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Does Race Matter in Light of My Faith?

America. The land of the free, home of the brave. Prosperous opportunity. Equality. A place to dream, raise families, to become someone. “One Nation Under God”. In today’s society, we seem to have drifted so far from these things that were supposed to make America great… And while some rant about making America great again, others wonder if we were ever that great in the first place. America, as much as she has been through, still does not know how to deal with the social construct of race she has built with her own hands. The self-proclaimed melting pot is still trying to segregate- er, separate- all of her precious ingredients.

In today’s media-driven age, it is getting increasingly harder to avoid running into a conversation or seeing a post about race. It is one of the most blinding and dividing factors in our country today. This topic makes people uncomfortable and ruffles a lot of feathers. Yet, somewhere amidst these conversations about race, a seemingly harmless idea arose. It was presented like an iron- setting out to smooth any wrinkles that may arise. Colorblindness. Saying things like “I don’t see color” or claiming colorblindness became something people would say to avoid conflict… or to prove that they were not racist or prejudice.

As a mixed person of color, I have always had a problem with this line of thinking, with this colorblindness. If someone tells me they don’t see color, or that they choose colorblindness, I am unseen. It is as if a part of me is not acknowledged, or doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged- as if that part of me is meaningless in their eyes. When my ethnic makeup has been stereotyped and has influenced how I have been treated, it is as if that hot iron is being applied to the wrinkle that is my colored flesh in a white washed society. It is as if I am being told that I will not be seen for who I am, but instead as whatever will make others more comfortable. I am being denied a part of my identity.

Growing up in the church I heard it said many times that we are all the same in Jesus Christ. When it comes to terms of salvation & equality, I wholeheartedly believe this is true: We are all sinners saved by grace, granted access to God through Jesus Christ. In Jesus, there is no division! We are all the same in that we are human. But when it comes to terms of our ethnic identity, I believe that it is more than ok to acknowledge and even celebrate our differences. Our differences in ethnic makeup & our racial identities should be something that brings us together, not drives us apart.

The reason I love diversity is because I can learn so much more from  people who are different from me, than from people who look, think, and agree with everything I say. I love diverse and multicultural churches because I have the opportunity to see and hear about Jesus from so many different view points. My own walk with the Lord becomes deeper, allowing my relationship with him to grow in new ways. But to get there, I must be able and willing to see and know others- And I must in turn, be willing to be seen and known. It’s hard being that vulnerable, but I think race matters in light of our faith because of this yearning to be truly known… And because I believe that only God can heal and give true reconciliation to the way we have handled the topic of race in America.

 

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