2008/09/22

A Little More On Race

We can't even begin to know ourselves until we learn to distinguish between who we are and who others are. That requires us to see otherness and acknowledge it. It may begin with Brother Buber's famous I and Thou but it extends to all others and is the thing that allows us to know them and, through them, ourselves. For example:

* I know that I do not have blond hair because I have met people who do.
* I know I am a woman because I have met people who are not.
* I know that I am white because I have met people who are brown and black and yellow...


You get the idea.

Christianity itself is mainly defined in terms of what it is not. Thank God for the heresies. As soon as one pops up we have a pope or theologian or ecumenical council saying, "Nope, that's not what we are..." And it has been in knowing what we are not that we have been able to define what we are.

So, when it comes to race, don't brag to me that you are color blind.

If you can't look at someone and see that they are in some way colored, then how do you know what color you are?

When I hear someone say that they are colorblind I know I am talking to someone who doesn't even know what color they are. After all, they are color blind.

White people like to feign color blindness because we don't want to be confronted with our racism. It's so much easier to pretend that everyone is white.

Isn't it funny that you never hear black people claiming to be color blind?

I'll tell you what I think. I think that black people know that color matters, that it's defining. For a long time it defined where they could eat, or which drinking fountain they could use, where they could sit on the bus, what job they could have, where they could go to school. Oh yeah... race, color, has been defining for black people.

Should race be the thing that defines a person? No, I don't think it should be. But, as long as those of us who are white continue to use it to ensure our own privileged position in society, it will be.

White people promote racism because it benefits us. That's just the reality.
If you can't see that, then you're a racist.

Want to end racism? Open your eyes and see the black, see all the colors.

Serious about ending it? Move across the tracks. Become black. Then racism will end.

+++++

And now a word from Beth Moore:

Often we hear the noble expression "color blind" to describe people without racial prejudice. We're not at all sure "color blindness" is what God is looking for. We believe He wants us to appreciate and delight in our different colors and be "color-blessed" instead!

5 comments:

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Amen, Sister!

Of course, most WON'T see it. It's the log in our own eye, so we worry about the speck in others'.

I am a racist in recovery. To say anything else is to make myself a liar.

Pax,
Doxy

Lindy said...

Me too, Doxy. In recovery. Me too.

Ann said...

I have a friend who is black and with whom I have done anti-racism training. One day at training a woman said - but I don't see you as black I just see you as a person - to her. She replied - but I want you to see that I am black - see my beautiful color - see me as a black woman - see me for all of who I am - yes I am a person and blackness is one aspect of that. One more click of understanding for me -- still a long way to go.

Ann said...

Another incident from Div School - a professor was presenting on ethnicity -- his first statement was that he was not "ethnic" - (he is white) -- the rest of us looked at each other - duh - everyone is ethnic - the rest of his presentation was lost to our stunned minds about his ignorance. It is the privilege of white being the "norm" for white people to declare one is not ethnic.

Lindy said...

Thanks Ann.Very good comments.