My news feed and blog feed are flooding right now with stories and posts and words that tell me that it’s shameful to be who I am. That I am defined by a group whose skin caries the same tone as mine. And I feel as if I’m expected to sit down and take the slam after slam after slam on who I am and what I believe because to do otherwise would be wrong. I was brought up in this world where it’s not supposed to matter what the color of your skin is-that life is and God is and he loves each of us no matter how our skin turns in the sun. And yet, here I am lost in this world where I feel like I’m just trying to survive each day and I feel like I’m being told that because I’m white, I’m not okay.
Because I’m white I should step aside and let some one else take the page for a minute and let their words ring out and ring true and I wonder to myself, aren’t these words on a page put down for all to read and see and hear and if not for the picture on the blog, who would know what color my skin is? Because I’m white I can’t build my family and love on babies that don’t share the same skin tone as I do. Because I’m white I’m not doing my job in this church family and leading the kingdom where it is supposed to go.
And isn’t it not supposed to matter what color I am?
Isn’t it not supposed to matter that I’m about as white as you’re ever going to get. Isn’t it supposed to matter that I’m living for my God and trying to make a better world and what happens to be blue is the color of my eyes and what happens to be red are my cheeks that flush at the notion that I should step down. Step aside. Because what isn’t a battle of race and identity is just that.
Has it been lost and forgotten that I have been a servant. That I am a servant. Should I not go to places and serve where skin tone will not match my own because others should stand out there where they blend in instead? Should I not be where I am the minority, not because I’ve grown up in a life that is privileged and paid for the plane tickets, but because I worked three jobs and spoke with my church family and friends and scraped pennies so that I could pay to work in an area that needed help. Because while I was blessed with a family that loves me, we were not in the lap of luxury. Five kids and a stay at home mom meant a daddy who worked overtime and no extras. It wasn’t a bad life and I’m not complaining, but because I’m white doesn’t mean that I haven’t worked since I was in seventh grade, or paid for my own schooling. I will be paying on student loans until I die. Because I chose to go to school, and nobody was paying for it but me. There is no poor white girl fund. There are no scholarships or loans designated only for white people who are struggling to make ends meet. Yet there are for so many different nationalities. But I can’t say things like that. Apparently it makes me racist. Because what I’ve learned in this little life is that it’s okay to stand up for anyone that isn’t white, but it’s not okay to stand up for ourselves.
Seriously. Is this not a talk about racism when I thought we were trying to talk about God and the kingdom and compassion and being a voice in the darkness because we speak through him and not through lips framed with freckles. Did he not say Come, ALL who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Not come in divisions of the White Christians and Black Christians and Asian Christians and Native Christians. But this is what I’m reading. The white church. The white Christians. And wow, what a division that is. Bringing up wounds and scars and tearing open the pain and heartbreak and prejudice. Because while I #WentThere and I prayed to #BringBackOurGirls and I work in an arena where I fight for #SocialJustice, I am being told that it’s not okay. It’s not enough-because I’m a part of the white Christians.
I’m not naive. I know that racism is here, and as we are human I know that in areas it also filters into the church. I know that people do horrendous things to other people because of the color of their skin. And it’s not okay. It’s not right. But it’s not right to tear down a ministry because the circuit leaders are pale skinned either-because their idea lead to something great and beautiful that brought others together from all over the world. Doesn’t it just create more racism to note that those standing on the stage aren’t the color you think they should be? Is it really that only the white Christians are chosen because it is an option of race? Is it really that pictures of white people are shown because that’s what sells? Honestly, I don’t think so. Because I’ve listened to some pretty dang good men and women speak, or read their words, or seen their pictures or heard their songs-and they weren’t pale skinned like me. And maybe the difference is that I didn’t pay attention to the color of their skin as a defining attribute of their character. Do some conversations need to be had? Absolutely. Are there differences in how we raise our children? Sadly, yes-in same ways there are. But does that make it right to name a whole group as wrong because of the color of their skin? There’s the age old question.
The sad thing is that I will likely lose some followers, and maybe even friends because of this. Not because I’ve torn down another race-because I haven’t. Not because I’ve spoken out against a specific group-because I haven’t. But because I’ve spoken up for myself. For others in this group of White Christians that I’ve been lumped together with for no other reason than the color of my skin.