Hey everyone and welcome back to Serenity in The Spirit!
In this post I would like to discuss the topical issue of race. However, the issue of racial injustice is not simply a 'hot topic'. It is unfortunately the reality of life for a vast number of this Earth's population, not just people in America or even the UK. I would like to make it clear before I begin that by us discussing this topic, it does not mean that other injustices, murders and sufferings are not important. By speaking about race, I am not invalidating other issues, simply choosing to speak about this particular issue just as I chose to speak about the issue of COVID-19 a couple of months back.
Ted and I are planning to do a blog and podcast series with the aim of capturing a Christian approach to racism as well as share our experiences. This post will be about the latter and I would also like to share a couple of resources that you may not have seen widely on social media that we have found insightful and/or useful.
Fortunately, I can say that I have not had many negative racial experiences. Until the age of 12, I went to fairly diverse schools in London. Race is not even something I remember being overly conscious of when playing with my friends from a multitude of backgrounds. I then moved to another city and began attending a private, girls school with a majority of white pupils and teachers. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, there was not a single black teacher there. Again, I did not experience any overt racism there (I specify the word 'overt' as I recognise that with things that may have been covert, it is likely I wrote them off and squashed them out of my memory). This is because I struggled (and sometimes still do) with bringing up the topic of race with my white peers.
The reason for this can be traced back to a particular incident that has stuck with me to this day. I asked my form tutor why the school does not have any events/information to mark Black History Month. Whilst asking this question, a number of my peers murmured under their breath how 'cringe' the moment was. 'why is she asking that?!'. I tried not to let people see how much that bothered me but, truthfully, I felt alienated in that moment and very seldom brought the topic of race up again in school. The response, by the way, was to ask the History department which I did not do. I wish I did, but instead I felt embarrassed and as if no one cared anyway. I use this example not for sympathy but to encourage anyone who may be nervous about speaking up - if, for example, you see injustice or you are uncomfortable with how a conversation is going, the right thing to do is (out of love - 2 Timothy 2:25) confront it.
The topic of racial injustice spans more than someone calling you the 'n word' which can be hurtful enough, but as we can see, it is and has been leading to death for centuries. Unfair death. Horrific death. Behind each person is a family and friends whose lives will never be the same again. The topic of racial injustice means black people will often have to consider things like the black population percentage in a country they wish to visit and seek to understand if the population as a whole is more racist than average. Racial injustice means that as a black person, when we step outside of our homes we are representing a whole race and not just ourselves or a family name. When you don't smile at a white stranger walking past and your mind wonders if they will now determine that all black people are unfriendly and unapproachable. When you feel as though you have to cross the street to avoid frightening someone. When you are the only black person in a pub and you are wondering how the landlord and other people in the pub feel about that. When you, as a black woman, change your hairstyle and (no matter how well-intentioned) everyone at work makes it the topic of conversation for far too long...
Now, before sharing the resources as promised, I want to close with another harsh reality my dad has told me ever since I can remember:
"You will have to work twice as hard as everyone else in life"
"Because you are black and because you are a female"
Again, I am not sharing these things to elicit sympathy or pity but simply to give an insight into what life can be like for some of the people you are friends with or work with. If you are black and reading this I want to encourage you that the above does not and should not change the way we view ourselves. If other people do not see our lives as equal to theirs, it does not mean that is the case. Our identity should come from the One who created us, God, and His Word says we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27)
As a Christian, I believe it is truly only God who can rid this world of such awful hatred and who will bring justice for the innocent. Don't forget that whilst it is God who has the power in this situation, He can and will use YOU in this fight if you let Him - just ask what you should do. In the next post we will talk a bit more about prayer and appropriate action but until then, check out the sermon and Instagram post below where the issue of racial injustice is considered from a Christian perspective.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CA-jo-lpg_iZ4IQONVyHIKzziPhaEubDcQSwG40/ - A reminder of the victory we have regardless of what is going on in this world.
God bless you,
Song of the post: Peace/Afio Mai - Link