MLK day is a day of reflecting and mourning the past. Celebrating victories and progress, but also being fully aware that many have suffered, failed and died for the sake of the progress. Though holidays like this are meant for good, they can still carry a lot of pain. I would challenge all of us to keep that in mind. I know my community still has pain. If you study black history for just a few minutes you’ll quickly see why days like this can hurt as well. Here’s an example: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-death-of-emmett-till
This blog post won’t just simply be about the pain the black community has/is experiencing but the importance of seeing color.
We have a responsibility to see color and here’s why.
God created mankind in His image! I love this because it shows how complex God is! Whether it’s tribes or races, we are created with intentionality! Just like the gifts of the spirit and how as believers we have different gifts, I truly believe that God make us unique with the color of our skin, culture, and background BECAUSE HE IS NOT LIMITED. How cool is that! It’s important to recognize color because it acknowledges the creator! God made us unique from the inside out and we must not limit that accidentally or intentionally.
Different colors display different cultures. My wife and I talk about this often; because of our different colors, we have different life experiences. Growing up I called punishment getting a whooping and Madalyn called it a spanking. Something small, but still different. Or the different foods that we eat. I grew up on collard greens, lamb chops, and neckbones! Madalyn grew up on hamburgers, grilled cheese, and spaghetti! Not vastly different, but still different! I use a pick for my hair and Madalyn uses a comb. I grew up listening to Lil Wayne, and Marvin Sapp, Mad grew up listening to KLOVE and hymns. I use slang that the black culture uses more often and Mad speaks in a country acceent sometimes. It’s important that we see color, because when we see color we see culture. We begin to UNDERSTAND different races more, we learn new things, and we have a newly found appreciation for differences. MLK speaks on the importance of this.
We tend to have an uneasiness around people that we aren’t used to being around or don’t have much experience with.
It’s been interesting to see how America has this idea of colorblindness. But man, is that dangerous. Though we are all created equal, we all have different experiences because of our race. When we say that we’re color blind or that we don’t see race, it puts everyone in the same category and says we all are the same and all have the same experiences. Which is true equality-wise. But for my white readers, in East Texas, you probably don’t have to consistently go places where you’re the minority in the room and just feel out of place. And vice versa, it’s not regular for me to constantly be around people that look like me, like it may be for you. Different experiences.
I see color so I can see the differences that occur between different races. I want to know exactly how the Mexican community feels about President Trump’s thoughts about putting a wall up on the border of Texas. I want to hear their heart and how it makes them feel because I want to hurt with them, and I want to rejoice with them. When I see color I can see the pain. I can see the fear. I can see the anxiety. That’s what seeing color does. It extends a hand to the oppressed and shows them the hope of the Gospel
Lastly, it’s important that we see color because we all have different racial experiences. For example, I’ve been told way too many times in my life that I don’t talk black, I talk white. Which in reality is saying that I don’t talk like the stereotypical black male that, that person has perceived in their mind. Or being told I don’t act black and that I fit more into the stereotype of this person’s view of a white person. I remember growing up thinking that these comments were great and that I should continue to try to assimilate more and more so that I can be liked and be more “white” and less “black”. These hurtful saying and words yell to black Americans, “BE LESS OF YOURSELF!” Though many of these sayings probably aren’t meant to be intentionally racist, that doesn’t mean that they don’t still hurt. Always give every oppurtunity for people to be themselves.
Acknowledging color is celebrating color! God created us all in the image of God and He made us with a uniqueness inside out. When we embrace the different races around, we truly are embracing and acknowledging God as the creator! And what a wonderful creator He is! With different races come different backgrounds and different cultures that are unique as well. When we embrace color blindness, we can very easily overlook the problems of different people groups. In this case, it’s race. We must see people for who they are as God’s creation but also seeing how sin has crippled different races throughout history. Blacks have been oppressed for centuries and over the last 50 years, racism is becoming more subtle but because of my culture, because of my background and skin color, I probably have had different experiences growing up in a predominantly white area. We must see color because there’s history that has shaped us into who we are today. We need to see color to remind us of how far we’ve come, but also how far we need to go.
Each person has different struggles and experinces, let’s not dismiss them for the sake of seeing all people the same. Each life has the same value, but because of sin, each life can be perceived as less or more valueable than the other.
Remember. we all need to be challenged, no matter the season.