Brown Skin is Not the Sin

As a human, wrapped in more than moderate levels of melanin, it has been hard to concentrate on my creative writing projects lately. Seeing beyond the conflicts in culture has been difficult for weeks. So I put one pen down and picked up another type, and with each keystroke, I pour out the frustrations of my people living hidden and unappreciated in an America that I love.

Thanks to Markus Spiske on Unsplash for Photo

But this is not new, I’ve written about race and gross insensitivites towards blacks before, like What’s Missing? What’s Also Missing? and Thank You, Dr. King.

No one commented.

Maybe today they will.

Maybe today, more Blacks will not only be seen but respected for their God-given talents. Maybe we won’t be overlooked and denied promotions because of the skin we are in. Maybe we won’t be hunted down and killed when our skin says to some, “you don’t belong here” (in this neighborhood, in this group, in this leadership role).

I won’t hold my breath.

Maybe today America can do better for the next generation, opening up the difficult discourse on racism, and allow the healing to begin.

Shall We Begin With An Apology?

For me, I’d like to see the healing begin with a white America that apologizes openly for the atrocities committed in this country and the acknowledgment of privileges whites have enjoyed since 1619.

I can’t imagine this will be easy, but I believe that if I were in the shoes of my white brothers and sisters, I could humble myself enough to say, “I apologize for what my people did to your people and I’m going to do my best to eradicate the systemic racism that still exists in this land.” 

Confession is good for the soul. And although awkward, honesty is not impractical.

Nothing New Under the Sun

When I was a middle school student, I had a brave and outspoken pastor. We called him Brother Dan. He was a white man of average height, proud of his Indian ancestry, and quite different from my first pastor — a Baptist minister who was also my cousin. Brother Dan was neither. He was an older, non-denominational, spirit-filled messenger. He delivered the Scriptures boldly. I witnessed miracles and enjoyed learning about the bible for the first time under his ministry. This was also the first time I’d ever done church with people who did not look like me. 

One day, this firecracker of a pastor asked all the white people in our congregation to stand. He had sniffed out the disease of racism. So with tear-filled eyes, Brother Dan prayed, then asked all the white congregants to apologize to all the black congregants. I remember even more tears shed and eventual hugs between the two races as we stood, hand-in-hand singing, “You’re my brother, you’re my sister, so take me by the hand, together we will work until He comes, there’s no foe that can defeat us when we’re walking side-by-side. As long as there is love we will stand.”

Other Solutions? – Reparations and Conversations

Conversations about race with friends and cohorts are definitely necessary, with more listening on the part of our white counterparts, and without offense and defensiveness. I state this because some of our white peers feel extremely uncomfortable listening to their black associates’ perspective on racism. I’ve seen whites shut completely down when they sense that a conversation is broaching the topic of race. And when this isn’t the case, I’ve seen blacks get dominated, interrupted, or redirected to a more palatable topic of discussion. Which is why race relations have not been resolved, in my opinion. But, “when we listen, we hear someone into existence” (quote by Laurie Buchanan, PhD). We validate their reasoning and their person even if we still disagree on certain points of discussion.

Non-Black Americans will really need to learn how to listen as it relates to the next option for healing — reparations. Reparations to the direct descendants of slaves and those with losses incurred as a result of systemic racism is also of consideration. Let’s talk about a just compensation to the race of people who helped build this country into the economic powerhouse that it is. Although, we cannot appropriately assess a human’s worth — contrary to white supremacist beliefs — America can right a wrong and satisfy a long overdue financial debt. The question is will we.

Whatever our next steps, God help us if Americans find ourselves in this crisis again.

My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP

In closing, if there are any blessings to come out of what has happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta, and Christian Cooper in New York City’s Central Park, it is the world’s undistracted attention and unmasking of racism and the opportunity for the church to lead the fight for justice. Racial reconciliation and equality have been my prayer focus for some time, though not in this way. Nevertheless, we are here, so may the level of spiritual discernment of racism once revealed in a little multiracial church in a small Florida town many years ago permeate into the hearts of congregants worldwide and into America’s economic, legal, and social institutions, where we work beyond the church’s walls.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9 AMP

With One Love for One Race. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts,

2 responses to “Brown Skin is Not the Sin”

  1. Thank you for your honesty, Leah. Your words are hard to hear, but we are both Americans who love Jesus and our country, and I know there is common ground between us. What I don’t know is where to go from there. I am guilty of remaining quiet because I don’t know what to say, not wanting to unintentionally offend by saying the wrong thing. I am guilty of turning away because I’m overwhelmed by the situation and feel unable to positively impact it so I do nothing. I want to help the wound heal, but the only thing I know to do is kneel. So I pray, asking for grace for all of us to come together as one race–the children of God. <3

    1. Thank you, Jen, for your comments. <3 I am kneeling and praying for the healing as well, knowing our God hears us. We will come together as One Race, one step at a time. Let’s keep our lines of communication open.

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