God blessed my life with a wonderful husband and two precious boys.
My husband is kind, generous, attentive, sensitive, funny and so much more. He is a hardworking man and very easy on the eyes. I love him so much! My boys are active, smart, tender hearted and fun to be around. They are respectful and respected. They both have a lot of friends and positive peer interactions. I believe in a bright future for them. My husband and boys are all these wonderful things and so much more.
They are also black.
Until we are able to acknowledge there is a problem, empathize and stand together to resolve issues of systemic racism, we will pass on this problem to the next generation!
As I write these words the tears come to my eyes as I realize that everything that has preceded those last four words can be easily wiped out (has suddenly been wiped clean) as if those truths and qualities never existed. I worry and fear for my husband and boys as I desperately want them to be seen for who they are and not be defined by stereotypes about their skin colour. I want their colour to be seen as the beautiful masterpiece that God made them.
I often hear the argument from people that they don’t see colour. While this might sound good on the surface, there is an inherent danger to this view. Yes seeing ONLY their skin colour without getting to know their character is problematic. I don’t want you to ONLY see their colour because that is what often singles them out and sadly is what often takes their voice away from them. That is what puts them in danger. At the same time, to say you don’t see colour is to say you that don’t see God in them. It means that you are not fully able to see, hear or accept their lived experiences and challenges. It means you are not able or ready to walk in their footsteps or at the very minimum empathize and validate their experiences. It systematically silences their voices.
Why am I writing about this now and here you might ask? This month of February being called Black History month brings a lot of these thoughts to the forefront of my mind and heart. Why do we need a Black History month? Good question? My question exactly.
I should not be going up and down between this tension. But when their very existence is considered resistance when others don’t agree with them, what am I to do? It is simply not fair. All the discussions about why this is wrong or why this even needs to be a topic; all the protests and desires for laws to change is tiring as generation after generation of marginalized and racialized groups have contended with similar issues and yet racism and marginalization persists. Until we are able to acknowledge there is a problem, empathize and stand together to resolve issues of systemic racism, we will pass on this problem to the next generation! Sadly, it is not only draining, it often feels like an exercise in futility.
Black History month doesn’t change the reality of every other month. It doesn’t even change the reality of the terrible experiences people still endure in this month. We still live even in this month, being black, with the truth of racism.
I speak more of the men in my life because unfortunately there is the experience of black men having more of negative interactions and target on their backs than I do as a female. I don’t really worry about myself. I think and worry about my black men. Having this one month to “feel good” about black accomplishments is not enough. We should feel good not just about sharing accomplishments and what we have contributed to society but feel great about just being. We are who we are and we should not have to fight to love ourselves or to be loved. Every single day we are black- so every single day is a day for our history- just as every single day is a day for your history whatever nationality you are.
Our lives are not separate. We are a diverse world with one start and connection- if only we could come to terms with that truth. It is a Biblical truth that starts from Genesis to Revelation. There is only one answer to bring about the change that is needed. It is a heart change. Only God can do that because we cannot “legislate a change of heart.” (John Gray). We are made in God’s image-Genesis. We are all one in Christ Jesus-Galations. Every tribe and nation is redeemed in Christ Jesus-Revelation. So this month I want you to know black history. I want you to know it as my history, your history, our history. This month if we learn more of HIS Story then we can celebrate that all nations, all colours-all humanity including my husband and boys are a beautiful expression of God and his love. Let’s change history together with love and acceptance. Let’s imagine a better world because we are taking responsibility in creating a better world that we can all live in together. “The greatest of these is love” 1 Cor 13:13. God’s love should be our love for each other.1John 4:20 says “Whomever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen” There is no excuse if we say we love God…none! Let’s choose love and let it change us as we change the world. My husband and sons deserve this. The world needs it. God expects it.