their differences—and love them. They are mine. I don’t love them in spite of their differences. I love their differences.
I have dear friends who are Hispanic. I love their culture. They are strong and hard working and kind. After I got through the initial hesitant smiles as they endured my low-level Spanish, I found true friends. I have been invited to their weddings and birthday parties and get-togethers with hot tamales and arroz con pollo, and I have loved each event. They celebrate differently than I do. They look different than me. They are different than me. But I love who they are. If they were more like me, they would not be them. It is my relationship with them that allows me to love and accept all the ways we are different. And I believe they feel the same about me.
The rest of my family are Caucasian. Some have olive skin that tans well and of which I am often envious. They have dark brown eyes that shine when they smile. The rest of us are spotted with freckles and have lighter hair and lighter eyes, which also shine when we smile. It is who we are. I am white woman whose roots are can be traced to England and Scotland. I love Downtown Abbey and Jane Austin novels. It is who I am. I don’t want to be different—not because I am better than someone else, but because it is me—it is how God created me.
I think the problem is not a Black/White problem. The problem is a relationship problem. If we take the time and make the effort to begin relationships with those who are different, our views will become different—softened, more understanding, accepting.
I believe all groups of people deal with the hurt and bitterness of assumptions. We assume all blacks are law breakers, we assume all police are profilers, we assume all whites are racists, we assume all Asians are smart (well, that one may be true!). But all people in any particular race are not all alike, each one is unique, each one is different from the others. We must work on our relationships around us. We must reach out in relationship, even if it is a temporary comradery for a small moment in time.
My point is, let’s make the effort to get to know each other. Let’s don’t make assumptions about each other. Yes, sometimes our story involves memories that make it hard to not make assumptions. We have been wronged and we have wronged. We all have. But can we forgive? Can we pull up the roots of bitterness and keep trying? I believe we can. I believe we must.