This month, white Christians can love their Black siblings in the church by seeing their struggles in context.
When I was a college student, Black History Month came around and my church took the time to celebrate. People dressed in African garb, sermons addressed the struggles Black people everywhere faced, and the congregation took action steps to help marginalized people.
But my Bible college at the time did nothing. There were no school-sponsored events or presentations on this topic, and professors avoided the topic altogether. I sat in class, shifting uneasily between anger and sadness. I could not understand how a topic so important in one culture could be so completely ignored and buried in another.
Confused, I asked one of my white friends to explain why nobody acknowledged Black History Month. His response was like that of his colleagues. “I don’t see color,” he replied, delivering this line as if it were a mic-drop moment.
To him, it was a no-brainer. But what my friend failed to realize is that when Black and brown people hear the words “I don’t see color,” what we really hear is that our color—which makes us who we are—can be easily dismissed. It tells us that the way God created us is somehow invalid and that only without color are we worthy to be recognized and valued.
Every single time a white brother or sister says this to me, it makes me feel the weight of my ancestors’ mistreatment and suffering. Imagine telling people who wake up Black every single day that they live in a society that doesn’t see color—when every experience they have suggests otherwise!
And herein lies the problem. Because many white Christians have not witnessed racial injustice firsthand, they feel no need to discuss the topic.
The dialogue tends to go something …