On Racism

Racism.

It’s real.  It’s ugly.  And it exists.  Some would say things are better now than they were in the past, but I wonder.

My parents grew up with segregation and while there are no longer separate bathrooms or movie theaters, there is still a separation among people of color.

As a white person, I grew up with white privilege (though I hate that word, it’s true).  Because of the light color of my skin, I didn’t have to wonder if I would be denied a job or if I would be treated differently while shopping inside a store.  I just took for granted that I had freedoms that everyone else should have also had but didn’t.

My grandfather was unabashedly racist.  I hated when he would make comments about black people.  A friend of mine in high school told me that her stepdad wouldn’t even let his family watch The Cosby Show.  I couldn’t believe it.  And all because of the color of skin. Colored skin wrongly labeled with stereotypes.

My girls have always had friends with dark skin (as Annie would say, “brown, not black skin!”).  And as it should be, they never once thought anything of it.  That is, until one summer day while swimming with their “brown-skinned” friends when a couple of neighbors made some comment about not wanting to get into the swimming pool with black people.  Katie was confused and asked me why they would say such a thing.  Why indeed.

With the recent rioting in Baltimore, my heart breaks for those who feel the only voice they have is to cause destruction.  Until racism ceases to exist and stereotypes are erased, things will likely continue to worsen.  I pray that society starts to look beyond the color of skin and to see people for who they really are–individuals created by a loving God who values each and every one of us.

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