In my home there is Daddy, Mama, Sister, and Brother.
These are our labels. The defining identifications we use to explain how we relate to each other.
The moment we step outside of our home the labels change. Not how we label ourselves, but how others label us.
When we are all together, we are seen as “A Mixed Family.” A Black Father. A White Mother. Mixed Kids.
When we are separate, the labels further break down- A Black Man. A White Woman. Two children who may be white, mixed, black, hispanic, or middle eastern, depending on who is doing the labeling.
But inside our home, we are a family. The labels are relational. The labels emphasize not what differentiates us from each other, but how we are connected. And we are connected within committed, loving relationships.
I believe racial reconciliation can only truly occur through relationships. Real, committed, loving relationships. True love, not the fairy-tale “at first sight” kind but the stay-while-we-work-through-the-mess love.
Things that lead away from racial reconciliation:
-Laws that may restrain hateful acts but not hateful hearts.
-Social media posts that make the poster feel justified but don’t do anything remotely close to making steps to heal racial wounds.
-Responding defensively without first honestly examining the status of our hearts and evaluating race relations in our own community.
Racial reconciliation will happen. It IS happening. Through friendship. Through real relationships. Through love.
The beautiful thing about the human race is that if we can stay in the race together, we all win. Let’s stop looking for labels that divide, but consciously look for relational connections. It MUST be intentional, and it must be actively pursued.
There was a strong storm last night and my husband and I woke up in the middle of it, thinking of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” as well as the counter-phrase often used to “expand” this concept- “All Lives Matter.” I half-dreamed of a newly-freed black slave declaring “Black Lives Matter” and then his haughty, defensive, Christian plantation owner saying “But ALL lives matter! My life matters too!” I told my husband about this picture and said isn’t it obvious that is what is happening? He said he hadn’t heard that comparison before and I should share it. The hypocrisy is clear in the context of this dream, but is much more insidious in our modern world.
There is a strong storm that has been destroying lives, families, and communities for years now. Let us wake up and end it together.
Let us relate to each other by what connects us, rather than what separates us.
Moving from them to us.
From theirs to ours.
Till we see all of our selves as Daddies and Mamas and Sisters and Brothers, no matter where we happen to be.