My grandfather was born in 1898, the fifth child with four older sisters. His family had a bit of money and hired a Black child to rock his cradle. The child was called a pickaninny. In 1898, pickaninny wasn’t considered a racist term, it was simply a way to describe a small Negro child.
Fast forward to 2015. My daughter and her family committed to a two-year missionary term in the South Pacific Island country of Vanuatu. My grandkids attended an international school with kids from all over the world. The kids in pre-Kinder were called . . . wait for it . . . pickaninnies. Was this a denigrating term? Not in Vanuatu. Dark-skinned, light-skinned, Asian, Australian, British, all pre-Ks were pickaninnies.
I know racism exists. It’s depicted in books, magazine articles, and on the tv news every night. I guess I’m confused by the term ‘systemic racism.’
According to Google:
“Systemic racism” can be defined as an infrastructure of rulings, ordinances or statutes promulgated by a sovereign government or authoritative entity, whereas such ordinances and statutes entitle one ethnic group in a society certain rights”
One could argue the reason I don’t understand systemic racism is because of my ‘White privilege.’ As I grapple with these two terms that are thrown around toward me and all who lack the necessary melanin in their skin, I can’t help but think about how much more confused some of my friends are.
Mixed-race couples like *Missy (white) and Chad (Black) and their two children.
Robert (white) and Claire (Black) and their son.
Debbie (white), is a divorced mother of one child from her Black husband and another adopted from an African American mom.
Do these couples look at their kids and wonder how they can explain that they may not be as privileged as one of their parents? What do they tell their kids? What do they tell each other?
I can only speak from my own experience. I was allowed to hang out with any other kid, regardless of race, creed, sex, or religion. I have Black friends, Mormon friends, Jewish friends, atheists, Asians, gays, young, old, and those in between. I’ve been passed over for a promotion for being too old, too young, or a woman. I’ve been sexually harassed, which I passed off as ignorance and male stupidity. I’ve been over-worked and underpaid for the same job as a man.
But never because of my race or color. I can’t imagine what it must be like to wonder “Was I passed over for the promotion because I’m White?”
On the other hand, I’ve experienced relationships with lots of people who value me for me. People who have blessed me and enriched my life in countless ways.
What does God say about our differences?
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28 KJV
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: But Christ is all and in all – Colossians 3: 11 KJV
Scythians were nomadic people who are believed to be the earliest people to master mounted warfare. Barbarians were people considered to be less civilized than or a part of a certain “primitive” cultural group.
In the preceding Scripture passages, the Apostle Paul tells us that we are all equal in God’s eyes. Barbarians, those lacking the proper pedigree or color, and nomads seeking war, are equal to the Jews, God’s chosen people.
That was a mind-blowing idea to the Jews.
Paul’s instruction to us is needed even more today as we are being divided by race, religion, political affiliation, mask or no mask, vax or no vax.
I would love to hear about your experiences. Have you experienced racism, prejudice, or ageism?
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*Names changed for privacy
#prejudice #racisim #Christianliving