I grew up in black culture. My mom and dad(step-dad) come from black families. However, my biological dad is Cuban-Anglo. Knowing this, I always felt confused. I didn’t fit in completely, in my own mind to a racial stigma, being too white for the black kids, and too black for the whites. I became an outsider (partially due to my own hubris), always looking in.
I hated the #BlackLivesMatter because it seemed ignorant and arrogant, in a way saying that only black lives were important. I hated black history month, seeing it as a time to hear, once again, how my mother was a slut and a whore because the only way someone with my skin tone could exist was if someone white had sex with her. I hated my predominantly black high school because of the culture gap I saw between myself and my class. I still remember being badly beaten up for being “too white,” and the distaste it left in my mouth to people of my own culture.
My white friends (which made up the majority of my friends) always seemed uncomfortable with the topic of race, so I would ignore it. In fact, it became a platform for a lot of my jokes. I would pretend that race did not matter and refused to see myself as Black or Hispanic. I claimed that I didn’t see race, and I didn’t see why we all could not just get along. I basked in the glory of fitting in of majority culture. Because my mom and dad raised me to be articulate and not to fall into the negative stereotypes of the black man, I was accepted. I remember someone telling me that they would forget I was black. I shrugged it off, but couldn’t help but think that being a minority was something to be forgotten like it was a mistake of some sort.
And I agreed. Me. The same boy who put the red X on his hand for human trafficking awareness. The same kid who would stand up for the underdog over and over again. The same boy who would cry at the sight of injustice and feel heartbroken when there was nothing I could do. I ignored all of the injustice I did to myself, and to minorities, especially those of black culture. As I screamed for justice, I would ignore injustice.
And I was ok with that. Totally fine being a hypocrite.
Until recently. It was brought to my attention that God created man in His image. This may not be a shock to you but bear with me. It was also brought to my attention that God makes no mistakes. Again, bear with me. It was brought to my attention, that because I ignored race as a whole, then I was ignoring some of the fingerprints of God on myself and others. And that by feeling that my skin tone was to be ignored, or to feel that we are all the same was to say that the details God put in me, from my smooth, bald head, to my ochre skin, were not important. Which meant I was saying that part of God was not important, and how I was created was not intentional, thus making it accidental. Which then meant that I doubted the essence of the living and true God.
Do you see what I am saying here?
Because I felt race did not matter, I felt that part of who God does not matter. Because I didn’t see the color of other people, I was purposefully ignoring some of the glory of God in them.
I am not okay with this.
So what? Just be convicted and move on? No. That’s not how this works. I recognized that I have to celebrate other people. I have to look for the glory of God in all people. I also have to stand for the injustice done to all people, not picking or choosing what feels easy or more comfortable. Jeremiah says:
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. – Jeremiah 22:3
So not only do I stand against racial injustice, but I stand against racism. I stand against ethnocentrism (evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture) because it is wrong. In the eyes of God, discrimination is a sin, and we know that God does not show partiality to sin, and neither should we. So, as much as we should talk about the amount of women and children sold into slavery, we should also talk about the amount of children gunned down in the streets because of the color of their skin. We have to cry for Marie Claire ( a sex slave), but also for children like Tamir Rice ( a twelve-year-old killed). Because sin has been committed to both. And we cannot deny it.
I believe we, as Christians, have to work to celebrate our differences, looking earnestly for the glory of God in and the detriment of sin in not only other cultures, but our own as well. We see race, and it’s a beautiful thing. I believe that is how God sees us too. Let’s not use race to judge others, but to understand what makes us so different, and how that makes our God and the Gospel so beautiful. Not many things transcend cultures, but the Gospel has. And as Christians, we are to celebrate the beauty and glory of God.
That is what I am going to do.
So you will see on my Facebook, my Instagram, and my Twitter posts about black culture. You will see shared articles crying for justice. You will see me walk with #BlackLivesMatter. You will see me stand with the poor, the disenfranchised, the weak, the widows, the orphans. You will see me, calling others to action. Why? Because that is what I am supposed to do.
As the church, we’ve missed a huge opportunity for the Gospel. We missed a huge opportunity to serve our nation. When black kids were killed in the street, the gospel would have brought peace and comfort. But, we kept our mouths shut, saying that wasn’t our business. We thought that social injustice is the responsibility of society when it is the responsibility of the Church. In my opinion, it was because the Church didn’t act as the body of Christ that #BlackLiveMatter had to be created. And now, people feel that they are a supremacist group here to raise Black Culture above all else. That’s not correct at all. They are the voice for injustice, where the church should have been.
I will not tolerate it any longer. I will do my part to remind the Church that racism is not even close to defeated and won’t leave us alone if we just ignore it. I won’t ignore it. I will fight it, and I hope you will too.