When I began my Black History Month series I said I would focus on my heroes of this history, Christian and non-Christian alike. And I did that, but I journeyed into territory I hadn’t planned on: down the roads of my son’s struggle with his identity and my struggle with interracial friendships. The feedback from these stories has been overwhelming. One reader, Nicole Washington, was so moved that her response to My First White Friend was a blog post itself; I decided to post a portion of her testimony in full. As you read, please continue to reflect on your own journeys and those of our ancestors, alive and deceased, that helped us come to terms with seemingly irreconcilable differences. Their fight surely made the difference.
We have so many fears and hesitation to anything that we may have been hurt by, thought we were over or not sure how to process. I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago with some co-workers and they were saying they pretty much don’t see what’s wrong with the division of racial socializing. I begged to differ. I can’t and never could understand why we as black people harbor some of the same feelings as those that are racist. This is separation that keeps us comfortable and protected or not trying to understand the unknown or different. We disguise it and say things like, “Well, we have to start our own ‘cause the white people won’t let us join theirs.” Where are the Martin Luther King Jr.s of today?! Why are we fearful? Why is it that we don’t show the true heart of the Civil Rights Movement: equality? No race is better or worse. There are a lot of ghetto whites just as there are blacks. It’s a lot of professional blacks as there are whites. I don’t quite get why we have the Dove Awards and the Stellar Awards yet still we try to promote Christian love. If I didn’t know Christ, I’m not sure how quick I would be to believe what we preach.
Now I’m NOT saying that the obvious is not there. Yes, racism still exists on both sides. But the reality is that in Christ we are to put off the old and walk in the newness of Christ by all means necessary and in EVERY area of our lives, especially our greatest fears. Love can’t operate properly if we don’t REJECT what holds us back from experiencing the joys of love and loving people, all people. If we don’t make those moves of reconciliation, fearlessness, and Christian love, we’ll never get pass this “us versus them” mentality and that goes against the very thing we as Christians say we believe.
Nicole Washington, formerly Nicole Parker, is a newlywed, lover of Jesus, and advocate of justice and holiness. Read her full, passionate response in the comments section.
Copyright 2010 by Rhonda J. Smith