In honor of Black History Month, I’d meant to write something short and from my own experience of leading as a woman of color and observing the lives of other women of color around me, to help other see and hear women of color better…
First of all, our stories as women of color are different, but we are not different from other women. We possess every attribute, gift, skill, talent, intellect, virtue, etc., as found in other women. We share the same blood groups and our blood could be easily be interchanged. The Scriptures say “the life is in the blood” (Lev.17:11). Thus if our blood can be interchanged with the blood of other women, how different does that makes us from other women? Yet, we are treated as different sociologically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc..
We’re socially unacceptable, as our ways and customs are looked down upon and mocked. Even our food is denigrated or patronized or accepted in degrees of color. For example, a white woman’s food will be readily accepted and or sampled, followed by the cuisine of a lighter-skinned woman of color. Butthe Black woman’s food our food is almost always approached with the edge of the very long spoon reserved for eating with the devil. Why?
Our relationships (past, present and future) are viewed questionably, because it is automatically assumed we have loose morals, and that all our family histories predispose us to a life of indiscipline, illiteracy and immorality.
As a divorcee: when in the midst of a community full of families, you and your child(ren) are ignored and are not part of the support other Christian families offer and receive from one another (no kidding, I’ve actually observed the interplay of response to white versus Black divorcées).
As a church planter: whereas men reject you, your own women are suspicious of you because almost the only way they’ve know women in leadership is either beside their husbands or as a woman ‘under the headship’ of a male leader.
Our families are not good enough to form relationships of equality with – friendship across color lines is always as ‘a favor’ from the lighter-skinned to us. So we better know to kow-tow to our benefactor in order to keep his or her friendship as well as boost his or her honor as a non-racist.
Our children cannot be ‘real’ friends with children of people who are not people of color. Rather, even our children are subjected to this same treatment from the parents of their friends.
All this and more, is the reality of everyday lives of women of color, particularly Black women amidst the Caucasian majority.
Today, I would like to appeal to our faith in and knowledge of the one Eternal, true God and His revealed will for mankind as the reason to improve our treatment of and response to women of color, especially black women.
As such, I would like to invite those who are not people of color to seek their own humanity and the humanity of people of color from the Scriptures, rather than from sociology or religious project books which are written by those who are not people of color. (I am always amazed at the wide divide between what really is and what has been written about people of color by others who neither share our heritage, nor have lived long enough among us to embrace our thoughts and way of life. Yet, their claims become the accepted prototype of and lenses for viewing, understanding and relating to people of color!).
Move into the neighborhood of people of color. Eat their food (the ingredients are no different from what you cook with), hear their stories without an agenda (of repeating them like the stories of lost causes), attend their churches, patronize their businesses, hire them, LEARN from them rather than assuming knowledge is an ethnic chromosome which is found only in Caucasian genes; LOVE them as you love yourself, which means you don’t get to see them ‘as different’ from you in terms of their humanity; believe and enter into their struggles instead of thinking and believing the struggle is a figment of their imagination (your skin color precludes you from their experience, so listening is the closest you will ever come to sharing their experiences).
For those who are already doing this, we appreciate you! Keep on attesting to our mutual humanity and equality. God bless you!