A note from Sarah and Rachel: we are really thankful to welcome Lauren to Book Club this week as we prepare to start reading Beyond Colorblind. Lauren will help set the tone and give us some things to start wrestling with (or put words to what is already in our hearts) as we look forward to our discussion here.
In 2016, my husband and I grew our family through international adoption and we disrupted the birth order for our biological daughter, the cultural identity of our family unit, and the abstract understanding of race we previously held.
Some of the conversations I heard in our home during those early days of family norming went like this:
Eliza: I’m going to turn Black like Hope.
Hope: I don’t think that would look good, Eliza. White legs and black arms won’t look nice. Maybe when you’re seven you can be Black like me.
Me: Hope, are you so excited to get new braids tomorrow?
Hope: No. I want Eliza’s hair.
I’ve heard a lot of people say over the years that they don’t see color. That issues of race and discrimination only exist when we see them. That everyone is equal therefore color doesn’t exist.
I beg to differ. My girls see color, and it’s perfectly healthy. They are interested in each other’s differences and even desire to share them.
Seeing color isn’t a threat to our racial healing—it is a great asset.
If we choose to ignore the color of our friends and neighbors, we’re choosing to ignore the incredible parts of their cultures and traditions. We’re choosing to ignore the hardships or privileges that may come with their ethnicities. If we choose to ignore the color of people around us, we’re choosing to miss out on the richness that diversity brings into our lives.
And really…if we choose to ignore color, we’re choosing to ignore the fact that racial healing is desperately needed and one of the most relevant tasks of the modern fellowship of faith.
This year has been a lot, and I don’t think many of us will have a hard time recalling the events of 2020. While we were stuck inside during a pandemic, our philosophical frustrations and thoughts of social progress flooded outside.
We saw massive amounts of internet content being created and people using their online voices in a way to call attention to injustice in powerful ways.
Issues of race identity and tension are challenging to navigate, and it can be so difficult to separate our worldview from our ability to listen to our neighbor’s narrative. We may find it offense, untrue to our experiences, or outside the scope of our belief.
But these narratives, however we may or may not identify with them, help mold our understanding and our capacity for empathy.
Every country in the world struggles through its own form of racism. The racism of your passport country is likely different from that of your host country. But you know what it is. You can recognize it when you see it.
Racism is blanket statements that attach stereotypes to anyone of a particular color. Racism is the story you tell yourself about a stranger based on the color of their skin. Racism is the way you are perceived by your ethnicity.
Race affects the way you position your body when you look at someone’s outer appearance, whether you make eye contact, cross the street, or pursue a connection.
Race affects the access you have to status, opportunities, and voice.
Race affects the lived realities we experience and creates barriers to relationship with others who live alternative realities.
It is so easy to ascribe to a theological framework that all people are equally loved and valued by the Father. After all, He created us all and calls us all His children.
But it’s not so easy to remove our biases and prejudices as people of flesh. And I believe admitting this is the first step in healing and reconciliation. When we get comfortable with the fact that we are ethnocentric people and are willing to admit that we all have racist tendencies, we will be much better positioned to dismantle these parts of our hearts.
Being “colorblind” is the best way to avoid the growth that heals our racial wounds. Refusing to see color holds us back from celebrating the unique experiences we bring to the Body and willingly lay before the Altar.
Only then, once we have affirmed one another’s racial narratives and accepted the lived experiences we each carry, can we truly understand how the Creator loves and unites us. This is an active choice, and one that takes great energy and humility to act upon.
My prayer is that we will be a generation that has the capacity to perfect this end, as completely as is possible on this side of Heaven.
Here is our schedule for reading Beyond Colorblind! We will read part 1 in October and part 2 in November.
Part 1 schedule:
October 6th: Chapter 1
October 13th: Chapter 2
October 20th: Chapter 3
October 27th: Chapters 4 and 5