Do you just want to mind your own business, sit quietly and wait for it all to calm down and blow over? After all, you’re not racist, I’m not racist, so what’s the big deal?
Come sit with me a minute and let us reason together. Have you taken a minute to examine your heart? Or do you assume that because you’ve never used the “N” word, and have a friend who’s a different color than you, that you’re ok?
Prejudging (prejudice) works both ways. White people can be racist against black people and black people can be racist against white people. That is a fact, but it’s not really what the protests are about today. People (black and white) are mostly protesting about the racism that’s built into the system. And rioting/looting is wrong. But rioting is often the language of the unheard, those who want justice and feel like no one hears them. According to Martin Luther King “Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. Constructive social change will bring certain tranquility; evasions will merely encourage turmoil”.
So do you ever put someone in a category, in your head, based on their skin color? Do you ever decide, in your head, what that person is thinking, or may do, just based on their skin color? Do you ever find yourself nervous, even fearful, when a person of a different skin color, maybe wearing a uniform, maybe carrying a weapon, approaches you?
If your answer is no to all the above, kudos to you. Others, not as enlightened as you, put people into a category in their heads, and make assumptions about them based on that category. It’s called prejudging them. Prejudice.
For years, my lovely, blue-eyed Thom was curious about how people would sidle up to him quietly and say “where is Tracey ‘really’ from?” Because evidently my answer of “London, England” must have been some sort of lie. After all, British people are all “supposed” to look like the blue-eyed Princess Diana. Because over here, Americans all look like President Obama, right? A genealogical explanation was required, demanded even, right in the middle of a restaurant, or a shop, or a church. But only in the USA, (for us) never anywhere else.
A category has to filled, in the mind, of the enquirer. Because non-white people seem to be required to explain the reason for their extra melanin. He noticed that nobody ever asked him that question. And he, in fact, is half French. Nobody ever asked him where he was “really” from.
He’s realized that he can’t see inside someone’s heart and that his wife could never fit neatly into a category in someone else’s head. His answer is usually a version of “her mother was a golden retriever, her father was a Presbyterian”.
He’s very witty, my French-American husband.
Friends, we are called to examine our hearts and root out things that are displeasing to our Creator, the one that made all humans in the image of God (is God black? or white? or both?) That examination can sometimes make us rather uncomfortable. So we don’t do it. We refuse to look inward to see if we harbour prejudicial thoughts about another race, because we might find out that we do.
And heaven forbid, then we might actually have to do something about it.
Because you would never have your own version of categories in your head, would you? You would never prejudge someone, based on their skin color, would you? If you are really as tired of all this racism talk as you think you are, maybe you should do something about it. Maybe you should examine your heart, start with yourself, and REALLY be honest about how you feel about people of a different color. Because your silence, your inactivity, while you take on the role of Switzerland during the Holocaust, is speaking volumes to observers.
Examine the prejudged categories in your head. Trust me, we all have them.
Start with this thought… the grandparents at the top of this blog. Do they belong to Thom or Tracey? If you assume Tracey, you’re incorrect…but you’ve just started on the road to examining the assumptions/pre-judging going on in your heart. Congratulations, change really can start with you.
Can you be the change you want to see in your world? Or do you think you can stay quiet and wait for it all to blow over and return to “normal’? Methinks that ship has sailed, my friend.
Examine your heart…you may be surprised what’s in there.
P.S. They are Thom’s grandparents.
#DotheRightThing #HumanandLovingit #LetsHaveAconversation #KeepingitReal