Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Celebrating Color in a World That Is Not Blind
One of my beautiful daughters is black, growing up in a white family. I’ve spoken a lot lately about blackness versus whiteness, and about Western attitudes towards the rest of the world. It bothers me to talk persistently about these things. It feels more polite to pretend each race and culture is a carbon copy of the others.
I would love to stick my head in the sand and believe race doesn’t matter. Once upon a time, I did believe that. But as the white mother of a child who looks nothing like me, I no longer have the luxury of singing kumbaya and pretending the world is color blind.
Who wants a color blind world anyway? Who wants to overlook Amelia’s gorgeous chocolate skin in contrast to Caroline’s milky fair complexion? Who wants to blush at the variety between my stick straight hair, Caroline’s soft waves, and Amelia’s thick, tight curls? Diversity is too rich to risk ignoring.
I embrace diversity because it is exquisite.
I scrutinize diversity because this world renders it excruciating.
I want to ignore the articles I read. The proof that racism is thriving. I want Amelia’s appearance to bring a trivial form of joy, without it carrying serious consequences about the way society views her. I want to celebrate her outward beauty like my friend Amanda’s family celebrates the curly red hair she does not share with either of her sisters.
And I do celebrate it that way. But I cannot disregard the hatred in this world. The preconceived notions. The subtle feelings of superiority and condescension. Worse still, I cannot forever protect Amelia from them.
I can only educate myself, empathize with others, and teach my daughters how to live.
God is the answer to this all, isn’t He? The purpose? The center? I’ve read some fantastic things lately about Scripture, race, and our faith. Still, my mind swarms in perplexed frustration. Why does it have to be complicated? A person is a person, made in God’s image, no better or worse than you or me. Where did the confusion ever come from?
It grieves me.
I am grappling to find the God-lesson in all of this. There are many. Sometimes, I grab onto the God-lessons and rejoice in them. I thank God for forming our family in a way that opened my eyes and my heart to the multiplicity of His children. Other days, like today, I just shake my head and wish Amelia could spend her childhood blissfully unaware of these issues.
This world is depraved. We need Redemption.