Struggle is universal. Everyone can connect to hardship in some way. Acknowledging the people struggle in different forms, ways and levels is what is important. I hope that eventually it’s not so controversial when an artist talks about their real struggle or references something very specific to their culture that the mainstream didn’t even realized they identified with(I also keep hot sauce in my backpack.) As a 27 year old Mexican American male I have learned more about my heritage, black culture, who I am and where I fit into this crazy world, but I will never forget how hip hop/ black culture nurtured me as a little one.
Now that I’m a father, I’m thinking of how I want my daughter to grow up without any sort of prejudice or racism. I do want to expose her to different cultures and people that do look differently than her so that she sees they’re really not different from her. I want her to have friends of all cultures and play and learn and be happy as though everyone is equal. I will do everything in my power to protect her from the negative mindset that anyone else is lesser than her for any reason, especially something as foolish as the color of one’s skin.
In recent years, it’s become more challenging to hold on to that affection for the church. Marrying a black man definitely gave me a heightened awareness of some weak spots in the church, but the real onslaught of my churchology has come with much of the body of Christ’s reaction to what's going on in the world. It started with Trayvon Martin’s murder, 5 years ago. Regardless of the fact that Trayvon was unarmed and that George Zimmerman (a civilian with no authority) was told not to pursue him, many were quick to back Zimmerman and blindly trust that Trayvon had it coming.
I believe we need to take the time to listen to people's stories and perspectives. We need to take the time to process and understand where people are coming from rather than jumping to our predisposed assumptions of how we see things. Denial that racism exists just because you didn't experience it or denial that you are not part of the problem will only make matters worse.
White guilt has absolutely no place in the church, and it is just as much anti-gospel as feeling superior for being white. If you are white, surrounded by mostly white people, have all white friends, and go to all white churches and schools, you do not need to feel guilty. No amount of guilt will motivate you to love the way Christ calls us to.
Black History Month needs to become more than just a time to recognize the contributions of those who have made waves. While it’s important to know the impact they’ve had, I feel like it needs to become even greater--a beacon to draw people in, a tool to educate and generate compassion and understanding.
The unique, closeup view that marrying a black man has given me has been equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking. I won't stop speaking up because I want my son to live in a different world than this. I don't want to worry if my husband gets pulled over or travels through the country. The world may not be what my young, naive self thought it was, but I'll no longer be keeping its secret.