Through my blue eyes

Through my blue eyes and fair, white skin my world has been easy, in fact privileged in ways I have been unaware. Don't wrongly assume heartaches haven't come my way or struggles haven’t been real for me - I am acquainted with both. What I am referring to is this culture in which we reside where the shade of our skin makes a difference in how we are treated, shown respect, given opportunities, looked at, or spoken to.

Never have I been followed through a store or to a dressing room with suspicion when out shopping because the color of my skin. My heart falls into my stomach when blue lights show up in my rear view mirror because first, well I was speeding and second, I am going to pay a fine. Never has fear been attached to it or has it crossed my mind that I am going to be harmed or mistreated. I can choose to put my head in the sand and be silent out of fear and ignore words spoken from political platforms, brutality in the streets, ugliness on the news each night, the experiences shared with me or that I read from people of color OR I can choose differently. “We are only as blind as we want to be.” I choose to say I see it. I choose to say there’s injustice all around us. I choose to call racism what it is - sin. I choose to say I will stand up for my brothers and sisters of color - all shades.

As a history teacher my vision is clear and I see the atrocities on which our nation was built. I will not gloss over it or try to rewrite it to make it palatable. As a believer I read Scripture where God is not neutral when it comes to the oppressed. My Savior came and, to the shock of the Pharisees, stood in the gap for the marginalized - the child, woman, widow, the foreigner, the Samaritan.
Racism in all of it’s forms is ugly and exposes our depravity.

I have opportunities to step out of this country often and get to serve alongside people of all colors. We love each other the same. We smile and laugh, we weep, we pray together, we embrace, yet we have different backgrounds, far different cultures, and speak different languages. I want this in my country too. For months I have sat down to write, to express my heart, to acknowledge other's heartaches that are a direct result of racism. My words will not be adequate, my experiences are so different. During the course of this time I have read articles, watched videos, and read books with a desire to listen in order to understand, to see through another's eyes and gain a different perspective. I have cried, I have shook my head in disbelief, I have dropped my head in shame. My willingness to understand someone has given these blue eyes a clearer perspective.

Today my heart aches and I pray, yet I have hope. My hope comes from a dark skinned, brown-eyed Middle Eastern man named Jesus, my Savior, who chose to call sin out and then be crucified for all sin, he conquered it for our sakes. So it is with my hands open and my vulnerability penned that I choose first the kingdom of God, may it be here on earth as it is in heaven - where we are poor in spirit, meek, mourn with those who mourn, hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, and choose to be peacemakers. We have choices to make, let's choose well.

I encourage you to read, listen, and pray.
Here are a few books that I have read to give me better a understanding:
Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup (a memoir)
Embrace, God's Shalom for a divided world by Leroy Barber
Trouble I've Seen, Changing the way the church views racism by Drew G.I. Hart
The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone, I am currently reading.

IF Gathering has videos on YouTube of real, honest dialogue.
Be the Bridge is a nonprofit for Race Reconcilation that offers resources.

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