With all of the yelling and screaming going on lately, there is something I believe needs to be said.
My skin color is not powerful. It is not weak.
It bears no pride or guilt.
It is neither shameful nor shamed.
It is neither an oppressor or oppressed.
It does not owe and it is not owed.
It is neither privileged or disadvantaged.
Like all others, it has no culture, for cultures are learned and/or adopted.
It isn’t poor or rich.
It’s neither a blessing or a curse.
It neither loves nor hates.
It is a superficial feature, like a freckle or a mole.
If you disagree with any of these statements, consider the words spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr in 1963:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”
I’ve had some say this is only a dream, and not reality. However, those people are so, so wrong. It is a reality for those who choose to make it so. I was raised in a way that makes those words, for me at least, not a dream, but a way of life. It’s a choice that only individuals can make. It can’t be legislated or imposed.
For us to move forward, together, as a society, we must ALL choose to make that our way of life. That goes for everyone, regardless of what their skin color is. I don’t care what your lot in life is or who you think is to blame for it. If you don’t live your life according to Dr King’s words up above, then you are part of the problem. The more that choose to make this their way of life, the more we can drown out the killers, agitators, and rioters.
If you disagree with any of my statements above about my skin color, then it is your racism and your racism alone that you must contend with. You can’t expect others to live by a certain code if you yourself aren’t willing to do the same thing whether others are or not. The longer people wait for others to change, the more certain we can be that change will not come.
You can’t expect people to come together to solve problems if you separate, segregate, discriminate, or invalidate others’ opinions based on something as superficial as skin color. You can’t have a “serious discussion about race” if it’s one-sided. You can’t have progress from a “serious discussion about race” if you don’t talk past race. It’s a superficial and artificial construct anyway.
If after reading this, you still have trouble with prejudices about skin color, be it someone else’s or your own, at least make a real effort to live by the ultimate rule for life:
Do unto others what you want them to do unto you.
While the Charleston shooter deserves the justice that will ultimately come, it is the family members of those killed who forgave him that I have the greatest admiration for. They are the embodiment of Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness. While the pain will live with them for the rest of their lives, they are refusing to let hate place an extra burden on their souls or their lives. They showed us all what it means to be Christian. Even in their time of loss, God will bless them.